UNITED STATES –A U.S. Army soldier has been given the go-ahead to wear a beard as an expression of his Heathen faith, but not everyone in that community is on board. Leaders of some of the higher-profile Heathen organizations have questioned the sources, the messaging, and even the motivations of those who supported the bid. In a story published late last month, Army Times reporter Meghann Myers explained how the opportunity for this particular request only opened up in early 2017, when religious beards were approved as “a response to years of requests — and a lawsuit — from Sikh soldiers seeking to both serve and adhere to the tenets of their faith.” For Sikhs, the issue is that kesh, uncut hair, is a requirement of that religion. However, even the loosening of military beardlessness to accommodate members of that religion does require some cutting; facial hair can’t be allowed to grow more than two inches past the bottom of the chin.
UNITED STATES — When two men were fatally stabbed and another injured on a Portland train in May, officials and journalists began to follow the predictable course of profiling the attacker in an effort to understand why he would resort to such actions. After a few short days, several sources began to speculate on his Heathen religious practice, more specifically on Odinism. This assumption rests squarely on Facebook posts made the attacker over the past year. On May 9, he wrote, “Hail Vinland!! Hail Victory!!”
BERKELEY, Calif — For the third time this year, people convened in the California city of Berkeley to attend, or to protest, what was being labeled a “Freedom Rally” or “Free Speech Rally.” The scene quickly turned violent as tensions mounted between the two gathering factions. The event was over before it had a chance to really begin. According to the police report, there were 11 injuries and 20 arrests with more possible after video footage is reviewed. Many news outlets have labeled Saturday’s event a pro-Trump rally describing a politically-based scenario pitting Trump supporters against his opponents.
WASHINGTON D.C. — Beginning 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, women will unite and march on Washington to, as organizers say, “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” Although it is called the “Women’s March on Washington,” organizers say that everyone who supports their purpose is welcome. They wrote: “In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new administration, Congress, Senate, state and local governments on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”
ATLANTA, Ga. — The Georgia Pagan community lost one of its elders this month. David Babulski, more commonly known as Papa Bear, passed away on April 11, 2016 at 71. David was an internationally recognized artist, as well as an author, educator and musician. He is most well-known for his mineral paintings, which have been featured in exhibits around the country and have been the subject of numerous books.