Losing the pagan vote?

The American pagan community has taken offense at the suggestion of a Bush administration official that pagans don’t care about the poor.

In a White House-sponsored online chat, H. James Towey, director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, responded to a question by writing, “I haven’t run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor!” .

Now pagans are demanding an apology and providing examples of their charitable work.

And just in case anyone is prepared to write off the potential political power of pagans:

According to one major study, Wiccans — one of several subgroups of pagans — made up the fastest-growing religion in the continental United States in the 1990s. The American Religious Identification Survey, based on a randomly dialed telephone survey of 50,281 households by the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, estimated that the number of Wiccans rose 17-fold, from 8,000 to 134,000, between 1990 and 2001.

The survey also estimated that there are 33,000 Druids and 140,000 other pagans in 48 states. That adds up to about 300,000 people in what pagans call their “family of religious and magical paths.”

Contrary to stereotypes, pagans say, they do not worship Satan or cast evil spells…

I don’t know how much impact the Satan-worshipper vote will have on the 2004 election, but I’m sure the Republicans will say that they all vote Democratic anyway.