Are You Really Ok With This?

I never, ever thought I’d be writing something supporting the AFA. I’m not a member and I’m not folkish but over the last couple of weeks as more and more people in our communities dogpile on them, I’ve been watching from the side lines growing more and more concerned. Then yesterday, I saw this article and that the not so aptly named Camp Courage had, at the last minute, caved to pressure from HUAR and others who were calling in and refused to honor their contract to host an AFA harvest gathering. The AFA was left scrambling to find a new venue, which I’m told they did. That’s when I decided I had to say something.

Why are more people not up in arms about this? Seriously. Do you not see what is going on?

A group made a statement articulating its values. They never said that they spoke for all of Asatru or Heathenry. They specifically said they don’t monitor what their own members do or how well they adhere to these values. They made a statement about their core values on their own facebook page, to their own members. Whether or not you agree with that statement is beside the point. They have both freedom to speak and freedom to assemble in this country. Moreover, groups and traditions have the right to make decisions about their values and membership. If one doesn’t like the result, well the adult thing to do is to find a group or tradition more suited to one’s own values. That of course, predictably, is not what happened here.

Now, I rather expected the Troth to take a run at them. There’s been long standing tensions between the folkish and universalist camps within Heathenry and they are after all competing for the same demographic. There was never any expectation that the Troth would take the high road. (For the record, I am most adamantly NOT a member of either the Troth or the AFA. I have theological issues with them both). As you can see from the link, they’re not even responding to what the AFA actually said; they’re responding to what they would like us all to believe they said. What I didn’t expect was for everyone else to unthinkingly jump on the outrage brigade with them.

No one seems to have given a thought that this is polytheists attacking another group of polytheists – and not just verbally but with real world consequences; or more troubling, to the long term effects of such behaviors. I am old enough and have been a polytheist long enough to remember when gatherings were kept secret, when groups didn’t post about things, when there was a veil of secrecy over who was doing what and where, and on the way this stifled the growth of our traditions. Is that what we want to go back to?

Those attacking the AFA are doing so thinking that they are perfectly justified in doing so, and may even think they are doing a good thing. After all, these people think differently. They don’t tow the leftist party line. They don’t give a rat’s ass about what HUAR, Rhyd, G&R, tumblr or any other group of people might think. They have to be brought down. Well, it’s the AFA today but I think HUAR and co. are testing the waters, just as they were doing when they tried to brand me a racist for posting a video critical of rape gangs (really people, read my blog and make up your own mind there). They’re doing this to see A) how people react and B) if they can whip the communities up into a frenzy and take down this organization. What’s next? Are they going to go after John Michael Greer because he disagrees with Rhyd?  Or will it be some poor group of Dianics who just want to be left to practice their tradition in peace? (I happen to think Dianics are ludicrous but you know what my response is to that? I don’t try to attend their gatherings). Whose livelihood are they going to destroy next? They’ve already managed to get a teacher at Cherry Hill to resign. It’s no longer enough to say “I disagree with their position on X and here’s why,” now the opposition has to be demonized (regardless of what their position actually is, mind you. Let’s call them far right, fascist, racist, homophobic, transphobic insert charged term du jour here). It’s no long enough to have one’s own space, now opposition must be silenced and brought to heel until they confirm ideologically.

Think about that. While you’re patting yourself on the back for protecting diversity, think really hard about that.

Think about who might be next. Think about your own gatherings disrupted because someone doesn’t find you ideologically pure enough. Think about the phone call to your boss outing you as Pagan, Heathen, pseudo fascist (even if you’re not). Rhyd is going around (most recently on John Beckett’s patheos column) talking about how there is no witch hunt from the anarcho-Marxist left. He’ll still be saying that I’m sure, when they come for you

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Posted on September 3, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. These people are behaving like playground bullies plain and simple. “This person doesn’t agree with me, GET ‘EM!”

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  2. We’re seeing a rapid progress from “Authoritarian” to “Totalitarian.”

    I hate to say this, but the “victories” gained against the Dianics and their near total destruction has only led certain segments of the “Pagan Community” to realize their destructive power against their ideological foes.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. At the Throth site, there has been push back from people.

    As the poet Rumi once said, beyond the houses of right and wrong, there is a field. I will meet you there.

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  4. I’m sickened by Seigfried and Snook. It’s clear that there’s a larger agenda here. It might be targeting one individual group or individual now but it’s not going to stop there. It never does. As was mentioned elsewhere on the web in one of Joe Bloch’s articles the attacks seem to be applying lessons from Saul Alinski’s Rules for Radicals:“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”“Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Wherever possible the target in specific is Steve McNallen, but as you’ve stated there have been others and no dirty trick is low enough. There’s no building up of Asatru by HUAR, by Snook, and certainly not by Seigfried, but only attack and tear down to further some other agenda.

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  5. I feel I should point out that it was neither the Troth or HUAR that got that camp situation taken care of. As far as I know, the tip came from an unaffiliated group in Minneapolis…

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    • yes, absolutely.(I found out today via a friend that it was some antifa group) but at the same time, i’ve seen them roundly damned across the blogosphere for setting their own boundaries for their group, and the camp situation being celebrated. that is equally disturbing. and these days there’s crossover between the antifa groups i’m afraid and elements in our communities, who would use exactly the same tactics.

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      • Both seem quietly happy about what happened. It seems that the antifa group deemed the AFA as a White Supremacist group and not a religious group.

        This is troubling, since who decides what? Do we have another group of self appointed vigilantes? When does this end?

        Does anyone remember the Nazi March in Skokie Illinois in 1980s? The residents were Holocaust survivors, who decided that Freedom of Speech was more important than stopping the March. They decided to show no fear to these schmekels.

        Why can’t people remember what these survivors understood?

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  6. One of the many books I’ve recommended to newbies(depending on where they were coming from and where their head was currently at) is Krasskova’s “Exploring the Northern Tradition”…. Perfect and spot-on? Not even close, at least how I view things… but plenty enough good stuff in there that I truly consider it worth owning in a well rounded library. While I thought her obvious intentional mis-spelling of Stephen A. McNallen’s name and the AFA in the book was petty, her portrayal and definition of the folkish/Tribal/Universal was(pardon the phrase), fair and balanced. Ms Krasskova, THANK YOU for having the courage and honor to speak out about what is really going on here. Being “tolerant” means you also have to be “tolerant” of others who don’t share your particular flavor of mindset. Newsflash for everyone… there is room for both schools of thought without trying to destroy each other, to “disagree without being disagreeable”, Allowing them to be over there while we gather over here, and vis versa. Hell, if for once we can take a lesson from our X-tain “brethren”, I don’t see the Pentecostals trying to ruin the Methodists over opinions and “world views”. The freedom to be “me”, includes your freedom to be free “of me” and again vis versa….

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    • ahhh did i misspell his name? that was completely unintentional. 😦 I am terrible with names. I tried to catch all my misspellings but obviously missed that one. damn.

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  7. This is a tough one. People like the AFA hold some pretty abominable beliefs but a lot of evangelical churches hold much of the same beliefs and you don’t see these people go after them.

    While it is good to push the message that the attitudes of people in AFA is far from being a good one, it reminds me of a book series I’m reading where there are a rogue group of warriors dedicated to fighting the greater evil but once the take out that they have no qualms going after good and harmless people who just happen to do things different to them.

    That’s what I worry about here. Once people like HUAR are done dealing with actual racists, they won’t stop there. Having been given a taste of power so to speak, they’ll soon go after anyone who disagrees with them for any reason.

    I don’t actually see AFA advocating violence or action against those they disagree with, more like those who don’t fit their mold aren’t welcome in their group. It’d be more of a problem if they did try telling all heathens what to do.

    I’m not a fan of the AFA, in fact I can’t stand them, but I really don’t like people like the GR crowd who go after anyone with a differing opinion without a concrete reason.

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  8. Thank you for this. Obviously, we don’t have to agree with everyone about everything, but we don’t need to be actively trying to destroy each other, either. There are plenty of other people willing to do that.

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  9. The AFA had, in the past, always maintained that they weren’t a racist or anti-LGBTQ organization. I’m sure many members are not, or perhaps are blind to their own biases or that of the leadership. Yet, with their new statements, there’s no more guessing. They’ve come right out and said it. If you’re not white, straight, and cisgender, we’re not for you.

    No, they don’t have to be for everyone. However, as a queer person, I don’t have to give them some type of gentleman’s respect. We are our deeds, correct? If coming out and drawing a line saying, “we don’t accept you” isn’t a shot across the bow, I don’t know what is. They’re not welcome at my hearth if I’m not welcome at theirs, simple as that.

    I understand the concerns about free speech, but understand that the AFA has been dog-whistling white supremacist sentiment for, well, how long have they been around? Now that obvious cat is out of obvious bag and they’re not denying it, are we to act as if free speech has no consequences? Do people not also have the freedom to decide they want no truck with a white nationalist organization?

    Personally, I’m thankful they’ve ended their embarrassing attempt at ambiguity, but that ambiguity and barely-plausible deniability is what got them a seat at many tables that are likely going to be closed off to them now. Can you blame people?

    This isn’t the Tumblristas or SJW’s, this is people who have LGBTQ relatives and loved ones, biracial grandchildren and nieces and nephews, or who may be in interracial relationships themselves that find their now-finally-admitted stance a step too far. You can’t fault people for not wanting to be stained by association with the AFA, and it’s my hope that the members of the AFA who aren’t represented by their leadership decide to leave, lest they suffer that stain.

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  10. I have to echo Matti Frost’s sentiment. While I don’t like what I see in HUAR, as a Transwoman it’s very difficult me to try and stand by and listen to all this. There’s a lot of white, heterosexual folks opining about this who don’t seem to be getting how those of us who are the targets of the AFA’s exclusionary policies feel.

    The AFA has every legal right to do what they’re doing. I don’t think anyone is arguing that (except HUAR) but the amount of pain it causes me watching people I look up to defend the AFA’s decades long pattern of racialist, racist, and anti-LBGT behavior makes me sick to my stomach. I get the free speech angle. But by the same token at what point is enough, enough?

    We have no problem condemning monotheistic religions for this sort of awful behavior. We don’t tolerate racism, homophobia or sexism from them and we’ve been loud and proud about that opposition. But when the AFA does it, they get a pass? Because they’re Heathen?

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    • Also VERY well said.

      Freedom of speech and assembly, in legal terms, just means that the government will not prevent one from saying whatever one wishes and gathering with those who agree, no matter how despicable; what the laws giving the right to freedom of speech and assembly do not do, is guarantee that private entities, such as Camp Courage, must allow platform to speak and assemble on their grounds.

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      • Ruadhán your statement here concerns me a bit, in particular, this: “what the laws giving the right to freedom of speech and assembly do not do, is guarantee that private entities, such as Camp Courage, must allow platform to speak and assemble on their grounds.”

        So you’re ok with a private company denying services, based on their religion? What if it were the ADF, Reclaiming, a Hindu group, or your group?

        If you’re still ok with that, are you OK with a private bakery denying services to a gay couple for a wedding cake, because it’s against their religion? Because I’m really not seeing a difference here.

        It used to be, that only publically owned venues were legally required to provide space to everyone, regardless of their religious affilation. But now that the Federal Government, through various lawsuits and court decisions, have decided that private businesses have to provide services to everyone too, regardless of what their personal feelings about it entail.

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      • For you perhaps, but I don’t see it that way.

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      • Virginia got to respond before I got a chance to, and did a far better job than I could (before coffee, at least!) so I’m going to let that stand.

        Your prejudices are showing, Rua. You might want to tuck that back in.

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      • …for everyone who knows what a false equivalence is, anyway.

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    • And yet as someone with biracial and binational children I get a lot more disrespect from the Troth members than I do the AFA members, primarily because I stand up for a right to culture for everyone.

      I do think the AFA has some issues with the emphasis on the queer label. I do think there are pprobably white supremacists (that I have not met, not being a member), but the idea that certain recent white values are to be pushed on everyone and that I am to be called everything up to a fascist for standing up for a right for local groups to decide deeply cultural institutions means that the sort of universalism means that modern Western (i.e. from countries where white people are in power for the most part) are to be pushed on everyone

      Theres a word for the idea that white folk (and by extension folks pushing Western value changes) should rule over everyone: white supremacy. Yes the Troth harbors white supremacists. They are just the sort that is accepted by police society.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Nobody is obligated to give the AFA a sense of respectability. I am disgusted by the aftertaste of racism and bigotry anything Germanic has, and I am glad that every organisation I am even just a facebook nember of agrees that we can and should make it clear we will not stand with these people. They can run their own organisation pretty much any way they like, but we don’t have to pretend it is even the slightest bit respectable. You want to be exclusivly white? We don’t want you near us. It is as simple as that.

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  12. I find Galina’s comments to be VERY appropriate right now. I also remember that “Freedom of Speech” does not include “freedom from consequence”. The AFA leadership are being called, and rightly so, on their exclusionist rhetoric. However, Galina raises a valid point about the “slippery slope”

    Somehow, I don’t think that Galina and I would agree on many issues as I am a staunch social progressive and she is a moderate conservative (in the true meaning of the word, I might add). However, with Christian Dominionism raising its ugly head in the US during this election cycle, I see as a possible future for Polytheists of all stripes to have to hide our faith out of fears of actual violence.

    SHE is not saying that she agrees with the AFA on their statement. She is saying, like Voltaire, “I may not agree with what you said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

    No matter how noxious I find the overt racism of the AFA’s leadership, they have the right so express it. And, I find it useful to let them do so. It lets me know WAY IN ADVANCE who I don’t want to associate with.

    In the meantime, I am focusing on the Protective Protesters in the Dakotas who are trying to prevent an oil pipeline from impinging on BURIAL SITES that predate the Christian conquest of the area — which were bulldozed over the weekend a day after they were identified to the body entrusted to protect them.

    Racist words, while important, for me do not trump speaking out about the destruction of sacred sites belonging to indigenous people for something that can be incredibly destructive in the physical realm as opposed to the cyber realm.

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  13. To add to what I said before, the AFA and their beliefs are revolting. I wouldn’t want to associate with them under any circumstances. But as the above person said, them putting it out there means I and others know better who to avoid.

    For people like that a good solution is to let them know their beliefs are unwelcome in the more tolerant, sane heathen community. But if they want to be bigots in their own little treehouse, that’s their treehouse. No point trying to set fire to their treehouse, metaphorically speaking.

    They just shouldn’t expect to be welcomed among the wider circle of people that don’t believe as they do. And it’s an easier thing to simply let them know they are absolutely not welcome to come play with others, with the attitude and bigotry they’d bring.

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  14. Depending on how the AFA defines itself – they could sue the camp for religious discrimination. Then what?

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  15. no, Ruadhan, actually it’s NOT a false equivalency at all. I”d like to hear your answer to the question.

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    • The ordinances of the locality would certainly enforce that the AFA had the right to use the camp. It could be the camp could claim threats by an outside party to cancell the contract. But that leaves open the question of the camp being open for a lawsuit since the AFA could claim that the outside party should be prosecuted for making terrorist threats (as the law sees it, not as any of us see it.) to the camp. The AFA is an innocent party in this. In other words, the camp was put in the middle of a fight, and now has to suffer the consequences along with the AFA, but the ones who made the terrorist threats are not affected. Unless, the AFA or the camp take these others to court.

      The whole thing is not so cut and dried as people would want it to be. You cannot make threats without receiving the consequences of your actions.

      (I have a new blog about my polytheism – so now I am “Neptune’s Dolphins” instead of Virginia Carper.)

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    • False equivalence is a logical fallacy where there appears to be a logical equivalence (usually in quantity and quality of evidence) between two opposing arguments, but when in fact there is one side has substantially higher quality and quantity of evidence.

      Journalists use a form of this logical fallacy when comparing two sides of a scientific debate in an attempt to provide, what they think , is a journalistic balance between a scientific and denialist point of view. –

      http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/logical-fallacies/false-equivalence-logical-fallacies/
      ——

      So if you do not believe that AFA has any standing what so ever, then it is a false equivalency. If you are trying to say that AFA has the same rights as Gay people buying wedding cakes, it is a false equivalency since AFA is bad restricting rights and is a bad group of people while Gay people are trying to expand rights and are a good group of people.

      This is what I believe the argument lies from what I have read elsewhere.


      I don’t see it that way but a number of people do. Somehow the rights of the AFA is not equal to the rights of Gay people. That depends on how you view rights and how you view the Constitution. Does the AFA have equal standing under the law because of its restrictive policies? Does the law protect everyone or only a select few based on a criteria?

      The AFA is wrong in its restrictive policies much like the Catholic Church is wrong in its restrictive policies. Or the Sons of the Confederacy or the John Birch Society. However, are they allow to exist if they are law abiding? If so, does a local vendor have the right to refuse the Sons of the Confederacy a banquet hall to celebrate Lee-Jackson Day? If you say yes, then the AFA being denied camping space is a false equivalency to wedding cakes. I don’t see it that way but then I didn’t color the AFA as “bad” and therefore deserving of no rights.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. So you’re essentially saying that the AFA shouldn’t be actively shunned and targeted for being the racist pieces of shit that they are? Yeah, no. White people don’t get to tell people of color who are Heathens and their allies to back off of the AFA when they release a statement like the one that they did. It’s not a simple matter of “this person believes x while we believe y.” You’re saying people shouldn’t be attacked for having a differing opinion which is a load of horseshit. Having the right to free speech does not protect you from being called out and shunned for it when that speech is hate speech. Such a shame that despite the fact that you claim you do not side with the AFA, that is exactly what you are doing. I used to respect you. Pity you’ve become such a terrible person.

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    • Read over your words. i think you’re the bigot.

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    • How is hate speech defined? Is saying I don’t want Koreans in my class, hate speech? Or is hate speech, that which incites people such as go home insert racist word written on a mosque?

      The problem becomes who defines hate speech outside of legal authorities, and who decides the penalty.

      Shunning and boycotting are legal responses, as is blogging I don’t like what they do. But making terrorist threats against them or the business venue is prosecutable.

      If I write that I think the Troth is vile, is that hate speech? If I write that Galina is vile, is that hate speech? If I write that the AFA is vile, is that acceptable?

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