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Iceland Mag

Culture

The Icelandic Pagan Association receives hate-mail from reactionary pagans abroad

By Staff

  • The high priest Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson has received hate-mail from foreign practicioners of Ásatrú who disapprove of Icelandic tolerance and respect for human rights, including those of gays. Photo/Stefán Karlsson.

Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, the high priest of The Ásatrúarfélag, the congregation of practitioners of the ancient heathen religion of Scandinavia and the settlers of Iceland, tells local news service visir.is that the congregation is considering how to react to foreign practitioners of the faith who are unhappy with the liberal beliefs and attitudes of Icelandic members of the religion.

Some foreign pagans disapprove of Icelandic tolerance
The Ásatrúarfélag Association has begun the construction of its temple in Reykjavík. The temple will be the first central pagan temple to be built in the Nordic countries in nearly a millennium. The temple has caused considerable interest abroad. Hilmar has heard of foreign groups who intend to visit to temple to consecrate it in their own manner, to "correct" what those groups see as the incorrect tolerance of Icelanders.

Read more: Anyone can practise the heathen Ásatrú

The congregation is therefore discussing whether to allow free access to the temple, or whether foreign tourists will only be allowed in as part of guided tours.

"Unfortunately we have received gushes of hate-mail from abroad, for example due to our respect for gay rights and for our fight to be allowed to marry same-sex couples. I think we represent Icelandic society. And the nation has stood with us through thick and thin."

Ásatrú has no room for conservative Christian morality
Hilmar adds that he and other members of the congregation are not interested in using the ancient religion of Ásatrú as a vehicle for romanticized machismo, as well as rejecting any tendencies to inject the practice of Ásatrú with conservative Christian morality:

"We know these texts; we have lived with these texts for a thousand years. We are not coating them in some Viking or warrior romanticism. And we are not obsessing over some books on morality, dating back to the year 70AD, as many of these foreign practitioners of Ásatrú do, considering that book a source on how the ancient religion should be practiced."

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