So its late summer and once again there's a flare up in the Heathen social media sphere relating to racism. Sadly this is nothing new. In fact three years ago, also in August, I wrote a previous blog partially about my opinion of racism. This is not a new issue.
This particular iteration came up when the Asatru Folk Assembly, a large US Heathen organization, made a public statement which has widely been interpreted as being both racist and homophobic/transphobic. When questioned about it they clarified that yes, in fact, they consider Asatru to be for straight 'European' people. I found myself yesterday morning being asked by several different people what my opinion was about the situation, as someone who identifies as Heathen and is also both mixed race and lgbtq. My opinion from that perspective is that its crap.
I am part of a Heathen kindred which includes people of non-European ancestry and I would far, far rather stand in solidarity and worship with my Kindred sister, who is one of the best, most honorable people I know - and a devoted Thor's woman - than I would ever want to claim any kinship to some stranger who shares nothing with me but an illusory relation based on coincidental melanin similarity. My Kindred sister is part of my innagard, and her ancestry or ethnicity is a complete non-issue. And I am lucky to have her in my life and in my Kindred. Those nidthings who judge her as less or say she has no place in her religion do nothing but show their own lack of value in doing so. My own ancestry, such as it is which includes both European and Native American, doesn't make me a better or worse Heathen, and the idea that I should be a 'feminine woman' or a 'masculine man' to properly honor the Gods shows a lack of knowledge of historic Heathenry in my opinion and a lack of understanding of gender and sexuality in general.
So there was that to start, but beyond that the other half of my spirituality got dragged into this growing debacle when someone publicly commented that Celtic Reconstruction shared the same values - racist, homophobic, transphobic values - that had started the drama to begin with. Then I was seeing people in multiple places talking about how racist CR is, and that causes me pain. Not because there aren't any racists in CR, lets be honest racists are a plague upon all religions and spiritualities, but because CR in general has always been something that was vocally anti-racist and many people who have been active in the community for years, like myself, have worked hard to emphasize that CR (and in my case Irish Recon) is not only anti-racist but also widely inclusive.
I want to be crystal clear here - CR does not support any stance, statement, or organization that is racist.
I can say this with confidence not because I myself am some sort of spokesperson for CR, but because we have a book called the CR FAQs which is as close to an accepted guidebook of CR as exists and it says in plain black and white text that CR rejects racism.
to quote: "CR is firmly anti-racist. This has been unanimously agreed upon by representatives of the established CR sub-traditions, CR elders and other long-term members of the community, including the founders of the tradition.... No matter where your ancestors were from, or what your ethnic background, you are welcome to practice CR with us."
Is that clear enough?
Anyone - anyone - who says different is wrong. Period.
And as far as I am personally concerned the Irish Reconstructionism I practice, based on my research into the history and mythology of the pagan culture, is profoundly anti-racist, and anti-homophobic. You are welcome to honor the Gods with me no matter what your ethnic background, no matter who your ancestors were, and no matter what your sexual orientation or gender identity is.
Beannachtai na tri Morrignae duit.