Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Lunatic Fringe

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," an equal opportunity praise and worship site. If it's religion, and you've got it, we're cool with it!

Jason at The Wild Hunt recently posted about the small but highly publicized group of white racists who have appropriated Pagan worship of various Northern European pantheons, particularly the Celtic and Asatru deities. I guess the fractured logic is that these religions served Caucasians, and no Africans, in the distant past.

This is a distressing development, to be sure, but it's also indication that some bored gods are being relieved of boredom.

I can't think of a large mainstream religion that doesn't have a lunatic fringe. And by lunatic fringe, I mean people who use the religion for evil purposes. Those evil purposes almost always include bigotry, a sense of superiority based upon religious beliefs. Sometimes it dovetails with racial hatred, sometimes it casts a broader net. The guy who tattoos a symbol of Thor on his bicep might, if he lived in Afghanistan, join Al Quaeda.

Trouble is, these racist so-called Pagans get a disproportional amount of press and air time. Those of us who deplore bad behavior that reflects poorly upon our deities must exert every effort to discredit our lunatic fringe. We must also seek good press whenever we can get it. And that means, tolerance, tolerance, tolerance! If we can't do anything else right, let's at least respect every faith, creed, race, and choice of upholstery, whether we agree with the adherents or not.

It might behoove us to create some sort of provisional excommunication for people who worship our deities for the wrong reasons. I say "provisional" because I think anyone can have a change of heart and endeavor to behave better. So personally, I wouldn't heave a racist Druid to the curb permanently. I would just say, "Don't claim to be a Druid while you've got those dreadful duct tape patches on your settee! Cover those cushions properly, and then come see me."

The good news: Some gods and goddesses who were bored aren't bored anymore.

The bad news: Some people worshiping those deities are doing it for the wrong reasons.

The solution: Be respectful and tolerant yourself, and be the most vocal critic of your lunatic fringe.


THE Michael said...

I agree with you except for ONE thing.....I can't tolerate those who upholster ANYTHING with McMurphy plaid. McMillian plaid I might can deal with, but NEVER McMurphy!

Racists are like they are because deep inside, they want to spend nights with guys named bruce, and it upsets them to no end.


the Goddess will smite them

W L said...

I can almost see why some racists are worshipping the Northern Deities. I don't know about Celtic deities, as I have never worked with them, but I do know a fair amount of Northern Ones and they can be pretty racist in their own rights.

I still think it's messed up, though, and agree with your blog about it.

Sorn said...

The Northern Ones, a pantheon made up of at least three different tribes/races/clans whose members regularly take spouses and/or lovers from outside, often having children by them,"can be pretty racist in their own rights?" Not sure where you're getting that, W L, but I wholeheartedly disagree.

Thanks for posting about this, Anne. The racist fringe is a serious annoyance, and they do get a disproportionate amount of attention. Speaking out against them, doing good works, and practicing tolerance towards everything but intolerance help remove some of their taint.

I know some time ago you said that you'd probably never interview one of the Norse deities, but I wonder if you might at least contact a spokesperson for them and get their take on the issue?

Anne Johnson said...

I did interview Thor a long time ago during a thunderstorm. Other than flooding my basement, He was a gentleman.