Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Politics, double-standards, and tattle tales in neopaganism

I thought I would combine three items which I have found troubling in neopaganism. First, individuals and groups who insist on being the polar opposite of what they perceive as "Conservative Christianity." They go out of their way to be this opposite--to me, "opposame"--and it very often revolves around an obsession to the issue of homosexuality. Even if you don't like where you at least think I'm going with this, just allow me one example, and you might change your mind.

A couple of months ago, I came across a website called "Pagan FM," and it is a pagan radio program out of Dover, New Hampshire. Not a podcast, but literally a radio program over the airwaves. My first reaction was that it was a great idea, and I still think that. I even find the simple and almost pleasantly hard-to-navigate website to be inviting. However, the times when I listened to archived programs, they discussed "gay activism" more than neopaganism. Of course, it's their program and they can discuss whatever they like. Still, it goes back to this incessant desire to be political; and to insist that the individual accepts those politics when they may be searching for something entirely apolitical.

I can recall one YouTube video where a man had just become a "Wiccan," and his background was as a political activist. He seemed to know next to nothing about Wicca, and while wearing a pentacle star, he shamelessly injected his personal political activity to his newfound religion. I admit, that is an extreme example, but I found it to be detestable nonetheless. There are some even deeper issues in that regard, but I think I'll just let that stand for now.

The opposite side to the same political coin are the far right groups involved in.. usually heathenry, but all of this doesn't follow any exact pattern. Suffice to say that people with a far left or far right inclination seem to clearly be attracted to neopaganism. Lets be clear, I am only referring to concerns who have "gone political." There is a group called "Heathens Against Hate," which purports to be opposed to anything racist or racialist within the Heathen/Odinic milieu. One of the complaints is the use of ancient sacred symbols, which are injected into those far right politics; which is--in my opinion--precisely the same as the political "Wiccan" example above. I'll have to find that video.

The problem with Heathens Against Hate, and other groups who share the same complaints, is that they don't stop at "hate" or the misuse of symbols. They define "hate" as anyone who adheres to the "folk-religion" concept, or at least they imply that. That's clearly a double-standard because I'm in California, and I know that there are endless masses of social, political, economic, and religious groups that the members of Heathens Against Hate cannot join because of their ancestry. That includes mens groups, womens groups, youth groups, professional associations, economic guilds, political action committees, religious and spiritual groups, etc., and the "Heathens Against Hate" are not allowed to join due to their ancestral background. I don't like double-standards.

Even a non-political folk group like the Asatru Folk Assembly is not immune to this extreme double-standard. In September of 2011, the pagan web-blog "The Wild Hunt" shamelessly tattled on the AFA because a few AFA members wore AFA t-shirts to an explicitly white-political-interest event which was not endorsed in any way by the AFA. Why hasn't The Wild Hunt told any tattle tales about the hundreds of other identity-political groups in the country?? Quite frequently, the religious and political branches of these groups work together as one. About a mile and a half from where I live, there is a hospital explicitly for people of one particular cultural background, aka "race." I'll share the name of that institution with The Wild Hunt if they want to write about it. My e-mail is camunlynx@live.com.


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