31 July 2012

Religion & Politics

People ask me why it is that online I generally talk about politics on certain forums and about religion on others.

Irminenschaft—whether associated with a an organization or not—has always encouraged Heathens to be politically involved. Consider, for a moment, the Principles of Irminenschaft:


How many of these things may be promoted in our lives and in our cultures if we are not involved in the civic processes that effect these very concepts?

Consider too, the old Heathen adage, “we are our ancestors” and it doesn't take long to recognize that the decisions we make as a society today (whether electing politicians, voting on issues, becoming activists for certain causes or what have you) will have dramatic effects on how we live our lives two or three generations away. It would be folly NOT to be politically involved!

Historically combining religion and politics has never mixed well—at least not since the formation of nation-states, as these problems do not seem to exist in tribal cultures. I do not believe that this is not because of the religion in question or the political structure either. But if we look at wide-ranging examples such as Massachusetts Bay Colony (their theocracy kicked out Rhode Island before Maine seceded); The Islámic Republic of Iran (which sees constant uprisings and allows human rights abuses); the Holy See, a/k/a/ Vatican City (after a long history of sexual abuses we are now learning of banking abuses as well); and we won't even begin to talk about the Inquisition under Protestantism!

As for those religious leaders who have also taken public political stands: Jerry Falwell; Martin Luther King, Jr; Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, Sr; Jesse Jackson; Billy Graham; ad nauseam I will not weigh the benefits or injuries of their political efforts here, but I will question the effect of their efforts on their respective religious bodies.

On the other hand, though, Irminic leaders have never tried to tell other Irminen how to vote, what causes to support, or what politicians to endorse. I believe that this is good. While it makes sense that a spiritual movement such as ours would promote civic involvement one's spirituality ought not be defined by one's politics either. I have known Irminen who are Democrats and those who are Republicans; progressives and conservatives; libertarians and national socialists; constitutionalists and democratic socialists... All are good Irminen. And this is how it should be.

I don't expect to gather with a bunch of Irminen so that we can march in front of Beacon Hill. I expect to raise toasts at the appropriate times, feast at the appropriate times, set aside a meal for any god who may join us and go home feeling spiritually fulfilled.

~~Steve Anthonijsz