Over the past year, and especially since the Frith Forge conference in Germany, I’ve noticed increasing use and discussion of the term “inclusive Heathenry.”
It often seems more of a rebranding than a revolutionary concept. Practitioners of Ásatrú and Heathenry have long taken sides over issues of inclusion, with some taking hard stances on either end of the spectrum and many situating themselves in a complicated middle ground. The battles that have raged for so long have been between positions that were often defined by the other side. The universalist position supposedly said that anyone could be Heathen – no questions asked. The folkish position supposedly said that only straight white people could be Heathen – with many questions asked.
Today we are faced less with a crisis of immigration than a crisis for immigrants. The Trump administration continues to aggressively ramp up its war on undocumented immigrants, as it seeks to expand the federal government’s ability to use police as man hunters and to build new detention facilities. Refugees have been repeatedly scapegoated as terrorists as the president and his allies seek to block them from finding asylum in the United States. Shortly after the election, a Trump surrogate cited America’s Japanese-American internment camps during World War II as precedent for a national registry of Muslim immigrants. At the end of January, President Trump signed an executive order aiming to build more detention centers for arrested immigrants whose deportation is pending.
“no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark…”
According to the United Nations, there are currently more displaced people on the planet than at any other time in recorded history. Nearly sixty million people have fled or have been driven from their homes on account of war, violence, political destabilization, or severe economic conditions, compared to around 38 million a decade ago. 1 out of every 122 humans on this planet is currently a refugee, and 9 out of 10 of them are in regions considered to be underdeveloped by international standards. While the Syrian war is currently the largest contributor to such displacement, displaced people hail from every corner of the world, from Haiti to Pakistan to Senegal to Colombia.
NOTTINGHAM, England –Members of the Nottingham Pagan Network organized an ongoing food drive to the feed refugees who have made it as far as England and any others in need in this storied city. The donations have been given to the food bank run by Himmah, described on its web site as “the first Muslim food bank in the U.K.” It’s interfaith cooperation which made the effort possible, according to Sarah Kay, spokesperson for the Nottingham Pagan Network. “NPN joined Nottingham Interfaith Council in 2014, and we were invited onto the committee to represent Pagans,” she explained. “We’re finding that many parts of mainstream society are becoming more aware of Paganism and want to see it represented properly and sensibly alongside the other faiths, especially in a city like Nottingham where Paganism’s profile has become more visible thanks to things like the Pagan Pride festival,” she said. “We think the basic concepts of interfaith are already active in the Pagan community since, as Pagans of diverse and sometimes contradictory religious faiths and practices, we are used to coming together with people of a different religious and spiritual outlook.”