"We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."

Who said that? Ayman al Zawahiri?

No, it was the guy who wants to be the Republicans' presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich. (Via Glenn Reynolds, who wonders whether it's 2005 all over again.)

I guess this means Gingrich has decided to kiss the Hindu vote goodbye, and he's probably assuming all Pagans vote Democrat. As I've pointed out before, I consider myself a Pagan Christian. And interestingly enough, it was in 2005 that I publicly admitted to being a pantheist.

I have voted solidly Republican since 1996.

My religious views ought to matter to no one, though, and while I don't discuss them much, it ought to go without saying that the right to make free choices in religion is an American birthright.

But by singling out Pagans, what kind of message is Gingrich sending? I mean, I could sort of understand if he got all excited and exclaimed "We are living in a period where we are surrounded by Islam." Except he'd never, ever say that, and why? Because it would be seen as bigotry. So what's up with this? Does Newt Gingrich not mind being perceived as an anti-Pagan bigot?

While I can't be sure, to fair to Gingrich, it's worth considering that he might not have really meant to literally single out Pagans according to the religious meaning of the word, because right after that statement, there's this:

They and other speakers warned about the continuing availability of abortion, the spread of gay rights, and attempts to remove religion from American public life and school history books.

Gingrich and Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, argued the rights of Americans stem from God and to ignore that connection is perilous. The two were among several speakers, including former U.S. Senate candidate Oliver North, at the three-hour "Rediscovering God in America" event. The event was closed to reporters but was broadcast live on God.TV, an evangelical Web site.

Gays are by no means necessarily Pagan, nor are pro-choicers. And atheists by definition cannot be called Pagan in the religious sense, because they believe in no gods -- precisely the opposite of many gods.

In that purely mathematical sense, monotheists tend more towards atheism than do polytheists.

So (if I do the math) maybe I should just be happy that Gingrich is more of an atheist than I am.

posted by Eric on 06.08.09 at 12:41 PM


While I can't be sure, to fair to Gingrich, it's worth considering that he might not have really meant to literally single out Pagans according to the religious meaning of the word...

Of course he didn't. He's pretending "real Christians" don't support any of the things he and his radical-reich chums hate: gay rights, evolution, reproductive choice, letting people think for themselves about sexual and spiritual matters, etc. etc. Calling it "pegan" is just another way of pretending there's only one kind of Christianity, and if you're not that kind (their kind) you're worshipping Satan. (And yes, these asshats probably do lump atheists with Pagans: according to their propaganda, all Pagans are devil-worshippers, and if you don't worship their god, you worship the devil; there's no third way here.)

Raging Bee   ·  June 8, 2009 2:49 PM

I think it's just Gingrich's way of saying "we still haven't learned that everything we say can and will be used against us in the court of public opinion" Or perhaps "We need more time out in the wilderness".

We really, really need an opposition party.

guy   ·  June 8, 2009 4:35 PM

Gingrich had his day in the sun, his day on top, and pissed it all away.

I don't think he has anything useful to say, nor any right to say it.

Larry Sheldon   ·  June 8, 2009 5:32 PM

Like he's one to talk about morality. He's on what, wife #3?

He pissed away any conservative cred he had when he did that little global warming schtick with Pelosi, and signed on with Hillary's ideas for health-care reform once she was in the Senate.

Gingrich, like Huckabee, is a progressive. But he believes that the Democratic party's shunning of the openly religious means that his natural place is with the Republicans, and pushed the idea that somehow one must be a practicing Christian to be conservative.

News flash - Christians are nearly as liberal as Jews. The Republicans only get the evangelical vote by promising to force through the evangelical agenda of imposing upon individual liberty.

We have two liberal parties in America, the Social Democrats, and the Christian Democrats. Both of them have the same "government is the source of all good bits" mentality that is the scourge of liberty.

brian   ·  June 8, 2009 5:56 PM

Who has noticed that in the EU the social democrats who have had their way for years are losing to conservatives?
EU with 50-60 % income tax and an additional 17 to 27 % value added tax has gouged the population into rebellion.
Is it USA that is out of touch with reality? Do we really want to embrace what the EU has learned does not work?

Hugh   ·  June 8, 2009 6:20 PM

He may have meant lower-case paganism in the sense of hedonistic, superstitious, nature-appeasing, and unenlightened.

Anyone who votes Democrat because they're squeamish about Christianity deserves what they get -- the Democrats have all of the flaws of Christians with none of the virtues.

Anonymous   ·  June 8, 2009 9:23 PM

I used to hang out with Christa Heiden Landon - the first pagan ordained as a Unitarian Universalist Minister.


I used to drive her around occasionally to different UU churches where she had work to do or sermons to give.

Evidently there is a lot of that paganism going around.

M. Simon   ·  June 9, 2009 6:43 AM

What a country, with a government consisting of two political parties, neither of which has the fortitude to represent the free individual.

Brett   ·  June 9, 2009 8:15 AM

I hear many people use the term "pagan" - or remark on the revival of pre-Christian pagan beliefs and practices - in the larger context of the Left's assault on the Judeo-Christian spine of Western culture.

The word "pagan" is used as a shorthand for the following non-Judeo-Christian elements:

- moral relativism
- multiculturalism
- extreme, narcissistic individualism
- dilution of Judeo-Christian sexual morals

... so in a certain sense every out-n-proud gay IS a pagan.

Ben-David   ·  June 12, 2009 10:41 AM

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