Bob Barr is at it again.
For a brief period of time Bob Barr pretended to be a libertarian so that the desperate Libertarian Party would nominate him and fellow con man, Wayne Root, as their national candidates. That was the absolute low point for the LP ideologically and one that can only be made worse if they nominate Root again.
One of Barr's campaigns, when in Congress, was to bash Wiccan. Of course, he was most famous for being the author of the viciously antigay Defense of Marriage Act. Barr had argued that the US military shouldn't allow individuals to practice Wiccan beliefs. He says he later rethought the matter and decided that being Wiccan doesn't necessarily mean one is bad for the military. But he says he was always worried "just how far such tolerance should extend." Yep, Bob, wouldn't want too much tolerance around, would we?
I wish Barr would get a life. I won't say get a wife, he's had three, hence his desire to protect marriage so badly.
Now Barr is whining that the US Air Force Academy "has taken the notion of religious tolerance to a new level." What is Barr saying by calling religious tolerance a "notion?" A notion is fanciful idea, or a whim. It's just an opinion and not a very serious one. Barr dismisses tolerance of the religion of others to be just a "notion."
The Air Force Academy, allowed some of the Pagans who attend there, to set up an outdoor worship site. Paganism, is a earth religion. Sure, it's silly, but no more silly than the other beliefs that are widespread. Pagans at the academy used to hold worship indoors and prefer the outdoors so the Academy accommodated them. Barr is outraged.
Barr wrote a column attacking this notion of tolerance. He launched an attack on the Academy by defining Pagan in his own way. He says a Pagan is someone who has "little or no religion and delights in sensual pleasures and material goods." This is just not an accurate portrayal of the Pagans at the Academy. Actually I think this version of "pagan" makes a lot more sense myself.
Barr then bitches about "being commanded by an officer who practices hedonism as a religion." But again, this isn't Paganism. Barr's entire attack is based on a false interpretation of the religion that these folk are practicing. Barr says, of their religion,"this truly is hilarious." Sure it is. Religion itself is hilarious.
A con man claims to have peep stones, gets visited by an angel and says he given golden plates, that is hilarious. It is also Mormonism.
People claim to worship a god-man, who was born of a virgin, died but rose from the dead. This is hilarious. But it is Christianity.
Some claim, that the god-man gave them wafers and wine but these things magically turn into the actual, physical body and blood of the god-man, which his followers are supposed to eat. Hilarious, and a tad bit gross, but this is Catholicism.
All of it is a bit silly, if you ask me. But, if the magic wafer eaters can have services at the Air Force Academy I don't see why people worshipping around a circle of stones should be denied the right to practice their beliefs.
Tolerance doesn't mean you have to like it. But Barr seems to be implying that these Pagans shouldn't even be allowed in the the military. Or perhaps he just wants a Don't Ask, Don't Chant policy for them. Barr says that if he were in the military he'd "be more than a little worried about following" a Pagan into battle. Personally, if I were going into battle I'd have a slightly different priority about what things would worry me, and the religious fantasies of others, wouldn't be very high on the list. The Paganism of the commander seems no worse to me than if the commander were a Baptist, a Catholic, or a Mormon.
All of them practice things that seem absolutely hilarious to me—come on, baptism for the dead! I find the non-religious, hedonist who likes the material world and pleasure, a lot more palatable than that.
Thomas Jefferson, someone Bob Barr should study, put it well: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
When it comes to practitioners of earth-based religions, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. If anything I prefer these Pagans to Catholics, Baptists and certainly, to Mormons. After all, these Pagans aren't engaged in any concerted campaign to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us. I can't say the same thing about the three sects that I just mentioned.
Photo: Barr with his most recent wife, I think, but I haven't checked lately.