On Friday night’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” he and his staff dug up some archival footage of Delaware Republican Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how she “dabbled in witchcraft” as a teenager. The Christian Science Monitor reports that O’Donnell no longer practices witchcraft, but her revelation may prove to be a political liability.
Wiccans are decrying her “knowledge” of witchcraft, saying that she was woefully misinformed, according to ABC News. O’Donnell was shown in a 1999 taping of “Politically Incorrect” saying that “we went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a Satanic altar.” Wiccans do not worship “Satanic altars,” according to Wiccan experts. Yahoo! News reports that O’Donnell’s response was tongue-in-cheek, saying, “There’s been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now.”
The political debate about O’Donnell will surely continue as her opponents may try to say she is uneducated and misinformed based upon her past statements. Other politicians have different religious views and have been elected to major offices in the United States. Here is an examination of some religious ideals that may not seem ordinary for mainstream American politics.
Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts and one-time Republican candidate for President in 2008. Romney is also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church, according to Time magazine.
Romney has been a member of the Mormon Church for years and is considered one of their elite. In a poll conducted in June of 2006, only 35 percent of Americans would consider voting for a Mormon in a national election. Romney’s religion was always a topic when he ran in 2008; he fell behind in Republican primaries early and dropped out.
Keith Ellison is the first Muslim American to be elected to Congress. He is from Minnesota’s 5th District, and is currently serving his second term. Indiana voters sent Andre Carson, the second Muslim in Congress, to House in 2008, two years after Ellison was elected, according to Reuters.
Ellison took his oath of office on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qu’ran instead of the traditional Christian Bible as a testament to his faith. With both of these men in Congress, their religious affiliation has been seen as an asset instead of a hindrance.
Although Louisiana’s governor is currently a Christian, Bobby Jindal was raised a Hindu in his Indian-American family, according to USA Today. Jindal converted to Catholicism in high school and college.
His relatives were very tolerant and loving toward Jindal’s conversion. His conversion was probably due to his grandmother’s religious tolerance in India. Jindal was the first major politician in America who is an Indian-American.
Christine O’Donnell’s unfortunate comments about witchcraft may be used against her as coming across as uneducated and immature. Her downplaying of the comments with even more humor may make her the subject of jokes on late night television.
The other people mentioned in this article have used their religious beliefs and upbringing as an asset instead of a hindrance and got elected. If O’Donnell can turn her comments into a plus for her current belief system, instead of coming across as a ditzy teenager, she may yet have a chance to be elected a senator from Delaware. Like Alaska, Delaware has a very small population and few constituents, as compared to a Senate election in New York or California.
The Christian Science Monitor, ABC News, Yahoo! News, Time magazine, Reuters, and USA Today contributed information for this article.