Well the reins have changed hands and, with a change of leadership the AFA has decided to embrace the ideals they’d only skirted in the past. Last time the AFA leadership stuck his foot in his mouth I wrote about why he was misguided. I issued an invitation to come on the show and clarify and I weathered the insults and virulence that the myopic followers of that man brought here. This time I’m not inviting the leadership on the show, I won’t subject my co-hosts and audience to the drivel of small minded bigots. Here is the initial comment that so clearly places the AFA among the bigots:
When asked by a Facebook user for clarification the AFA responded with this:
which was quickly pulled by the page.
I shouldn’t have to explain why this is an issue. It is 2016, this shouldn’t even be an issue, we should be living in a more enlightened world. Unfortunately, ideas such as Mr. Flavel’s still permeate the underside of Asatru and thus need to be addressed. First, let me be clear: Mr. Flavel and the AFA have a right to their opinion and a right to state it openly. The first amendment guarantees their right to be wrong and even hateful. I do not, nor does Heathen Talk, embrace a no platform policy. We do, however, want to take this moment to embrace our right to publicly and vociferously disagree — and perhaps even mock — the small mindedness that brings about these opinions.
Let’s break this down:
Gender is the current trending topic, it’s been all over the news for the last several years, and sexuality has been a Hot Topic for several decades. The AFA does claim that they do not “police what people do in their bedrooms”, however, they are also implying that certain demographics just aren’t good enough — not normal enough — to be heathen, or rather Asatru. Let’s talk history for just a second. We know that in some heathen cultures homosexuality was a thing that happened and wasn’t grounds for ostracization. We know that men and women performed roles and duties that were outside of the culturally normal gender roles. Hell, we even know that the “traditional” family in ancient heathendom didn’t look like the modern “traditional” family. So what exactly are they regurgitating here? It isn’t based on a reconstructionist method of Heathenry, that much is clear. Simply put, this is the same song and dance that has been a part of the Christian dominated paradigm since at least the Victorian Era. The longing for a time when “men were men and women were women” is nothing more than the pining of a weak minded individual for a history that never existed. Men and women have always had nuance to their roles in society, sexuality has never been black and white, and from time immemorial there have been sexually male or female individuals who were much more comfortable living as the other sex. This is reality, and you know what, it’s a good reality. The diversity of life is a wonderful thing and being who you are is a good thing. As a heathen I don’t care who you sleep with or what gender you identify as, I only care that you are a good person who benefits your people. If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the AFA isn’t for you and they don’t deserve you, you’re too good for them. Heathen Talk has your back, I personally have your back. We may not always play nice, but we don’t brook bigotry.
The AFA wouldn’t understand ethnicity if the concept jumped up and bit them on their collective nethers. White is NOT an ethnicity, European is not an ethnic group and it certainly isn’t a cultural monolith. Being white does not make you special, it does not grant you some greater connection to the arch heathens, it is not some signal to the gods that you are worthy, and for the sake of all that is could possibly be acceptable, can we not use children to promote ignorance? Is it too much to ask that you leave the kids out of it? I have already shown the great diversity of ethnic groups that come from the continent of Europe and how through intermarriage and political wrangling many of them came to share some basic cultural similarities. As we reconstruct and revive this religion we see that, even as our differences have become more and more manifest, the similarities in gift cycle, ritual, and language remain. There is a culture to heathenry, and it isn’t tied to skin color. Culture is about what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. We have the benefit of living in a modern and diverse world, it’s past time to embrace it. Heathens can and do come from many places on this planet. I know Brazilian heathens, I know of heathens living in India from Indian descent, it doesn’t take a shade of melanin to worship the gods, and it never has.
I am not here to educate Mr. Flavel, or even the AFA. I honestly don’t care about them. I am here to say in front of the world, the AFA is not Heathen, they do not represent heathenry, and we at Heathen Talk will not stand quietly by while they tarnish our religion with their shoddy reputation. The AFA can have Asatru, it’s in their name, it’s time they stopped pretending to be heathen.
If you were pissed off, or upset by, by Mr. Flavel and the AFA’s statements, good. Those kinds of statements should leave you incensed, anyone who comes that close to outright reciting the 14 words should absolutely elicit that kind of response from you. Don’t judge heathenry by the proud ignorance of those who are incapable of growing into the world around them. Heathenry is a life affirming, diverse, and nuanced set of religious beliefs that has practitioners of strong moral character all over the world. It is a religion practised in many places and many ways, and there is nothing in its core that lends itself to hate and bigotry. We believe in making our communities, and our world, better for future generations. We work and play with and among people of all types, regardless of race, gender, creed or religion, because we believe that your deeds make you, not some arbitrary set of genetic markers or beliefs. We are Americans, Canadians, Brazilians, Australians, and so many many more nationalities, and we care for those around us because without our neighbors the world is naught but chaos. Judge us by our deeds as we stand against Mr. Flavel and his ilk, join us in solidarity as we try to make our world a little better.
To the AFA and any who would defend them:
Stop, please. You aren’t fighting some grand battle to save your people. You both live and work in the United States of America. You are free to believe and behave as you will within the limits of the law but your words as public figures have consequences for any who even appear to share a connection to you. You aren’t winning this argument. You are free to have your beliefs, and I won’t even try to convince you you’re wrong. I want you to consider this though, your kids know you’re wrong. Even the young ones know that you are wrong. As they grow up, the foolishness of this position will burn in them, it will forever be the thing they are ashamed to admit to their friends. It will be a wedge that comes between you, one that forces them to decide which of their relationships they will bring home, and which they will hide from you, and from which they hide you. This isn’t a matter of if, but when. When you grow old and have become the uncle or grandparent that your family is ashamed of, that’s on you. It will be painful for your family, and that pain will be needless, their shame will be pointless. Your families will pay to build and buy back the reputation, worth, and honor you have squandered on words. As it stands now, merely being a member of the AFA, or an apologist for the AFA, is a tarnish not easily removed. The words and actions of anyone who is beholden to your organization will now be questioned and examined against what you have said. You have cost your people dearly, you have cost your families dearly. If what is bad for the tribe is bad, than what you have done today is heinous.