Columnist Karl E. H. Seigfried writes on the tendency within the Heathen community to dismiss the actions of Heathen extremists as “not true Heathenry” instead of confronting the racist traditions that have been present in the religion since its modern-day foundation.
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!!”
Ásatrúarfélagið, the Icelandic Ásatrú organization, has attracted widespread international attention since announcing plans to build a temple in downtown Reykajavík last February. Although much of that attention has been positive, it was reported earlier this week by the Icelandic news service Vísir that Ásatrúarfélagið had received hate mail and threats of vandalism from foreign Pagans. These threats have, in turn, forced Ásatrúarfélagið to consider the security of its temple and the relationship of its organization to the rest of the world. According to the alsherjargoði, or high priest, of Ásatrúarfélagið, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the society began to receive large amounts of hate-mail in February, just after a widely-circulated article about the temple was published in Iceland Magazine. Although the society has always attracted the occasional letter of this sort throughout its four-decade history, this surge of messages was unprecedented.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – On the morning Feb. 10, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court heard arguments in the case of Dennis Walker v. Matthew Cates. Walker is an inmate at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville. His claim, which was originally filed in 2011, is that prison administrators violated his religious rights by forcing him to have a “non-Aryan” cellmate. As noted in the case text from a 2011 court document, Walker “is an Aryan Christian/Odinist, ethnically white without gang affiliation.”