Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thoughts on the Kansas shooter

The shooter, from a YouTube video from several years
ago. That ain't no Thor's Hammer on his hat.
The news has been making the rounds today that the former KKK leader, avowed racist, anti-Semite, and fan of Adolf Hitler, who attacked two Jewish-affiliated locations in Overland Park, KS, calls himself an Odinist.

Naturally, this is causing all sorts of agita, and rightly so.

It should go without saying that Odinism isn't Asatru (and his manifesto, as far as I can tell, never uses the term). It should go without saying (but unfortunately often needs to be reiterated) that Odinism isn't even folkish Asatru, that folkish Asatru is not racist and the prominent folkish Asatru organizations specifically disavow racism, fascism, and the sort of insane violence that people like Mr. Cross (aka Mr. Miller) perpetrate.

Note that I am not an official spokesman for any organization, but I can read what they say on their websites and in their literature.

The plain fact is that any whackaloon can call himself whatever he wants. There are plenty of Odinists out there who aren't racist, want nothing to do with racists, and drum them out of their organizations and their social circles. Just because one terrible person (or even hundreds of terrible people) choose to assume a particular label does not mean that they represent the majority of the rest of the people who assume that label.

The shooter at a KKK rally. If you look carefully at his
uniform, it says "CKKKK" on the left breast. That stands
for "Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan".
Just look at the KKK. It is an explicitly Christian organization. There's Identity Christianity, too. Despite the fact that these individuals call themselves Christians, it is certainly wrong to tar all Christians with their noxious ideologies.

So, when a respectable news organization such as CNN has a headline like "The accused Kansas killer's neo-pagan religion", it is not only misleading but actively harmful. It taints all neo-pagans with the broad brush of this nut's personal beliefs.

The Southern Poverty Law Center may not choose to recognize the fact that all Odinists aren't "[obsessed] with genetic purity, racial supremacy and conquering supposedly lesser peoples", the simple fact is that they aren't. They also seem to be doubling down on supposed Nazi mysticism (despite the fact that the actual Odinist groups in Germany in the 1930's were shut down and almost all of their members tossed into concentration camps). Hitler mocked the mystics in his movement, but that doesn't get in the way of the SPLC trying to make a connection.

To CNN's credit (minor though it may be), they do have a quote from someone who affirms that "most adherents are peaceful, earth-loving pagans". Waaaaaay down in the 18th paragraph.

Frazier Glenn Cross (Miller) committed atrocities in the name of some twisted ideology that existed in his own mind. He had associations with violent racists in the past (his White Patriot Party apparently was involved with The Order in the 1980's). That was his real religion - racism. If he was an Odinist, it was in name only. He might as well have labeled himself a turnip. It would have had just as much relevance to the reality of what Odinism, and turnips, are.

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