Patheos: My Heathenry–What it is, and What it is not

My newest post is up: My Heathenry–What It Is, and What It Is Not

It’s at least in part a reaction to the transbashing that was happening in the general pagan community earlier this week, and then the news of yet another white supremacist trying to commit a hate crime in the name of “Asatru”. So much *headdesk* this week–on top of a two-week long sinus infection, makes Cara a very grump blogger indeed.

7 thoughts on “Patheos: My Heathenry–What it is, and What it is not

  1. I can understand your frustration, and I also happen to share your views when it comes to the idea that Heathenry (or any religion or spirituality, for that matter) is supposed to foster a sense of connection – this idea stands in direct opposition to the idea that religion should separate or further divide people. Transgender issues are not my area of expertise; but I fail to see where this qualifies as a religious topic, especially under the umbrella of Paganism, where an open-minded respect for all beings is supposed to be a defining characteristic. I feel like I have missed something, somewhere, as I read more and more about Pagans / Heathens having ‘problems’ with transgendered people.

    With regards to Heathens / Asatruar planning hate crimes in the names of our gods, I am more confident when I say that this kind of behavior has no basis in religion. I’ve debated this issue before, and I have yet to encounter a convincing argument that would lead me to consider otherwise. Hate is not a religion, even if people full of it feel the need to mask their fears and insecurities behind the veil of religion. Hitler considered himself to be a Christian. The Ku Klux Klan also historically identifies itself with Christianity. Charles I once slaughtered, out of his own hatred, up to 4,500 Heathen Saxons in one day in the town of Verden, and is considered among the ‘greatest’ of Christian rulers. This is not limited to Paganism and Christianity, either – a quick scan of news headlines is enough to demonstrate this, as is a review of world history. People who spread hate in the names of our gods will one day have to answer to the gods for this – it is between these people and the gods they name. However, at the community level, I see no problem with the mainstream in Heathenry or Paganism openly challenging people who would use religions to spread hatred. How often has it been suggested that the moderates among the Muslims should do more to make clear that the extremists who are using Islam to spread hatred are not representative of what mainstream Islam is? Why should we not do the same, by openly challenging the hateful among our own communities? I know, there are a lot who would say that they would rather go about their own business and simply ignore or not dignify this kind of hatred by reacting to it … but this seems to solve nothing, people still seem to feel free to try to drag us into their hatred by claiming to share our beliefs. People should have the right to their own opinions, and I would never suggest depriving people of that right – even people who can’t see past their own sense of hatred have the right to their own opinions, until they cross a line and commit a crime – however I feel the mainstream within Paganism and Heathenry have the right to make it clear that our beliefs are not an attempt to justify or otherwise foster hatred.

    That is one of the reasons why I think posts / statements like yours are as admirable as they are important 🙂

    • Also:

      “How often has it been suggested that the moderates among the Muslims should do more to make clear that the extremists who are using Islam to spread hatred are not representative of what mainstream Islam is? Why should we not do the same, by openly challenging the hateful among our own communities?”

      Exactly. I’ve really come to the conclusion over the last few years that there really is no middle ground with this. Either you explicitly deny/remove all -ist tendencies from your communities, or you are, either implicitly or explicitly, stating that hatred is okay. It’s not something you can half-ass, which is what many Heathen groups are attempting to do.

      As you said, differing opinions are fine. Trying to control anyone’s opinion is Not Good, and that’s not the plan here, anyway. But there’s a difference between actions based on hate and fear, and someone having an opinion.

    • My sinuses are special. The last two times I used a Neti-pot, the water went into my sinuses but did not come out. (It took about s hour and a hand fur it to finally trickle out.) It was the most excruciating pain I have ever felt, including my shoulder surgery and a bladder stone I had knce in college.
      So, no. No Neti pots for me.

      • Ah. You need a CT of your sinuses and, I’m guessing, polyp removal. Sorry, that really is awful.

      • I actually did finally get in to see a doc, who, unlike the docs in CA, gave me antibiotics pretty much instantly. (They have helped enormously.) He also gave me a referral to a ear, nose, and throat doc who will hopefully be able to tell me the underlying cause if all if my sinus pain (possibly polyps–which, iirc, requires surgery?)

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