Regulars

19 February 2007

Ah, bigotry. Gotta love it.

Convicted murder suddenly decides he's Tru, files suit asking for Llewellynized "ritual implements".

I personally don't know what's more sad: the lawsuit, the bulk of the items being asked for in the lawsuit, Asatru "prison outreach" to begin with, or the steady stream of effluvium issuing forth from the keyboards of the Christianists and other assorted ignorami in their haste to bash us.

It's hard to refrain from giving in to my baser instincts and leaping headlong into the fray, but really what is there to say? Nothing. I even agree with those comments that point out that the guy is a murderer who really doesn't deserve the time of day, much less "dragon's blood incense", "abalone shells", and "a wooden wand". I mean, did we read "Rites of Odin" a few too many times? Seriously, I'd like to know.

In any event: the sad hilarity of the article and its complete and total ignorance of what Asatru even is gets totally overshadowed by the complete and total idiocy of the commenters who do their level best to show off their gross ignorance by spraying such wonderful things as this:

"What color do you have to be to be included in this "religion?" I have been "inside" and have seen these Asatru followers, and they were all white. But then again, so were the Klu Klux Klan. Go figure?"

Because of course, Nidhoggr-fodder like Michael Lenz and various members of white supremacist organizations is such a representative sample right?

I don't see the point of "prison outreach", in any event. Very few and very far between are those inmates who aren't violent offenders, murderers, wife-beaters, robbers and all-round thugs. Why are we tru folks "reaching out" to them? Why are we going against everything that the ancestors believed in by "ministering" to those who would have been bog-fertilizer a few centuries ago?

Why? Why can't we just let the Christianists have them?

Somebody explain this to me, please.

9 comments:

Irenesson said...

Convicted murderers have been "saved" in multitudes already. There's nothing like a long prison sentence to awake ones spiritual needs.

But these converts were all saved by Christianity or Islam, and no-one has voiced opinions against that, have they? The only thing new in this case is that Asatru is the target of this convict's newfound spirituality.

I think you're setting a poor example by indirectly supporting the monotheistic bigotry of dismissing this convict's right to ritual tools, just because they're for Asatru.

No-one particularly likes convicted murderers, but supporting his Asatru leanings does not make Asatru into a murderous religion, just as no-one claims that christian or muslem prison converts make these religions into such.

Gary Penzler said...

Why should we reach out to prison Asatruar? You already hit on the reason, you just didn't realize it. Rites of Odin is a perfect example.

Face it, the books are out there, and more bad ones than good ones. In praticular, if any of them are likely to be found in a prison library, it's more likely to be Fitch, Conway or Blum than Paxson or Wodening -- they'll have the bad stuff, if anything.

They're going to learn a little on their own, and think they've got it right. Then these new, uneducated Asatruar are in a position like this huy that easily attracts media attention and turns into almost the only example the average Joe Public has of what Asatru is.

Reaching out to these prisoners allows us the chance to teach them better information, get them better resources and potentially to be remotely useful Asatruar,not media-cathing idiots.

If they'd just deny him most of his request, but approve the books, there might be something on his list that will help teach him that he doesn't need the rest of it.

Gary Penzler said...

Oh, one more thing. Assuming for the moment that one could be taught well, what do you think is better for a convicted murder:

A religion that teaches that we and our descendants are always responsible for our choices and actions and ill deeds must be repaid through the effects of wyrd, or a religion that teaches that no matter what you've done, God will forgive you as long as you confess and say you're sorry?

The Acid Queen said...

I think you're setting a poor example by indirectly supporting the monotheistic bigotry of dismissing this convict's right to ritual tools, just because they're for Asatru.

I disagree. How is "Dragon's Blood incense" necessary? How are abalone shells and feathers and wooden wands necessary to fain the Aesir and Vanir?

They're not necessary at all. A cup and bowl, fine. But he's going way beyond the realm of practicality and simply trying to stick it to The Man.

The Acid Queen said...

Why should we reach out to prison Asatruar? You already hit on the reason, you just didn't realize it.

And you accused me in another venue of being condescending. Oh, the irony.

Prison outreach, to me, is interfering with the paying of wergild. In today's world, prison time and/or capital punishment take the place of wergild, and to continue to treat an outlaw as part of the community is in my opinion to interfere with the payment of that wergild.

You can gloss it over all you like, Gary, and you can talk about how "we" need to "teach them better information"--but I won't be a party to nor will I support what I see as an enabling of outlawry by interfering with the payment of wergild.

Gary Penzler said...

Another venue? You have me at a disadvantage, "Acid Queen" -- I used my real name. Who are you?

Your point about weregild is well-taken, but realize that without decent information, they might not understand weregild and wyrd, and may fail to realize their responsibility because of what they've done.

What's more, our wyrd is affected by the actions and choices of everyone we're attached to. By calling themselves Asatru, these prisoners are, in a way, negatively impacting our wyrd -- that's why we all cringe so much when we see a media item about Asatru in prison -- we all know it affects each of us. If they learned better, they might not affect us so poorly.

In the culture as it was a thousand years ago, they'd have been outlaws. but not today -- we don't do that anymore. Laws are a reflection of culture, but our culture today doesn't do that, so they simply are not outlaws. The rights they have given up for a finite length of time is the weregild that our society has assigned to their crimes, but their right to practice religion is not one of those we have taken away from them.

The Acid Queen said...

I used my real name. Who are you?

I'll bite back the urge to snark and simply say that I am somebody who you accused of "condescension" on a mailing list. I do not use my real name for bloglife because I don't feel like getting fired because somebody went tattling to the owners of my workplace about the heathen that works for them.

but realize that without decent information, they might not understand weregild and wyrd, and may fail to realize their responsibility because of what they've done.


And how is it my responsibility to accept them as members of a community when by their actions they've become outlaws?

It's not. I may be a noob to the faith, but I am neither stupid nor am I ignorant of the lore and of history.

our wyrd is affected by the actions and choices of everyone we're attached to.

Since I do not attach myself to outlaws, I fail to see how this applies to me.

I cringe because my good gjefrain as a heathen is being associated in the popular media with outlaws like Michael Lenz and Darrell Hoadley, not because I feel some pang of wyrd-impact. My wyrd and my hammingja are impacted by what I do and have done in the past, not by what a murderer in South Dakota does or has done in the past.

Laws are a reflection of culture, but our culture today doesn't do that, so they simply are not outlaws.

Then why are people like Darrell Hoadley in prison, if they are not outlaws--that is, people who live outside of the law and are debarred from civilized society (in this case, by incarceration)?

This is not something that I forsee changing my mind on. Once an outlaw has paid his wergild, then he can come talk to me about heathenry. Until then, he is an outlaw and I wish nothing to do with him.

Gary Penzler said...

I do not use my real name for bloglife because I don't feel like getting fired because somebody went tattling to the owners of my workplace about the heathen that works for them.

Fair enough. Issues of courage aside, sometimes we don't have as much freedom as our laws say we are supposed to have.

And how is it my responsibility to accept them as members of a community when by their actions they've become outlaws?

You are a member and citizen of a nation of which they, too, are a member and citizen. It's not your choice whether or not they are part of that community, just as it's not your choice whether or not they take up Heathenry.

our wyrd is affected by the actions and choices of everyone we're attached to.

Since I do not attach myself to outlaws, I fail to see how this applies to me.

I cringe because my good gjefrain as a heathen is being associated in the popular media with outlaws like Michael Lenz and Darrell Hoadley, not because I feel some pang of wyrd-impact. My wyrd and my hammingja are impacted by what I do and have done in the past, not by what a murderer in South Dakota does or has done in the past.


You've disagreed with yourself, here. You say your good gefrain is being associated with them, yet you claim no connection. The connection is the common faith-declaration that you, they and I have made. Whether we ever have anything to do with each other at all, our lives may be impacted by their choices, and theirs may be impacted by ours. If it is possible for their actions to affect your gefrain, that is exactly what I'm talking about.

Then why are people like Darrell Hoadley in prison, if they are not outlaws--that is, people who live outside of the law and are debarred from civilized society (in this case, by incarceration)?

It seems you don't understand the concept of outlawry as it was back in the day. If these men were outlaws, they'd be literally outside the law, with no protection of any kind -- any random person on the street could rob them, kill them, and face no penalty under the law. They would be as good as dead. Instead, they have merely had their fredoms curtailed for a finite length of time, after which they will be released back into society. Even those on death row, who will not be released back into society, have rights and some remaining freedoms -- they still exist within the law, which is very different than the old days.

This is not something that I forsee changing my mind on. Once an outlaw has paid his wergild, then he can come talk to me about heathenry. Until then, he is an outlaw and I wish nothing to do with him.

Which is your right -- no one is forcing you to do prison outreach. But there are those who think that good can come of it, and put their time, effort and honour into it. I'm not sure that it's always wise, but I leave it to their own choice, and I certainly see how it can sometimes be a positive thing.

The Acid Queen said...

I have not disagreed with myself--you are selectively reading. Just because one says that he is heathen, that doesn't automatically mean that he's heathen. I am a Southerner--does that mean that I'm a KKK member, just because one yellow journalist associates the KKK with all Southerners?

One bad example begets another.

It seems you don't understand the concept of outlawry as it was back in the day.

Oh, but I think I do--outlaws are debarred from the rest of society. That we are no longer allowed to do harm to them with impunity changes nothing. Outlawry is outlawry. The only difference is that outlaws have some legal protection now.

no one is forcing you to do prison outreach.

And yet you feel the need to continue talking down to me in an attempt to try changing my mind. Wow.