More on Heathens in Prison

Olive posted a comment this morning to the post over at the Wildhunt Weblog on the latest pagan brouhaha in the prison system. At the end of her insightful discussion, she asked "How many Asatrus are willing to stand up and say these men are not Asatru because of what they've done or believe? Do other Asatru consider these men to be Asatru?"

I think I've got enough gravitas as a Heathen to say it, and to speak for most of the heathens I know. These boneheads were not True to the Aesir. They showed little, if any, conception of the concept of a holy frithstead, for one thing, and furthermore, murder is not exactly one of our Nine Noble Virtues.

Additionally, the killer who's slated to die for this heinous crime is simpering and whimpering an appeal - the first principle of Heathenry is that an individual is responsible for their own actions, and that one should accept the consequences of those actions. If this jerk were a heathen, and he believed what he did was right, he'd take Virginia's option for electrocution and have his death dedicated to Asa-Thor. Doing so would've at least shown he'd gained some understanding since his crime.

Now, all that being said, I also believe that this is an example of a failure on the part of mainstream Asatrurar to take prison ministry seriously. And, frankly, I'll extend this to all pagan and neo-pagan paths. We need more folks to volunteer to go into the system and teach the inmates about our pagan pathways, and not just depend on sending pamphlets and books. And the prison system needs to allow this ...

With the increasing drift towards Christianity becoming our (literally) State religion, many prisons are loathe to assist pagan inmates in finding their ground again. That's gotta change. Otherwise we end up with, well, we've seen what we end up with.

Too much is going on in my life personally to be able to do it now, but some years back I became a prison chaplain for my gods and my faith. I went into the Indiana State Prison at Greencastle once a month over a period of two years aiding in kindred formation and getting the guys started out on the right foot. It's frustrating as Hel: of all the folks I worked with there were only a couple who really "got it". The rest seemed to be just looking for an excuse to get out of chores. But one of those men actually turned down a parole offer because he felt he'd not paid enough back to society for his misdeeds.

That's what being a Heathen means.

Potentially we have a lot to offer inmates: we're not a "religion of instant redemption", and we can't sprinkle anyone with magic fairy dust and eliminate their crimes in the eyes of the Holy Powers. But we can show them how they can do so for themselves. That's the power and virtue of the heathen path.

13:31 /Asatru | 9 comments | permanent link