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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Racism is Not Part of CR - Or My Heathenry

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.


  1. Obviously, I heartily concur. It's been repeatedly shown that we were definitely right to include that passage in the FAQ.

    1. I am deeply grateful to you all for that choice. It was very wise and clearly prescient.

  2. I have to assume anyone who states that CRPs or that CRP in general is racist hasn't encountered anyone, but those who shamrock tattoo denotes acceptance into the Aryan Brotherhood. And also clearly, haven't bothered to learn what CR is since the FAQ is obviously easily accessible and the first link that pops up in a Google search. Same ole same ole...sadly...

  3. This is a huge debate with haters on one far end and frankly, haters on the other end of the spectrum. It goes from believers in one's particular race being superior to the other end of the spectrum rejecting totally any appreciation or recognition of unique heritage or genetics (or gods) on the other. With all the problems of invading peoples and religions from around the world, it is even more of an issue. Leaders in Europe concerned about the demise of European culture are being called "racists." Culture is not racial. One cannot be concerned for the preservation of one's safety and heritage without being called a 'racist." With so much discussion, what exactly do you see as a definition of "racism?" A candidate for office cannot even want to curb the tide of hungry hostiles coming into the country without being called "racist" despite a lifetime of nonracial lifestyle. One cannot be concerned about the influx of hoards of muslims who may one day want to dismantle religious freedom to BE a pagan (as is done in current muslim countries) without being called a racist. I think we all need to DEFINE that reactionary term carefully and to spell out exactly what it is that one accepts or rejects in the concepts embodied by the term. And with all the turmoil, cultural clashes, and national peace challenges, I think more people need to be cautious as to where that term is thrown lest it confuse the right to be safe, to have a balanced national budget, and to preserve the freedom of religion and culture established in fact by our christian forebears.

    1. in general I use the dictionary definitions of words, unless I clarify by adding a further specialized definition of my own. So when I say racism I mean "1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
      2: racial prejudice or discrimination"
      Although in this context I am mostly referring to the second definition, rooted in the idea of excluding people from a particular religion based on the person's perceived race.
      I agree though that culture is not racial, nor for that matter is ethnicity.

  4. Not that I would expect a different response given the nature of your blog, it is always reassuring whenever people speak out against hatred like that. It's very disheartening to see that kind of comment, but when people are silent I think it is a bit more upsetting.