Did The Village Voice’s Halloran Piece Cross the Line?

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 30, 2011 — 180 Comments

Steven Thrasher at The Village Voice clearly isn’t a fan of Republican New York City Councilman Dan Halloran. Thrasher first did a critical piece on Halloran and his Heathen faith for the Village Voice back in October of 2009 that I dinged him on for inappropriately (in my opinion) sensationalizing the candidate’s beliefs.

“All-in-all it’s a well-executed and well-researched story (he even links to my blog), but there is one troubling element, which is Thrasher’s decision to interweave controversies about racist/racialist forms of Heathen religion into the narrative. The article at several points discusses the problem of racist Heathens/Odinists in prisons, mentions a violent racist killer, and describes the “trepidation” that non-Heathen Pagans have concerning “white nationalist elements” inside Asatru/Odinism/Heathenry. What he doesn’t do is convincingly justify examining this racist minority within the context of a story about Halloran’s faith and beliefs, especially when, at almost every turn, it is pointed out that you shouldn’t automatically connect Heathen symbols and religion with the racist elements who utilize the same symbols/beliefs.”

Thrasher ended up having to clarify his own writing when his article (surprise!) stirred up controversy.

“We did point out that there’s an alarming trend in the country’s prisons of white supremacists adopting neo-heathenism for their white nationalist agendas. Experts tell us that as much as 50 percent of the country’s tiny neo-heathenist movement has connections to white supremacy. But we also made it clear, several times, that we found no tie between Halloran’s New Normandy and those white supremacist groups. Yes, Halloran seems to have found some fans at the white nationalist forum Stormfront, but that’s something he can hardly control.”

The Village Voice would go on to praise Thrasher’s work and dub Halloran a “loser to watch” just before the election. However, Halloran did win, and Thrasher responded with some lame swipes at Heathenism, establishing that Thrasher won’t be volunteering for Halloran’s reelection campaign any time soon. Now, two years later, Thrasher writes about Halloran’s “strange career” as a city councilman, but does the piece cross the line from run-of-the-mill political take-down/expose into outright religious slur? The first thing that hits you is the illustration by Michael Marsicano, complete with dead sacrificed goat, ceremonial robe and runic cloak.

Village Voice illustration by Michael Marsicano.

Village Voice illustration by Michael Marsicano.

The funny thing is that back in 2009 Thrasher downplayed the issue of animal sacrifice in relation to Halloran’s Heathen beliefs, comparing it to Kosher butchering.

“…they made it sound like Dan’s oath-holders are slaying creatures left and right. As we reported, however, animal sacrifice is rare, and it’s pretty much like kosher butchering. The chicken or lamb or pig is consumed after it’s killed, not unusual for those of us who are carnivores.”

So if it wasn’t a big deal in 2009, why is it the centerpiece image of this new article? Is it because of (in Thrasher’s words) “Halloran’s hypocrisy?” If so, some Pagans and Heathens aren’t pleased with the illustration, or the way the article handles Heathen religion. David Carron, Ombudsman for Asatru organization The Troth, said that Thrasher’s “questioning of Halloran’s actions is quite appropriate,” but that his “slurring of Heathenry is not.” Carron wonders if “the religion have been Jewish and the picture being one of a large nosed profile, would your readers not rightfully ask for a retraction?” Also unhappy was PNC reporter Cara Schulz, who interviewed Halloran in 2010, and is calling for an apology from the Village Voice.

“The lurid cartoon you have at the top of this article is beyond bigoted. Contemporary Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists already face ridicule and violence for simply practicing our religion. Caricatures, especially ones showing animal sacrifice, further exacerbate the difficulties we face. Mockingly calling religious persons part of the “mead and mutton crowd” is an intentional slur.”

So did Thrasher go to far? Did it (and the illustration) cross the line from fair critiques into unfair slurs? The first comparison that popped into my head was the illustration by Victor Juhasz of Rep. Michele Bachmann for Rolling Stone.

Victor Juhasz's Michele Bachmann illustration.

Victor Juhasz's Michele Bachmann illustration.

Bachmann is portrayed as a violent crusader with bloody sword and people being burnt at the stake in the background. If that’s fair game, isn’t Halloran and the elements of his faith? Both, I think, are trying to convey the subject as religious extremists of one sort or another. Bachmann is inserted into the sins of her own faith, the violent crusader willing to destroy in order to save, while Halloran’s portrayal is simply meant to “other” him, to emphasize how he’s not “normal”.  While I think both illustrations are wrong-headed and undermine real discussion of the problems with both politicians, I think the Halloran piece commits the greater journalistic sin here. Christianity is politically, culturally, and morally dominant in the United States, and the images used within are go-to shorthand for that faith’s excesses, while Halloran’s faith is a tiny subset, of a smaller subset, of a very small religious movement. He is unique, as no other (admitted) Theodish Heathen has ever been elected to any political office of note. There’s an unacknowledged power differential at work here.

I think political hypocrisy is fair game for editorializing, and I have no issue with Thrasher being critical of Halloran and his career in office, but I do think too much is made of his faith, and in improper contexts. I also think that Marsicano’s illustration, whether intended or not, does the job of coloring the entire piece, reinforcing the idea that polytheists, Pagans, and Heathens shouldn’t be treated respectfully or fairly. That we, quote, look “like something from Dungeons & Dragons or a Renaissance fair.” That we are strange, and not part of the mainstream of American life. I fear that the ramifications of articles like this will reverberate beyond mere criticism of Halloran to affect any Pagan or Heathen political candidate, to further the meme that participation (or even dabbling) in Pagan religions opens you up to scrutiny beyond that of any Christian politician.

I anticipate there will be a lot of commentary and conversation on this in the coming weeks, and I’ll try to keep track of it. What do you think? Was the illustration and asides about Halloran’s Heathen faith fair? Or did the Village Voice cross a line?

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688078502 Lonnie Murray

    I think this is a fear that keeps many Pagans out of politics, that we will be judged on our faith, not on the issues we support and our policies. I gave lots of thought to what I might say myself if the question came up, even though my practices are a bit more mainstream.

    I don’t feel there should be any religious tests for office, nor should faith be part of one’s campaign. At the same time, I think the public often may have genuine questions about a faith that they are unfamiliar with, and what it may (or may not) say about us as people. There are also policy implications of faith, even if they are indirect. For example, knowing Bachmann’s faith, I could assume certain things about her position on issue like abortion. Oddly, what Halloran seems to be criticized for most in this article is that he didn’t live up to the assumptions one might make given his faith. Should it be the role of journalism to criticize one for not living up to their faith in terms of their public policies? Would we similarly critique Bachmann if she failed to support a ban on abortion?

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      We might not but there are plenty who would.

    • Ursyl

      The Constitution agrees with you, very specifically too.

      There shall be no religious test for office wordage is in there, though I can never remember where.

      • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

        Article VI is where that is at:
        “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/rpaxton Robert Paxton

    That image of Michelle Bachmann relies on the body of Christian cultural context that most of us get, soaking in American life. The image in this Village Voice article is as much of a slander as the article’s one-paragraph overview of the terms of Halloran’s group — just enough context to play to the stereotypes, but not enough that most people will really grasp it.

    I responded most strongly to the quotes/discussion from other members of his theod…if that were any of the covens I’ve been part of, that sort of talk would be an unacceptable breach of confidentiality. Does anyone know if there’s commonly a similar expectation in Heathen groups?

    One difficulty in addressing this is…from the get-go, the religious aspect is treated as a freakshow (“meat and mutton crowd”). That freakshow isn’t really diminished by adding pointy hats and brooms – – I’m hoping that the response to this is an interfaith affair.

    • Derapparat

      No, there is no expectation of secrecy in Heathen groups.

  • Michael Dolan

    Any time I see a cartoon that I find offensive, the first thing I think of is the rioting and death threats that follow any given cartoon of the prophet Mohamed. It somehow keeps things in perspective.

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      True, we Heathens haven’t blown up a magazine or killed anyone, yet.

  • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

    The difference with the Bachmann illustration is that Bachmann herself makes her Christian religious beliefs an issue, whereas Halloran has never made his Heathenism an issue at all (although others have tried to).

    But it’s not just the illustration. The sustained tone of mockery and derision would create a firestorm of controversy if it were directed against a Jewish or Catholic or Mormon politician.

    • Anonymous

      And let’s face it: Bachmann is essentially running on a platform of Christian Supremacism. She deserves everything she gets.

    • Tara

      Exactly. Bachmann’s whole life revolves around pushing her Christian moral agenda through politics, so the horrid caricature of her isn’t too far off the mark. I read that Rolling Stone article and thought it was very informative. I want to know if someone who has a chance of becoming the President of this country is out to take away the rights of gays and non-Christians.
      Halloran on the other hand is just a politician who happens to be Heathen, he doesn’t seem to be using his political career to promote a religious agenda. I really doubt any Pagan or Heathen would, regardless of their political affiliation. We are not generally conversion-minded people, unlike Bachmann-style Christians who openly say their mission is to Christianize the world.
      And the fact is, the reason it’s somewhat socially acceptable to deride Halloran simply based on his religious preference is because of the cultural dominance of Christianity. These two caricatures are connected to each other in more ways than their garishness.

      • TeaPartyInMyPants

        Well said and right on the mark Tara.

      • Madrona999

        This.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Well, first of all, it’s the “Village Voice”, so whatdaya expect.

    Second of all, I wanna point out that yes, some men in prison of European descent do join all-white gangs which have racialist and religious overtones… as do prisoners of other ethnicities join other prison gangs with racialist and religious overtones. Men join prison gangs for protection, not for political and religious ideology. They all then proceed to fight and murder each other over drug-sales turf.

    I further wanna point out that Mr. Halloran isn’t a prisoner, he is a city councilman who was elected to office by the majority of his constituents in Queens, which is a borough composed of many ethnic groups. Obviously he’s gained the trust of all races and religions, who look to him to support the issues that should matter… as noted in the actual article, which has a quote from a voter in the borough who doesn’t care about religion, just the councilman’s campaign promises and voting record.

    Lastly, I wanna point out that Mr. Halloran is a Republican, and I’m somewhat suspicious that the readers of this blog only noticed the smear campaign because Mr. Halloran is a Heathen. How is the caricature of Mr. Halloran somehow worse than the portrayal of Mrs. Bachmann? In the cartoon about her, it is implying that she is murdering human beings, rather than a goat. How is this worse than the recent character assassination perpetrated on poor Mr. Cain? Youse guys express outrage when Mr. Obama is castigated for his alleged ties to Islam, you get upset over the caricature of Mr. Halloran by a newspaper that’s politically opposed to his party, but when Republicans who are Christian are attacked in a similar manner, THAT is okay?

    • Lonespark

      I think Jason explained his take pretty well, and I mostly agree with it… There are many positive portrayals of Christianity in the media to counteract the insulting ones. That can be less true for some marginalized subgroups of Christians. And I don’t think there’s any reason to attack people on their faith rather than their behavior; it isn’t particularly in keeping with the idea of “no religious test.”

      The thing about both the Halloran and Bachman cartoons is that they aren’t supporting or exaggerating the actual criticism of the political figure in question. Instead, they go for shorthand, vaguely-related stereotypes to be bluntly offensive and supposedly funny. Do better, cartoonists!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rpaxton Robert Paxton

      This isn’t a Republican/Democrat thing, this is a “Christian-as-dominant-religion” vs. “all the other religions which don’t enjoy uniformly equal treatment” thing.

      If you want to object generically to smear campaigns, fine…but that’s not what this is about either. It’s about a hit piece mocking a minority religion using stereotypes that have historically been applied to us.

      Of course that’s getting play here: it’s a Pagan blog.

      • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

        It’s about a hit piece mocking a minority religion using stereotypes that have historically been applied to us.

        It really is just as simple as that. Everything else is a distraction.

    • Anonymous

      Bachmann has made Christian Supremacism the main aspect of her political career. Whether she’s fighting against any kind of rights for LGBT people or bringing in her pal Bradlee Dean to talk about how they should be put to death…she’s a despicable person who deserves to be treated with no more “respect” than a Holocaust Denier, a Neo-Nazi or Klan leader, or an Islamic Jihadist.

    • Scott

      AC, I understand that you and I have dramatically different politics, and that this may be fueling some of our differences in perception on these issues, but I really think that you’re conflating very different phenomena by comparing the Halloran and Bachmann illustrations and charges of Islamic ties against President Obama. Halloran is being mocked for his religious beliefs, but does not show any significant signs of an overtly Heathen religious agenda in his political career; in fact, the article in the Voice points out that he’s apparently been downplaying or even contradicting his Pagan affiliation in an effort to make himself more palatable to Christian Republicans (and presumably Christian voters in general). Bachmann proudly embraces a Christian agenda for governance, and holds views in that regard that put her substantially to the right of even a large number of Christian Republicans, to say nothing of American Christians in general; criticisms of her politics are deeply tied to her religion, as they are not for Halloran. Obama has been accused of being both a crypto-Muslim and an atheist socialist, which suggests a general attempt to “other” him as an enemy of America (since American conservatives apparently are suspicious of the patriotism of anyone who professes to be either Muslim or atheist) rather than any substantive critique of religion in his political career. The only common thread between these three figures is that they’re politicians for whom religion has become an issue of debate.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        My take on this is that candidates’ and politicians’ race and religion should not matter, only their promises, actions and policies. I don’t like Mrs. Bachmann’s politics, yet feel that the cartoon is a religious slur. I don’t like Mr. Obama’s politics, and feel that cartoons portraying him as an Islamic extremist are wrong, as well. As is the cartoon about Mr. Halloran, trying to portray him as some type of ethnic throwback.

        Yet what I am noticing amongst the people who post here, on this blog, is that one type of slur is perceived as acceptable, while another type of slur prompts outrage. And I have to wonder if it’s a perception that a candidate or politician is somehow with “us”, as a Pagan or Heathen or Democrat, and another candidate or politician is against “us”, as a Christian or Republican, which thereby makes racial or religious intolerance somehow acceptable.

        • TeaPartyInMyPants

          Think your just fishing here with the comment,

          “Yet what I am noticing amongst the people who post here, on this blog, is that one type of slur is perceived as acceptable, while another type of slur prompts outrage.”

          I’ve not noticed preferential slur acceptance on the blog, and I’ve been reading for a number of years now. Sure, there are always some wacked-out, ego-maniacal commentary from time to time, but nothing like what your fishing for.

        • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

          Jason flat-out called the Bachmann cartoon “wrong-headed”. Yes, he also said that the Halloran cartoon was “the greater journalistic sin here”. Greater. Meaning that both were journalistic sins.

          That doesn’t seem overly accepting to me.

    • TeaPartyInMyPants

      Who are “Youse guys” exactly? Assume it has something to do with some imaginary, liberals-in-control-of-everything-and-they-are-infringing-on-my-rights-in-some-manner-as-yet-unspecified, that pervades and stains most conservative thinking these days. I’m not personally upset by some hack caricature, that’s not even very well done compared to others of the genre.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Most of the readers of this blog are liberals, as I am assuming are you, by your pseudonym.

        • http://www.facebook.com/rpaxton Robert Paxton

          And therefore…what?

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            So therefore, readers of this blog are only outraged when a Republican is trashed in the liberal media if said Republican also happens to be a Pagan. No concern is expressed when other candidates or politicians are ravaged by a liberal press… in fact, some commentators have expressed that the politicians somehow deserve it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/rpaxton Robert Paxton

            Sorry, no.

            (Some) readers of this blog are outraged when Pagan or Heathen belief systems are trashed. Which follows naturally from being a Pagan blog. It’s a single-issue sort of place. Were the article written about a Democratic Heathen city council person, the outrage would not change.

            If you insist on bringing Republican vs. Democrat, Conservative vs. Liberal into it, well, that’s your own agenda…which is orthogonal to what the rest of us are talking about.

          • kenneth

            How exactly are allegations of predatory sexual behavior and harassment in any way the equivalent of gratuitous denigration of someone’s religion?

        • TeaPartyInMyPants

          As a member of the NRA, voted for Ronald Reagan once, voted Libertarian once or twice, you may or may not be correct in your assessment of my political persuasion. But thanks for playing. lol.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            As for the “us vs them” attitude, what is happening to Mr. Halloran and Mrs. Bachmann is quite similar to the fabrications of the liberal media about Mr. Cain. When Mr. Clinton was busy having sex with everything that moved, liberals said that private business should be kept private. When Mr. Cain is falsely accused by a chronically unemployed woman who already has two children out of wedlock (NOT Mr. Cain’s kids!), who sued someone else for sexual harassment in an attempt to extort money, and who also has a libel suit pending against her*, the liberal media is all over Mr. Cain to quit his campaign for president. Yet liberals claim there is no media bias against conservatives. Riiiiiight.

            * Think I’m kidding? http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ginger-white-herman-cain-alleged-mistress-single-mom-unemployed-businesswoman-article-1.983794?localLinksEnabled=false

          • http://www.wildhunt.org/blog/ Jason Pitzl-Waters

            This thread is getting further and further away from the actual topic. I don’t want to see yet another flame war between you and some other commenter here.

    • http://profiles.google.com/camille.klein Camille Klein

      So you think it’s OK that the Voice slams Heathens as the “mead and mutton crowd” or takes sidelong potshots at us,hinting that we’re a bunch of D&D-playing losers who need to move out of our parents’ basements?

      Got it.

      And people wonder why I roll my eyes at anyone who thinks Magic is spelled with a K.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Nope, I don’t feel that is a good attitude at all, but since it is a far-left publication, I am not at all surprised by it. These same people would be screaming bloody murder if a cartoonist were to portray Mr. Obama wearing a kofi hat.

        We spell Magick with a K to delineate it from stage magic, and because there are several other media companies that have magic in their title — makes it easier to find us on Google.

        As for the Renaissance-fair image of some Pagans, if the shoe fits… I notice that Mr. Halloran wears a nicely tailored business suit for his political adventures.

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, they would…because President Obama is not a Muslim. You might as well portray Herman Cain in a Muslim hat, because he’s about as much of a Muslim as Obama is… What a preposterous analogy, based on loony conspiracy theories.

        • Jhamm77

          If you think the village voice is “far left”, then you have never met a real leftist before in your life.

      • TeaPartyInMyPants

        Who gives a crap what the Village Voice wants to portray? I don’t, nor will I let it bother me and my daily life as a pagan. In a free media society, there has always been and always will be hack journos taking potshots at any group they see fit. Get over it, there are bigger things going on in this nation that need to be addressed and highlighted.

      • http://www.tequilaandjavalinas.com/ Gordon

        Camille,

        We *are* the mead and mutton crowd, notwithstanding that some of us don’t drink or eat meat. And many of us are D&D-playing losers. Most of us don’t live in our parent’s basement, though, so you have a point there.

        And I say this as someone who has slit the throat of a goat. I didn’t do it as part of a ceremony, though. I did it so I could have yummy goat chops, and goat curry, and smoked pulled goat sandwiches….

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          Nothing like mead and mutton while praying to Thor for those Nat 20’s :D

          • http://profiles.google.com/vanye111 Jason Hatter

            I had a cleric who was a worshipper of Odin, who had an amazing tendency to roll 20’s when I actually called on Odin before rolling. Somehow, I missed all those times in my past where Odin was trying to get my attention…

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            Keep a D20 on you and roll it when you think you might be hearing Him?

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      One difference is that slurs against an already marginalized group tend to further its marginalization.

      Let me hasten to add that all such utterance is protected by free speech guarantees.

      • Lonespark

        Right. The authors/publishers have the right to say it, but we have the right to strongly object.

    • Tara

      If we weren’t outraged, you would probably say “You should be outraged! It’s because he’s a Republican isn’t it?”…Right?

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Read my reply uptop, and look at the “political” cartoons of the 1930s and 40s.

    • kenneth

      One distinction which needs to be made is that Halloran has never made his religion the defining feature of him as a candidate or public servant. He has not made it the centerpiece of his ideology or legislative agenda. He has, in fact worked very hard to avoid that impression. Given that fact, there is really no legitimate basis to do a political parody on his heathenry.

      He is a politician who happens to be pagan. Bachman, on the other hand, has gone to great lengths to define herself first and foremost as a Christian crusader, one who would make policy decisions primarily based on that identity and who proposes to “take back” America from people of lesser or no faiths. She, not the media, has decided to make her religion a core part of her public and political identity, and so its fair game for parody, although even then one can cross a line into bigotry and poor taste.

      We get upset when Obama is castigated for his alleged ties to Islam only because it is pure tinfoil hat idiocy. It has zero basis in fact and is promulgated solely by people who seek to paint him as an actual traitor to our country’s interests. It is a very thinly veiled way to accuse him of being a terrorist sympathizer (which is funny given that he’s killed enough Muslim extremists to fill a football stadium). He is no more a Muslim than you or I or Christopher Hitchens or Benjamin Netanyahu.

      The Cain issue isn’t even in the same solar system of factual or ethical relevancy. Cain is seen as a shifty and dishonorable man for the simple reason that he has chosen to comport himself as shifty and dishonorable men do when he was confronted with MANY apparently credible and specific allegations of sexual harassment. Some of these allegations were investigated and documented, and if those facts would exonerate or at least show probably innocence, he could have chosen to disclose them and air out the issue properly. He has not.

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      Indeed, just as many whites have become “heathens” in prison, I’ve read that many blacks have become “muslims” as well, often with a more radical bend, because it’s not a “white” religion. Prison brings out the extremes in people.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Actually I was thinking more of the Crips, United Blood Nation, Black Guerilla Family etc., etc. This past year, the Aryan Brotherhood was responsible for 20 murders, while the Mexican Mafia / La Emme / Dos Emmes were responsible for over 2,000 (that authorities know of). Bloods and Crips were responsible for over 500 murders in CA alone. Sorry, can’t post stats, got ‘em from the cops. Not online yet.

        Conversion to the Nation of Islam is a GOOD thing. It’s a very positive religion with a message of abstaining from drugs, being a good parent, working for a living, honoring God and TCB. They’re separatists, but that doesn’t bother anyone.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          Ah, well there is that too.

  • Anonymous

    I supported Dan Halloran (on this very blog, even) when he ran, even though I disagree with his politics on 99.999% of the issues, because he was being attacked by his opponent because of his religion.

    But since being elected, Halloran seems to not even want to stand up for his own beliefs, or even the political positions that he ran on. What a complete lack of integrity or spine.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      It really is disgusting to see Halloran kowtowing to the political agenda of the Christian right.

    • TeaPartyInMyPants

      With Bryon on this one. Come on Halloran, stand up for yourself mate. Don’t agree with much of anything he stands for politically, but seemingly backing down on the religious front, which is a very un-heathen thing to do.

  • Nicole Youngman

    While I appreciate Jason’s point re: the cartoons that there are major power differences involved here between xians and Pagans, political satire is something of a sacred right (rite?) in this country–I’m a little uneasy with the idea that we’re not allowed to make fun of group X because they’re small and unknown. That’s different from printing stuff that’s just plain untrue and claiming it’s factual investigative reporting.

    Here’s what stood out to me the most from the original article–quote from Halloran: “Would World War II veterans stand for a Shinto Temple to be built on the Arizona Memorial? Absolutely not,” Halloran says. “The greatest generation would not stand for something like that, and it has nothing to do with tolerance.”

    Blaming all Muslims for 9/11 is horrendous enough, but–Shinto? Really?

    If half this article is accurate, this guy is a major prick. I’ve never understood why Pagans would support Republicans or any other conservatives, but with a guy like this who’s a racist/xenophobic asshole to boot, I see no reason to be supportive at all just because he’s (nominally, at this point?) Pagan himself.

    And ya know…we DO sometimes look like something out of a D&D game or a RenFaire. What we need to do is challenge the perception that this is somehow a BAD thing. :D

    • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

      There are a number of Pagans who support Republicans or other conservatives because they have fiscally conservative ideals. I know a great many of them, mostly Libertarian. Libertarian Pagans are rather common in my experience. Pagan != Democrat, liberal or left-of-centre, there’s just a high rate of intersection.

      • Anonymous

        …and as I always say, if you vote for a Social Conservative/Christian Supremacist, (which is the predominant driving force behind Conservatism in the USA…regardless of what they SAY…Even most TP politicians made Gay Marriage their #1 issue upon election…) simply because you like their fiscal policies, then you, “love wealth better than liberty,” and Sam Adams had something to say about such spineless people.

        “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” — Samuel Adams

        • http://www.tequilaandjavalinas.com/ Gordon

          Wow. Thank the Gods that we have Bryon to let us know what drives conservatives! My goodness, and all this time I thought my beliefs were based in limited government and freedom. What would we do without people like Bryon to lead us poor, beknighted ignorants from the evil shadow of Christianist bigotry!

          • TeaPartyInMyPants

            Yes, thank the Gods for Bryon. When conservatives ever get around to limited government, personal freedom and even fiscal integrity, let me know. I’ll be the first to sign-up! ;-)

          • Anonymous

            If they ever DID that…they would cease to be “Conservatives,” and suddenly become “Libertarians.”

          • Anonymous

            “Conservatism” has very little to do with “limited government,” either in the present, or historically. Social Conservatism is about as “Big Government”/Authoritarian as you can possibly get.

            I can deal with Libertarians, (and indeed fall on the Libertarian side of things more often than most would expect), but Libertarianism is defined as being “Fiscally Conservative and SOCIALLY LIBERAL.” (And yes, the Cato Institute, scholars, and Libertarian philosophers will back me up on that…)

            But “Conservatism” is the practice of being Fiscally and Socially Right-Wing. And sorry, but that has absolutely NOTHING to do with “limited government,” nor does being Liberal or Left-Wing have anything to do with “big government.” The terms have nothing at all to do with the size or limitations of government, and yes, apparently you DO need me around, if you have such an opinion on the matter.

            Read a book. These terms (Left/Right; Liberal/Conservative) are fairly well-defined by scholars and academics, and have their roots back in the French National Assembly of the late 1700s.

          • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

            There were three basic divisions that separated those who sat on the Left and those who sat on the Right in 1789:

            1. Those who supported the institution of the Monarchy sat on the Right, those who supported Democracy sat on the Left.
            2. Those who supported special privileges and rights reserved for the aristocracy sat on the Right, those who supported Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity sat on the Left.
            3. Those who supported the Church sat on the Right, those who opposed the Church sat on the Left.

            In practice, those on the Left ranged from well-heeled, church-going, moderate “royalist democrats” to those who wanted the King’s head on a pike, the aristocracy abolished, and the Church crushed.

          • http://www.tequilaandjavalinas.com/ Gordon

            Read a few books yourself, and please don’t drag us into a discussion of what “conservative” meant in 1824 versus what it means today. Read a little more, and you might figure out that what we call “liberal” today, has its roots in the same trough as National Socialism, fascism and communism. It’s all about replacing God with government, and keeping the real power in the hands of the elite.

            Mind your own business, and keep your hands to yourself. Is that a clear enough philosophy? And look, no scholars or academics were harmed in the writing of this comment!

          • Anonymous

            Gordon: Um…sorry, but I read books written by academics and scholars. The book that you are referring to, as well as all attempts to equate Liberalism with Fascism and Nazism, was written by a journalist with no credentials whatsoever, and has been debunked by every reputable historian and scholar of WW2 or Fascism that has opened his/her mouth about it. You are talking about uneducated conspiracy theories peddled by ignorant, uneducated loons, most of which barely graduated high school and have little to no education beyond (Beck, Hannity, Alex Jones, Limbaugh, etc.).

            Now please tell me how trying to force people to submit to Christian Biblical Law is somehow “limited” or “small” government? The idea that “Conservatism” means “small gov’t” is a relatively recent attempt at redefining the people who opposed Civil Rights, Abolitionism, and Women’s Rights…and who now oppose LGBT Rights, and the rights of people of minority faiths…into a somewhat more “nobler” sounding concept, than “We don’t like change round here!”

            Conservatism has always been about holding on to the status quo, and opposing radical change, (unless this change is to “bring back” some mythical recent past where things were “better”). This was the case in the French National Assembly, when they opposed all forms of Egalitarianism, Liberty, and Equality…and it’s the case now…when they oppose LGBT Rights, non-Christian Rights, and what-not.

          • Anonymous

            (Bryon begins counting until Gordon presents another Glenn Beck talking point. Most likely, it will be the one about how…since many Southern Democrats opposed Civil Rights…this means that “Liberals” opposed Civil Rights…never mind the fact that these Democrats were all self-described Conservatives…and even pulled together with Northern Conservative Republicans to form the “Conservative Coalition.” Of course, anyone who ever read a history book knows that the parties were not divided upon a Left/Right axis until the late 60s…Or maybe he’ll pull the whole “MLK was a Republican! Therefore he was a Conservative!” angle? Of course, MLK was a Republican all right…but a LIBERAL Republican, who often denounced Conservatives in his speeches, and compared Right-Wingers to “Fascists” in at least two of them…)

            5…4…3…2…

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Oh look, wise and tolerant Byron is teaching us ignorant masses the One Truth of the world. Let no man speak otherwise lest they be called Ditto Head and Beckitte!

            Byron, I would like to remind you that there are many points of view in the world, and yours is not automatically the correct one. Your dogmatic intolerance of other political viewpoints grows tiresome.

          • Anonymous

            Sorry, NA… The definitions of words are not “points of view.” Trying to change those definitions to fit your worldview is the very definition of propaganda and “newspeak.”

            If every scholar, every history book, and every dictionary on the planet disagrees with your definition of a word….then it’s not that YOU have miraculously stumbled upon a secret “conspiracy” to make words mean something different. It means you are incorrect.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Byron, the definitions of words are based on how and what people believe those words to mean. Words are not “Truth” words are but man’s attempts to encapsulate “concepts” into a form he can communicate.

            Also, I think it is hyperbole to say that every single book, etc, agrees with your definition of certain words. A) I doubt you have read every book in the world and B) if they did, we wouldn’t be having this issue where you feel the need to tell everyone that disagrees with you “You’re wrong, I’m right, stfu and stop being an idiot.”

            The world, it’s words, and concepts, are all determined by our Points of View. My point stands. Yours isn’t the only one. Grow a backbone and some tolerance, and stop feeling so threatened by other people’s opinions that you feel the need to attack and dismiss them.

          • Anonymous

            When people are making clearly false statements, then those statements need to be countered…particularly when those false statements begin to be “accepted” by a growing number of people.

            Case in point: The Book “Liberal Fascism,” by the journalist Jonah Goldberg.

            When it was published, “Few spoke out, as [Professor in Modern History at Oxford Brookes University] Roger Griffin suggests, because they recognized that Goldberg’s book was more of an exercise in polemics than a historical work, and as such not really appropriate for academic consideration. Its use of history was so shoddy and propagandistic, and its claims so frankly absurd, that very few of them considered it worth taking seriously.” – David Neiwert

            But then, it started to gain “traction,” particularly because of the praise heaped upon it by uneducated dropouts like Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh. Soon, OTHER uneducated dropouts started stating the absurd conclusions proposed by the book as “accepted fact.” And that is when historians felt the need to denounce and debunk the book as the shoddy propaganda that it is.

            And so they did, here: http://hnn.us/articles/122469.html (This links to the introduction, the academics’ responses are linked at the bottom.)

            And so when people make ludicrous and absurd statements, like that Conservatism is about “small” or “limited” government, then those statements must be countered…or the propaganda continues to infect society.

            And Social Conservatism deserves no more respect on a Pagan blog than one would expect to see given to the Ku Klux Klan on a blog devoted to African-American issues.

  • Anonymous

    “We are our deeds” is a commonly heard phrase in heathenry, and one of our bedrock ideas is the importance of building a good name, because our reputation endures long after everything else passes away.

    When future newcomers to the faith ask for explanations of wyrd (fate) and hamingja (luck) and why our choices matter, they should be directed to this article. The consequences of living a life without loyalty, honor, or integrity could not be made plainer.

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      Except the treatment of Heathenry here has nothing to do with those principles. Yes, it seems Halloran has failed to live to the noble standards, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the level the article in question attacks the religion.

      • Lonespark

        Right.
        And in fact my impression of the article is that the second part is a legitimate political story, and the first part is incoherent, irrelevant, and borderline bigoted. Something like it might be ok as a religion piece, but taking it onto the political story, with that illustration, seems to be saying that Heathenism and/or failing to live up to the tenets of one’s faith are legitimate criticisms of political figures.

        • Anonymous

          Criticizing someone who fails to walk their talk seems pretty legitimate to me… be they politician, priest, or plumber.

      • Anonymous

        On the contrary, it has everything do to with it.

        Wyrd and hamingja don’t just apply to individuals but to groups as well. If the faith takes a hit now it is because many heathens failed to speak out. Anybody can claim to be tru, but if you oath to the Aesir one moment then declare “I believe in God” the next you have demonstrated otherwise.

        Heathens condoning bad behavior among their own helped to set in motion the events that ultimately led to this unflattering article. That being said, it is a minor hit and I believe that the faith will be better off for it in the long run.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          When he’s saying he believes in God, how do we know he doesn’t mean Thor or Odin? Muslims say God when they mean Allah, Christians say God when they mean Jehovah. I say “God and Goddess” when I mean Donia and Llew. How is trying to create understanding amongst one’s constituents being an oathbreaker?

          • Harmonyfb

            Fyi, ‘Allah’ is not a proper name. It translates to ‘God’. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all worship the *same* god, the so-called ‘god of Abraham’.

            If you tell someone for whom ‘god’ means one particular deity that you ‘believe in god’ when you actually believe in and worship a different god than the one they’re referring to…well, that’s skating pretty close to the edge of a lie, far as I’m concerned. It may be a justified ‘flexible truth’, but it’s not entirely honest.

            Now, ask me how I feel about the ongoing religious (read: Christian) litmus test for public office. :(

          • Anonymous

            The only thing being “created” was votes through deliberate, self-serving deception:
            http://www.qchron.com/news/north/i-believe-in-god/article_afa2e7f9-e4a0-5f94-a0d2-7f75897a68dd.html

          • TeaPartyInMyPants

            Thanks for posting that trumoonbear.

          • anonda

            that was good…
            the impression that you get…that is, if you did not know that he “is a heathen” is that his abrahamic faith is still ongoing and it is the current cornerstone in his life…

            no mention of anything related to heathenry in any way or from in this article…

            meh…why should we stand up for someone who doesnt have the backbone to stand up for himself?
            do you guys really think that he would stand up for pagans if he is being a hypocrite like this?

            oh…please.

          • anonda

            because context matters
            saying ‘i believe in g-d’ is usually the abrahamic god.
            even traditional pagans will use names for their gods, god or goddess. e.g. i believe in ngame (the creator goddess of the akan)…
            they will state ngame and not god

            it would have made more sense had he said ‘i believe in thor, freya or even an unknowable immanent force’ but no…he chose the abrahamic context

            so, it is different…chap is not walking the talk period….

  • One Eyed Jack

    The only thing inaccurate with the illustration is the use of the goat. Halloran has only sacrificed swine. I imagine if they drew a pig it would have looked like a BBQ scene. As for the runic cloak… He has one just like it. Yes, it is that gaudy. I thought the illustration captured his corpulence perfectly. As for making “heathens” look bad? Well, if you can’t laugh at yourself…

    Unbunch your panties. Living in a free society comes at the risk of being insulted. If this man had practiced what he preached, at most they could say he is that he has the aesthetics of your average 14 nerd circa 1987. Don’t be mad at the VV for shining a light on this roach… No one but Halloran is going to get tar on him.

    • Obsidia

      I’m with One Eyed Jack on this one. I wish they WOULD HAVE drawn in the pig instead of the goat, just to be more accurate. If we let this offend us, we box ourselves in. Better to laugh and let people have their say (or their cartoons!).

      • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

        I get your point here, and to a certain degree I agree. However, this isn’t South Park or a satirical hit piece from The Onion, but something that is supposed to be about professional journalism.

        Caricatures in their proper place are fine with me, but not when polemics and bigotry parades through what could have been a pretty in-depth political piece that could have highlighted instead of made stereotyped and bigoted statements toward Heathens and how Halloran did or did not fulfill his duties to his theod and tamped down his own beliefs for votes.

        If someone espouses a view then flip-flops on it for votes, I’m all game for a publication going after them so long as they can do it without doing so in a bigoted fashion, as was evidenced in this piece.

        • anonda

          “how Halloran did or did not fulfill his duties to his theod and tamped down his own beliefs for votes. ”

          maybe he had an influence on the cartoon, dont ya think? i mean, some times, people are less likely to take your spiritual beliefs, ideas whatever if you are not loyal to them…dont you think?

          if he made himself look like a fool, if he made heathenry look foolish, a hobby, something that was not that ‘serious’ to him, then that gives fire to others to do the same…

          maybe, had he stated, “i believe in thor”, had he stood behind his convictions…even if he had faced loads of discrimination by standing behind his convictions, some people (both pagans and non-pagans) would say now, “mmm….this man got something” and would have come to respect him better in the long run

          but now, some see halloran as a person who flip-flopped, so for those viewers he is a joke and that is what they are going to do….they will take what he has flip-flopped about…as a joke…

          now, im not saying he has brought this to himself
          but, if you think about things, this is an often and common consequence of hypocrisy….

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            I don’t see how he earned a caricature through not fulfilling his oaths. I could see it if he tried to bring his religion into government ala Michelle Bachmann, but even then, I don’t appreciate caricatures all that much when I’m trying to get facts. The rationale behind caricature in what should be a fact-based publication simply does not get a pass from me. There are plenty of photos of Halloran that they could have used, and photos of other Heathens if they wanted to delve into Heathenism itself. This is not a good excuse to make caricatures and mock a candidate based solely on their religion.

            However, I do think that he has brought scorn on himself, and that it is well-earned from what I’ve heard from most parties on the subject in print. However, that scorn should be heaped on him in an editorial, a political cartoon, or something similar in its proper place rather than in a section where there are (or should be) more stringent professional ways of dissecting politicians.

          • anonda

            meh…
            i dont care if he were a heathen, muslim, buddhist, rootworker…
            so to me, this is not a pagan issue…
            im simply not going to stand behind someone who lacked honor toward his/her faith regardless of the faith….

            i agree that some cartoons and political commentary can be damn demeaning towards people of different faiths in general, not just toward the “poor lil’ pagans”…
            that is the way it is in the good ol usa when it comes to politics…

  • http://sonneillon-v.livejournal.com/ Sonneillon

    Fifteen years I’ve been playing D&D and never sacrificed a goat. Am I missing all the good campaigns or something?

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      I think if you sacrifice the party, you don’t have to worry about the goat.

  • M_P_Black

    Actually, I was disappointed that the cartoon wasn’t *more* of a caricature. I think that, for the purposes of a political piece, it would have been more appropriate for DanO to haul his bulk over the side of a longship (complete with horned helmet) into a village of sanitation workers.

    • Lonespark

      Hmmmm. That’s a good point, and would be more in keeping with the Bachman cartoon…

  • Cara

    I’ve been dismayed by some of the comments, especially on the Village Voice. They advocate giving the writer and cartoonist a pass on the negative representation of Heathenry because they are pleased that it also targets an individual they have a grievance with. That’s an extremely short-sighted way to view this.

    The average Village Voice reader won’t distinguish between an mocking of individual and mocking the religion as whole when looking at the cartoon or reading about the “mutton and mead crowd.” They don’t have the cultural background knowledge to make distinctions. For many readers, the only time they read about Heathenry is in articles such as this. This cartoon and the Ren Fair references will be the sum of their knowledge. For others, this treatment of Heathenry only reinforces their negative opinion or changes a neutral opinion to a more negative one. Does anyone think, after reading the article and seeing the cartoon at the top of all 6 pages, that readers will walk away with the idea that Heathens are sincere, spiritual people with families and jobs – just like them?

    That’s something we should be speaking out about. When we see articles in the mainstream press that denigrate or ridicule our interconnected religions, we should address it calmly, but firmly – and not let dislike or hatred of individuals lull us into acceptance of the unacceptable.

    • TeaPartyInMyPants

      *begin facetious post alert*

      Then by all means, lets flail the writer and artist alive for their treachery against the heathens. That’s what would happen in days of olde, right? We might as well get a posse together and go after every other writer and artist how dared cross paths with some group they mocked and derided. It all becomes tiresome and takes us away from really important things in our communities in all this jousting at windmills of hack journalism. If others want to take up the gauntlet and storm the Village Voice, then please proceed.

      *end facetious post alert*

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        *begin facetious post alert*

        Yes, because the only response is torture and murder! We must let everyone say every negative thing they want! Who cares about respect, decency, and gorram fact checking! Nooo! Politics is more important. Screw the heathens, they don’t care! They won’t blow up our building and kill our artist like the Muslims, so we can do whatever the hell we want! Viva Free Speech! Viva Hatred! Viva Intolerance!”

        *end facetious post alert*

        • TeaPartyInMyPants

          Pitchforks on the right, torches on the left. Now, lets all go out and be a really angry and hateful mob today.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            You can be the mob, or you can be the victim of the mob. But sometimes the best thing to do is put your hand on your sheathed sword, give a good glare, and let the other guy know, “don’t start, I won’t have to finish. Speak your mind, but be aware that your words have consequences.”

          • TeaPartyInMyPants

            Or how about the novel concept of no mobs at all? Just sayin’….

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            In this world, there will always be mobs. You can dream other wise, but that’s the fact. People will always do what they can to gain power over others. You can either give in, not fight, and let them do as they please in the vain hope that they will “play nice.” Or you can stand up, get together, and say “don’t f*** with us”

          • Anonymous

            And you, NA…by siding with the Christian Right…are standing against the Pagans like me who refuse to “play nice,” and who are saying to them: “Don’t f*** with us.”

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Byron, would you mind telling me just where I’m siding with the Christians? And If you even start to say it’s my “conservative” view points on some things….

    • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

      While I agree that the cartoon is a bit…out there (to say the least) I have to say that the average Village Voice reader can most definitely distinguish between mocking the individual and mocking the religion. They just choose not to.

  • Turtle/Kris H.

    I’m trying to see why I should care about this particular politician. He sounds like a flip-flopping hypocrite, taking whatever position he thinks will keep him in power. Read the article, look at some of the videos linked there.

    He also sounds pretty overtly racist, at least regarding Asians. I don’t care what kind of Pagan or Heathen he is or isn’t, his politics as demonstrated by his votes and speeches and actions while in office are not anything I could support.

    He also sounds like an arrogant blowhard, and I wouldn’t vote for him for dogcatcher.

    The cartoon? Yeah, it’s a bit over the top. So is the Bachmann one. So are *many* political cartoons. It sort of comes with the territory. On that I cast my vote for “meh.” And for freedom of expression.

    • http://egregores.blogspot.com Apuleius Platonicus

      I care because the man is a Heathen and he has faced numerous attacks because of his religion. And there is zero evidence that he is a racist.

    • Harmonyfb

      He sounds like a flip-flopping hypocrite, taking whatever position he thinks will keep him in power.

      So…a politician, then.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lamyka-L/649965363 Lamyka L.

    As a Pagan or a Woman I don’t need nor want special treatment and as sure as the Gods are all around us I don’t want to dress or be like a mainstream ‘normal’ American. Victor Juhasz’s cartoon was accepted because crazy-eyes Michelle Bachmann does her politics FROM her religion–just look at the kind of legislature she stands behind. The cartoon for Halloran elevates from mere poor taste to creedist scare tactic by what Thrasher WRITES, and has a history of writing.

    However, I have a better question, why do Modern Pagans constantly feel the need to play ‘normal’?? Why are we gladly perpetuating the status quo to dress to the standards of a world that at the end of the day doesn’t give a fart in the wind about us? A Japanese woman wears a kimono, an Amish or Mennonite man wears handmade clothing, an Indonesian wears batik, a Hawaiian woman has any manner of Holoku or Mu’umu’u–when will my sisters and brothers in faith stop joyfully putting on the monkey suit and all it entails and just be yourselves!

    • Scott

      At the risk of going off-topic: because just as not all Pagans are polyamorous, politically liberal, or vegetarian, not all of us are particularly comfortable in neo-medieval costume. I dress the way I do because I *am* “being myself;” if that happens to look more like “mainstream America” than you’re comfortable with, then I suggest you not spend a lot of time hanging out with me IRL. Advocating for the right to choose means that you have to honor the choices that are not the ones you’d make.

    • Lonespark

      …except for all the Japanese women who don’t wear kimonos, or don’t wear them all the time…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Carron/100001353268347 David Carron

      “However, I have a better question, why do Modern Pagans constantly feel the need to play ‘normal’??”

      1. Because many see themselves as part of the modern world.
      2. Because many do not identify as being an outsider.
      3. Because of the potential stigma implied.
      4. Because some are playing dress-up and other pagans wish to distinguish themselves from that group.

      • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

        Many of us also don’t come from lines of Paganism where there was a dress code. For those of us who do, I imagine chitons and similar dress in Michigan would be pretty hard to bear this time of year. Some codes of dress simply aren’t practical.

        I say for those that are developing or adopting their own dress codes, have at it.

    • Harmonyfb

      why do Modern Pagans constantly feel the need to play ‘normal’??

      Because we ARE normal, that’s why. I dress in the clothes I like – not according to some arbitrary (and nonexistent) Pagan Dress Code.

      A Japanese woman wears a kimono, an Amish or Mennonite man wears handmade clothing, an Indonesian wears batik, a Hawaiian woman has any manner of Holoku or Mu’umu’u

      ::gapes:: I bet you think the Dutch wear wooden shoes, too.

    • Anonymous

      Lamyka L writes:
      However, I have a better question, why do Modern Pagans constantly feel the need to play ‘normal’??

      I know several others have answered already, but we aren’t playing. Also, the whole ‘being able to be taken seriously and living in the real world’ means that one can both have and keep a well-paying job.

      Do I dress up for certain occasions? Certainly – suits for weddings and funerals; business suit for important meetings; spats, fedora and suspenders for going out to party; etc. My medieval garb is for SCA events – my ritual clothing is what I am wearing, because I live my religion all the time. I don’t need to get into pseudo-medieval/Renaissance garb (especially when badly done, in things like polyester, from mixed time periods, and inappropriate for either work or the weather) to get into ‘a magical state of mind’.

      Lamyka L. writes:
      As a Pagan or a Woman I don’t need nor want special treatment and as sure as the Gods are all around us I don’t want to dress or be like a mainstream ‘normal’ American.

      You don’t ‘want or need special treatment’, but sure as Hel want the extra attention, eh?

    • anonda

      i think the question should be, why do some modern pagans have an urge to be part of the mainstream thus easily getting offended about not being accepted by some groups?

      i mean, muslims are getting a lot of slack right now and people belonging to atrs…in the east coast? it is even worse for those “immigrants practicing these evil animal sacrifices and this african dark magic”…still most of atr practitioners carry themselves with confidence and continue with their practices
      on the other hand, pagans will white-washed their believes and practices in order to be seen as being ‘good’

      it is an insecurity thing and it is strong because paganism is still pretty young..with time…i hope i will see less pagans posting about what those evil Christians said about their pentacles or wrote on a christian blog about “we poor pagans”…with time…they will stop caring so much about what others think about them…

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Anonda, Jews and Catholics didn’t expunge group defamation against themselves by shrugging it off. They worked against it, by and large successfully. You can imagine the reaction if the VV piece had caricatured a Jew, and that situation has not come about by accident but by hard work.

  • http://vermillionrush.wordpress.com Vermillion

    I’m going to check to see how many people are reading this on the subway ride tomorrow or how many flip to the back immediately for the music/sex listings. It’ll be interesting to note their reactions.

  • Thelettuceman

    I think, personally, that most “political satire” pictures get away with a lot that is downright offensive, simply because it is attached to a newspaper. It is an art that hides behind freedom of speech and a free press to bias and color people against topics, just as it can help reflect attitudes toward issues.

    I am a NT Pagan, and I don’t consider the image of Halloran to have any point to the story in or out of context. It is a stereotypical piece, as offensive to me as a racial stereotype could be offensive to some ethnic minority.

  • http://sari0009.xanga.com/ Karen A. Scofield

    Jason, on a very deep level, I agree with you.

    Domestic abuse, rape, “rape cultures,” pedophilia, majoritarian/institutionalized creedism/racism, genocide, class war via financialization and many other particularly injurious wrongs all put a huge emphasis on **leverage of abusive power differentials.** When part of a culture, abusive power differentials create climates of “emotional violence” of far reaching consequences — the anti-Pagan cartoon is neither a slight slur nor a one time slam. (The power differential does not exist in the same way or to the same extent in regards to Bachman’s religious stuff.) The anti-Pagan cartoon message is unofficially recognized as part of “the fabric of society” by a lot of people, even many atheists and agnostics.

    How do societies act when they feel the fabric of society is threatened? They can launch into moral panics or more insidious prejudice that can impact child custody, jobs, and more.

    I should define emotional violence if I’m to use the term, of course.

    Emotional violence causes upset and/or trauma by abusive acts, threats, other behaviors meant to intimidate, coercive tactics or other tactics used to force the upper hand in a power struggle. This is true in domestic abuse situations and it’s true in cultures at large when sectors of a society battle each other, some in the interests of equality and justice, others in the interest of having power (the wrong kind of power) at others’ expense. The intent in emotional violence, honest and overt or not, is to denigrate/devalue/discredit/disempower the other in order to be seen as right, increase one’s own power, and/or hook up with others also looking to “better” themselves through similar tactics and power struggles. Emotional violence may include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:

    * Humiliating the target, overtly or “accidentally.”
    * Controlling what the target can and cannot do when it’s not necessary or correct in the equality power metaparadigm.
    * Withholding information or more positive/creative grades/reviews/feedback/opportunities from the target.
    * Operating on a platform of purposeful ignorance (a.k.a. a bad faith decision).
    * Deliberately do something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, or set the stage for that to come from others.
    * Distance/isolate the target from friends, family, peers
    * Deny the target access to resources/experiences that they can use to express and further themselves (grow, thrive).
    * May ridicule/denigrate or seek to invalidate the target’s practices, beliefs, and/or ideals, religious or other.

    I think my explanation of emotional violence rocks, as compared to other official definitions that habitually (something close to 100%) turn a blind eye toward creedist emotional violence at large and limit their focus to emotional violence in personal relationships between individuals (usually in underage bullying or domestic abuse contexts). Somehow, professionals in fields that use the term “emotional violence” know that discussing emotional violence in terms of majoritarian creedism is incredibly taboo. They know that particular strain of creedism is that entrenched…entrenched enough that calling it to question could put their public and private lives at risk. It’s so politically incorrect and “unnecessary” that they probably don’t even think of expanding the definition and application of the term “emotional violence.”

    But that’s all the more reason that it should be addressed, open to fair examination and the light of day.

    (I included the definition of emotional violence in the comments to The Wild Hunt Blog’s “Quick Notes: Dale Halferty, Dan Halloran, and Watkins Books”. “Emotional violence” was also referred to in my comments to the Wildhunt blog’s “Premeditated Wiccan Sacrifice?”)

  • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

    Halloran’s cloak seems to have miraculously discovered new Germanic runes like Pi and the IPA symbol for a glottal stop!

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      Yeah, I was trying to read that, from left to right: R C S? W N ? ? ? U W F?A? C N W S… It must be a code, or initials for a secret fraternal organization, or something. :-)

  • Cara

    BTW – the cartoon is also the cover of the printed version of the publication.

    • Lonespark

      Wow. Well, publicity is publicity, sometimes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=837065596 Robyn Erickson

    I think that Mr Halloran understands that his beliefs would come under scrutiny, and I also think this is because not many individuals understand Heathenry. This is not the fault of Mr Halloran, or the fault of those who make the decision to “poke fun” at a belief structure. I chalk it up to a lack, on the part of those who do not understand Heathenry, research, and wanting to educate themselves.

    Another point I would like to make is that the cartoons that have depicted Mr Halloran, and Michelle Bachmann as extremists are both in bad taste. I have found it interesting that poking fun at Christians is okay, but when it comes to doing the same thing to pagans, or other belief structures that are not Christian all of the sudden it is not okay to poke fun at non Abrahamic religions. That is the hypocrisy. I think that if individuals are going to poke fun at a religion that no religion is safe.

    I think that Mr Halloran’s faith is his, and if a person who does not understand his faith wishes to make fun of it that is that person’s decision. I personally do not think that the Village Voice crossed a line. Some pagans and Heathens may be in an up roar about the cartoon, and the article, but my question is what does Mr Halloran think about the cartoon?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685041384 Fanny Fae

    There was a time when I used to think that we are considered Pagan had a little more of a sense of humour about our religion than more mainstream faiths. I think that is why a good many of us were attracted to it in the first place – the whole mirth and reverence idea was a reality, rather than something that was just recited by rote in some ritual somewhere.

    Bachmann, as a politician who chooses to bash voters over the head with her faith, can be counted upon to be a bit of a loud mouthed hypocrite,much like something out of the Christian bible, somewhat resembling a Pharisee.

    When are personal and religious beliefs going to stop being something to pound political podiums over and just be a facet of what makes us each individuals? I thought that was the general idea when the Constitution was originally written.

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      Maybe when we stop being subjected to the violence inherent in the system?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685041384 Fanny Fae

        Violence in the system? Are Pagans *really* by virtue of their faith being tortured and humiliated here in the US? Really? How is it any more or any less than other faiths who face the same challenges? Why do we have to assume that we are so speshull that we are beyond satire?
        I am really very tired of Pagans who seem to go out of their way to fit the stereotype that the dominant culture has of them! It’s almost as if there is this sacred self-loathing that says we need to protect that stereotype that the culture has of lazy, financially insolvent, individuals having questionable ethics and who are all-too-often disconnected from reality.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          -facepalm- I really hate it when people don’t get the Monty Python jokes…

          • http://twitter.com/whitestagforest Aine Llewellyn

            I wish I could like this more than once!

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    I would like everyone who thinks that either cartoon is just fine, just a caricature, acceptable under free speech, to go look at these cartoons that the Nazis and Soviets did of the Jews, early last century. http://emperors-clothes.com/antisem/naz-sov.htm These are pretty mild; there are worse ones in Detroit’s Holocaust Museum. Jews with bags of money and big noses, wearing top hats or long robes and fetlocks… We all remember what happened to them, right?

    Some Pagans seem to think that Mrs. Bachmann “deserves what she gets”. Well, some of the people who lived in Axis countries, and the Soviet countries, thought the same things of the Jews… they were hoarding money, they were separatists, they were religious fanatics, they deserve whatever happens, no? And yeah, usually I roll my eyes at the Nazi references, yet I think it applies here.

    The Bolsheviks and Soviets had similar caricatures of Siberian Shamans, including the animal sacrifice and cliches about clothing… right before they embarked on a campaign to wipe ‘em out, similar to what’s happening in South America right now, where shamans are being systematically executed.

    This isn’t protected free speech, this is a symptom of something really rotten in our society.

    • TeaPartyInMyPants

      So your comparing a cartoon about heathens to the extermination of the Jews? You are correct about one thing in your post, there is something really rotten in our society.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        I am making the comparison in that all the cartoons are hate speech in disguise.

        • Anonymous

          And I’ll bet you never saw any “Hate Speech” from the Tea Party, eh?

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Sure, which is why I don’t belong to it. I have voted for candidates that got their endorsement; those same candidates were endorsed by such organizations as the FOP.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            I saw some, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the Hate Speech thrown back at them.

          • Anonymous

            Calling someone out on their racism, Christian Supremacism, and homophobia is not “Hate Speech.”

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            No, but calling them dumbass rednecks, racists (when many were not), igorant savages, white supremacists (again, often as false a claim as it was true), and all together lumping a group of people together and demeaning them simply because of where they come from or what ideology they follow does seem rather hateful to me.

            And besides, Hate Speech is speech done in hate. And I saw a lot of hate in those anti-tea party speeches.

    • Anonymous

      Bachmann isn’t being demonized because of her religion. She’s being demonized because of her disgusting political beliefs. Just as there’s a difference between a normal, everyday Muslim and a Jihadist Terrorist…there’s a difference between your average Christian and a Christian Supremacist like her. And yes, it’d be perfectly acceptable to make a cartoon of Osama bin Laden holding a Qu’ran and blowing people up.

      If you think differently, perhaps you should wonder why you’re suddenly on the same side as the Conservative Muslims who issue death threats against cartoonists?

    • Anonymous

      And FURTHERMORE: You are using the Nazi references incorrectly here. In fact, the cartoon of Bachmann is much more comparable to the cartoons that were created by the USA to poke fun at Hitler. (Exhibit A: http://www.cryonie.com/fr/histoire/images/propagande-sgm-hitler.jpg)

      The people making fun of Bachmann are not trying to eliminate or curtail her Civil Rights and Liberty. On the other hand, Bachmann is trying to eliminate and curtail the Civil Rights and Liberty of millions of American citizens.

      There’s an ENORMOUS difference…and it really doesn’t surprise me that you’re defending her, particularly by resorting to Godwin’s Law. Conservative Christians in the USA are in no way even close to comparable to the Jews in WW2. That you make such comparisons shows a complete lack of touch with reality.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        The comparisons are valid — back in the day, the Jews were compared to the 1% while the Belsheviks were the 99% !

        • Anonymous

          No they are not. You are absurd, as are your arguments… I’m beginning to wonder if you’re just “punking” us here at The Wild Hunt, because I don’t believe an adult could come up with such ignorant and uneducated garbage.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Um, if you actually take a look at the cartoons I referenced, both the Nazis and Bolsheviks used political cartoons to demonize the Jewish people. The Bolsheviks blamed the Jews, who owned many banks and businesses, for all of their economic problems. Times and scapegoats have changed.

          • Anonymous

            The Bolsheviks were decidedly anti-Semitic, and their ranks were filled with Jews. The Nazis often even referred to their ideology as “Judeo-Bolshevism.” Later, the Jews faced anti-Semitism under Stalinism…but the idea that the Bolsheviks themselves were anti-Semitic is absurd.

            As Jewish historian Zvi Gitelman stated about the Bolsheviks: “Never before in Russian history – and never subsequently, has a government made such an effort to uproot and stamp out antisemitism.”

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Furthermore, Bryon, you are aware that it is possible to refute someone else’s statement without making personal comments and being insulting, are you not? Some readers might conclude that such behavior is the last gasp of a person with very ill manners who is losing an argument…

          • Anonymous

            Obviously not…since my comments always get far more “likes” than yours. There is no need to be respectful when someone is being ridiculous…

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            Not being respectful lowers the tone of blog and makes it a less pleasant experience, imho.

            Of course, if someone is already writing abrasively without getting personal, it’s a temptation to be abrasive right back, and sometimes personal stuff is what’s at hand…

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            If your foe has resulted in personal attacks, you have won.”

            Sorry byron, but “likes” don’t prove anything other than people are willing to forgo internet etiquette in favor of bashing people they don’t like, who have views they don’t like.

            One should always be respectful in any form of “combat” for that is the way of Nobility and Honor.

            Of course, if you’re happy to play in the way of what Nietzsche calls the “slave morality” where you are petty, venial, and willing to snap at the heals of your foe and call them evil because you cannot stand up to them honorably, well that’s your choice. Cast of the trappings of nobility and honor, good Byron, for you reveal yourself with your use of insults. There is nothing in you to be respected, for you have shown yourself incapable of respecting others. You must insult because you lack the ability to to reason, and attack the person because in reality you cannot attack the ideal. :D

            And if you insult me personally for saying so, then you will have shown yourself to be everything I just said. But I would entreat you to act with honor and respect for your fellow commentators. It is easy to live a life “well liked” it is hard to rise above the need for “likes” and act with nobility. ;)

    • kenneth

      The Nazi comparison is absurd simply on a mathematical basis. Jews were 1.7% of the population in Europe in the early 1930s when the Nazi movement was gathering steam. I’m going to speculate that Siberian and South American shamans are an even smaller slice of their respective populations.

      Christians are not an oppressed minority in this country because they’re not a minority at all. They represent 78%. In the highest levels of government – Congress, the military etc., the number of Christians leans very close to 100%.

      That being the case, how does a cartoon (accurately) depicting Bachmann as a religious fanatic place her in any imminent danger of persecution? is there a fleet of 300 million plus anti-Christian ET aliens in orbit whose hatred is being inflamed by a Rolling Stone cartoon?

      Christians, especially those of Bachmann’s bent, love to play the persecution card these days, but its transparently bogus and I’m surprised that you would help them perpetuate such nonsense. Christians are not only NOT an oppressed minority, they have been history’s biggest oppressor, at least in the West. Many of them, and especially the ones Bachmann appeals to, still evidence the same mindset as their forbears who did the oppressing. Pointing that out in a cartoon or in print is nothing if not fair commentary.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Mrs. Bachmann’s dominionist sect is less than 2% of the population, and that is still no excuse to make false accusations of burning people at the stake.

        • TeaPartyInMyFlamingUndies

          Oh only 2% then? Considering the political and economic pull of her dominionist sect, I would still stock up on flame-retardant undies. Just saying….

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            You got a “like” just for the hilarious screen moniker.

        • kenneth

          What percentage formally belong to her sect is irrelevant. Her views clearly appeal to a hell of a lot more Christians than 2% of the population. If that were not the case, she would have zero name recognition in the popular culture.

  • Maybe Just Me, But

    Comparing the two cartoons, I have a really hard time getting worked up in regard to the Halloran cartoon. The comparison with Bachmann emphasizes this all the more for me. The Bachmann cartoon exaggerates Bachmann’s features grossly, paints her as engaged in the literal murder of people, and includes only one religious object that she is actually associated with (a Bible). The sword, the armor, the burning witches, are all rhetorical flourishes meant to exaggerate her actual views.

    By contrast, Halloran is shown with very little distortion, engaging in sacrificial ritual, wearing ritual regalia, that is very much in line with his faith as he actually practices it. The only luridness in it is the luridness the reader brings to it. Obviously, yes, most readers will see it as lurid because they don’t understand or appreciate these sorts of faith. So, yes, the Voice is trying to be lurid.

    But, BUT, when I look at this, I see nothing lurid, just a reasonably well-executed (and restrained!) portrayal of sacrifice. Getting up in arms about the luridness of it seems backward because it supports the very negative expectations that make it (and Halloran’s religion) seem lurid to people. It would be very easy to portray the sacrificial act luridly, comically, and with distortion–but this sure isn’t that.

    That so many people here see it as lurid, suggests to me that many people here are either looking for an excuse to be offended or (very likely) actually not very comfortable with the reality of animal sacrifice that comes with endorsing (actual) religious freedom and (actual) diversity.

    • Baruch Dreamstalker

      “suggests to me that many people here are […] not very comfortable with the reality of animal sacrifice”

      You could be right on this one. It is a clear division within Paganism.

  • http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/ Cat C-B

    I’m concerned at the quote from the earlier piece, that “Experts tell us that as much as 50 percent of the country’s tiny neo-heathenist movement has connections to white supremacy.” Really? While there is an undeniable fascination on the part of some white supremacists for Heathenry, I’m unaware of any reliable studies out there showing anything like a 50% linkage of Heathens with racist groups. Are these “experts” related to the ones who have established that reading Harry Potter, wearing black clothing, or listening to heavy metal music are cause to bring in an exorcist? Without a cited source, I’m left feeling deeply uneasy by the claim; it certainly does not reflect the Asatru I’m familiar with. (Admittedly, I do travel mostly in circles with folks who can read and write. That may be biasing my impressions…)

    As for the Bachman cartoon, I think it is more reputable as an illustration of her career in politics than is the cartoon of Halloran, not simply because Christianity is the dominant religion in the country, but because the way she herself inserts her religion into her political career is consistent with the caricature. No, she’s not literally burning anyone at the stake–something people are more likely to understand regarding Christianity than Paganism, to be sure–but she does propound a particularly intolerant version of Christianity, and shows every sign of wanting to inject that into the work of government.

    If Halloran is injecting his religion into his political career a (more clear and pointed) allusion to it in a cartoon might make sense. I’m not hearing that, however. So I’d have to agree: this is a religious slur, and the Voice should be ashamed.

  • Anonymous

    So Thrasher’s point is what, that heathens have to be pro-abortion, and Dan is therefore not a “real Heathen”? Says who, the Pagan Pope? I thought the point was that they did not have a magisterium to tell them what to believe about everything. (Although I suspected the late Isaac wanted to be.)

    As one of the cabal, er, caucus who approved him for the Libertarian nomination, I find it interesting that, as usual, it is the “open-minded liberals” going after somebody’s religion, while denouncing Republican “bigotry”. As they did with Cliff Klippenstein from my denomination, as they did with Romney (father and son).

  • Kilmrnock

    Cat , unfortunatly i”ve heard this one b/f . I have no numbers about how widespread the problem is but , there is a racist wing within Asatru.Many within Asatruar are raging conservatives and racist/ white supremists . There is an extremist right wing pure Arian minset within part of the movement . I have talked to many a Asatru that will not associate w/ some Asatruar groups b/c of this rampant racism . This is a big concern the Asatruar Community here in the US and in Europe must deal with , and quickly .

    • http://quakerpagan.blogspot.com/ Cat C-B

      Yes, it’s been a concern for the 25 or so years I’ve been a Pagan, for sure. But 50%? That’s an extremely large percentage, and I have not seen a justification for that number in my own exposure to Heathenry–though, admittedly, I don’t hang out much around white supremacists (!), so my view may be biased.

      Or not. I wonder if this number might be based on a single prison-based survey, for example… or even a sensationalistic guess by someone with an axe to grind.

      Without some idea of the reliability of the source, I’m inclined to simply reject that number as typical of the faux “experts” that show up in police seminars equating Wicca with Satanism with criminal violence.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        A few folkish Asatrur groups sponsor prison ministries (for lack of a better word). I have a loved one in prison, and I’ve gotten copies of their super-secret decoder-ring undercover literature such as “Brothers In Prison”. While what I have seen promotes folkism, pride in heritage and culture, it does not state that other races are inferior. It compares being in prison to a monastery and encourages them to work for personal betterment. There are branches of white prison gangs that use Asatru symbols but it’s not at all representative of the entire group, any more than Dos Emmes represent all Catholics of Mexican descent.

    • Nick Ritter

      I’m sorry, but since you’re not a heathen yourself, how are you getting this information? I am tempted to believe that much of the rumor of those evil, racist, Nazi heathens is little more than hearsay amplified by retellings. Are there jackasses in heathenry? Certainly. Prove that there are more in heathenry that in any other form of Paganism, though. Otherwise, I think you’re just spreading gossip.

      As a German who has had do deal with the whole Nazism question since childhood (even though I was born three decades after the end of that war), and who has had to deal with it double because of my religion, I would really appreciate it if people would stop whispering behind their hands about how us folks have to be watched because, you know…*Nazism*. It’d be great if my kids didn’t have to go through the same crap as I did.

      Also: “There is an extremist right wing pure Arian minset within part of the movement.”

      Do you mean that there are heathens who disbelieve in the divinity of Mary, believe that that Jesus was not the son of the Abrahmic god, do not believe in the Trinity, and just absolutely *hate* those Athanasians?

  • Kilmrnock

    I’d also like to comment on possible slurs agianst Halloran . This type of thing is expected when a pagan runs openly , in a overwhelmingly Judoe-Christian society. From everything i’ve read Halloran doesn’t deserve it tho, he is a good , honest politician . He does his job well W/o any nonsence political or otherwise. Now in the case of Bachmann she deserves any lampooning she gets , her political/religious alliances are extrememist . Halloran , other than the parking authority mess , seems be be a good guy . Does what he was elected to do. Halloran also does not bring his religious beliefs into what he does as a politician , Bachmann on the other hand has gone to the extreme to do so. Kilm

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    BRYON made the following comment so deep in the reply weeds that I can’t get a grasp of it, so I’m starting a new sub-thread:

    “Social Conservatism deserves no more respect on a Pagan blog than one would expect to see given to the Ku Klux Klan on a blog devoted to African-American issues.”

    Christian Supremacism is what merits no respect here. Social Conservatism as it is conventionally service up certainly includes Christian Supremacism, but it also contains pro-life and pro-family stuff that one Pagan cannot rule ot of bounds for another Pagan. We are socially diverse.

    • Anonymous

      …but even the “pro-life” and “pro-family” (whatever that means) stuff is inevitably based in Christian Supremacism. The pro-life movement is founded upon the Christian religious idea of conception, and the belief that this religious idea should be legally forced upon the American public. (IOW: Christian Supremacism)

      In addition, I’m sure there are some homophobic Pagans out there as well…but it doesn’t change the fact that opposition to LGBT Rights is primarily based in Christian Supremacism, at least here in the USA. It’s all this “big gov’t” Authoritarian concept that, “the Bible knows best,” and everyone should be forced to live according to its principles, regardless of religion (or lack thereof).

      Minor exceptions do not make the rule. I’m sure there might be some racist Pagans on the board as well…but I could care less whether they find my snark offensive either.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        Um, no. There are oldline witches who were around long before the Wiccan and neo-Pagan movement who were and are socially conservative. They did not call themselves that, either; it was whatever name for themselves their nation held. There are Native healers from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Northern and Eastern Europe who are conservative. There are shamans and witches who are and were conservative, long before the Christian Right took any power in America. They would and still do things like perform abortions but there’d be a lecture involved about the sanctity of life, just as they would perform other negative magick, with cautionary words. I do not wanna sidetrack this thread on these subjects, just making Mr. Know It All aware that Paganism existed long before Gerald Gardner wrote a book about some folklore he found in England.

        • Anonymous

          LOL. The unintentional comedy in that post is priceless! I don’t even know where to start! I’ll just stand in the back and let everyone else think their own jokes. :D

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Pro-life and pro-family sentiments are part of Christian teachings but that does not make them Supremacists, and to say so is to give way to tinfoil-hat logic about opinion development in society. (Pro-family btw means backing things that support families.)

        Your arrogant attitude rudely excludes a lot of Pagans who are not homophobic or racist but simply socially conservative. You may not be aware that category exists, but it’s out there.

        • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

          And yet, when a politician, ideologue etc calls themselves ‘Pro-life’ or ‘Pro-family’ the indisputable implication in that is that their ideology stands in opposition to people who are not those things and ends up only serving to demonize whoever these people are ideologically opposed to by portraying them anti-‘everything that’s good and right and pure in the world’. When a socially conservative politician stands up and tries to get voter support by saying how pro-family they are or how they’re got ‘family values’ there’s no getting around the fact that that implies their non-socially conservative opposition is against those things and really, how many people are actually not for life or families etc?

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            But I am not a politician, nor an idealogue on these issues. I’m a Pagan who has learned, including on this list, that Pagans come in all shapes and sizes, including conservative. Start talking about, say, gun control and you can find that out, too.

            “how many people are actually not for life or families etc?”

            These terms has much more particular meaning in a political context, as you know full well. Don’t hide your brains to try to make a point.

          • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

            My comment made no claim about whether someone can be conservative and Pagan, I was merely pointing out that beneath the branding of certain positions as ‘pro-‘something, as in the two examples mentioned, is a deliberate and obvious attempt to demonize people on the other side of social issues. If someone, Pagan or not, wants to take issue with legalized abortions, fine, that’s their right. However, a more honest description of people on either side of that issue would be ‘pro-legalized abortion’ or ‘anti-legalized abortion’ (and even that wouldn’t do justice to the actual, more complex positions people tend to have on abortion). For those against legalized abortions to call their position ‘pro-life’ is a deliberate attempt to imply that those who don’t support such a position are, in some sense, ‘anti-life’. You seem to have read more than was intended in my comment, which was, after all, only about terminology.

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        False logic is false, Byron

        Look unto your history. Most societies have been “pro-family.” Indeed, the actual root of many a conservative idea in Europe and America can be found in Pre-Christian Germanic culture, especially the emphasis on family, individuality, the right to have arms, etc. The attitudes were later co-opted by the Christians when they took over.

        For instance, the entire Pro-life stance is about the sanctity of life. It has nothing to do with Christianity, but rather with the idea that a human being has the basic right to live (and then fight on to keep living as long as it can. There is no honor to be found in killing a helpless being that can’t even defend itself or know it is about to be attacked.)

        “It’s all this “big gov’t” Authoritarian concept that, “the Bible knows best,” and everyone should be forced to live according to its principles, regardless of religion (or lack thereof).”

        I find that statement increasingly amusing coming from you, seeing as by your statements you seem to belong to a group that seems just as supremacist in its views towards those that do not agree.

        • Anonymous

          And what “group” would that be? Yeah, there’s something just so “Authoritarian” in believing that NO ONE has the right to force their religion on me. /sarcasm

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Hmmm, but you do seem to seek to force your political views on others, and that is what I was referring too, good Bryon. See, you have called me and several others enemies of paganism, or just plan right out telling us we’re not really pagan, because we don’t share your political view points. You result to personal insults and attacks. It is these things to which I speak. And there is a certain political “group” (to which I’m sure you will lecture us about for using the “improper term” should I actually name them, but I don’t need to because everyone already knows it).

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      Thank you. That was nicely put.

    • kenneth

      I would buy that if, even once, the Social Conservatives did not carry water for the Christian Supremacists. If they’re truly separate movements, I ought to be able to see a sliver of daylight between them at least once in a while….

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        That they are not separate movements doesn’t negate the fact that not everyone buys their whole menu.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          Indeed, many here would probably argue (incorrectly) That I was a social conservative. But I don’t take the Christians stuff, not do I buy all their stuff. But I don’t write off their ideas simply because of what they are or where they come from.

        • kenneth

          Maybe, but the groupthink dynamic is pretty fierce. When push comes to shove, even the sleaziest, most extreme evangelical candidate or politician can count on nearly complete support even from the supposedly secular and non-Christian supporters.

          The leftists intellectuals of past decades didn’t buy the whole menu of Soviet communism, but they still closed ranks with the overall cause. A lot of people who give their votes or dollars to Hamas don’t buy that group’s whole menu of lunacy. Professing moderate beliefs oneself means nothing if you wear the uniform and carry the flag of the extremists and help them to achieve power.

          This wouldn’t stick in my craw so much if it were just a matter of policy differences. I can see where a pagan or anyone else might form views on abortion, or defense policy, or fiscal policy which just happens to mesh with the positions taken by the looniest right-wingers. Even the craziest group has SOME good ideas, or at least plausible ones. Hell, the Nazis promoted physical fitness and anti-smoking campaigns.

          What blows my mind is how time and time again, some of you always go to bat for the extremists themselves. When the heat is on, people like Bachmann and Perry can count on you guys, at least for moral and rhetorical support, just as much as they can from the Family Research Council or 700 Club. If you’re marching with these characters, or at least carrying their lance a good bit of the time, nuance and disclaimers on your part are kinda meaningless distinctions.

          • Baruch Dreamstalker

            “The leftists intellectuals of past decades didn’t buy the whole menu of Soviet communism, but they still closed ranks with the overall cause.”

            This comment erroneously compresses a lot of decades of history, some of which I saw (b. 1941), and (perhaps unintentionally) apes conservative slurs of the Fifties. Anti-communist liberalism in the US was a fierce force in the latter years of the Soviet Union.

            “If you’re marching with these characters, or at least carrying their lance a good bit of the time, nuance and disclaimers on your part are kinda meaningless distinctions.”

            I have never supported Bachmann or Perry. If you follow my comments you know I find the caricature of Bachmann marginally less objectionable than that of Halloran. My point, as before, is that there are conservative Pagans, and to try to count them out of the movement is as foolish as saying all Pagans are feminists, pacifists or vegetarian.

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            How is stating that portraying someone burning people at the stake is wrong “going to bat” or offering “moral and rhetorical support” for them or their policies?

  • Kilmrnock

    There was all that attention about that Asatru group not that long ago and one of it’s founders ties to white supremists .known Asatru attended a skinhead rally. And also the Case of the Asatru band member , from a goth metal band , that desicrated churches , i believe it was in Denmark or Sweden . the Asatru community needs to get a hanndle on this b/f it gets out of hand . Such negative public news can / will be harmful to the Entire pagan community as a whole . Not to even mention the damage to Asatruars image

    • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

      Right, the organization was the Asatru Folk Assembly, headed by McNallen. Those allegations were false (not that it kept many a “pagan” from jumping on the “Asatru/AFA/McNallen is a racist!” hate rants). As for the Guy who desecrated churches, well, we ain’t peaceniks. I personally see nothing wrong with what a drunk rock n’ rolla did. He didn’t kill anyone, and the church has taken a lot of defamation in the name of “art.” So saying we need to get a handle on this isn’t really a fair thing. We’re gonna get called racists, because we’re generally white and we take pride in where we come from, and for some people that’s racist in and of itself, regardless of our actual attitudes towards other “races”. People have been trying to control rock starts for decades, and that’s never worked.

      Does it hurt our image? Maybe. Depends on the image we want. But blaming Asatruar for passing on a bad image? Please. We’re Pagans. We’re gonna get shit as long as they monotheists can’t stand for us to exist. Doesn’t matter what we do.

  • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

    Please do a follow up with comments written to the “Village Vice” if you can find any. I’d like to know how Average Reader responds.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    KAUKO: There are so many entries on this thread that the link to comment feature isn’t working.

    Regarding my reference to pro-life and pro-family Pagans: You need to become more self aware. You import meanings into my adjectives that I clearly never intended, and then have the brass to say *I* am reading excessively into *your* comments when you say social conservatism need not be respected on this board. Kauko, heal thyself.

    • http://kauko-niskala.blogspot.com Kauko

      There seems to be some huge misunderstanding going on between you and I and you seem intent on misreading what I wrote. Nothing I wrote was intended as an attack on you or to imply that YOU were using certain terms in some underhanded way to attack anyone else. I was replying to a thread that, among other things, was discussing terminology like ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-family’. I was only trying to add to the discussion by bringing up the possibility that there are underlying assumptions to the use of such terms as they are present IN GENERAL IN SOCIETY, which are questionable, at best. I would appreciate it if you would ascertain the true intent of a comment I’ve made before you jump onto an assumption that it’s an attack on you before you proceed to start hurling insults at me (something which I find very much out of character for you on this blog).

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        In turn I would ask that you express yourself more clearly, in a way that makes clear whether you are taking your criticism back to the person who uttered the words or just critiquing the words as they sit there on the screen. Lots of luck; I’ve made similar misattributions. (Indeed I seem to have done so here.)

  • Anonymous

    Eugh, there seem to be a lot of pagans with some strange views about other Pagans’ politics. I guess that’s to be expected considering there is no monolithic “Pagan” religion, just a series of mostly unrelated belief systems that happen to coexist in a culture that is overwhelming Christian.

    That said, I think it’s the nature of political satire to step on toes. It may not always be in good taste, but it is freedom of speech and it is protected by law. Personally, I don’t think too highly of either Halloran or Bachmann, but I do think the cartoons are in bad taste because they do nothing to further constructive, thoughtful discourse.

    There are those of us who are Pagan who support libertarian causes because of our fiscally conservative beliefs. The community is arguably no less diverse than the population as a whole. Some of us are even LGBT! I know, heresy right? Not all Pagans are left or left-centre politically, and we’re not all spineless doormats that let the Christian supremacists walk all over us and our beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    i have this village voice right here and in my opinion it did not
    cross the line. The author seems sensitive to pagan concerns, except
    for referencing dungeons and dragons. What he notes is that hallerman
    sold out his coven. He was once a progressive thoughtful leader and
    now hes just another tea partier politician, claiming to be
    libertarian while trying to ban abortion. He goes and talks about how
    he was an altar boy, and persecutes muslims…. no mention of his current faith at all, totally in the broom closet. The man is not right in
    the head and pagan or not i think ny needs to get rid of this jerk
    hallerman, i got a candle with his name on it for december 11!