Mitt Romney and “Demonic Activity” at Liberty University

Mitt Romney and “Demonic Activity” at Liberty University May 12, 2012

It hasn’t been a very good week for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. The presumptive Republican nominee has been dealing with the revelations of “troubling incidents” related to bullying gay classmates in the same week that the president gave his support for same-sex marriage rights. Now, in what can only be called unfortunate timing, Romney will be giving the commencement speech today at Liberty University, the school founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell.

Mitt Romney

“Whatever the exact explanation, Romney and his team clearly do not feel that they can take the support and – maybe more importantly – the enthusiasm of evangelicals for granted the way most previous Republican nominees could. This could severely complicate Romney’s efforts to separate himself from what to general election swing voters are some of the most unappealing aspects of the modern Republican Party. Any position he takes or utterance he makes that puts him at odds with the Christian right threatens to prompt a loud uproar from evangelical leaders. How much slack (if any) they’re willing to cut Romney in the name of general election expediency is unclear at this point.”

All eyes will be on Romney to see if he can solidify support among conservative Evangelical Christians, a group that has been reluctant to admit he’s Christian at all due to his Mormon faith. While Romney has tentatively tried to stand up for his religion, a full-throated defense of the rights of religious minorities in this country has yet to emerge. Anyone expecting a “Sister Souljah moment” will no doubt be disappointed, Romney needs Liberty University and the forces it represents on his side, and that means overlooking its unfortunate, hurtful, retrograde, beliefs. Those beliefs include fighting against “homosexual propaganda,” and, naturally, a virulently anti-Pagan ethos. It is an ethos that goes far beyond the late Falwell’s infamous 9/11 comments.

“I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way–all of them who have tried to secularize America–I point the finger in their face and say “you helped [the 9/11 terrorist attacks] happen.”

According to Right Wing Watch, school policy itself reserves the harshest of punishments for Liberty students who might engage in a Pagan or esoteric practices.

30 Reprimands + $500.00 Fine + 30 hours Disciplinary Community Service + possible Administrative Withdrawal. […] Involvement with witchcraft, séances or other satanic or demonic activity.

It should be pointed out that “involvement with witchcraft” is placed in the same category as rape, committing a felony crime, unauthorized weaponry, and selling drugs. As a private university, LU certainly has the right to make any rules it wants for its students, including the banning of “demonic activity,” but it should also make us ask what that means when individuals who want to run the United States pander to them.  Frankly, any national politician who seeks the imprimatur of Liberty University needs to immediately clarify their stance on pluralism in our country.

To reiterate what I’ve said before, the seeming impossibility of Mitt Romney standing up for religious minorities saddens me.  If the eventual Republican party nominee can’t say “this is a nation where all faiths are allowed to the table, and protected by our Constitution” then something is fundamentally broken.  I’m not expecting any Republican to suddenly embrace Wiccans, or to showcase Dan Halloran at a campaign stop, but I am expecting a basic adherence to the notion that people of all religions are included and protected in our great democratic experiment.

Perhaps we truly are entering a “Libertarian moment” in 2012, and fiscally conservative/socially liberal Pagans alienated by the prominence of conservative Christianity will flock to former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, who expressed no consternation within my campaign” when it comes to taking modern Pagans seriously in our electorate. That may not worry Mitt Romney, but is should worry Republicans who want to thrive in an increasingly post-Christian world. Eventually all those “others,” agnostics, and “nones” will add up to the margin of victory.

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32 responses to “Mitt Romney and “Demonic Activity” at Liberty University”

  1. Oh Demonic activity…I’m gonna shove my horn right up his &$$. what a Moron…I mean a Mormon…

  2. That form of thinking is so incredibly backwards. Especially since this country was founded because the people wanted religious freedom…How people are still so ignorant in this day and age completely baffles me. And to lump wiccans, pagans, gays and other minorities in with rapists and terrorist is completely rediculous. Far more terroristic activities/crimes have been committed in the name of GOD and Christianity then from a Pagan/ Wiccan standpoint. Not going to get into a what religion is about, but most pagan religions preach about tolerance and respect for other peoples beliefs, and that just because someone may not follow a similar religious path as you, that does not mean they are “wrong” in what they belief…..That is a lot more civilized and respectable then, the the mindset that every group and minority you don’t like are all devil worshippers and will go to hell because they don’t believe or follow the rules of the christian religion…No, pagans also don’t scare and bully followers into following them either….Again, really wish people would STOP making ignorant comments when it’s clear they no nothing about those religions in the first place. Mitt Romney lost my vote, and unfortunately they pagan community is a lot larger then most people think, especially in his home state.

    (And for the record, I know that the author of the article was quoting what others have said, and my comment about wishing people would stop making ignorant comments, was not directed him, but was implied as general).

  3. It’s good to see Falwell’s infamous 9/11 quote cited in full. Usually media recitations of it omit the mention of Pagans. Hel, we were not only included, we were first!

    As to a Libertarian moment, unlike the two major parties the Libertarian Party does not have major economic backers. Entire industries, unions, etc support the Republicans or the Democrats for what the party promises to do via government. The LP promises only to do as little as possible, so it will never get heavy-hitter financial backing.

  4. Some of the first (English) Europeans who came to the USA were not seeking religious freedom, they already found that on the Europeans continient – they were seeking a new place to create a religious utopia.  The idea that they were coming to the USA for religious freedom is a false one. 

  5. I’m pretty sure when most of the Xtians say “freedom of religion” they mean freedom for Abrahamic religion.  Or to not be (i.e. atheist, agnostic.) And from what I can see of various Hindu faith expressions, they tend towards monism and therefore get a pass. I don’t think NeoPagans will get an equal place at the Religions Table (or even allowed in the room!) for a very long time, if ever. Our relationship to the Xtians (and Muslims) is too contentious for their mind-set. Their dualism needs an Other, and (to mangle Pogo) “…he is us.”

  6.  Or perhaps to avoid association with Pagans who try to read his mind or suggest he’s not conforming enough to their expectations about HIS spirituality.

  7. Jsson Pitzel Waters – wow.  Terribly effective article in undermining your credibility as meaningful author.

  8. Fat Brandt Hardin!

    Listen fat body…nobody is going to link to your amateur site to see your spray paint crap!    Stop posting the same f’n link on every thread, on every blog.

    We get it fat body…you like to smoke weed and huff paint…only problem is you have zero f’n talent and you can’t make any money.

    Try dropping the bong and the pizza and maybe you’ll drop a couple hundo…LOL!

    Too bad you’ll still be a talentless, entitlement whore…but at least you’ll be able to jag off now without losing your breath!

    Now…stop scraping resin and go for a walk, Fat Boy!

  9.  You want to explain this statement, or should we just take that as a troll from a Republican and move on?

  10. Agreed…Thank You!
    He spam posts the same comment or a modified version of it ,all over the internet, in hopes of getting people to visit his amateur blog of pics of spray paint graffiti.

  11. How so, guy? Jason’s clear intent was to show how a major party candidate is holding hands with people who want us to go extinct. This he did, credibly and transparently. And despite starting off like a secular political piece it winds up right on the turf of this blog.

  12. Also I think too many confuse what the settlers came here for with what the Founders intended to create many, many, many years later. 

    At the time of the founding of the nation, some of the most hard-core strains of Christianity we have today were strongly in favor of separation of church and state… because back then, *they* were the minority. 

    Now that they’re overladen with special privilege and practically political king-makers, being forced to share the freedom (that only a strong separation of church and state can provide) is a threat to be fought against at all costs. Funny what a little taste of power can do huh?

  13. He’s even got my vote…and if Cara and I agree on something, you can take that $%#@ to the bank…

  14. ” Perhaps we truly are entering a “Libertarian moment”
    in 2012, and fiscally conservative/socially liberal Pagans alienated by
    the prominence of conservative Christianity will flock to former New
    Mexico governor Gary Johnson…”

    Yeah, that might just happen.  First Libertarian president!

  15.  it’s due to the thousand years of conflict between the old pagans and the emerging Abrahamic faiths. they tried to systematically exterminate us starting with the Jews in Cannan. Finding us reborn (sic) is scaring the hell out of them.

  16. I think Jason did a fine job. 

    If you have specific points to debate with him or that you feel he omitted, bring them up, and I’m listening.  Unsupported trashing only undermines your own credibility and, far more important, brings down the quality of discourse on this site.  Which is maybe your plan anyway?

  17. Re: It hasn’t been a very good week for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
    Romney’s up 4 points today on Rasmussen and under 1 on Gallup (46 O, 46 R).  Not a bad week for a challenger.

  18. “And from what I can see of various Hindu faith expressions, they tend towards monism and therefore get a pass.”

    I assure you from my own personal experience that this “pass” you speak of is nonexistant.

  19.  Thanks Ryan, I’ve not seen significant un-acceptance here in Chicagoland, but I could certainly imagine Abrahamics taking a harder line with Hindus. More allies for us, eh?

  20. I think you have got something good here.  But what if you added a couple links to a page that backs up what youre saying?  Or maybe you could give us something to look at, something that would connect what youre saying to something tangible?  Just a suggestion.

  21. Oh, Chicagoland… that makes sense. Largest population of Hindus in the US, so that makes perfect sense that people would be more tolerant and/or understanding.
    Here in Missouri… well we can say that being accused of demon worship is at least predictable, and seems to apply to everyone. You know, the fundamentalists don’t really care what your theology here is if the religion looks odd enough to them.
    In any event, I agree with you regarding the perception of dualism. The us vs. them attitude makes it very difficult to get along without us just neglecting to mention our religion, and my pagan friends have the same experience.

  22. And even after the Revolution, the Anglicans and Congregationalists and others fought for “establishing” Protestant Christianity as the official state religion, complete with financial subsidies and everything. Patrick Henry was one of the leaders of the movement in favor of making Protestantism the state religion in Virginia, and as the first governor after independence he came close to succeeding.

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