I want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays. After all, if Fox News can do it, so can I. We Heathens (un ungrammatically but popularly Ásatrúar) call the holiday Jól, from whence the rest of you gentiles get the word “Yule” (and so much else).
I like you folks. I like writing for you. I like receiving your comments, and when I can, to answering. I am thankful to those who politely correct me when I make a mistake, even if it is just a typo or the result of a lot of last minute cutting and pasting as I try to gather my disparate thoughts together into a semi-coherent whole, or, as sometimes happens, an outright, glaring error. This is not a paying job. That should tell you a lot about my commitment. The cause of liberty aside, you and my fellow writers are the reason I show up for work every morning.
We have a lot in common, you know – secularists, moderate Christians, atheists, polytheists, agnostics: We’re all damned together to eternal hellfire by Fox News and its minions whether for my particular sin or your own. Of course, their idea of hellheim and mine differ quite a bit. This video pretty much says it all for me so in the holiday spirit of giving I thought I’d share it here:
I speak a lot about turning the other cheek here but of course I am trying to impress upon these so-called “Christians” the teachings of their own lord, who told them no matter what anybody did to them, to make nice in return. Of course, this they refuse to do. Which makes you wonder: if my reward for disobedience is hell, what’s theirs for pretending to be something they’re not? Remember this day of all days what Jesus said,
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).
This is not so different from Heathen morality, or Pagan morality in general. Among my Heathen ancestors, hospitality was held in high regard. In the Hávamál, the Words of the High One, who is Odin himself, we find:
Hail, ye Givers! a guest is come;
say! where shall he sit within?
Much pressed is he who fain on the hearth
would seek for warmth and weal.
He hath need of fire, who now is come,
numbed with cold to the knee;
food and clothing the wanderer craves
who has fared o’er the rimy fell.
As a Heathen, our morality teaches me to return what is given. Friendship friendship, enmity for enmity. A truth for a truth. A lie for a lie. I am not required to tell the truth to somebody who is lying to me. That would be silly wouldn’t it? I certainly am not required nor expected to turn the other cheek. Slap me, I slap you back.
What my Heathen ancestors knew as well as Jesus was that none of us are without fault and that we ought to know this. I will let this be my holiday message to the Phil Robertson fans out there busily hating and seething, and to the foes of marriage equality in Utah, who tear at their heir and rend their clothes that a government forbidden to do so refuses to legislate biblical law on a diverse population:
The miserable man and evil minded
makes of all things mockery,
and knows not that which he best should know,
that he is not free from faults.
Yes, Jesus and Odin, the Risen Lord and the Father of the Slain, are in agreement. Isn’t that something?
And if the early Christians told us, “do not ask questions, just believe” Odin, with Socrates one step ahead of the Enlightenment, said,
Wise he is deemed who can question well,
and also answer back:
the sons of men can no secret make
of the tidings told in their midst.
Today I will do no slapping but even as I enjoy my Jól ham and eggnog, I will continue to question. And many of you will be opening presents or going to church or snuggling happily with your own families, and perhaps, like me, reading, and questioning.
I wish you all the best of the season, whatever your beliefs, whatever your political persuasion, whether you are a nonbeliever kneeling before your Festivus pole or a tea partier kneeling before your corporate masters, and hope for many more to come. Thank you all for being here for us at PoliticusUSA. I think it is safe to say we have all enjoyed being here for you.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.