If you are a fiscal liberal and wish for more governmental intervention in your daily life, then GOP Presidential hopeful Johnson is not the candidate for you. If, however, you are like most Americans and are looking for a President who leans more socially liberal/fiscally conservative you may want to give Johnson a further look. Couple this view with an unabashed pro-Pagan, pro-human rights outlook and clear openness to alternative views on a whole host of issues and you may have as close to an ideal candidate for President as the Pagan community has yet seen.
Last night’s video conference between Gov. Johnson and Pagan and Hindu media was unusual and groundbreaking. Unlike most every other candidate for political office at any level, Johnson not only agreed to speak publicly with Pagans, he promoted the event openly on his official Google+ page. In talking with other Pagan media after the conference, many of us related personal experiences with politicians, even those sympathetic to us in private, who refuse to be seen speaking with us in public. They don’t want an association with ‘people like us’ to damage their credibility and truth to tell, they don’t care enough about our concerns to address them. This was not the case with Johnson. During the interview he showed no discomfort addressing issues specific to our community and never flinched from saying the word Pagan. An example of how supportive Gov. Johnson is to Pagan rights, and basic human rights, can be summed up in a message he had for Pagans and Wiccans serving in the US military,“It should be about equality, it’s not, and I appreciate their service even though you are not being treated equally.”
It could be easy to dismiss Johnson’s decision in speaking with Pagans while seeking election as the actions of an unknown candidate low in the polls, but that would miss the mark. Johnson is a successful two-term Governor of New Mexico and is the only GOP candidate who scores positive approval ratings in his home state. He is not a ‘nothing’ candidate, but a qualified candidate with executive level experience. What has hampered his candidacy is the mainstream medias’ inexplicable exclusion of Johnson from televised debates. They have set up criteria that bars Johnson’s inclusion in the debates, a candidate must reach 2% in their polls, but ensures he can never meet that bar by excluding him as an option in their polls. This sets up a scenario where Johnson is a longshot for the GOP nomination, unless people vote for him in the GOP primaries. So while we finally have a Presidential candidate who is willing to listen to Pagans and supports us on many issues important to our community, we may never have the opportunity to vote for him. What makes it even more bittersweet for some Pagans is that such an outspoken candidate for Pagan rights is running on the Republican ticket, not Democratic.
Click HERE to watch the video conference with Gov. Johnson courtesy of KeithBarrett.tv.
A full transcript is available at the Staff of Asclepius blog.
The hour and a half interview covered a wide range of questions about GLBT rights, Pagan military chaplains, raw milk, teaching yoga in schools, TSA and the Patriot Act, economic, and environmental concerns. Many of the questions were submitted by Pagan community leaders like Rev. Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary and by your average Pagan on the street. Below are just a few of the highlights from the hour and half Q&A with Gov. Johnson, but I strongly encourage everyone to view the entire interview.
Cara Schulz, PMC-MN: It is commonly thought in the Pagan community that Republican candidates are hostile to minority religions such as ours. What message would you like to get across to Pagan voters about how you would represent them if elected president?
Johnson: There should be a separation of church and state. I happen to think the world looks down on Republicans for their social conservative views which include religion in government.