There goes the neighborhood

The white supremacists have opened a church just down the road from me, about 40 minutes down the road, between Benson and Willmar. It’s another religion, Asatru. Here’s how the SPLC describes it:

A neo-Pagan religion drawing on images of fiercely proud, boar-hunting Norsemen and their white-skinned Aryan womenfolk is increasingly taking root among Skinheads, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists across the nation.

Asatrú leaders have opened prison ministries in at least five states recently, and their many jailed followers are heavily white supremacist.

Here’s how they describe themselves:

The Asatru Folk Assembly was formed by Stephen McNallen in 1994 as a successor to the Asatru Free Assembly, which dominated the Asatru scene in the United States from its inception in the 1970’s until its dissolution in 1986. Since it’s inception, the AFA has been the premier force in the development and practice of Asatru. The AFA is committed, today and everyday, to building strong and lasting communities and families, embracing traditional values and venerating our holy Gods.

In the late 1960’s, Stephen McNallen embraced the Gods and founded the modern religion of Asatru. In short order, Alsherjargothi McNallen started the Viking Brotherhood which quickly evolved into the Asatru Free Assembly. The Asatru Free Assembly began publishing “the Runestone” magazine as well as starting the first Asatru gatherings called Allthings.

Asatru grew and developed throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. In 1986 the Asatru Free Assembly was disbanded. In the late 1980’s and early 90’s the original values and aims of Asatru were growingly subverted by the decay of cultural marxism [emphasis added] Alsherjargothi McNallen knew he must once again take up the banner and save what his vision and initiative had put into motion. The Asatru Folk Assembly was founded from that day forward to be a solid spiritual force for our Ethnic European Folk and our Ethnic European Faith.

That “cultural marxism” remark is a dead giveaway — it’s a racist, right-wing organization.

For completeness sake, here’s a link to their website. I don’t recommend reading it, because it was designed to kill you. ALL-CAPS white text on a background photograph of light green grass and grey-white stones? OMG, that alone convinced me to embrace cultural marxism. My ancestral forebears apparently had no design sense at all.


  1. Chris Capoccia says

    any time people are talking about “Marxism” without any connection to seizing the means of production, you know they have no idea what words mean

  2. Matt G says

    Well, we can’t say that all of the racist organizations are Christian, can we?

  3. springa73 says

    Slightly off-topic, but I can tell that you live in a more spread-out, thinly populated part of the country than I do by the fact that you consider 40 minutes’ drive to be “just down the road” from you. I would think of “down the road” as a 5 or maybe 10 minute drive.

  4. Connie Collins says

    Leaving all the petty real-world shit wrong with this, Odin is the Allfather, not the SOMEfather.

  5. davidc1 says

    Sounds like someone grew up watching the film called ” The Vikings ” starring Kirk Douglas ,and Tony Curtis .
    According to that bloke Magnus Magnusson ,them Vikings didn’t spend all their time ravishing and pillaging .

  6. blf says

    What To Do When Racists Try To Hijack Your Religion (November 2017):

    White supremacists are coopting Norse heathen symbols. Should the heathens ignore them? Protest them? Create a new theology?

    As white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, the high priest of a pagan religion looked on with horror from Reykjavik, Iceland. It wasn’t just their racist message that bothered him. It was that their banners bore the symbols of his religion: Ásatrú, also known as heathenry.

    “I think it’s obscene,” the high priest, Hilmar Hilmarsson, said of the way white supremacists are coopting Norse symbols like Thor’s hammer because they believe the Vikings were a pure white race. This appropriation has been underway for a few years — not only in the United States, but also in Sweden, Germany, Canada, and elsewhere — and it’s rattling many of those who practice the Ásatrú faith in its birthplace. “We are absolutely horrified,” Hilmarsson told me.

    [… Ásatrú] has no central authority or agreed-upon dogma. Although many followers cherish this ideological openness, it may leave the religion vulnerable to misappropriation.


    Asked if he’s [Karl Seigfried, an adjunct professor at Illinois Institute of Technology who is also a goði (priest) of an inclusive Ásatrú group in Chicago] trying to make Ásatrú theology “racist-proof,” the way certain French imams are trying to craft a “preventive theology” that will make Islam resistant to being coopted by fundamentalists, Seigfried said he doesn’t think that’s possible. “If someone wants to go spelunking for mythological justifications of ethnic superiority, they’ll hit pay dirt in the texts of almost any religious tradition,” he told me by email. “Those who seek validation for hateful views will always manage to find some passage they can interpret in a way that justifies their bigotry.”


    The battle has come to Canada, too. The Soldiers of Odin — a far-right group founded by a Finnish white supremacist in 2015 — now has chapters in about a dozen Canadian cities. Members go out on street patrols that Muslims and other minorities describe as intimidating. But even within the Soldiers of Odin, there’s fracturing over race. In April, the head of the Canadian group, Bill Daniels, publicly denounced the Finnish organization for “racist, unorganized, reckless wannabe thug collaboration.” He was promptly ousted.


    I haven’t quite deciphered who “the Canadian group” and “the Finnish organization” are — there are lots of splinters and factions… a Judian People’s Front type situation.

    Lots more at the link.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the Viking Brotherhood which quickly evolved into the Asatru Free Assembly.

    If they’d stuck with the V-name, they could’ve roped in a crowd of football fans.

    Even if, maybe especially if, Scandahoovians got organized to defend their ethnic heritage against demeaning corporate exploitation, like certain more intelligent nationalities.

  8. flange says

    I’m not saying this group is not dangerous or benign. They are, like any right-wing organization. They need to be watched closely and called on.
    But just like all religions (and Organized Atheism) there will be internecine squabbles, egotistical stupid assholes rising to top leadership, schisms, and eventual irrelevance. It may take a while, and they’ll do plenty of mischief, but they will
    eventually disintegrate into toxic waste.

  9. lumipuna says

    blf at 8:

    I get the impression that Soldiers of Odin was a loose movement or “brand” of white supremacism that lost any coherence after it gained some popularity internationally (or at least in Canada).

    Here in Finland they were apparently never more than a handful of neonazis organizing thug “street patrols”. Their initial recruitment campaign got some mainstream media attention, but then they faded into obscurity when it became apparent they didn’t have enough people for effective street terrorism. (Only later I heard of the existence of the Canadian branch) I don’t remember anyone here framing them as a “religious group” despite the name.

  10. laurian says

    It would be quite a shame should a pitchfork wielding mob burned that shit to the ground.

  11. Artor says

    Most Asatru are decent people who despise the racist crowd, but there’s a disturbing number who use it as cover for their despicable beliefs and attitudes. Sadly, Thor won’t be coming around to kick their arses, and Odin has always been the type to approve of that business.

  12. cjcolucci says

    I want to re-start the religion of the old Olympian pantheon. The universe is run by a committee and its members are working at cross purposes. It’s the religion that best fits the facts.

  13. anthrosciguy says

    Slightly off-topic, but I can tell that you live in a more spread-out, thinly populated part of the country than I do by the fact that you consider 40 minutes’ drive to be “just down the road” from you. I would think of “down the road” as a 5 or maybe 10 minute drive.

    You should see northern Canada. :). My girlfriend, when her ex was up doing railroad work for CN, came up with a phrase I think should have caught on: “he’s up in Jaboof”.

  14. wsierichs says

    When I read the title, I thought you were going to talk about a group of violent, anarchist spiders building nests in your yard and driving off the law-abiding spiders.

  15. raven says

    The white racist version of Asatru is the opposite of the original Icelandic version.
    The Icelandic version of Asatru is humanistic and compares well with the Unitarian Universalists.

    Iceland Magazine
    Jan 22, 2019

    .9. It is a religion of peace and tolerance

    Ásatrú, as it has been practiced in Iceland, is a religion of nature and life, stressing the harmony of the natural world and the search for harmony in the life of individuals. It’s openness and philosophical character has led some to compare it to Unitarian Universalism.

    Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the high priest of Ásatrúarfélagið, has stressed that Ásatrú is a religion of peace and respect. “It is a religion which teaches you how to live in harmony with your surroundings and yourself, and how to deal with the different phases of your life. How to become of age and then how to age.” True to this Ásatrú is a religion of respect and tolerance. “We reflect Icelandic society and Icelandic values,”

    As a natural religion the Ásatrú stresses the interconnection of all things and especially a respect for nature. Members are environmentally aware and know that for Mother Earth to be be bountiful she must be cared for and nurtured. The association has taken a firm stand on conservation and environmentalism.

    .10. It rejects militarism and the glorification of heroism, battles and blood.

  16. vucodlak says

    The white supremacists have opened a church just down the road from me, about 40 minutes down the road

    Surely there’s a white Evangelical Christian church closer than that? Perhaps an LCMS* church?

    *Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

  17. KG says

    According to that bloke Magnus Magnusson, them Vikings didn’t spend all their time ravishing and pillaging. – d a vidc 1@6

    Well he would say that, wouldn’t he? Magnus Magnusson was Icelandic by birth, and genetic studies have shown that while Icelandic Y-chromosomes are pretty much exclusively Scandinavian in origin, a lot of Icelandic mitochondrial DNA is not. I suppose some of the women whom the Viking men took to Iceland may have been volunteers…

  18. fishy says

    Asatrú leaders have opened prison ministries in at least five states recently, and their many jailed followers are heavily white supremacist.

    I think I get it now.
    My cardboard cutout of a Governor has been making pleasing noises about letting former felons vote, rather than continuing their punishment indefinitely despite the cruel and unusual. It seems that it has all been an exercise in foot dragging because they know that U.S. prison populations are predominantly minorities.
    I’m certain there are backroom discussions about how they can separate the racists from the rest. The Florida poll tax model that our Supreme Court ignored has been suggested.

  19. René says

    Picking a nit: Strictly speaking the body text isn’t all caps — it’s caps plus small caps. (Which means the small caps have been entered unshifted.)

  20. eruntalan says

    It’s fascinating, my first introduction to the Asatru religion was through an old Harry Potter/Marvel crossover fanfiction. The version used in that one had seemed fairly benign, but it’s been many years now, and I have to wonder where the creator got their inspiration from… So strange how things click together sometimes. O.o

  21. christoph says

    “Cultural Marxism…” as opposed to cultural Stalinism? Or “cultural Maoism?”

  22. JP says

    Just by the by, the mainstream groups of Norse Paganism have quite vigorously condemned and separated themselves from the white supremacist group (there are probably some other little white supremacist groups and sects here and there.) The name “Asatru” itself isn’t owned by that particular group, it just refers to worship of the Aesir, the sky-god pantheon of Norse Paganism.

    Personally, I’m a Lokean. (As it goes, Loki wasn’t allowed to be honored by the biggest Norse Pagan group at their meetings for the longest time, although they’ve since mended their ways. Not somebody you want to piss off.)