I am a Republican. I am also a witch.

The two terms are not as mutually exclusive as many would have you believe. I started a website on the subject a couple of years ago and expected ridicule from both sides. Yet just the opposite happened. I've received an overwhelming amount of email from like-minded people expressing relief that they are not alone.

I found a group who, like me, feel that Freedom is the perfect solution to the human condition. We feel that our Constitution has done more to raise the baseline of human existence than any other document in the history of humanity. We also feel that our religious beliefs are in perfect harmony with these ideals.

There was never a moment when I had to adjust my way of thinking to accommodate either label. I was already a Republican and a witch-I just needed to discover the names for them.

I was 12 when I knew I was a Republican. Reared in a military family, I was brought up understanding the value of freedom and self-determination. I've come to believe that government entitlement programs are nothing more than a redistribution of wealth--which is socialism. Socialism is incompatible with capitalism and the American way of life. Winston Churchill once said that the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

I realized I was a witch about ten years ago. When I was 27, I picked up a book that described Pagan/Wicca; the more I read the more amazed I became. I had been brought up Catholic, and I had even attended 12 years of Catholic school. I could never fully comprehend or agree with the Catholic beliefs I was taught. That experience left me with far more questions than answers.

Another area where I support President Bush is his approach to homosexuality. I do not understand how Pagans, who practice a religion that celebrates the union of male and female, have so greatly attracted the homosexual community. I do not hate homosexuals. I do not think that homosexuality is a "sin." But I do know that the definition of marriage for thousands of years has been the union of a man and a woman. A homosexual union will never create life.

I do not think that a Constitutional Amendment is the best solution to the issue of gay marriage. However, in today's political climate of activist judges legislating from the bench, I can see no better course of action. While John Kerry's position does not advocate gay marriage, his stance on this issue does nothing to prevent it from occurring. President Bush remains respectful and accepting of homosexuals, as I do. He has firmly stated though that marriage is between a man and woman, and with that I agree.

Regardless of what the separation of church and state crowd would have you believe, the United States is founded upon Christian philosophy. I will always accept this and respect it. The only thing I ask in return is that my beliefs be given the same amount of respect. The First Amendment does not care if you are a Christian, Jew or Witch.

Everyone needs to find their own set of core beliefs through meditation and contemplation. In my journey through life, I have found that in most instances, Conservative and Pagan values are one in the same. At the very core of both you will find an appreciation of responsibility for your own actions and a high regard for freedom. Many things attracted me to witchcraft. I loved the individual empowerment. I didn't need a priest to act as go-between for me to find divinity. I loved that it taught responsibility for one's own actions. There was no absolution for acting improperly or doing wrong. Meanwhile, the union of male and female is the very power of creation that permeates our existence. Among Wiccans, that union is celebrated, instead of being hushed up. And we celebrate nature itself in all of its majestic wonder instead of trying to subdue it.

For me, being a politically conservative Pagan makes more sense than being a politically liberal Pagan. That means supporting President Bush makes a great deal of sense to me. Let me explain.

We are at war with Islamic terrorists-these types of Muslims view Christians and Jews as polytheistic. Now, if they're beheading Christians because-among other things-they believe Christians are polytheists, what do you think they'd do to a witch? Burn us at the stake, or worse? Pagans have more at stake in this war than anyone. Visualizing peace and sending the terrorists positive energy is not going to stop them. The only way to win against evil is to give them the choice of either changing their ways or being killed. I would not vote for Sen. John Kerry because I see him as someone who changes positions on fighting evil, all for political expediency.

On the other hand, President Bush has a clear and steady plan that will lead to victory. Demonstrating the advantages of freedom to the people of both Iraq and Afghanistan will make terrorism unpopular, but it will take time. He has proven that he can make the tough decisions towards that end, even if they're unpopular, for the security of our nation.

One of the cornerstones of the modern liberal agenda is abortion. Liberals quote Roe v. Wade as if it were a Constitutional amendment when in reality it is just a court decision. There can be no argument that abortion is ending life. How can a practitioner of a life-revering religion like Paganism believe in taking life? The only time I can see abortion as morally acceptable is if the mother's life were in danger. Yes, I believe in freedom above all. I also believe the government has no business telling someone what they can or cannot do with their own body. But aborting life as a form of birth control is morally bankrupt and has no place in neo-Paganism. I would not vote for someone who advocates the murder of innocent life.

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