OMFG you guys! I cannot help but think that I have found among the Irish pagans the place where I truly belong!
When I read the email exchanges posted by Pagan Federation Ireland on their Facebook page, I shouted hallelujah! (<-It’s a relic of my xtian upbringing. Obviously, I will have to learn what my new fellow Irish pagans are supposed to shout in similar situations.)
It started with this inquiry:
hello, my fiance and i are currently planning a trip to ireland (from the US) next June of 2017 to get married and honeymoon for three weeks. we are odinists and would like an odinist or similar minded clergy to marry us. we would prefer to find someone who only performs heterosexual ceremonies and refrains from marrying those of mixed races. if you can help me find someone, that would be fantastic and very much appreciated. thank you very much for your time and consideration and I hope to hear from you soon. ∼sarah
We are most happy to report that none of our clergy subscribe to your views on mixed race or gay marriage, and so we cannot assist you in your upcoming visit to Ireland.
Yours very sincerely,
Everyone at Pagan Federation Ireland
EVERYONE. ♥ ♥ ♥ !!!
S. Fenner firstname.lastname@example.org 00:16 (8 hours ago)
I am writing to determine if the Pagan Federatiin of Ireland truly supports all Pagan paths, as stated on your website. Image recently received the attached screenshot of a query by an Odinist. (Attached below) Could you please advise us as to if this is indeed the attitude of your organization towards what are known as traditional folkish Heathens?
Best regards, S. Fenner
Pagan Federation Ireland <email@example.com>
08:19 (0 minutes ago)
Pagan Federation Ireland operates a zero tolerance approach
to racism and homophobia, both of which were abundantly clear
in the initial communication.
Your values, as stated here on your website – https://odinia.org/what-are-values/ – are incompatible with ours.
If your religious beliefs or practices incorporate either racism or
homophobia, then you will not find a home here.
As you seem to wish to make some sort of political issue
of this, might we suggest the following:
Screenshots are so very amateur, and prone to being disbelieved.
For a proven donation of €10 to any Irish Pagan organisation,
not necessarily ourselves, or to the Native Woodland Trust -http://www.nativewoodlandtrust.ie/en/,we will send you a signed copy of the statement on headed notepaper.
Laminated if you wish.
We will also send you permission to distribute the letter,
in its complete form only, as widely as you wish.
The €10 will cover two copies of the letter, one of which we will have framed and put on the office wall, lest we ever forget.
Yours most sincerely
Pagan Federation Ireland
I am sure you can see why I am quite enamored with these Irish pagans! THESE ARE MY PEOPLE, people. They are much more like me in ways that matter than some atheists. And predictably, it turns out that conservative U.S. pagans (e.g. Odinists) have a lot in common with conservative Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and atheists.
Some right-wing Heathen groups view homosexuality as being incompatible with a family-oriented ethos and thus censure same-sex sexual activity.
For some reason I keep getting a sense of déjà vu today.
Some folkish Heathens are white supremacists and explicit racists, representing a “radical racist” faction that favours the terms “Odinism” and “Wotanism”. Kaplan stated that the “borderline separating racialist Odinism and National Socialism is exceedingly thin”… The historian Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke similarly stated that Odinism “represents the battlefront of racist paganism in support of a white Aryan revolutionary path”. Practitioners in this sector of the religion have paid tribute to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, claimed that the white race is facing extinction at the hands of a Jewish world conspiracy, and rejected Christianity as a creation of the Jews. Many in the inner circle of The Order, a white supremacist militant group active in the U.S. during the 1980s, described themselves as Odinists, and various racist Heathens have espoused the Fourteen Words slogan developed by the Heathen and Order member David Lane…Racist Heathens are heavily critical of their anti-racist counterparts, often declaring that the latter have been misled by New Age literature and political correctness.
Hmmm, yeah I think I dimly recall hearing something about this whole “racist” thing somewhere?
Within the Heathen community of the United States, gender roles are based upon perceived ideals and norms found in Early Medieval Northwestern Europe, in particular as they are presented in Old Norse sources. Among male American Heathens there is a trend toward hypermasculinized behaviour, while a gendered division of labor—in which men are viewed as providers and women seen as being responsible for home and children—is also widespread among Heathens in the U.S. Due to its focus on traditional attitudes to sex and gender—values perceived as socially conservative in Western nations—it has been argued that American Heathenry’s ethical system is far closer to traditional Christian morals than the ethical systems espoused in many other Western Pagan religions such as Wicca.
Now, it’s true that I might be disqualified from actually becoming an Irish pagan, on account of (a) I don’t believe in anything supernatural, and (b) I’m not Irish. I could also be rejected because I tend to change my religion as often as some people change their socks: at first I was a follower of Vishnu, but then I became utterly devoted to Lord Shiva, ultimately finding my way back to Christianity, the religion of my youth. That didn’t last long though, because PZ cleverly rallied his shock troops to come rescue and re-deconvert me. So yeah, I can totally see how these Irish pagans might be a liiiiiittle bit leery about the sincerity of my commitment to them. But in my defense, I am and promise to remain fiercely loyal to anyone, anywhere, who walks the Social Justice Warrior talk, and who does not hesitate for one second to tell conservative assholes to fuck off. (Or, in the case of Irish SJWs, to “feck oof.”)
If they do graciously decide to accept my application however, I just hope I won’t be required to dress up like an elf or wear some silly uniform or anything. That, my friends, would be a dealbreaker. I’m a New Yorker, for fuck’s sake. I do not want to find myself banished back to the ‘burbs for egregious fashion crimes. I’d never survive it.
[images of European pagans: public domain]