I am not one of those Pagans under the illusion that all Pagans are liberals. We are, perhaps, more liberal as a demographic than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but there are still plenty of conservatives and libertarians in Massachusetts. I have met numerous Pagans who are libertarians or strong fiscal conservatives. Nonetheless, here’s where this is a victory for Pagans:
The first Muslim has been elected to the U.S. Congress. Hailing from a Paganistan district, Keith Ellison increases religious diversity in Congress, moving us an inch further from the Christians-rule-the-U.S. paradigm.
In eight states, an anti-gay marriage amendment was on the ballot. In seven states, it passed, but not in Arizona. For the first time, an anti-gay marriage initiative failed. Gay rights is one issue, along with religious freedom, that I think is unequivocally Pagan. As Pagan priestesses and priests, many of us perform gay marriage or handfasting ceremonies that are not currently acknowledged by law (except you-know-where). We Pagans do not want rule of law based on a Bible we do not use.
The new Democratic Congress will (at last!) exercise the oversight that the Republican Congress has willfully and malignantly neglected. I think that oversight itself, built into our Constitution, is a Pagan principal. We believe in policing ourselves. A traditional coven is ruled by a High Priestess in partnership with a High Priest; I have long described it as a consensus dictatorship; I can only rule when I am fair, because the minute I am unfair, my people will refuse to be ruled. The American people can learn a lot from that model! Other Pagan groups use more deliberately open models; ruled democratically or by consensus or by rotation.
Oversight means that someone is paying attention, not passively accepting, and when something is wrong, it is brought to light. Pagans, who rule themselves quite badly much of the time, rely heavily on this. The gossip that plagues the Pagan community also serves an oversight function; if someone is harmful, word gets around.
So, this week has brought the U.S. Pagan community a government with greater religious diversity, more oversight, and less willingness to opress gay people. Rah cheer!