The poison in Murdock, Minnesota

If someone said to you, We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children, and if they then said they were good people, would you take their word for it? I sure wouldn’t. That’s Nazi shit. If you were a city council member voting on whether they could buy a church in your community, would you be reassured if they argued that their goal was to guarantee that there were would be blond haired, blue eyed children a hundred thousand years from now? Would you vote yes if they promised that, while they weren’t going to allow any black people to set foot in the church, they’d be polite about escorting them out?

All that happened just a few miles down the road from me, in Murdock, Minnesota, where the Asatru FolK Assembly is setting up shop. The city council member who voted in favor, Pat Thorson, is a smug centrist white guy who wasn’t offended as long as they weren’t coming after him, and he asked if he looks like a white supremacist. Yeah, Pat, you do. You don’t have to wear a pointy white hat and set crosses on fire to be a racist — all it takes is that you shrug your shoulders and look the other way when bigots move in.

The Guardian sent a crew to Murdock to dig into what’s going on. I went down there myself a while back, and all I could see was another tiny Minnesota hamlet, population 300, which was dead quiet and sleepy, with absolutely nothing happening. I should have gone on a Sunday morning and crashed the church if I wanted to see anything, I guess.

I watched that and came away with total contempt for their church, which they call “Baldurshof” and less respect for small town city councils.


  1. raven says

    The City Council might not have even been able to stop them.
    There are a lot of Religious Freedom Restoration Act type laws in the USA. There is a Federal one that was limited to the federal government only by the US Supreme court.
    Many states have their own RFRA laws.

    Minnesota doesn’t. They have something like it though by court cases.

    An additional 9 states have RFRA-like provisions that were provided by state court decisions rather than via legislation:[47][48]

    Alaska Hawaii Ohio Maine Massachusetts Michigan Washington Wisconsin

  2. raven says

    The headline is wrong.
    There are way more white churches than just this one in Murdoch, Minnesota.

    Thor and his followers come to the Northern California hills › religion › 2015/10/16

    Oct 16, 2015 — Welcome to what is being called the first free-standing, public Asatru “hof” in the United States — a worship hall and meeting place for members …

    There are these guys, also Asatru. They aren’t quite as out about it but it is whites only and they rationalize it with a stupid idea called metagenomics, that religion is in your genes. So if you are Scandinavian, you have an affinity for their ancient religion.
    They have no idea of course, what your hereditary religion is if you are a mix. Half Norwegian, half Greek? Half Norwegian, half Korean?

    And in practice, most fundie xian churches are de facto segregated by race. The largest Protestant denomination in the USA, the Southern Baptists, were started to support slavery and opposed desegregation all during the 20th century.

  3. kingoftown says

    Turns out some Vikings were the wrong kind of Aryan and some were quite keen on Islam.

    “DNA analysis of Viking graves has also shown that some of them contain people who originated in Persia.”

  4. says

    OH fuck me wrong video!

    Exterminators : The Gun is good! Zardoz : The Penis is evil! The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots Death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    So this is where wossname, David Duke will spend his vacations.
    An embarassing fact is that a lot of these weirdos will be descended from Sweden. They should have gone to Fargo instead, and tried their luck with honourable stuff, like kidnappning.

  6. PaulBC says

    As a white person, I often think “WTF is supposed to be so great about being white?” Especially since I moved to California, where I burn a lot faster than I did on the east coast (like in a half hour or so). (I don’t know if that is really location–fewer clouds–or something about aging skin, or the fact that the ozone hole got bigger since my youth and has not fully receded.)

    Which reminds me I’m way overdue to have some AKs frozen off and get a prescription of fluorouracil.

    On the other hand, I make my own vitamin D. Woohoo! So there is that.

  7. Tethys says

    Oh yes, these are a bunch of racists who have invented a religion based on cherry picking from the meager ancient literature. Baldr is described as the most fair, Whitest, and beloved member of the Aesir. The word fair in Old Norse means beautiful, as in “Mirror, Mirror-on the wall”, and is notable because it is typically used to describe women. Attractive men are usually described as raudr/ruddy.

    Colors themselves are used as adjectives in all Germanic languages. Hvitr can mean white the color, fair weather, or used to describe very fine white flour, or a fresh blanket of snow. Beautiful women are commonly described as having fine white arms. It is a rhetorical device.

    Vikings themselves were very active slave traders, in addition to developing an enormous trade network that reached far into Asia and the Byzantium Empire. Intermarriage was a common method of cementing various social relationships. There are multiple archeological sites in Bavaria and along the Baltic Sea where they have found Hunnic women burials that appear to be highly valued, full members of their communities.

    DNA studies have been done that show a large proportion of the founding female population of Iceland were taken from Ireland as slaves. I will have to search for the reference, but there were multiple islands off the coast of England and Ireland that were well known slave markets during the Viking age.

  8. antigone10 says

    I’m Scandanavian. My cousins are half Scandinavian, half African American. Who says they have less right to our heritage? It’s ours, not just mine, to whatever extent any of us want it. Especially since Vikings put a great deal of emphasis on looking good, lyrical boast battles, and pouring out alcohol for fallen comrades. How is this different from looking fly, rap battles, and pouring one out?

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Heritage is sometimes problematic. I am happy to live in north Sweden far from the viking heartland. The farmers here do not have the historical luggage of those slave-trading southerners. Also, the north never had any aristocracy, and thank Odin for that.

  10. PaulBC says


    Who says they have less right to our heritage?

    Aside from racists, nobody I hope. Actually, I believe in a shared human heritage anyway (which I know gets tricky with accusations of cultural appropriation). Is a Chinese scholar who knows more about Scandinavian history more or less entitled to celebrate it (if they so choose) than, say, an American with 100% Norwegian ancestry whose culture was lost generations back?

    On your specific question, if there’s genetic entitlement at all, then half Scandinavian, half African is obviously just as Scandinavian as half Italian or half German. Unfortunately, the “one drop” rule dies hard.

  11. Tethys says

    The religious beliefs of the various ancient Germanic peoples are mostly unknown. The Angles and Saxons were described as heathens and pagans because they lived on the heaths and in the pagis, border region. Odin and the Aesir weren’t limited to Scandinavia, it’s just one of the last places to convert to Christianity. Not everyone worshipped Odin. His cult is rather late historically, and seems to be very popular among Viking warrior culture. There are references to other systems of worship and belief that involve trees, goddesses, and sacred twins. Planting festivals and harvest festivals are high holidays, in addition to the Yule and midsummer festivals.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    If rural white churches correlate with racism, New York real-estate tycoons correlate with crime.
    Real-estate heir Robert Durst seems to be going down for two separate murders.
    What the fuck, New York? Didn’t you get the memo that it is blue-collar people who are dangerous?

  13. mathscatherine says

    #8, “As a white person, I often think “WTF is supposed to be so great about being white?”

    White people are best at surviving in Antarctica. If you want to spend a year living on the world’s coldest continent, your chances of having mental health issues (and frostbite) are smaller if you are white (or probably if you’re indigenous to the Arctic, but I don’t know that anyone from there has bothered trying). It is, however, just a reduction compared to other races – there are plenty of non-white people who’ve come back just fine as well as plenty of white people who haven’t (Bertram Armytage is the earliest example).

    Apart from that, there isn’t anything great about being white. In fact there’s a disadvantage as far as living in most parts of the world is concerned, as you’ve pointed out.

  14. lumipuna says

    In the video, they say the church is open to people of “native European descent”. Insert a joke about ancient European king Generik the White.

  15. lumipuna says

    I know some ethnoreligious communities are either officially or de facto open only to members of a certain ethnic culture. This is relevant especially for North American indigenous communities, who might be otherwise swamped by white “spiritual seekers”. However, usually these ethnic restrictions relate to a specific nation or cultural group, not some broad racially constructed group such as “people of Native American descent”. AFAIK, indigenous North American nations tend to be quite racially inclusive, at least with regard to mixed race people, as long as you have a genuine connection to the culture and community.

    Here in Europe, white nationalists claim they want to save their own nation state’s cultural (read: “cultural and racial”) heritage from being outnumbered and assimilated by outsiders. In reality, of course, this threat of assimilation is greatly exaggerated. In North America, there’s usually only vague references to “white people” or “people of European descent”. I’ve noted before that this seems to be a code for the English-speaking culture and population of mostly Germanic-Celtic origin that traditionally dominates the former British colonies. This culture is then portrayed as representing Europe or white race as a whole, with the implicit understanding that only physically white-passing people can be part of the culture.

    There’s a commentator in the video noting that both white nationalism and associated white paganism often appeal to people because they can make you feel special. People of their own country’s ethnic majority culture (and not just in the US) can easily be left feeling like they have no particular cultural heritage, or that their ethnic heritage isn’t special enough to be interesting. In my understanding, English-speaking white people in the US often seek this experience of specialness by identifying themselves ethnically with some specific non-English European immigrant ancestry, or perhaps distant Native American ancestry. In this regard, it seems ironic to me that in white paganism the trappings of Norse paganism are deliberately separated from Scandinavian-American culture and made a symbol for the generic, dominant “white European culture”.

  16. John Morales says


    There’s a commentator in the video noting that both white nationalism and associated white paganism often appeal to people because they can make you feel special.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

    If someone needs whatever to feel special, they’re clearly not very special.

    (A bit like the irony of buying a self-help book)

  17. lumipuna says

    If someone needs whatever to feel special, they’re clearly not very special.

    IDK if there’s any objective value or measure in being special. I feel like many people could benefit from factual knowledge about the world and its history, to feel personally more “in place”, without actually thinking they’re somehow meaningfully different from other people.

  18. brightmoon says

    Since I’ve never heard the Russian national anthem before , that was interesting.

    I’ve been worried about rightwing racism ever since some so-called Christians told me that slavery was acceptable because it’s in the Bible . That was 25 years ago! Those voices have gotten more numerous since! And the biggest shocker is that some brain dead Black Christians agree . Like WTF !?!?!?!

  19. raven says

    I’ve noted before that this seems to be a code for the English-speaking culture and population of mostly Germanic-Celtic origin that traditionally dominates the former British colonies.

    While the USA is mostly English speaking, the English long ago ended up being a small minority.
    Germans are 14%
    Irish are 9.7%
    English are 7.1%
    Italians are 5.1%
    Scandinavians are 3.3%

    This really doesn’t describe the USA very well though. Almost all of us are mixes of one sort or another and every generation, it gets more mixed up.

    Ironically, the English founders long ago got overran and replaced by the Germans and Irish. And no one noticed or cared.

  20. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    To be fair, being a white supremacist’s tacit ally is not the same as being a white supremacist. It’s just so reprehensible as to be able to be treated as being essentially the same! It’s that old wisdom that if you have a room with a Nazi and someone who won’t stop the Nazi, you have two Nazis.

  21. lumipuna says

    I know the people of USA are highly mixed (and this is not limited to white people, but white people are generally in the best position to have knowledge of their ancestry). That’s why I said “mostly Germanic-Celtic origin”.

    Personally, I can only try to guess what it feels like to perceive one’s ethnic identity with recently highly mixed ancestry. I can certainly presume my own ancestry is also mixed across linguistic lines and (modern) national borders, but that happened gradually, in distant past, without being preserved in records or family lore. The very notion of people (such as many people here in Europe) being ethnically “pure” something is fiction if it’s based on physical ancestry lines, and if you account for the distant past.

    Traditional nationalism in my part of Europe is heavily predicated on the notion that people of mixed origin become ethnically “pure” after a few generations by assimilating into a specific cultural community – usually one defined by language. I reckon this is quite different from the traditional construction of ethnicity in the US, or indeed just about any English-speaking countries. Hence, I probably shouldn’t try to analyze this matter further.

  22. Tethys says

    I suspect if I showed up at this Hof and quoted nothing but lines from Baldr Drapa (Balders death) that they would throw me out.

    It’s quite a good bit of verse. Very poignant. It is tragic when Loki refuses to cry for him, so he stays dead in Hels hall. I note that it’s also a gender swapped version of Persephone.

  23. PaulBC says


    I reckon this is quite different from the traditional construction of ethnicity in the US, or indeed just about any English-speaking countries.

    Eh, you’re not missing much.

    In fact, my ancestors are all Irish Catholic American going back generations including pre-potato famine, so maybe I’m not one to talk either. Some combination of Irish, Italian, Polish, and German was especially common in Catholic schools where I grew up, and I always felt left out in discussions of what a big [white] melting pot we have here in America. That was also at a time (the 70s) when the mix really didn’t extend much outside of European ethnic groups. We have made significant progress since then.

  24. John Morales says

    … my ancestors are all Irish Catholic American going back generations …

    What a weird conceit. What’s Irish about being born and growing up in America?

    (cf. Issei, Nisei, Sansei)

    We have made significant progress since then.

    Not that significant, when after generations of being USAnian one still identifies as somehow “Irish”.

  25. Tethys says

    Nobody in America but natives identifies their ethnicity as American.

    I’m very German, regardless of the fact that there was no country called Germany when my ancestors went east into the Russian Empire for 150 years before immigrating to North America.

  26. PaulBC says


    Not that significant, when after generations of being USAnian one still identifies as somehow “Irish”.

    It’s a harmless amusement.

  27. PaulBC says

    Not that it makes more “Irish” except nominally, but I have a dual citizenship (entry in Irish foreign birth register). My father was able to get one because he had one grandparent born in Ireland, and all of his kids born after 1956 (when the law was passed) were retroactively eligible. Unfortunately, I didn’t know I was eligible in time to get one before my kids were born, so it doesn’t extend to them. It was a hassle to apply, but I still think it could come in handy. At least I have a credible threat of “I’m leaving” when the next abomination gets elected president. I often think I shouldn’t wait, but I’m not ready to retire yet.