Friday, October 02, 2009

Right-wing Pagans

I am horrified to learn (rather belatedly) that the leaked BNP membership list apparently includes a number of Pagans.
"Window cleaner. Former pig farmer. Pagan prison chaplain. Hobbies: growing mistletoe, rune-making (wood)"; "Active Odinist/member of pagan organisations." A student is "willing to give talks on medieval/dark age subects" and "interested in ... setting up a British pagan group".
I am also shocked to discover that, if it is true that the window cleaner and former pig farmer is a Pagan prison chaplain, he was not properly vetted by the prison service. And if he is a Pagan-Federation-accredited prison chaplain, the Pagan federation should not allow him to represent them.

It has long been observed that some Odinists have right-wing tendencies (though by no means all, as the Heathens against Hate campaign demonstrates). The other two Pagans described above may not be Odinists, however.

There is no place in Paganism for far right politics. Pagans are supposed to be tolerant and inclusive.


Lee said...

to be honest i dont see a problem with right wing pagans. they are people like the rest of us and as such will have a wide range of opinions and views on things, including political.

we dont know what it is about the BNP that attracts these pagans and may well be donw to a feeling of disconnection with the current political parties. rightly or wrongly these people feel the need to turn to a right wing party and i think THAt is something we need to be worrying about rather than some pagans who hold a different view to us.

as for intolerance - there are several things i am intolerant about within modern paganism. it isnt always a bad thing and it would be better to look at individual cases and judge them rather than blanket judgements i think.

Yewtree said...

Hi Lee, if Paganism is supposed to be a spiritual path, as opposed to people merely indulging their egos, then it is not okay for them to join far right parties. The far right wants to banish all non-white and non-heterosexual elements from this country.

Yes there are many things I am intolerant of in contemporary Paganism, but I was referring to blanket intolerance of people just because they are a different colour or sexuality. What you are describing is intolerance of specific behaviours, which is not the same as having a blanket prejudice towards a particular group.

Lee said...

regardless of thier motivation for being pagan we simply dont knw what the motivation for joining the BNP is, many people - rightly or wrongly - feel like being a white heterosexual in the UK means they are treated second class and see plenty in the media - a whole new can of worms - about immigrants getting housing, being responsible for crimes etc etc and want to do something about.

they see the BNP as the only ones actually addressing these issues.

the growing perception in this country is that many of its ills could be solved by doing something about immigrants. the BNP are latching onto this and getting more support.

for all we know these pagans might see Muslims in this country as a threat to thier freedom to be pagan and want to do something about it.

Lee said...

anyway... im beginning to blather now. Mike Robertsson the odinist (not long ago deceased) could be considered right wing but was by all accounts a decent chap. he didnt like homosexuals, wouldnt want his daughter to marry one (wtf??) but would defend thier right to be themself and to exist.

i dont thinkit wrong to want to protect your cultural and 'ethnic' identity, personally though i dont think the BNP is the way ot achieve this. they do.

Yewtree said...

I didn't say it was wrong to want to protect cultural heritage, but that does not mean we have to have a monolithic view of culture. For instance I would have liked to have been able to protect the Buddha statues from being blown up by the Taliban.

The idea that white heteros are 2nd class citizens is utter tripe and we should be exposing it for the blatant lie that it is at every opportunity.

I am against all forms of extremism including the Muslim variety.

Lee said...

The idea that white heteros are 2nd class citizens is utter tripe and we should be exposing it for the blatant lie that it is at every opportunity.

i agree, but the drip drip drip in the media paints a different picture. people believe it.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

All this seems right, but a fact of history was a generating of a paganism out of German romanticism from before and by the Nazis that was highly destructive. Paganism needs to counter this development with a strong anti-narrative, as Christians have had to counter what happened to most of their churches under Nazism.

Steve Hayes said...

Pagans are not alone in having people on that list -- I noticed that some Christian clergy, who ought to have known better, were on it too.

But I was also struck by the supposition that pagans are tolerant and inclusive. Those aren't really Christian virtues; I suppose that the Christian equivalents are love and patience.

Yewtree said...

Hi Steve

It was more of a hope than a supposition.

A full list of classical pagan virtues (including some that are regarded by Christians as having been invented by Christians, such as Fides, Spes, Caritas) is available at the Religio Romana site. I would hope that Pagans would be loving and patient too. But tolerance and inclusivity seemed the most relevant virtues that were apparently lacking in the people who joined the BNP.

Bo said...

This isn't surprising at all. Have you read de Benoist's 'On being a Pagan'? Wirth doing so then reading what James b. had to say about de benoist's nouvelle droite fascism.

Yewtree said...

Not surprising but still horrifying. I've seen that book but not read it (flicked through it in a bookshop in Glastonbury once).

dscarron said...

To suggest that Pagan need to have a left/right/conservative/liberal political stance is IMHO inappropriate. Nor will that inspire any debate. Only flame wars.

To suggest that Pagans shouldn't have a racist adgenda (which I think is your intent) is much more appropriate in light of the lore, laws, ethics and morals that we have.

Yewtree said...

Note what I originally said "There is no place in Paganism for far right politics." Far right means racist, usually.