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Patti Wigington

Openly Pagan Candidate Wins Election

By November 11, 2011

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Congratulations go out in this post-Election Day week to Virginia Pagan Lonnie Murray, who won a seat on the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District (TJSWCD). The TJSWCD is a governing body that provides natural resource assistance for several Virginia counties, as well as the city of Charlottesville.

Murray, who considers himself not a "Pagan politican" but just a "politician who happens to be Pagan," told The Wild Hunt, "One of the great things about Charlottesville is that we have a long history of religious diversity (going back to Thomas Jefferson) and people here tend to value people on the merit of their ideas. Indeed, there have been many non-Pagans and public officials over the years that knew of my faith, and encouraged me to become more involved in politics and serving the public, because they valued my ideas and experience."

Murray added that he hopes his successful run will encourage other Pagans to get involved in politics at a local level. Currently, there are only a handful of openly Pagan politicians, including New York's Dan Halloran and Maine's Rita Moran.

I know that for me personally, on a local level I've been very involved with local grassroots movements and community politics, and although I'll probably never run for any kind of elected office, a lot of people have encouraged me to do so -- even though they know I'm Pagan. How many of you openly Pagan readers are involved in local government and politics to some degree?

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November 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm
(1) Freeman Presson says:

I was very active in local politics in Ashland, Mass., in the 1980s and in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1995 – 2004 or so. I ran for the Alabama legislature against an incumbent House Speaker. I got 9% of the vote, better than the 1-2% some outsiders get.

At no time, in either place, was my religion an issue, and I am pretty flagrant about it.

November 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm
(2) Slinkiee says:

It would be nice to be openly Pagan. Someday… but for now I applaud those like Lonnie Murray.

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