Pagan Voices: Sam Webster, Morpheus Ravenna, Soli, Lupa, and More!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 16, 2013 — 43 Comments

Pagan Voices is a spotlight on recent quotations from figures within the Pagan community. These voices may appear in the burgeoning Pagan media, or from a mainstream outlet, but all showcase our wisdom, thought processes, and evolution in the public eye. Is there a Pagan voice you’d like to see highlighted? Drop me a line with a link to the story, post, or audio.

Sam Webster (with Herm), photo by Tony Mierzwicki.

Sam Webster

“Religion, group spiritual engagement, is an aspect of culture, the way a group of people does things. It is learned from those you are with. In today’s world we are exposed to many ‘ways’ and have the opportunity to choose how we will live our lives from among them, even religiously. In the ancient world, while visiting or living in a different culture, one makes offerings to the Gods of the host culture. It is simply polite. If one adopted or was adopted by a culture, one could fully participate in that religious life: if you spoke Greek, you could participate in the Eleusinian mysteries, no matter where you were from. Some today are taking a recent notion of nationhood, one developed only since the mid-1700s, and reifying it into a false concept of ‘race’. Then they assign who should worship which pantheon. Normally I would not care. There are only a few behaviors in our fairly antinomian subculture that are unacceptable. Violence and abuse are among them. So is racism, itself a kind of abuse.  Taking one’s genome as determinant of who one should worship is simply another form of racism. It is a way of creating division amongst humans unfounded on any facts, on any reality, other than a misconstrued notion of what makes a people, what makes a culture. Culture, and religion, is found in what you do, not your bloodline. Those who use the idea of culture or religion as tied to one’s genetic inheritance are attempting to sneak racism into Paganism, and this must not be tolerated. It must be spotted, called out and banished. Not in Our House.” – Sam Webster, asserting that religious biological determinism is racism.

Morpheus Ravenna

Morpheus Ravenna

“This is a follow up to my last post, “Whose Ancestors?“, published on 8/29/2013. The post was also published at my PaganSquare blog, The Spear That Cries Out, hosted by Witches & Pagans online. It was subsequently deleted by the site’s editor, Anne Newkirk Niven, specifically in order to censor its content, because she objected to my calling the AFA a racist organization. The following is my response to that censorship, and I’ve also posted it on the PaganSquare site. Since it too is likely to be deleted, I am publishing it here as well. I wanted to let readers know what happened with that post, and what you can expect in the future. The post in question, “Whose Ancestors?”, was one in which I challenged the doctrine of racial separatism in religion espoused by some European polytheist traditions, primarily Heathens of the ‘folkish’ variety. In it, I called the AFA an unashamedly racist organization. I firmly believe this to be true, and when Anne Newkirk Niven, the editor of this site, asked me to remove the language in which I called the AFA racist, I refused to do so. Instead, I provided her with evidence as to the facts showing that the AFA is a racist organization. Since I would not edit the post to remove that language, Anne has deleted my post in order to censor it. You can read the original post here, where it is still hosted on my own blog site.” – Morpheus Ravenna, following up on her “Whose Ancestors?” piece, which I quoted in a previous edition of Pagan Voices.

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

“I do know one thing very deeply: my gods aren’t racists, even when the cultures they came from have been racist. I can’t say for certain who among my ancestors were racists (though I know several of the recent ones definitely were), or if whole cultures of my ancestors were racists (and some of them certainly were, in overt as well as covert ways), but I am very certain that the gods generally don’t care, and likely never have, about who worships them, nor do they have ideas about who “is fit to” or who “should” worship them based on genetic or even cultural heritage. For all of the faults of the various ancient cultures that I spiritually descend from, one thing we can say for certain is that they were not racist about their gods […]  No, none of these cultures had a perfect record when it came to dealing with other cultures; certainly, there were ideas of superiority, there were cases of cultural appropriation, there was slavery and imperialism and lots of other horrible things involved in many of these cases. But, at least the gods and their approaches to them tended to be relatively unconcerned with matters of race, or appropriateness of different races worshipping different gods…at least in many cases. While I find the notion of saying that people should only worship the gods and follow the spiritual paths of their genetic ancestors very problematic, likewise I find the notion that for reconstructionist-methodology-using polytheists, there should be “no contamination” from other cultural traditions or gods going on…well, laughable. It doesn’t take much looking at the actual sources and what has come down from the medieval and ancient worlds to see that such cultural exclusivism wasn’t going on at all, whether in the polytheistic periods or in the Christian periods of the cultures concerned.” – P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, noting that gods aren’t racists.

Soli

Soli

“Do you really think it’s wise to put up works illegally by people who have written material about how to properly curse and hex? If you can’t afford books, fine. Go to the library. Borrow from your friends. Use a free ebook app and get legal material to read? (Hint: not only are there a lot of free books available regularly for the Kindle, but there are also those great public domain titles as well as academic institutions who have material freely available. Don’t believe me? Go look up the Oriental Institute and their publications.) And I will note this, if you can afford a smartphone and the monthly plan, I am sure you can find some room in your budget for a $15 text. In short, stop stealing. Give credit where it is due. Ask permission. You are reading this on the internet right now. Most every author has some sort of Web presence. They might have material available or know where to get it below cost if it is really a matter of finances for you. Or search online for used copies. Which is, incidentally, acceptable under copyright. And if you messed up and did something stupid, admit to it. If you are hosting a web site or Facebook group filled with illegal pdfs, DELETE THEM. And don’t go whining when you get called out, or ban people right and left for pointing out the fact that you are breaking the law. Support your community. We’re still a minority. We still have to fight for rights because of our religious and spiritual practices. Breaking the law does not do a thing to help us.” – Soli / Shezatwepwawet, on why stealing/pirating Pagan books on the Internet is a bad idea.

Lupa, author of "Skin Spirits," at her shop.

Lupa

“Not too long ago, I watched a brief video created by our local public broadcasting station featuring footage of the Bull Run watershed. Nestled in the lower slopes of Mt. Hood and surrounding regions, this watershed provides Portland and other local communities with our superbly clean tap water. It’s closed to the public to protect the land and water from pollution, so few people have actually seen what’s in this vast, fenced-off area. Oregon Public Broadcasting got a rare opportunity to film parts of it to show the rest of us what we’re missing out on. The video showed some unexpected sights, to include a couple of abandoned stone fountains, but the part that impressed me the most was the river itself. Clear and beautiful, it splashes through an idyllic northwest conifer forest. I also didn’t realize just how small it was, at least where it was filmed. Of course, it gets bigger as more streams feed into it further on. But I was struck by the vulnerability of our water source, fed from rain and snow melt, and it made me review my own use of this limited commodity. See, we take water for granted all too often. We assume there’s enough for everything from drinking to watering golf courses in the desert to agriculture in the former Dust Bowl. But the Colorado River no longer reaches its terminus in the Sea of Cortez, the water table that feeds the Midwest has been severely depleted in less than a century, and yet we keep using fresh water like it’ll never run dry. Some people talk about desalinating ocean water, but this doesn’t address the ecosystems where the fresh water has been so depleted that they’re permanently damaged; we only think of ourselves.” – Lupa, on saving our water.

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

“We hide so much. We lie so much. We fear so much. This keeps us away from love. If we can come to be honest about our heartbreak, about our terror, about the ways in which failure dogs us, or hope makes us feel insecure, if we can come to be honest about our need to feel desired, our quest for recognition, the ways in which we have been hurting, and have hurt others, the ways in which we found laughter and joy, or worked through some pain…we can come to better know ourselves. We can come to better know one another. We can develop true compassion. We can know the world. We can imagine something better than ambition for money or power over others. We can imagine a place where we truly meet one another, truly see one another, where we stop playing status games: baring our necks or lording it over one another. In doing this, we open more fully to the flow of love. We heal. There have been many things planted in the soil of my life, things that have grown into a person, an adult, a human still figuring out how to more fully love the world.” – T. Thorn Coyle, on being naked and unashamed.

Lilith Dorsey

Lilith Dorsey

“I have been lecturing on Voodoo and Santeria for over fifteen years, and believe me I get a lot of weird questions. Many people wish to connect with the energies of the religion but are not initiated or under the proper guidance of their spiritual godparents. I had one woman after I became distracted after the end of my workshop come over dip her finger in the liquified candle wax from my Oshun candle and anoint her dog. I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye but I let it go. Some time later I saw her again at one of my lectures and she listened intensely as I spoke of Oshun, the goddess of love and fertility. When the class was over, she came up to me and confessed the deed. I ask her what the dog was like now, she said it ate all her underwear. Obviously I don’t recommend this as a method of connecting with spirit, although it was quite amusing. There are several ways in Voodoo and Santeria to connect by performing ritual cleansings of your space. Some of the simplest involve the sprinkling of Florida Water and black salt in the corners of the home during the waning moon, this can be done in conjunction with the burning of white and/or black candles.” – Lilith Dorsey, on the importance of proper training, and proper ritual cleansing. 

John Beckett

John Beckett

“My belief we’re here for a purpose doesn’t flow from my Pagan religion.  It comes from something before that, from some deep intuition.  It’s part of that “core being” I wrote about in the last post.  It’s the same core intuition that told me the fundamentalist religion of my childhood couldn’t be right.  It’s the same core intuition that clicked when someone first explained modern Paganism and clicked again when I discovered Druidry.  It whispers “there’s more” – more to Life than the apparent world. I can hear the Religious Naturalists sighing – I’m sure to them I sound like the kid who opens his 27th Yule present and then cries “is that all?”  The natural world is beautiful and powerful and life-affirming and we are lucky to be here.  It is enough and more isn’t necessary. But that core intuition keeps whispering “there’s more” – something more than what is measurable.   And part of that more is a reason for being here, a purpose for my life.” – John Beckett, on purpose and will.

Finally, here’s a video interview with Karagan Griffith, discussing the documentary film “With Love from Salem” (which I reviewed here).

That’s all I have now, have a great day!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Soli

    I feel honored to be included among such an incredible group of people. Thank you.

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

    I am glad to see that Sam Webster focuses on something that really ought to be the Achilles Heel of racist Paganism: the fact that racism, as we know it today, is actually a decidedly modern notion originating among White European Christians during the 17th and 18th centuries. Sam also points out that these modern notions about “nations” and “races” are in sharp contrast to the what ancient Pagans actually said and did.

    And Sam also gets double extra bonus points for not only using the word “antinomian”, but using it to make an excellent point: Pagans will put up with almost anything, but we should draw the line at racism. Racism has no place in our religious community.

  • Crystal Hope Kendrick

    I find it strange Ravenna’s article was censored simply for calling out the AFA. The Pagan community has known about their “hijinks” for a while now. It’s nothing new. But it is good to see so many Pagans making a firm stand against racism. We don’t need it in our communities.

    • Anne Newkirk Niven

      I asked Ravenna to make a single-word change in her post. One word. That word was “unabashedly” as in “unabashedly racist” which is what she called the AFA in the original post. I deemed that one-word change necessary to provide us with legal cover against allegations of libel by members of the AFA. (They claim to not be racist, hence “unabashedly racist” is making a factual claim that they are racist and admit so being. One of their representatives phoned me up immediately after Ravenna’s original post to tell me that the organization considered the post libelous and were considering legal remedies.)

      I don’t carry “errors and omissions” insurance — it costs tens of thousands of dollars a year — and I do not have the resources to defend my tiny, two-person business against even the slightest legal proceeding. I thought my request to Ravenna was quite reasonable, but Ravenna refused to make the edit, so I took down the post per legal advice. When she persisted in posting in a way I believed put us in legal jeopardy I choose to end our site’s relationship with her.

      I believe Ravenna spoke her truth, and I regret that she and I could not come to an understanding on how to share her opinion without potentially jeopardizing the entire site.

      • Crystal Hope Kendrick

        Interesting. Thanks for taking the time to explain, Ms. Niven.

      • Katie Terwilliger

        I wonder if she will be forced to come to a similar conclusion about the editing of her piece. You did what you could, Ms. Niven.

      • Winn

        Thank you for sharing this perspective. I was initially very disappointed in hearing about the removal of Ravenna’s post, especially since the position of the AFA and associations of its members within the white separatist and neo-volkisch movements has been evident since their formation from the ashes of the Asatru Alliance. This provides some much-needed context and is appreciated.

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

        This is actually an important point. It is wrong to call the AFA “unabashedly” racist. And this is not just a fine-point of legality.

        The AFA explicitly claims that they are not racist. If one wants to make a serious argument that the AFA is, in fact, racist (as I believe they are), then one has to take into account the actual things that the AFA says and does, and to demonstrate that they are racist despite their “bashedness”, so to speak.

        In fact, from a Heathen point of view such an argument is far more damning than simply sweeping aside that AFA’s flimsy protestations and crudely proclaiming that “everyone knows” they are racist. From a Heathen perspective it is the epitome is dishonorable behavior to lie about one’s beliefs. If there were such things as racist Heathens, they would proudly proclaim their racism, and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it.

        The AFA are worse than merely racist. They are cowards and mealy-mouthed dissemblers. They have taken a modern idea that represents all that is most repugnant about modern society, and they have dressed it up with Viking horns and little Rune earrings and put a Thor’s hammer around its bigoted neck. And on top they lack the courage to call what they espouse by its proper name.

        • Crystal Hope Kendrick

          “[…] flimsy protestations and crudely proclaiming that ‘everyone knows’ they are racist.” My apologies. I simply considered it settled consensus that the organization is racist and couldn’t understand why pointing that out would be cause for censorship, but Ms. Niven has given another viewpoint which was helpful.

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

            “I simply considered it settled consensus that the organization is racist ….”

            Assumptions of this sort are precisely what we should avoid at all costs. No one should be assumed to be racist simply because of some vague “settled consensus” that does not actually exist.

            Assume nothing. Question everything. Think for yourself, and don’t expect others to accept what you assume to be “obvious”. In fact, whenever you find yourself or anyone else using arguments that amount to “well, it’s obvious”, or “everyone knows”, or “it’s the settled consensus”, then that is precisely where you need to stop and think.

          • Crystal Hope Kendrick

            Thank you. I appreciate a good talking down to, Appuleius, and I’m glad to play the part of your whipping boy every now and then as you seem to require it. Glad I could do my part.

          • Crystal Hope Kendrick

            You’re assuming that my own opinion played no part in that consensus. I’ve been to the AFA’s site. I’ve read through it and came away rather disgusted. I wasn’t relying on anyone else’s opinion when I made that decision. They made news in 2011 when some of their members were found at a White Nationalist convention for which the AFA gave no apology. That and the language they use and ideas they promote on their website was sufficient evidence.

          • kenofken

            We are under absolutely no obligation to limit our consideration of the AFA to the carefully parsed statements they put on the declaration of purpose on their public web site. McNallen has been around in the broader movement for 40 years now. The AFA, about 20. Look at things they’ve said and done, the patterns, over that entire arc of time. Look especially at the things they write, not for public consumption, but for their own audiences. Look at the associations they keep when they think no outsiders are looking.

            From both the website and everything else McNallen has ever written, it’s clear that race identity is a central tenet, if not THE central tenet of his vision of Asatru. They’re very concerned about the preservation of the “white race” (excuse me, the “Peoples of the North” who happen to exemplify white folk.)

            They’re not calling for violence, or stating that white people are superior, but their foundational idea is that the white race, or rather, certain Europeans who comprise a “biological group,” is under seige and needs to be unified in identity and purpose to survive.

            That is the core myth and worldview of EVERY white supremacist and National Socialist movement which has ever existed, including the architects of Apartheid, Jim Crow segregation, the Holocaust and all of the various neo-Nazi and skinhead movements who do advocate and practice violence today.

            So the AFA and McNallen share the same core of race theory as openly extreme/supremacy groups, and a number of AFA members have no qualms about maintaining associations with those groups, but we’re intolerant and judgy for connecting the factual dots that McNallen arrayed in a straight line?

            Circle Anzuz did a series of articles delving into the history of McNallen’s writings and the AFA.

            http://circleansuz.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/stephen-mcnallen-part-one/

            In particular, one of McNallen’s own writings sheds an interesting light on the claim that AFA is all about Scandinavian heritage and not race. The 2010 article on immigration posted under his name on a European Americans United web site is titled “A Down and Dirty Breakdown of the Browning of America.”

            Very interesting stuff, this. McNallen doesn’t choose to talk about the economic issues that vex most of us with immigration. He frames it primarily as a problem of racial conquest, and the declining percentage of white people (not just particular Europeans). Give it a spin and see what you think. By the by, European Americans United is listed by the SPLC as a hate group.

            http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=8699

            I would urge all of us to take up the challenge apparently thrown down by AFA sympathizers here: Make up your own mind. Read as much about the group as you can find, and see what the sum of it tells you about whether they’re racist.

      • Brennos Agrocunos

        The practice that the AFA is engaging in is called “dog whistle racism” Racism that is flies under the radar of hate speech laws but is very clearly heard by other racists. The use of it is a plague in modern social discourse and doesn’t make the person or group that uses is any less unabashed in their racism. Morpheus was correct in using that term with the AFA and it can be applied to any group that uses those terms to justify exclusion of an individual from worshiping what gods have called to them because of some sort of lack of racial or genetic purity.
        The tragedy here is that the AFA can use weak legal threats to bully a small business owner into silencing a debate that is long overdue within our community. This debate is just beginning thankfully.

        • Tasman

          Group think, anyone? The self-congratulatory tone of the self appointed thought police writing here doesn’t permit of anything resembling debate. More a Witch Hunt of those you deem to be beyond the ideological pale.

          • kenofken

            Racialists have nothing of substance to bring to any debate. Their theories of racial identity and ethnic nationalism have been put forward and examined from every angle for the better part of four centuries.

            They have had numerous real-world trials in national, continental and even trans-hemispheric policy. The philosophy informing AFA and like groups has shown humanity exactly what it has to offer, and the overwhelming consensus is that it sucks, and is not the way forward for Northern Europeans or the “white race” or pagans or humanity.

            It has brought nothing but genocides, slavery and colonialism which in turn spawned the legacy of dictatorships and terrorism and extreme poverty which now rack much of our planet. In so doing, it has decimated the credibility and moral authority of the countries and cultures of Western and Northern Europe (and the United States).

            Faced as they are with this perfect 400 year record of catastrophe and misery, the burden of proof falls on groups like the AFA to show how their “separate but equal” racial-ISM is in any way positive or substantially different from the virulent racism which swirls around them in the histories of their organizations and in the personal histories and associations of many of their key and founding figures.

            People who form associations that sound, look, move and smell like white supremacy movements have no right to fob all that off by saying “we don’t hate” and then pull the “tolerance card” when the rest of us call a spade a spade, so to speak.

            The onus is on the AFA to explain exactly who they envision as “The Peoples of the North (typified by the Scandinavian/Germanic and Celtic peoples)” if that’s not just the proxy for “white race” that it looks to be. They draw a curious distinction. Are Inuit not “north enough”? Why are Celts in there? A main locus of their civilizations were in France and the Iberian Peninsula. They assert that the “Northern European peoples” are a “biological group.”

            Again, if they’re not just punting for the “Aryan Race”, what do they mean? If I want to join their group, what percentage of of my ancestry had to come from what region and what’s the exact cutoff for when THAT group had to be in the right place? Why should the usual Nordic people even qualify? Their ancestors were latecomers. The Sami are the only group considered indigenous to Scandinavia.

            The idea of race as a biological classification is considered unscientific and ass-backward in modern science. If they don’t mean race, what do they mean? What sequences and haplotypes in autosomal, mitochondrial or Y-chromosome DNA define who makes the cut as “Northern European peoples?”

            If we’re to have a debate, let’s have it, in full. In my experience, racialist groups have no interest in scrutiny or true debate.

          • Nick Ritter

            “Why should the usual Nordic people even qualify? Their ancestors were latecomers.”

            Not to be pedantic here, but are we really considering the early bronze age as “recent”?

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

          It cannot be “dog whistle racism” and also be “unabashed racism.”

          This is the whole problem with sanctimonious posturing: it is nothing but an excuse for throwing reason and logic out the window. You cannot accuse someone of being simultaneously duplicitous and “unabashed”!

          • Morpheus Ravenna

            Please see my comment above where I explain a bit about why I used that term. The AFA promotes racist ideas clearly and in public on their website.They aren’t bashful about *being* racists, only about other people calling them on it. The whole point of dog whistle racism is that it allows organizations like this to promote in public ideas that they know are unacceptable by co-opting the language of diversity as a cover. I see this as quite intentional and it does look to me like unabashed racism.

          • MadGastronomer

            Here’s the thing, though. “Unabashed” doesn’t mean “not bashful”. It means, and I quote from Merriam-Webster Online, “not embarrassed or ashamed about openly expressing strong feelings or opinions”. And, as has been noted, what they’re doing is employing dog whistles. They are absolutely and totally being racists. But they are doing so covertly and deniably, which is not at all open. They are trying to hide their racism from the general public, while making sure that other racists understand them. It’s not the same as openly expressing racism. A writer should be more careful with words.

            More importantly, that’s the word that means a lawsuit probably won’t be thrown out immediately as a nuisance suit, and cost the publisher a lot of money in the short run, even if she wins in the longer run. It’s entirely possible to call out their racism using more nuanced — and more precise — language that makes it very plain exactly how they are being racist, while making a lawsuit much harder for them to prosecute.

            Your publisher needed to protect herself. These lawsuits can be ruinous even if settled or won, and could easily drive her into bankruptcy. Don’t blame her for needing to protect herself. You could have worked with her to get your message across just as plainly — and more accurately — but leave her less open and liable. You could have actually taken some editorial input, as professional writers must do. But no, you have to denounce your publisher as the problem, rather than placing the blame where it truly lies, with the racist group that threatened her.

            Also, your whole everybody’s ancestors were everybody else’s ancestors 1300 years ago thing was utter nonsense, and you seriously needed to think that through better. You just made yourself look incredibly foolish.

            The AFA needs to be called out, by as many people as possible. It needs to be denounced loudly and thoroughly. Everyone needs to know how racist they are. Good on you for doing that.

            But seriously, can you not do a better job of it?

      • Morpheus Ravenna

        By way of clarification, Anne first asked me to “rephrase this particular sentence to make it clear that the adjective “racist” is NOT one that AFA applies to itself.” That is a direct quote from her email to me. She also provided a couple of suggestions as to how the sentence could be rephrased (both of which involved substantially more than a one-word change). I refused.

        I think it should be obvious why I would not choose to edit my words to reflect the AFA’s opinion of itself, rather than my own view that it is a racist organization. I wrote that article in order to take a stance against racism, and to encourage others in our communities to join me in doing so.

        A few days after this exchange, I received another message from Anne in which she informed me that since I refused to edit my post, it was being deleted, because of a libel suit threat from the AFA.

        I understand why Anne felt she had to censor my post and kick me off the site. The AFA clearly is attempting to threaten and intimidate those who point out their racism, and in Anne’s case, the intimidation worked.

        In my case, it won’t. I stand by what I said. The AFA has racist ideologies published openly on their website and easily viewable by anyone. They are not bashful about promoting the views that only white people can be Heathens, that white people should not intermix with other races, and that the white race needs to defend itself against other races in a demographic and spiritual war. Those are racist views, and the AFA is promoting them quite publicly. Thus my use of the adjective “unabashed”. The AFA is only bashful about other people calling them racists – they are not in fact bashful about BEING racists and promoting racism.

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

          Where in all of the AFA’s website does McNallen or anyone else come right out and say that “white people should not intermix with other races”?? Or that “the white race needs to defend itself against other races” in some kind of racial war?? These are not McNallen’s words, but rather words you are putting into his mouth.

          In my opinion McNallen is a racist, but he is also a devious and duplicitous man who is careful to conceal his racism.

          One reason why this is important is because there are, sadly, many people in the Pagan community who have become trigger-happy when it comes to vague accusations of racism.

          • Morpheus Ravenna

            Correct, those are my paraphrase of the AFA’s ideologies. Here is where you can find those ideas published on their website.

            In their Declaration of Purpose: “Therefore, the survival and welfare of the Northern European peoples as
            a cultural and biological group is a religious imperative for the AFA.” http://www.runestone.org/about-the-afa/declaration-of-purpose.html
            Survival of Northern European peoples as a biological group is obviously a reference to not mixing races. There really isn’t anything else it can mean.

            In the article “Wotan vs. Tezcatlipoca: The Spiritual War for California and the Southwest”, in which it is argued that demographic shifts toward a higher proportion of Latino-descended peoples represents a spiritual war, in which white people need to “rise from our slumber and resist this tide of cultural and demographic conquest”, by means including unspecified legislative actions, “to fight for my people and my culture against all odds.”
            http://www.runestone.org/about-asatru/articles-a-essays/150-wotan-vs-tezcatlipoca-the-spiritual-war-for-california-and-the-southwest.html

            In this essay on their pseudoscience of “metagenetics” in which McNallen uses loopy pseudoscience to attempt to justify the idea that religion is tied to genetics, and therefore the practice of excluding non-white people from Asatru:
            http://www.runestone.org/about-asatru/articles-a-essays/143-metagenetics.html

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

            I absolutely agree that McNallen’s essay on Wotan vs. Tezcatlipoca is among the most important sources of evidence for his racism. The same is true for his views on immigration generally.

            An even more damning source of evidence, in my opinion, is McNallen’s relationship with Greg Johnson. In fact, McNallen appears to have realized that he exposed himself too much in this relationship, and has made pains to cover his tracks (to some extent successfully). This is because Johnson is much less circumspect than McNallen. Johnson is the type of fellow who isn’t afraid to come right out and say shit like

            “Since we are fighting for nothing less than the biological survival of our race, and since the vast bulk of Jews oppose us, we need to err on the side of caution and have no association with Jews whatsoever. Any genuine Jewish well-wishers will understand, since they know what their people are like better than we ever can.”
            [“White Nationalism and Jewish Nationalism“]

            I am all in favor of making as strong a case as possible, based on verifiable facts, that McNallen is a committed racist, and that his first loyalty is to his racist ideology. But in doing so we have to acknowledge that McNallen has worked hard to avoid the racist label, and that many people have been successfully duped by McNallen’s deceptions.

          • kenofken

            The fact that McNallen and groups like the AFA feel such a need to “tidy up” the language of their movement and to avoid at all cost laying public claim to their demonstrated beliefs speaks volumes about those beliefs.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    I’m not a fan of racism, myself, but I would not go so far as to say that racists can’t be Pagan.

    I may not share their sociopoliticial views, but I am not about to say that they are denied access to the gods, either.

    It’s a hard line to tread and I would do it thus: I do not care what a person’s prejudices are, they will act in a civil and respectful manner whilst under my hospitality, otherwise they will find themselves no longer under it.

    • MadGastronomer

      Yes, as long as they act civil in front of you, they can go right on actively harming others — and racism does actively harm others, even if you don’t see it happening right there in front of you — and you’re good with that. Good to know.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        I believe in borders. Whilst within my borders, I set the rules. Once outside them, I presume no such thing.

        Everyone gets harmed. That is life.

        There is no absolute morality, so I can claim no moral highground if I tell someone else how they should live their life.

        • MadGastronomer

          All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Condemnation when *you* think it’s appropriate instead of when people are actually being hurt is effectively nothing. I’m just glad not everyone holds your position.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Evil is an empty concept. What is evil to one is good for another.

  • Charles Cosimano

    I have always had a certain envy for those who have lives so meaningless that they have the luxury of monitoring the opinions of other people.

    • RMMT

      When one has suffered violence (personally and/or historically) as the result of these kinds of “opinions,” it doesn’t feel like luxury to keep an ear out for similar discourses.

    • Crystal Hope Kendrick

      I have a certain envy for those who are so oblivious to privilege they don’t understand the effects those opinions have on minorities in the real world. It would be different if no one acted on their biases, but that’s rarely if ever the case.

      • Constant Reader

        Perhaps I’m wrong, but I viewed that comment to be about the AFA and their immediate lawsuit threats, which revealed them to be the former schoolyard bullies they undoubtedly are. They’re quick to spout their own opinions and just as quick to move to silence people who disagree with them.

        • MadGastronomer

          You may be right, but exactly that sort of comment is made so often about people who call out racist (and other oppressive) language and action that it’s hard for some of us to read it your way without some other indicator.

          • Constant Reader

            Fair enough.

  • Franklin Evans

    There is overwhelming evidence that civil litigation is a weapon wielded by those with the resources to intimidate those without the resources to stand up to this sort of legal bullying.
    That said, I respectfully call out Ravenna on the claim that her blog post was “censored”. It was not censored, it was removed. For me, the distinction is important, starting with the fact that the unedited post appears on another publicly accessible site.
    You can decry the practice, but you cannot deny the financial reality. Unless you are willing to take on the burden of a legal defense for your words — that they appear on someone else’s site should be irrelevant — you cannot claim any privilege for the post remaining as it was.
    A personally-chosen metaphor: a pat on the back after the nose is broken doesn’t make getting the nose broken worth the experience. I’m not sure I’d be willing to have my nose broken on a reliable promise to foot the bill for fixing it, but that just shows my personal bias in favor of Niven’s decision.

    • kenofken

      Niven’s decision in the circumstance is understandable, but it’s nothing for our community to aspire to or to use as a template for pagan media operations. The threat of litigation is scary, but if we’re not willing to step up as a community and incur some costs and take some risks, why are we even bothering with advocacy? The headstone issue was a waste of time and money if that’s to be our ethic. We’ll mobilize to protect our rights against Christians but fold before dubious threats by “our own kind”? If we won’t stand up for as something as basic as journalistic expression in our own community, than we really are nothing more than aging hippies and steam punkers who play dress up in the woods.

      Niven pulled the plug because she felt alone in the wind on this. She shouldn’t be, and there is a lot of room between self-censorship and fighting prolonged libel suits. We have resources like Lady Liberty League. We have attorneys floating around the pagan community. Niven probably could have gotten some insight from a call to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which deals with hate groups and litigation all the time.

      When I was in the newspaper industry, industry associations and the SPJ had lawyers who would teach writers about the basics of libel law and help them assess stories pre-publication. They can help you figure out of a threat is credible or not, and they can teach you to write in ways that get your point across clearly but safely. There are resources out there, and if none of them are adequate or a good fit, we should do what we have always done as a community: make new ones.

    • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

      Rule number one in dealing with lawyers: It’s better to know the judge than the law.
      Rule number two: You get just as much justice as you can afford.

      • Franklin_Evans

        I respect your cynicism — card-carrying curmudgeon here — but I can’t let it go without this rebuttal.

        I’ve been on a jury for two civil cases and three criminal cases. Different judge each time, and at no point could I agree to the premise that any counsel was playing to the judge in any way.

        I am not a lawyer, and I claim knowledge of our judicial system only from my participation in it. The biggest mistake one can make, in my opinion, is to ascribe compassion to it. It’s dispassionate by design.

        It’s not perfect. It’s perpetrated some spectacular mistakes. But overall it’s the best one out there.

        • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

          I deal with lawyers at least weekly, and have been on both Federal and State Grand Juries, and on a criminal jury once. Rule Number Two I’ve seen enough to know that it sticks.

          Is it a pretty good system? yes. Is it fair? hardly. Is it the best in the world? A categorical no. Are there many out there that are far worse? Of course.

          • Franklin Evans

            Eran, I’d be curious to know which one(s) you believe are better. My perspective is limited, and I could learn.
            I fully agree with Rule Number Two from both my experience of and reading accounts of civil trials. For the rest, I defer to your much more extensive experience.

          • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

            Switzerland. Iceland (and to an extent, Norway and Sweden). Portugal, to some extents.