Both the Pagan and Christian students, as well as the faculty, of the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities express regret over Murdock City Council’s 12/8/2020 decision in favor of the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA). Any form of discrimination, exclusion, or racism done in the name of religion is a travesty. And in their ruling, Murdock City Council has allowed the AFA — an SPLC-designated hate group with a history of racism, transphobia, and heterosexism — to use a former church as a northwestern base of operations.
United holds sacred the values of hospitality and inclusion. Although our student body is predominantly Christian, we do count practitioners of Paganism and Heathenry in our community. And because Heathenry and Paganism are smaller, lesser known spiritualities, they tend to be more easily and broadly painted by the louder and more unsavory outliers. We of United Pagans see the AFA as appropriating our traditions and ignoring the fundamental values of hospitality in the name of white supremacy. The AFA’s notion of Heathenry as a decidedly ethnic path is a denial of historicity and an affront to the many faces of the Divine. And their well-known association with white supremacist and neo-nazi politics mark the AFA as more akin to a hate group than a valid religious reclamation practice.
All of us at United are joined in the recognition that the AFA is NOT representative of Heathenry. And United’s multi-religious community stands by the people of Murdock and the work of the Murdock Area Alliance Against Hate in their efforts to disassociate themselves from the AFA, especially in calling to go on record against welcoming what the AFA represent into Murdock.
This statement was created by leaders from the United Pagans student group at United Theological Seminary.