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by Magnus Odinsson
Asatru is not a racist religion regardless of what some would have us think. It has been my experience that racism can only do Asatru harm. I once belonged to a kindred that was considered folkish and believed that only those of northern european ancestry should be allowed to join. I considered this view for a while before I realized it was wrong. The kindred itself started as a national socialist group and eventually some of the members grew to realize what was truly important, Asatru, not racism. By the time I joined most of the racism was gone or kept to a minimum even though several members were skinheads and held close to their racist views insisting they had a link to the religion itself. This was seen by other Asatruers and caused them to report the kindred to a group that kept a public list of hate groups where the name of the kindred remains today. I find it very unfortunate that any kindred or Asatru organization is on a list such as this. Our ancestors were not racists and neither were our gods. Keeping in mind that the Aesir and Vanir were seperate races of gods themselves, and that the gods intermarried with yet another race that was supposed to be their rivals, the Jotuns, hardly supports a racist point of view.
In the prose edda there is a passage referring to the many names of Odin and how they were to help different types of people relate to him better.
Then said High One: "It would take a vast amount of knowledge to cover them all, but it is swiftest to say, that most of the names have been given (To him)because, the many different nations speaking different tongues in the world, all wanted to change his name into their own tongue in order to address and pray (to him) for themselves".
I see this as Odin saying that if people of other races and cultures want to worship me then let them. Personally I am more concerned with the values of the person sharing my religion not the color of their skin.
The lore of Asatru itself has no reference to any of the gods or ancestors being racists but the groups that promote racism more than anything else continue to link the two together. David Lane is one such person. He has created an acronym out of one of the Allfathers heiti. He uses Wotan as "will of the aryan nation". To me this is nothing more than propaganda at its worse. Furthermore the majority of the people who follow this and other such groups know all their words and catch phrases but nothing of the lore of our faith yet they dare call themselves Asatru or Heathen. Most of these groups are located in the U.S. also. A free country, free for all men regardless of race. In my opinion this infringes upon ones freedom of religion. Anyone should be allowed to be Asatru regardless of ethnic origin. In my mind it is absurd for one person to decide that another can or cant hear the call of our gods when it is the gods themselves who send the call in the first place.
Another thing about being located in the U.S. is the fact that we are a country that consists of many different races and cultures and its impossible for one person to live here without some influence from these other cultures. Not to mention that so many people today are not 100% anything. Should a mixed person be proud of half his culture and not the other half? I for instance am German, Scandinavian, and Ukrainian but I was raised in a mostly black and hispanic area. Due to this I have been influenced by these peoples music, food, even language since I speak fluent ebonics. Who's to say that a person that is black or hispanic who is raised in a all white area cannot be influenced by their ways and even their religion.
As I said linking Asatru or Odinism to any hate group or racist party does nothing but harm the religion itself. I remember several years back when a group of men broke out of a Texas prison and were a fugitive group labeled "the Texas seven" one of these men was said to be an Odinist. I challenge this since he commited suicide when caught which is hardly an Odinic act if you ask me. This shows a extra level of responsibility we must hold in our lives as Asatruers. When was the last time anyone read a news headline that said "Lutheran holds up bank" not likely. But now replace Lutheran with Asatruer or Odinist and what comes to mind. This is because of groups like these that have tainted Asatru with their filth and the only way to clean ourselves from this is to speak up and set them apart. Its already happening. The future is here and now and less Asatruers are hanging onto the folkish standpoint. As for the racists, in the stone age small groups of inbred humans lived seperated by vast distances from all others of their species, in the event that humans from another group were seen they looked different and were driven away or killed. Unfortunantly some stll cling to this paleolithic mentality but the future does not look bright for them.
I'll finish this with a quote, in his article, Race and Religion, Gamlinginn says; "In the modern age, racists will become more and more isolated from mainstream society (and reality)--living lonely, bitter and paranoid lives." Personally I have better things to do than let fear of what is different alter my logic and cause me any more grief than these people already have.