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Right, so before we get into this three things:

1) I have come across Mainer74 and butted heads with him in the past, (ironically about the importance of gender roles and enforcing them, given what we’re about to discuss).

2) I am not a member of the AFA or the Troth. I am a stand alone Heathen.

3) This is a copy of the post that started this all:

asatru war 2With that out of the way, let’s take a look at Mainer74’s post: Heathenry Belongs to All of Us

To which I must ask the question, “does he feel that way about all religions belonging to all people?” Because I thought cultural appropriation was bad, but hey, universalists.

Hail,

I have long said that it is not the Troth’s place to tell the AFA how to run their house.  We go our own way and have our own understanding of Heathenry, what it meant to our ancestors, and what it means to us today.  I have said that, and I meant it.  I don’t run their house, nor would I be welcome in it.

imma let you finishWhy is it that every time someone decides they’re going to butt in on someone else’s business (usually to condemn them) they always start out with “It’s not my place to say something, but imma gonna say something here about how you dun did wrong.”

Yes, I am aware that I have probably done this myself, but seriously. I tend to only do it to people who are butting into other people’s business. Still, Mainer feels the need to go and tell of the AFA for how they need to run their shit, even though it isn’t even his shit and he knows it.

They don’t own Heathenry, neither does the Troth.  However, Heathenry is my community, its peoples, all of them, are my peoples, and they are now under attack, and it is mine to defend them.  The Troth does not own Heathenry, but we are sons and daughters of the Heathen community, we are listening to the AFA tell our brothers and sisters they are not welcome , that they have no right to be here, to follow our gods, or to raise the horn with us as symble and be part of our holy folk.

Yeah, except Flavel and the AFA didn’t say any of that about Heathenism. They didn’t claim to own it, they just state that they are Heathens, same as any other group of Heathens. The only think Flavel said was “The AFA believes X.” Not “Heathens believe X.” “We believe X.”

So the “Heathen” community is not under attack. The Troth and its people are not under attack. Arguably, gay people and “non-white” people are not under attack. The only thing stated was that “The AFA believes X about Y issues.” And yes, your “brothers and sisters” are “not welcome”…at AFA events. They’re still perfectly welcome at “Troth events.” Or just other non-AFA heathen groups, per those group’s rules.

Still, for a guy stating he doesn’t own heathenism, this sure sounds like an attempt to own Heathenism. I mean, his article is titled: “Heathenism belongs to us all.” Which implies that since his group is “all” as opposed to the AFA’s “Some” that…his group owns Heathenism. Or maybe I’m just being autistic about titling.

But I get the sense this is but the first in an army of straw men. I wonder if they will have straw deaths. Better go get the paperwork ready…

I have had enough.  They do not have the right, and to be honest, they are not even correct.  The AFA official body has spelled out in black and white in the recent release that if you are not white, or you are gay, you are not welcome.  If your understanding of how to be a good and worthy Heathen man does not fit their definition of strong masculine man, you are not welcome.  If your understanding of being a good and worthy Heathen woman is not to be a skirt wearing home caring mother, you are not welcome.

Actually…they have every Right. It’s their group, the AFA can dictate who they do and do not want in their group and what behaviors are and are not unacceptable. I mean, you can disagree with their choices, you can go and belong to another group, or start your own group, but the AFA has the complete and utter Right to define their group and membership how they damn well please.

As for them not being correct…there are cases to be made based on the lore that, say, homosexuality is not welcome in the culture/religion of heathenism. And yes, you will find many homosexual heathens who present arguments that it wasn’t banned…but you’ll also find a fair bit of historical records to find it was ruthlessly mocked as “unmanly” and back then a man being unmanly was about as uncool as being a homophobe is today. I.e. complete social ostracism.

Regarding the whole “if you’re not white, get out of sight” thing (I don’t think it’s quite that harsh) the AFA is a folkish organization that believes it is the right of all peoples to adhere to their ancestral religion and have complete control over that religion, which includes preventing outsiders from joining that religion if the “tribe” so desires. This is widely known and the AFA has many people who have a great many times explained this and pointed out that it includes “non-white” peoples keeping white people out of their religions. The AFA looked at the problem of cultural appropriation and said “do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.”

I guess Mainer is cool with a bunch of white people practicing ATR and so forth. I mean, if all religions are for everyone. Assuming he doesn’t have a double standard in there, idk.

On the issue of “skirt wearing, home caring mother”…way to be a bit sexist there towards AFAr women. And ignorant of heathen practice of old. Yes, the traditional place for Heathen women was in the home…where they owned everything, ran everything, and controlled all the finances. To wit, wanting your wife to be a stay at home mother is akin to wanting the god damn ceo of your company at his desk…not off at the golf course or worse, working for someone else’s company and making them money instead of increasing the wealth of the family (that she has total ownership of).

oy vey.

They are wrong, badly wrong.  On one level I weep for their failures, and their failure to understand the words of our ancestors, the teachings of our holy gods, but to be honest, my first and strongest reaction is anger.  How dare they usurp the place of our holy gods, and arrogant to themselves the right to decide who may and may not raise a horn to them, who may or may not feel the call to join with their folk in community and worship.  How dare they attack my folk, my people, out of a failure to understand how living true to your heart, living honestly, openly and honourably as the teaching of your ancestors and your own best judgement teaches you, do not fit their own preconceived poster of what a Heathen should look like?

Yeah…he hasn’t proven them wrong. I mean…footnotes? Personal examples of things read in or about the Lore? Nada. He just gets pissed, hauls off, and insist they’re wrong because…well because they’re not doing it his way.

Look, I understand the unversalist position, and I personally don’t see a problem with there being gay heathens, or even “non-white” heathens so long as they fully assimilate into Heathenism…not do this half assed shit like you see with most people and “immigration” where they try to dual identity.

Honestly, with all the examples I’ve seen over the years of PoC “heathens” insisting that their lives are harder or they’re more oppressed because they’re “not-white” and how some even go so far as to insist that Heathenism be changed to accommodate their dual identities…I really can’t blame the AFA for saying “Fuck it, you can’t come in.” IF you’re going to do it, do it…but don’t try to bring other stuff in with you. If you’re a gay heathen…be a heathen. If you’re a black heathen, be a heathen. Black, gay, all that extra stuff…it stays behind, outside. But that’s just my view.

But Mainer continues his strawman of insisting the AFA was speaking for all heathens when…the AFA was speaking for the AFA. But given how pissed Mainer is, I am not surprised that level of rational thinking is beyond him. But then we are talking about the guy who wanted to bring back honor killings because rapists besmirched the honor of all men when they raped and the only way men could reclaim their honor as a gender in the eyes of women was by killing the rapist…even if there was actually no evidence the “rapist” was even the guilty party.

Genetic diversity in Viking Age grave sites was higher than modern, the maternal mitochondrial DNA studies have shown that among those women buried with grave goods consistent with full citizenship in their community, genetic diversity showed many tribal markings, some from as far away as Turkey or North American native.  You did not have to be white then, or now to be a member of our community.  These women were buried as women of the folk because that is how they lived.  Then and now, we judge you by your deeds, your proven worth to us.  Thus it was, thus it is, and while the Troth survives, thus it will be.

I’m going to admit that Mainer actually has a good point here. Of course a lot of that “genetic diversity” did come about during the Viking age (as opposed to ages before it) and probably had a lot to do with the dragging off of women as slaves and then having kids with them (sometimes by force). So…hooray for the genetic diversity our ancestors raped into their gene pool?

Now I’m sure there was a fair bit of voluntary marriages there too, and by no means were our ancestors the “racists” they have often been painted with an insistence on genetic purity. I mean, Ragnar actually had an “asian” girlfriend/wife/lover (i was surprised to find out that was real, and not made up for the show). So, you know, there is that…and that is one of the reasons I don’t hard line the race thing much at all.

But come on, let’s be honest about the “Genetic” diversity. It wasn’t just because our ancestors were all welcoming of other peoples to come worship their gods. They were not universalists, the whole concept that a religion and way of life should be for all peoples unilaterally was alien and known only to Christianity and Islam at that point.

I am no universalist preacher, Heathenry is not for everyone.  Our ways are harsh in many respects, you are expected to answer for your words and deeds.  Our gods will not wave a magic wand and fix what you break, we have to deal with the consequences of our own actions.  This is a hard sell for much of humanity who really want someone to tell them that a word without a deed is somehow enough.

I am no universalist preacher, Heathenry is not for everyone.

And yet here he is preaching that the AFA is absolutely wrong and abhorrent for…not embracing universalism and he entitled his post: Heathenism Belongs to Us All

triple facepalmShit, I mean I facepalmed at that, but Mainer just paradoxed so hard it was like he divided by zero. Either it is for “Everyone” or it’s not for “everyone,” at which point you’re just arguing over who doesn’t get to fit in. And he’s not a preacher even as he preaches the virtues and rightthink that is universalism.

I kinda have to wonder if there’s even a point to writing this post, seeing as he just destroyed his own argument’s foundations utterly, but then again I write because it amuses me…not because I actually have to work to defeat people. They seem to do that themselves a lot lately.

You can be a strong masculine man, the very image of a Viking warrior, the poster boy for any army recruiter, and be a member of our community.  We have lots of them.  I am one.  Of course in all honesty among those proven warriors you will find many who are not white, and many who are not men.  Yes, strong men and women have chosen to understand their duty to the community requires a service that risks their lives.  That is a common, understanding of how to meet your challenges and responsibilities.

This is a statement much about nothing. Like Seinfeld.

There are many ways to live true as a good and worthy man, and good and worthy woman.  Some fill traditional gender roles to the stereotypical T.  Others follow their own talents and nature, their own responsibilities and roles to become strong and worthy Heathens in many other ways.  Teachers, artists, builders, traders, lawyers, healers; in every art in every science, in every trade you will find us.  There is no one right way to be Heathen, we were in ancient times a whole folk, a whole community of great and vital diversity of form, of nature, of opinion and expression. This richness was the endless source of the vigor and flexibility, of the cheerful boldness that allowed us to thrive when so many other peoples failed.

If I’d known he was going to go on like this, I’d have bought stock in lotions.

Seriously, he gets mad at the AFA for insisting that their heathenism is about “our people,” and then he goes off and rubs one out to how awesome “our people” are/were. At which point I, in my Helish abode, will point out that yes, you little Norse people were awesome and amazing…right up until your kings sold out the gods for gold and power, burned down the temples, blasphemed the gods, and started worshiping some dude who got his ass nailed up on a cross for treason.

Oh yes, much wonderfulness. Such strength. All lost because a bunch of kings saw the shiny profits of universalism and appealing to everyone so that they could get everyone under their power. And what did they do? They went around to the “folkish” folks who were trying to keep the faith and said “you assholes are doing it wrong, my way is best way.”

So, yes, bravo.

Our gods are harsh; they do not hold with those who are false, who stand as oathbreakers.  In that stance we see from them not cruelty, but wisdom.  It does you no good to pretend what is false, it does you no good and much ill to pretend to be what you are not.  You build little worth attempting to be what you are not, when instead you can build much worth succeeding in being what you are.  If our gods are harsh teachers, it is that we have only one life, and the sooner we realize the importance of living true to ourselves, the greater benefit we can be to ourselves, and to our communities.

Yeah, I don’t see what this has to do with the AFA to be honest. They pretty much believe the same thing about the Gods. And seeing as the AFA has not broken any oaths that I know of, and all my talks with the other Gods in the pantheon beyond Helheim’s borders tend to relay that the other Gods are fairly well pleased with how faithful the AFA are (if not always concerned about the Dogma)…yeah. What’s you’re point, Mainer.

I mean, other than the fact that the AFA has actually managed to make a temple and last I heard your group was having trouble getting money to go to conventions, you know, those places were everyone considers Heathens asswipes? Great use of your resources there. Really helping your own community.

Who you love is not important.  How you love is.  We do not care if you are straight, gay, or trans.  We do care how you love; we care deeply about how you treat the ones you love, as we care deeply about how you treat those you work with, and for, and those who work for you. How  your hold your oaths, care for those who depend on you. We care about your words and your deeds.  Do you honour your relationships?  If so we praise you and hold you in high esteem.  If not then yes, you will have little worth in our eyes.
I have married several people, and hope to continue this practice in future.  I did not care then if I was marrying man and woman, or two of the same.  I cared that they were openly and honestly plighting their troth to each other, that their union would be loving, honest, and healthy.

muh vertuesLook, I’m not going to say I disagree with any of the principles here…but let’s face it, this isn’t really about principles on love and the irrelevance of who you do it with.

This is about virtue signalling.

The Troth is a universalist heathen organization that does its level best to make Heathenism open and welcoming to all. They go to conventions filled with people of liberal to progressively liberal mindsets. They reach out regardless of race or sexual orientation. They don’t care who you are, or what you are, so long as you’re willing to keep the faith. And at every turn they get called the same old shit as every other heathen group out there.

And it doesn’t matter how much the Troth or its leaders signal their virtues and try to insist “we’re not like those other heathens, we’re good heathens,” it’s not going to change shit. They’re still gonna be considered a bunch of racist shitheads, embracing a racist religion, because of where that religion comes from and who its people were. No one’s going to care, no one’s going to change their mind.

As soon as Flavel opened his mouth and made that post, HUAR was on his ass screaming “MUH RACISM!!!!” And just after that the TAC was posting “We report, you decide!” (with a rather not so subtle implication of ‘muh racism.”) And here we have Mainer all but jumping up and down and eating his hat screaming “UM NUT RACISMS!!!!”

Look, I’ve been a heathen for a damn long time now it feels like. And I’m not a part of any organization…because they’ve all got their damn problems. And also, after the whole “apotheosis” thing I’m not supposed to take direct sides in any organization (baring act of genocidal warfare, at which point I can join if only to help some of our people survive). And one of the reasons I never joined the Troth wasn’t because they were universalists…it was because they’ve always struck me as the wonky looking kid who wants so much to sit with the cool kids he’ll do anything he can to make them like him.

Even though they will never like him and all his efforts only drive him further away from ever reaching his goal.

The AFA care that you are white, straight, and fit neatly on their poster.

One of the reasons I never joined the AFA was because I didn’t like how hardline they were on some of their stances about race/sex/gender. Not that I disagreed with them, but that I always felt there was room for more wiggle room than they were perhaps allowing. After all, their social norms didn’t leave a great deal of room for a pansexual kinky demon who likes to be lazy as all fuck in a world of manly hardworking men. (In the pantheon, sure, but not on midgard). But I sure as mother fucking Hel respect the fact that they stick by their positions and don’t compromise regardless of the names they get called.

But the Troth…doesn’t really have that. They stand for everyone…and that kinda means they don’t really stand for anyone. I mean, let’s look at a universalist religion like Christianity. It’s open to everyone, regardless of race. And if say, tomorrow, all the black people just died for some reasons…it wouldn’t matter. No great loss, the religion is for everyone, and if someone doesn’t exist, well, there’s other people to carry on the religion post that group’s extinction. Those who are gone don’t matter, because those who are still here carry on…regardless of how different those other peoples might be. Something unique is lost…but its an empty loss.

And if they don’t stand for anyone, then they don’t really stand for anything. And if you don’t stand for anything…how are people gonna trust you to stand. Heck, if I’m remembering it right, back when McNallen made a post about “stand up and keep our women from being raped” (which got a lot of heat), Abell of the Troth came out and said “look, McNallen and I don’t agree on shit, but he’s not wrong about the need to prevent rape” (or something to that effect) and shortly there after…Abell stepped down from the Troth’s leadership. So really, I’m left with the impression that the Troth got one of their own to step down when he helped found them…after he in turn got some of the hatred that was thrown at McNallen. And all because they both stood up against mass sexual assault.

Kinda hard to have faith in an organization that does that to its leaders.

The AFA stands for something, like it or not…and that’s gotten them into being the largest and most successful Heathen organization in the world…even with all the “restrictions” on membership.

And sure, maybe the AFA cares about people being “white and straight” but their people are “white” and only straight couples can have babies. Well, naturally anyways. So…given that the AFA is an “organization” which by all accounts wants to stop being an organization one day and actually exist as a tribe of people…they kinda need to have kids for that (necessitating heterosexual couplings) and it kinda helps if you all look like each other to some degree (given that’s how a tribe works).

But hey, why worry about the future of your people, when there’s the present day issues of gender and racial identity you could crucify yourself on a cross for in order to win points with people who hate your guts, am I right?

I believe they have gone badly wrong, while I will allow them to run their own house any way they see fit, including burning the roof above their own heads, I draw the line at their telling the Heathen community who may or may not be a member.

Well, given that the AFA is about a third again the size of the Troth from what I hear, is one of the fastest growing Pagan religions out there, has their own temple, and so far has managed to unite it’s peoples into growing ever closer as a tribe…

That’s pretty good for “gone badly wrong.”

I mean shit, they literally have built the roof of a temple over their heads. At this point, Mainer can rage all he wants at the “bad, racist Afar,” but they’re kinda kicking him and his people’s asses over this whole successful religious thing. And while I do not wish to imply that success equals divine favor…shit son, they are not suffering angry hammers falling on their heads here.

The Troth will not tell you who may or may not join any other organization than our own.  That is not our place.  The Troth ABSOLUTELY will tell you that we are open to all good and worthy heathens who understand and accept that the colour of your skin, your understanding of your gender, and who it is that you love do not in any way shape or form affect your membership in this community.  If you are drawn to our gods, to honour the wights and ancestors, if you find the teachings themselves to be powerful and worthy guides to your life, and you can respect those who feel the same, even if their understandings may be different than yours, then you are welcome.

“muh vurtues guiz, canz u seez dem?”

Skadi’s spear, but this is actually kinda sad. I don’t really wanna bring politics in this, but this is kinda like watching Trump kick Jeb Bush’s ass and Jeb pleading “come on guys, I’m cool, I’m a good guy, I’d do a good job. Just vote for me, please? Please guys?”

I know he’s trying to lift up the virtues and beliefs of the Troth, which is all well and good. But at this point in time it’s not appealing. I mean Hel, I actually understand and support universalism to a degree as a classical liberal and even I’m like, “Dude, you just cucked yourself.” He doesn’t read like a man upholding a standard, he reads like a man willing to sacrifice all standards just so people will join him. Or at least not think of him as like the “hated enemy.”

Ancient Heathens built strong inclusive communities.  So do we.  You will find those who are white and straight in our ranks, and you will find those that are not.  We honestly don’t divide along those lines.  You will find so many different ways to be a good and worthy Heathen under our banner, so many good examples of men and women who are living true, not to a stereotype, but to who they need to be to face the challenges given them.  Diversity is strength, and the frith of a diverse community that loves and values that diversity knows no equal on earth.  That is what we seek to build.  The AFA have chosen their way.  It is their right, but it is not, in my opinion, a Heathen one.

memes-arachnid-gentleman-starts-the-week-with-classYeah, I’m just going to call a “Citation Needed” on that “inclusive communities” bit. I mean, we’re talking about people who killed each other over small insults, matters of honor, and general drunkenness. And I’m sorry, but if a black transwoman acted anything in the 9th century like they do today, their ass was grassed. I mean, Hel, in the myths one of the biggest insults you could give a man was to imply he was gay. I remember Loki almost getting his ass kicked for just implying some God was gay.

This “inclusive” does not sound.

But hey, Mainer’s gonna believe what Mainer’s gonna believe, and he and his got ever right to decide what they believe is good for their group and whose welcome in their group is welcome…regardless of if that was historically accurate (or even historically existent).

Hel, I’ll even give Mainer that he has the right to throw a temper tantrum like a toddler over this just to show his “friends” how “not racist.” He is.

But at the end of the day…he’s got no right to dictate to the AFA, no right to insist that Heathenism is what “he says it is” any more than “What they say it is.” And frankly…it’s pointless. All the AFA is going to do is look at him and probably call him a damn pussy. The AFA is still gonna hold their ridged standards, the Troth is going to insist that’s wrong, and life will on as before. Probably with the AFA growing and the Troth failing to get the other kids to think he could be cool like them.

Me? I’ll just sit here with the dead ancestors, eating chips and waiting for the ages to come to decide who was more successful in their faith.

 

Hela Bless

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