Yesterday an article from Iceland Magazine made the rounds on FB. Apparently the Ásatrúarfélag, Iceland’s Asatru association, has been receiving hate mail from conservative Asatruar outside of Iceland. Hate mail, from conservative Asatruar outside of Iceland. Just the fact that any Heathen group anywhere–much less the Icelandic Asatru group that succeed in getting Asatru officially accepted as a religion and who is building the new Heathen temple in Reykjavik–would be receiving hate mail from conservative Asatruar because of their stance on gay marriage pisses me off and skeeves me out more than I can even begin to express. The sheer amount of ass-hattery and WTFery and just plain idiotic cutting-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face inherent in this exceeds my ability to even articulate it.
However, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the high priest of The Ásatrúarfélag, handled it with aplomb. As the article, “The Icelandic Pagan Association receives hate mail from reactionary pagans abroad”, states:
Hilmar adds that he and other members of the congregation are not interested in using the ancient religion of Ásatrú as a vehicle for romanticized machismo, as well as rejecting any tendencies to inject the practice of Ásatrú with conservative Christian morality:
“We know these texts; we have lived with these texts for a thousand years. We are not coating them in some Viking or warrior romanticism. And we are not obsessing over some books on morality, dating back to the year 70AD, as many of these foreign practitioners of Ásatrú do, considering that book a source on how the ancient religion should be practiced.”
Heilsa to that! Well said, Hilmarsson!
However, Hilmarsson is now worried that these non-Iclandic Asatruar are going to come to the temple’s opening ceremony “to ‘correct’ what those groups see as the incorrect tolerance of Icelanders,” and because of this, they are considering limiting the access of all non-Icelandic heathens to the new temple. While I can understand this reaction, it really saddens me and makes me even more pissed at the racist Asatruar who are causing this problem to begin with.
Luckily, Esteban Sevilla, leader of the Irminsul Kindred in Costa Rica, has come up with a great response. His group penned the following letter in support of Hilmarsson and the Icelandic Asatruar.
Open Letter to Ásatrúarfélagið and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson:
All the way from Costa Rica, we stand with you and your right to marry LGBT couples. What you have done is admirable and an example to follow, you have stood against racism and homophobia, you believe anyone can practice ásatrú regardless of their ethnicity or sexuality. To me this deserves an applause and I explicitly request others to send you support in your mission.
Please don’t let the words of hate get through you. I remember there was a saying, “if you have enemies is because you stood for something in your life”, unfortunately this is something common, when you do the right thing people will often retaliate or backlash at you. Hatred is a disease permeated into modern society, but it is dying, and the retaliations we get to see from this evil disease are their death throes.
Take any measures you see necessary to protect yourselves, people will understand them I am sure, but also understand that usually these people will not fight outside their computer. Heitharvega Saga says “Boldly do men talk from a distance”, knowing these people who have threatened to drown us in mud or killing us, won’t go beyond a simple blabbering.
It is unfortunate that heathenry experiences these attacks from zealots and bigots, but we’ve always known that usually this comes from the most dogmatic and ignorant people, people who don’t understand the tradition and use it for their personal agenda.
Once again, we stand with you, we support you, keep your stance and protect your own.
Follow the hashtag #WeStandWithIceland
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“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Esteban Sevilla and the Irminsul Kindred.
Hail Esteban Sevilla and the Irminsul Kindred!
Hail Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and The Ásatrúarfélag Association!
Hail to all Heathens everywhere who do not discriminate against others based on sex, gender, race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, or for any other reason!
MAY YOUR ANCESTORS AND YOUR NAME BE HONORED BY THE STRENGTH OF YOUR WORDS AND DEEDS THIS DAY!