North Texas Daily

This & That: Pagan values do not align with the alt-right

This & That: Pagan values do not align with the alt-right

This & That: Pagan values do not align with the alt-right
March 30
11:00 2021

Paganism is one of the most misunderstood religions with many different paths and a bad reputation. Right-wing groups who follow QAnon passionately believe pagans, Jewish people and Satanists are collaborating on conspiracies. Unfortunately, some alt-right extremists have tried to find a place in the pagan community, even after attacking the core values and corrupting the sacred symbols. Paganism is a broad belief system with diverse paths, but most of us agree on one thing: there is no room for bigotry and discrimination. This automatically disqualifies the alt-right from joining the pagan community. 

A nature-based religion, Paganism has several different branches, each adopting its own set of core beliefs ranging from atheistic to polytheistic. Most pagans hold pluralistic views that make them tolerant of other religions and people. In fact, diversity is important to most modern pagans, including myself. I chose the pagan path because it aligns with my belief that all humans deserve to be honored and respected. 

The values of true paganism do not align with the values expressed by alt-right groups like QAnon. People like the infamous “QAnon Shaman” are disrespecting pagan values, tarnishing sacred symbols and corrupting Norse mythology. Pagan deities have been honored and worshipped throughout the world, our community has never restricted anyone based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or other discriminatory reasons. 

The pagan community has come together to stop hateful groups like the Asatru Folk Assembly, that has taken Norse pagan beliefs and used them as an excuse for their bigoted and hateful views. One hundred and eighty organizations from 20 different countries signed Declaration 27, officially condemning the AFA and similar alt-right groups. 

Bigots and racists are drawn to paganism because of the connection to Viking culture. Somehow they have turned a nature-based religion built on the principles of community, tolerance, diversity, altruism, sustainability and co-existence into a hateful space centered on racial purity. Vikings are not known to be hateful people, in fact, they survived because they were adaptive to different cultures and environments. In their quest to embrace Viking culture, the alt-right has completely disrespected the people they claim to admire and respect. 

In the past, alt-right QAnon followers have relentlessly attacked pagans, Jewish people, the LGBTQ+ community, Satanists and others whom they don’t agree with. They have taken sacred pagan symbols — the pentacle and the pentagram — and have given them a bad reputation. 

For example, they have formed ludicrous conspiracy theories based on these symbols. In 2017, there was a conspiracy theory about Outback Steakhouse being connected to the infamous Illuminati because the physical locations of restaurants created a “pentacle” when connected by lines on a map. Another conspiracy theory exists about Washington D.C. having streets that form a pentagram that centers on the White House. 

Neither symbol has a sinister meaning in reality. The pentacle represents the directions of north, south, east, west and the spirit. It also represents the natural elements of earth, air, fire, water and spirit. When encircled, the pentacle represents the world and unity. The pentagram is commonly used for protection against negative energy and harmful spirits. Many pagans regularly connect with the spirit realm and use pentagrams to attract positive spirits.  

The alt-right does not have the right to call themselves pagans of any sort. They are not welcome in the pagan community, they are a disgrace to our culture and they do not represent our values. Like every other religion, paganism is being hijacked by bad people because they need to find a way to cope with their horrific treatment of other humans. 

Featured Illustration by Pooja Patel

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Shelby Stevens

Shelby Stevens

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