Jesse Ventura, originally James George Janos, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ventura was raised a Lutheran. During his years as the governor of Minnesota, Ventura seemed to own his Lutheran heritage–though most likely for political reasons (as we will see later), especially considering Minnesota is the most Lutheran state in the United States. When he was asked if: Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior," Ventura said:
Yeah, according to, you know, the religious beliefs that I have.
Even then, it doesn't really seem like he wants to say it.
However, Ventura said he thought organized religion is a "sham" and for the "weak-minded" in the same interview and eventually, Ventura came out with his true beliefs, saying:
I'm an atheist, and in this country of the United States–which is fascist now in my opinion, is organized religion teaming up with corporations to control the government–in the United States, there's some prevailing feeling out there that because you don't believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or "God," this being that you can never see, that exists in your mind, that somehow you don't have value.
Yes, being an atheist politician is pretty much a one-way ticket to the concession speech pulpit in the United States.
A fascinating politician
Ventura began his political career as mayor of the Minnesota town of Brooklyn Park in 1990. In 1998, Ventura captivated the entire U.S. by becoming the former wrestler, third-party governor of Minnesota.
Ventura only served one term, however, citing that the press was more concerned with his semi-celebrity status and unorthodox political style, while hounding his family and not focusing on the real issues.
Ventura ran for governor and won as a member of the Reform Party, a small party founded by Ross Perot that's main focus is fiscal and financial reform. It takes no official stance on social issues and Ventura came out extremely liberal on almost every social issue imaginable, such as abortion and gay rights and calling for the decriminalization of marijuana. Ventura designates himself as "fiscally conservative and socially moderate-to-liberal."
Ventura finds the U.S. two-party system to be incredibly detrimental, calling it a "two-party dictatorship" and saying:
These two parties now have America $9 trillion in debt.
He identifies strongly with libertarianism, but not the really hardcore ones, calling himself a small "l" libertarian. He said:
I found out that the capital-L Libertarians are anarchists, they don't believe there's any role for government at all. And I certainly believe there's a role for government, I just believe it should be far more limited than what it is.
However, Jesse got it backwards. Capital "L" Libertarians are members of the Libertarian Party and prefer to shrink government and increase liberties from the inside while small "l" libertarians are the near-anarchists.
Ventura is certainly an interesting and outspoken character with a lot of interesting, if not important, things to say. His ability to approach issues on a case-by-case basis while promoting the greatest possible amount of personal freedoms is something America would do well to emulate.