John Halstead is now writing for Gods and Radicals. That pretty much says it all for me. If I ever doubted that the political radical part of things took significant precedence over the Gods part of that equation for these people, I can put my mind at rest. It’s obvious where they stand. I’ve been noticing for a while now that this group seems to be subtly attacking polytheists who are more interested in building the tradition and in devotion than in exchanging religion for pseudo-social justice work and anarchic politics. I can’t help but wonder if that wasn’t the real reason Sannion was disinvited from Many Gods West.
After all, Halstead keeps taking digs at polytheism. His latest, which Tess Dawson brilliantly calls out here, dismisses polytheism as having been inspired by Neil Gaiman’s writing.* Apparently, we can’t simply enjoy an author’s work without having some pitiful non-theist use that enjoyment to imply that our religion is fiction. Knowing that the topic of pop-culture Paganism is a hot-button one within Polytheist circles, Halstead no doubt purposely links the rise of polytheism to pop culture, thus attempting to create animosity within polytheism itself.
Gods and Radicals, Rhyd, and those he’s allied with are free to bring any columnist they want on board their journal and site. We are free to look very carefully at their choices and to make our own decisions about what they mean. Halstead has been trying to find an entry into the polytheist community for years now, despite being a non-theist, and despite having contempt for everything that polytheism stands for. He must be ecstatic that Rhyd has welcomed him with open arms.**
It’s enough to make one ask where the Gods are in Gods and Radicals. I’m still looking.
*Modern polytheism existed in the US for decades before Gaiman wrote his first book, Heathenry and Asatru since the sixties, Hellenic and Celtic polytheisms a little after that (as any unified thing), much earlier than even this if we count the Romantic period.
**Thus undercutting the work of many other polytheists who actually give a damn about the future of our traditions.