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Germanic Neopaganism

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Author Topic: Germanic Neopaganism  (Read 389 times)
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« on: July 27, 2007, 12:53:39 am »

Politics & Controversies

Ásatrú organizations have memberships which span the entire political and spiritual spectrum. Many adherents are solitary practitioners who practice their religion alone with their family or a small local community, and are not involved with organized Ásatrú. Despite the wide divergence of beliefs and politics, the sole common denominator amongst adherents of Ásatrú is the goal of reconstructing and practicing the historical pre-Christian religion of the Eddas.

While Ásatrú is generally a tolerant religion, it is sometimes erroneously identified with neo-Nazi and "white power" organizations which also use the same symbolism. The three largest American Ásatrú organizations have specifically denounced any association with racist groups. There is actually an antagonistic relationship between many neo-Nazis and the membership of most Ásatrú organizations in the USA, who view "National Socialism as an unwanted totalitarian philosophy incompatible with freedom-loving Norse paganism".

There is nevertheless a significant number of self-described adherents of Asatru or Odinism who hold racist or white power ideologies. Mattias Gardell in 2001 estimated that

The racist position has grown tremendously fast in the last four or five years. The militant racists today probably make up between 40% and 50% of Odinists and Asatrúers. And I would say the anti-racist position makes up another 30%. And the remainder goes to the ethnics.

Some Finnish neopagans consider Asatru a part of their faith, while others think it is foreign. Those who make a distinction between Asatru and Finnish neopaganism think Asatru is based too much on beliefs of neighbouring countries and not on their own local traditions. Some even see Asatru as a kind of cultural imperialism.

Inmates of the "Intensive Management Unit" at Washington State Penitentiary who are adherents of Asatru in 2001 were deprived of their Thor's Hammer medallions. In 2007, a federal judge confirmed that Asatru adherents in US prisons have the right to possess a Thor’s Hammer pendant. An inmate sued the Virginia Department of Corrections after he was denied it while members of other religions were allowed their medallions.
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