Steve G.

Bob Barr recants position on Wiccans in the military

In Big Brother, Censorship, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Military, Minorities, Nanny State, Politics on July 30, 2008 at 1:41 am

From Nate Uncensored (excerpt):

Apparently someone did get around to asking Bob Barr some substantive questions when he made an appearance at Netroots Nation. Ed Brayton (Dispatches from the Culture Wars) asked Barr if he would now, as Libertarian candidate, repudiate his 1999 attempt to prohibit the practice of Wicca, a neo-Pagan religion, on military bases. Barr said that he has changed his mind, citing “reports” that the practice of Wicca was causing problems that are apparently not an issue now. Brayton writes:

I did ask him for any specific problems that were reported to him back in 1999 by these military leaders, but he said he didn’t want to get into specifics. I’m sure that’s because there are no specific incidents and those military leaders who complained to him did so out of bigotry, or because the problems it caused were really caused by bigotry against Wiccans. He likened it to his stance on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for gays, which he previously supported but now that it’s clear that allowing gays to serve doesn’t really cause any problems with unit cohesion and good order, he thinks it should be repealed and they should be allowed to serve openly.

  1. Any you believe this guy?

  2. Any you

    And you? Any of you?

    believe this guy?

    Which guy? Barr? The blogger? The blogger writing about the blogger? Me (the blogger writing about the blogger writing about the blogger)? You (the blogger commenting about ..)?

  3. And you believe Barf?

    (better?)

  4. Good god Paulie are you on Barf’s payroll yet? Or are you getting paid to get his fascist ass on the ballot somewhere?

    What a whore.

  5. And you believe Barf?

    Dunno, I’m not a mind reader. I’m just reporting it. We report, you decide.

  6. Good god Paulie are you on Barf’s payroll yet?

    Nope.


    Or are you getting paid to get his fascist ass on the ballot somewhere?

    Yes, I’m getting paid to put him on the ballot. Although I’m getting paid to put other candidates on the ballot too, and I don’t hesitate to criticize them – or Barr. I call ’em as I see ’em.


    What a whore.

    Thanks!

  7. Yes, I’m getting paid to put him on the ballot.

    That explains it.

  8. That explains it.

    How?

    I get paid to put all the third party candidates on the ballot. That has absolutely nothing to do with what I think of their politics, views, strategy, or my reporting.

    By the way, if you bothered to actually follow the link

    http://nateuncensored.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/bob-barr-libertarian-or-authoritarian/

    You would see it’s quite critical of Barr.

    Duh.

  9. Ah, I see you have followed it before. Duh back at me.

  10. “Well, I was really against all of that stuff before I was for it. But, now that I’m for it, you should vote for me anyway (before I’m against it again)” — Bob Barf

  11. You can’t spell disinterested without disinter
    🙂

  12. disinter, not to sound like an ass, but do you ever stop bitching? I haven’t seen a post by you that was positive towards anyone, ever. I even used to check your blog frequently, but every post: barf barf barf barf bob barf barf fascist barf you suck barf.

  13. Mike Theodore, tell me about it!

  14. I haven’t seen a post by you that was positive towards anyone, ever.

    You must have missed all his posts about Ron Paul then.

  15. Disinter biffing at barf: works for me!

  16. Uh. So does anyone have any substance to add on this? So far the discussion on this at IPR is a lot better.

    http://www.independentpoliticalreport.com/2008/07/bob-barr-recants-position-on-wiccans-in-the-military/

    By the way, I’m rubber and you’re glue.

  17. pc/pc, positive comments about RP/RP scores negative to me.

  18. rm/rm, I though I was addressing Mike Theodore.

  19. When I saw this last night, it was on IPR, and hadn’t made it over here. I find it easier to follow comments on LFV so I post here more often, but I did respond over there – as one of the “Pagan working majority” on the LPMA State Committee, I figure it might be worth reposting here…

    Good news if true, but the source is second hand, and even he sounded like he thought Barr was rather weak on it.

    Needs to be CLEARLY posted by Barr on his own website, in language that doesn’t contain weasel worded escape lines like “states rights”…

    Even with the most positive of interpretations, this still leaves him with unacceptable views on a host of issues…
    ART – STILL not casting an electoral vote for Barr!

    Quite aside from the question of believing it – which I’m not inclined to – the Wicca thing was only ONE of many issues where I’ve had problems with Barr – I won’t go through the litany here, as we all know the list.

    If the Wicca thing had been Barr’s ONLY flaw, or even one of a just a few problems, I might well have still supported him, (Say instead it was Harry Browne that attacked the Pagans as a hypothetical example) – but when the list of “Problem issues” is longer than the list of OK items, there is just no way…

    ART
    speaking for myself

  20. “You must have missed all his posts about Ron Paul then.”

    Must have, or I just forgot them. In hindsight, I might have sounded too mean. I was a little testy at the time (about as testy as I get), but that would be my main criticism of disinter and his blog.

    “rm/rm, I though I was addressing Mike Theodore.”

    Who isn’t?!😉

    “Uh. So does anyone have any substance to add on this? ”

    Not really…

    …and I’m out…

  21. From the pingback by Jeffrey Quick:

    I’ve been bitching for 2 months about my party nominating a man who has committed acts of religious discrimination, and wondering how much change there’s been since Barr 1999 and Barr 2008. But finally, somebody for whom that is an issue asked him about it:

    I got to ask Barr a question I’ve wanted to ask him for quite some time. He’s repudiated and apologized for many of his previous positions and I asked him if he would repudiate his absurd anti-Wiccan crusade of 1999, when he wanted all Wiccans banned from the military. He said yes, with a bit of hemming and hawing.

    He said that he had reports from several military leaders that Wiccans doing rituals on military bases were causing problems and that’s why he did what he did, but that since that time it’s become clear that there are no problems with allowing Wiccans to serve and to practice their religion on military bases like any other religion.

    I did ask him for any specific problems that were reported to him back in 1999 by these military leaders, but he said he didn’t want to get into specifics. I’m sure that’s because there are no specific incidents and those military leaders who complained to him did so out of bigotry, or because the problems it caused were really caused by bigotry against Wiccans. He likened it to his stance on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for gays, which he previously supported but now that it’s clear that allowing gays to serve doesn’t really cause any problems with unit cohesion and good order, he thinks it should be repealed and they should be allowed to serve openly.

    Well, this opens as many questions as it answers. It’s clear that his conversion is for pragmatic reasons rather than principle; he’s seen that there is no reason to oppose Wiccans in the military. That’s not quite the same as supporting religious freedom. And if we take his argument at face value, it smacks of civilian micromanagement of the military. The Army has been keeping discipline for over 230 years; I think they can figure out what to do better than some Congressman. And they did, basically telling Barr where to stick it. From what I’ve observed, the military honors its oath to the Constitution far better than anyone (except Ron Paul) in the House.

    I’m still not convinced that Barr “gets it”. I still think that voting for him is the best strategy, but it’s still the first time I’ve had to hold my nose to vote for an LP Presidential candidate (which shows my tolerance, or gullibility. Richard Campagna might have been a deal-breaker, had there ever been a chance he’d be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.) To the extent that this shows that Barr feels shame, or at least a sense of political reality, I can now squeeze the nostrils a little less tightly. But he’s still a Republican running as a Libertarian, in the same way that McCain is a Democrat running as a Republican. This is the closest I’ve ever come to admitting the futility of voting. Mike, Billy, give me some time; I’ll get there yet.

    From pauliecannoli on Last Free Voice, via Nate.

  22. http://www.wildhunt.org/2008/07/bob-barr-kinda-sorta-recants.html

    A very weak, limp-wristed recanting. It was all about mysterious commanders making classified comments about how it is bad for military order, which is why Barr said during his jihad:

    “A print of the painting, “The Prayer At Valley Forge,” depicting George Washington on bended knee, praying in the hard snow at Valley Forge, hangs over the desk in my office. If the practice of witchcraft, such as is allowed now at Fort Hood, is permitted to stand, one wonders what paintings will grace the walls of future generations,”

    And he also said:

    “And we wonder why we have kids that are drifting around aimlessly when the United States Army allows not faith in God, but witches to worship on military bases by active duty military personnel; and the best that we can tell our young people and our service people is that we have to struggle through this.”

  23. Hi, disinter. I think it is pretty cheap to attack Paulie for working for a living. I would rather he get paid to gather signatures to put candidates on the ballot than be on welfare or something. Putting candidates on the ballot is a good thing whether or not they are good candidates. The process for ballot access in this country is shabby indeed. Good that Paulie can find a way to make a living doing some good.

    With regard to Barr, no I don’t believe he has recanted his position. He’s a conservative, Christian, racist, sexist, anti-gay, anti-pagan, anti-freedom bigot. To call him a libertarian is to insult libertarians.

  24. I wil second the request for an official statement/press release. I would like to add that he would also do well to show up in person at some Gathering so he can experience things and really understand the situation better.

  25. To be fair to Barr, the latter would presumably go against his religion, which he has every right to just as you have a right to yours.

    An official statement would be appropriate. A press release would probably focus more attention on the whole controversy than Barr would want as a candidate, regardless of his position on the issue now. His job as a candidate is to focus as much as possible on the key issues of his campaign and/or the key issues of the largest parts of the general electorate.

  26. Ten years ago, I’d have agreed with you Lidia, but now, I wouldn’t support having Barr attend a Gathering because as Paulie says, it would likely go against his religion. Plus, I don’t think understanding paganism is a prerequisite for *any* politician to follow a basic rule of civility: minding one’s own business.

    All I ask is that politicians mind their own business and leave their grubby hands off the things I consider important in my life.

  27. Fair enough. But the statement had better be strongly worded and official.

    Maybe he could have an interview with Witchvox and Wild Hunt?

  28. I think Barr attending a gathering is a bad idea if he cannot do it without being recognized. He needs the education, undoubtedly: but his presence at such a thing could cause a riot.

    It’s not against his (or any) religion to go to a gathering to simply observe and not participate.

    The simple answer that he needs a strong release indicating that he was wrong, and that the religious practices of the troops should have no bearing on their effectiveness as troopsd, and that he supports the Free Exercise of ALL religions by all people.

  29. Just as a note – the group that I’m a part of DOES have regular attendees from other religions, including at least one Jewish person, and until she passed away about a year ago, a member of the Salvation Army… Each participates or not as they feel comfortable personally and as they interpret the constraints of their religion.

    Other Pagan groups are more or less open, and in some cases it depends on the event… Each has its own expectations as to the level of participation by guests.

    There are some groups that SPECIFICALLY put on open gatherings, such as EarthSpirit here in the Metro-Boston area – in those circles, there is a strong resemblance to a standard Christian style service where there are a small set of ritual participants who actually DO the ritual, and most of the audience that watches… (I call it “High theater” style – but it isn’t to my taste) Barr would no more be offending against his or others beliefs to attend such a ritual, than I would be to attend a “Socially required” Christian service (such as a friend’s wedding or something)

    However I agree with others that say there is no real need for him to observe a Pagan gathering if he isn’t interested. More important is that he learn how to apply the 1st Amendment to everyone, which is easy since mostly it involves minding your own business and keeping your mouth shut…

    ART

  30. Art, to properly apply the Free Exercise Clause means one has to understand how others appply it in their activities.

    And I say this growing up in a two-denomination family before I setteld on a third…

  31. Art, to properly apply the Free Exercise Clause means one has to understand how others appply it in their activities.

    No, I don’t think it does.

  32. Then you’re wrong, Art.

    One cannot claim another is exercising their Free Exercise Rights without knowing what that other is doing. Knowledge aforethought is essential.

    It is the same lack of understanding that has led fundoid-mentalists to call Wicca devil-worshipping and worse. See also Inquisition, Salem, etc.

    It is the same lack of understanding that allows one to violate the rights of others in the name of religion. See also Fred Phelps and funerals.

    Understanding does not mean acceptance. But it does mean acknowledging that other paths are viewed by other people as being as legitimate to them as yours is to you.

    And THAT is what is at the core of the Barr-Wicca issue: Barr was not willing to acknowledge that and he was not willing to understand it either. Whether he does now is still an open question.

    Sadly, it is a failing far too many religion-followers possess.

  33. Sorry, that was for Pauli, not Art.

  34. Paulie with an e.

    Understanding does not mean acceptance. But it does mean acknowledging that other paths are viewed by other people as being as legitimate to them as yours is to you.

    I agree. Willingness to attend the ceremonies of a religion other than your own would seen to me to fall in the acceptance category, not the second one you cite.

    I get the impression Art is on board with saying the same thing.

  35. Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. There’s no mystery here. There’s no need to consider how others apply it. It is simple, it is direct, it is plain to understand. The words are short and to the point. (A long word like pneumomicroscopivolcanisiliconiosis stands in contrast to the plain language of the First Amendment.)

    You aren’t to prohibit other people from dancing naked in the moonlight with a peyote bud up their rectum if that’s how they worship whatever deities and spirits they worship. So, cut it out.

  36. — In lpradicals@yahoogroups.com, “Rachel Hawkridge” wrote:
    >
    > Last nite, I was reading one of the blogs, and someone called paulie a whore
    > for helping to get Barr on the ballot, when he’s not a supporter of the
    > nominee.
    >
    > I roared with laughter . . . paulie gets paid. I did it for free.
    >
    > Guess that makes me . . . a slut? ;o)
    >
    > BTW, paulie said “Thank you.”
    >

    p] Actually, I’m both a slut and a whore. For instance, I got Barr on the ballot in Arkansas for free. To make matters even worse, I didn’t even know it was for Barr at the time, since he wasn’t nominated yet and hadn’t even announced, so I guess that makes me a glory hole slut to boot, in addition to being a whore.

    Also, I’m a pimp, in addition to being a slut and a whore, because I make part of my living collecting overrides for managing crews of petition gatherers sometimes. And I am in no ways faithful to the Libertarians. Right now I’m doing a three-way, and negotiating to add one or two more clients at the same time. And I’m not using a condom with any of them! I guess that makes me a dirty whore.

    Not only that, but I kiss and tell: I offered to write either pro- or anti- Barr polemics to the highest bidder. I’m thinking of selling my vote, too, although I guess the buyer would just have to trust me that I stayed bought.

  37. And you travel around a lot, so there’s no reason you’d have only one vote to sell.

    I have a friend who lived in Chicago in 1960. He voted enough times to buy a case of beer and went home.

  38. Maybe its the lack of sleep, but the above “I’m a whore and a glory hole slut” made me laugh.

  39. Cool, I’ll make it a post too and see if I can get lucky.

  40. Michael –

    I think we are on slightly different pages here, maybe not.. I don’t see it as an “Essential” to have a deep understanding of the spiritual paths that other people follow. Certainly it’s nice, and I think that it is a desirable thing to have a reasonable level of “Comparative Religions” background if only to avoid unintentionally giving offense (i.e. by offering a bacon double cheeseburger to an Orthodox Jew…)

    However, this is not an essential to the Free Exercise clause… It is highly desirable to understand that other people have different spiritual paths, and that those paths are as legitimate to them as yours is to you.

    But even that is not truly essential… We have some fundamentalist Christian neighbors up the street away. We get along OK, never any problems – we don’t rub our practices in their face, they don’t rub theirs in ours… I don’t need their acceptance, I don’t need their approval, or for them to know the details of how to behave in a Circle… It doesn’t particularly matter to me whether they think my religion is “real” or “legitimate” They don’t need mine either… Those things are nice to have, but they aren’t essential.

    What we need from each other is TOLERANCE – an acceptance that religion is a private matter, and not particularly part of each others business. What I care about is that we leave each others religions alone….

    Granted a lack of understanding can lead to conflicts, but it doesn’t have to…

    ART

  41. That is exactly how I see it.

  42. […] banning the  practice of Wicca in the military.  Various blogs have stated that he subsequently recanted his stance, but there’s no official  word on it on his official […]

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