Friday, July 31, 2015

The Asatru Hof and Same-Sex Marriage Controversy

This group is accredited with the movement of modern day Asatru.  They have existed since the summer of 1972 and as of March of this year began working on the first Asatru "Hof" temple, in Iceland in over a thousand years. This is cause for celebration, sadly there is always someone to rain on your parade. Alsherjargooi (high-priest) Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, has reported Ásatrúarfélagið has been receiving hate mail, including threats of vandalism to the hof. 
Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson 2009

This wasn't any outsider like a monotheist group becoming out of hand, but from Asatru groups, primarily from the United States. These angry groups and individuals are upset over Ásatrúarfélagið acceptance towards homosexuality and the hof being used to conduct same gender marriages. This has been a touchy issue in the United States and conservative anti marriage equality organizations are rather upset with same-sex marriage being officially legal in all 50 states earlier this year. Icelandic law has been providing gender neutral marriage documents, since June of 2010. It was voted unopposed and immensely popular amongst Icelandic citizens. Credit to Ásatrúarfélagið, they have been performing same-sex marriage ceremonies since 2003. The cultural differences between most European countries and the puritanical United States is staggering.

"At least three groups have been talking about going to Iceland,” Hilmar told The Wild Hunt. “They say, ‘it’s our temple, it’s our heritage, and these Icelandic idiots are doing it all wrong.'” 
The word Asatru, is really an ancient term for "belief/faith in the gods," is currently referred to those who follow the gods of Norse mythology and traditions. Much of what we know about this culture and it's religion was from Christian monks in the dark ages. These accounts are clouded under the churches prejudices, leaving out female warriors, leaders and clergy for example. It wasn't until recently re-examining of remains on old battle fields was it discovered that the Nordic people had inter-sex military. Asatru, is often misunderstood by today's society. It is intertwined with the image of the Viking. Although many Vikings were followers of the Nordic God's, not all whom honored the gods were Vikings. These were a proud and determine ancient people, who battled harsh winters, constant war, disease and death of as a part of their regular life. Most died young and only the strongest survived. It was a hard life in a roughed society. 

In surviving text and documents from monks, Asatru appears to be a primary patriarchy society. Patriachy usually looks down on femininity as weak and undesirable. Using references of feminine traits as mockery. When it came to male homosexual sex, being penetrated meant you were the defeated one. It's difficult to separate the actual context to the Christian influence of the time. Christianity was not the only patriarchal society, by no means. It is likely the Nordic tribes shared similar views, but went about their theology through different methods. Where the early churches was quick to kill any strong willed, dominant, disobedient or appearing masculine, women, the Norse encouraged this behavior. To be masculine was to be stronger, therefore better than feminine. 

Nordic people, along with the Celtics and Saxons, had fought many bloody campaigns against the Roman Empire, who were known for their sexual appetites, including men and boys. If taken as slaves, it was expected for all the women to be violated, but their young men and boys too. A great insult of feminization by penetration. Some cultures are even harder on male rape victims than female. The behavior of an enemy is often demonized and associated as an act of evil.  This is called rape and pederasty, not homosexuality, but is often mistaken as such. 

 This is not the same-sex relationships the Ásatrúarfélagið are involving in their hof in this modern time. Just as a modern civil heterosexual marriage shouldn't be compared to marriage by murdering most of a family and raping the young girls to birth children and be their slaves. If one can acknowledge the difference in a modern heterosexual marriage, certainly the same may be applied to same-sex marriage. 

Now I may not agree, but I do respect a persons right to their opinions and practice according to their personal faith, including their discrimination, whether I agree or not. All groups have some restrictions about who may join and may not. There are traditionalist who wish to remain with this old mentality. I do not deny them that right, no more than should they deny another's the right to have their personal evolution of  Asatru due to modern advancement. There are groups of Folkish Heathenism which could be an individual who chooses to personally only honoring God's and traditions of their heritage, to those who would go as far to exclude people from their hof over race. 

Thousands of years later, the quarrel between tribes of Europe have reincarnated themselves into football games. I'm not sure it's less bloody, but it gets their aggression out of the system without the mass death toll. People are not only surviving birth, but even living past 80. It's time these ancient mentalities have past. In order for anything is to survive, it has to evolve. Evolution simply means change over time. The concept isn't limited to just science, religions too evolves, including Asatru. Homosexuality isn't any more harmful than any other relationship or groups of individuals. All groups have their share of individuals who do horrible acts. Knowing the difference between a groups current stance on a topic, verses their classes of fools, creeps and bigots. The Ásatrúarfélagið understand this concept, even if a small but vocal minority refuses too. 
  1. Most people understand the difference between a heterosexual, a homosexual and the offensive comparison to a pedophile. It's rather offensive that a man raping a boy is somehow worse than a man raping a girl. Hurting a child is wrong, not the consensual actions of adults, which is really a part of their life that doesn't at all concern you. 
  2. Then suggesting bestiality will be legal. Explain how an animal is able to be held to a contract? Remember essentially, that is all a marriage is legally. 
  3. Today's modern concept of marriage is extremely different. Arranged marriages and/or marriages of convenience are no longer the main reason people marry, it's love. 
  4. Being unable to produce children is not at all a logical argument. Many couples who marry are unable to produce children naturally. Medical problems, age, sterilization, etc... would mean children are not always possible in the traditional sense. Adoption is an option, foster care, even modern technology making biological children through modern medicine, for both, both gender couples to same gender. Then there is the reality not all couples want children.

In the end, an out cry from Asatru and other tribal, spiritual, pagan, Wiccan, etc groups have rallied together in support. They are the flora which bloomed from this fertilizer.

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