Now, one thing that's grabbed the attention of the news is the fact that the three men practiced "a white supremacy extremist version of the Asatru faith" and intended to attack synagogues, black churches, and buy land to use in the coming race war.
Naturally, those of us who practice Asatru are not pleased with the emphasis on these morons' religion. It doesn't seem to be at all relevant to the case; they were caught red handed trying to buy weapons illegally. Boom. Open and shut case.
But the news is the news, and once Asatru and white supremacy got into it, that's naturally the headline. And some folks will seize on this as an opportunity to tarnish those of us who cleave to a Folkish view of Asatru. So I reached out to the Allsherjargodi of the Asatru Folk Assembly for a statement, and confirmation as to whether or not these guys had anything to do with the AFA. Here is his response:
Robert Doyle and Ronald Chaney have never been members of the Asatru Folk Assembly, nor to our knowledge have they ever attempted to contact our organization for any reason.
Attacks on innocent and unarmed people are reprehensible. Per the Declaration of Purpose of the AFA, "Asatru is not an excuse to look down on, much less to hate, members of any other race. On the contrary, we recognize the uniqueness and the value of all the different pieces that make up the human mosaic." We urge our members to act in positive, nonviolent ways to further our faith and to advance the legitimate interests of our people.(At the time I asked for the confirmation, it wasn't clear that Halderman was arrested, so no, the mention of Doyle and Chaney but not Halderman is not some cutesy legalism on McNallen's part; it's a fast-moving story and facts are still coming out, and I only asked about the two because I wasn't sure the third had been arrested at the time. Update 11/14/2015: I have been informed that the AFA has never heard of Halderman, either.)
That is about as definitive a statement on the subject as one could hope for, and as a member of the AFA myself, I'm glad to see the actions of these sorts of folks being denounced.
And as predicted, more liberal news outlets are taking advantage of the story to mock Asatru in general, and they're not differentiating between the Folkish and the Universalists; we're all nuts to them:
So you use the arrest of a couple of white supremacists to take cheap shots at an entire religion? Way to stay classy, Gawker.
One local news outlet in the area found a local Asatruar who was eager to differentiate Asatru from white supremacy, but I'm afraid although his point was well-taken, he didn't exactly come across as a great spokesman for our religion in general (protip; when trying to educate the public about Asatru, maybe cleaning the house, wearing something other than a t-shirt that says "That which does not kill me better run", and putting away the swords and axes, might be a good idea):
NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side
Unfortunately it looks like this circus is going to be in town for a while. Let's hope that the coverage gets less sensationalized, and responsible Asatruar might be able to use this incident to educate the public about what we really are all about.