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Book Burning and Christian Taliban

Book Burning and Christian Taliban

It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them! — Dr. Henry Jones, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into an article on the Christian religious right holding a book burning. While it’s common for many of us to dismiss it as “those right-wing wackos,” I need to point out why this is especially dangerous to us, the Heathens, whether you’re Left-Leaning, Right-Leaning, or Centrist.

Before I Get into All That…

If you’ve stuck with me, I want to thank you sincerely. You see, being sick practically all of January left me with little energy. Fucking COVID. And I probably wouldn’t have gotten sick if my state actually did something to control the spread like mandate masks, insist on vaccinations or at least mandatory testing in the workplace, and insist on adequate quaratines instead of the political BS the CDC came up with. SIGH. Anyway, the good news is that the disease could’ve been a lot worse if I had not been vaccinated. Instead, it was probably the worst “severe cold” I’ve dealt with. But enough about me, let’s get back to the subject at hand.

Back to Moronic Book Burning

It seems that a controversial preacher named Greg Locke is going to/has held a book burning. His desire is to burn any books that he doesn’t agree with including “witchcraft” books like Harry Potter and the Twilight series. (While I admit that I’m not particularly fond of Twilight,  it doesn’t mean that those books should be burned.) He also wants to burn oujii boards and anything else that he deems doesn’t fit with his brand of Christianity.

A Danger to the Flow of Ideas

Book burning is, at its heart, suppression of ideas. If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time, you know that you can find someplace that espouses just about any idea, both good and bad. Before the Internet there were books. Books that held ideas you might not agree with. That you might find stupid, silly, or even abhorrent. Books that challenged what you believed to be true. And even books that you vehemently disagreed with.

When people take a torch to books,  they are saying that they cannot stand another belief to exist outside of their own. They are saying that they should control what other people read and believe. In other words, they should be the gatekeepers of what people know.

It’s Good to Be the King

Well, it’s all well and good if you are the guys in charge. But as soon as your king gets dethroned, or if you’re in the minority, you find your own ideas suppressed. And that is the problem with censors and people willing to burn books.

In the United States, the Founding Fathers were so adamantly against having their ideas restricted that they ended up writing it into the First Amendment to the Constitution. They included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press as part of the Bill of Rights.

But What About the Preacher’s Book Burning?

Assuming Greg Locke has a permit and doesn’t burn anything in anyway that violates the law, he is within his rights to do so. That being said, I think it sets a terrible precedence for the United States, which has presumably been the land of freedom (except if you were a slave, Native American, or some other infringed upon minority, but that is an argument for another time.)

This is a terrible precedence because of several reasons. One, his own congregation applauded the idea of burning books. Second, he shows that these ideas are so dangerous to his beliefs that he has to burn them rather than weigh them on their merits next to his own beliefs. Third, it show intolerance for other ideas and beliefs other than Christianity.

Why Book Burning is Dangerous to Heathens

If you’ve been keeping tabs on the news, you know the Christian right is calling the United States a “Christian nation.” In fact, many of those in the religious right are installing their own brand of fundamentalist Christians in office. Instead of governing their states or representing all of their constutents (not just the Christian ones), they have shown their colors by governing according to their god’s laws.

Shutting down the flow of ideas is one step away from totalitarianism. These people want the Heathen ideals to go away, because they’re not Christian. Burning books is an attempt to censor ideas–both good and bad–and even if you disagree with the writing, it should be available for anyone who wants it.

Warning! Danger Will Robinson!

What I’ve been talking about should alarm any and all Heathens, because the fundamentalist Christians have already plastered a bull’s eye on us as being “witches.” Don’t believe me? Just ask one of them if they understand the difference between Witches, Wiccans, and Heathens. And even if the Christians do understand, do you really want to have another pagan religion get persecuted?

Let me put it another way:

  • Do you want the Eddas burned?
  • Do you want to have to practice your devotion to the gods in secrecy?
  • Do you want the statues of your gods destroyed?
  • Do you want your sacred spaces clear cut?
  • Do you want women oppressed because of some stupid book a bunch of bronze age people put together?
  • Do you want to limit access to birth control?
  • Do you want LGBTQ+ people harmed, marginalized, maligned, and unable to obtain information about their own gender identity?
  • Do you want Christian creationism taught in schools because they do not accept the scientific explanation of evolution?
  • Do you want right-wing Christian lawmakers to decide how to use the country’s natural resources when they’re convinced that their god gave them the ownership of the land they live on?
  • Do you want right-wing conservative Christians deciding what is best when they believe that the end of times is coming soon and they will be Raptured, leaving the rest of us with their fucking mess, assuming anyone survives?
  • Do you want Christian elected officials impose their beliefs on you because they believe that you need to believe the same thing?

Yeah, it seems slippery slope, but consider this: Hitler burned books. The USSR, North Korea, and China burned books. The Taliban burned books.

What we have are Christian Taliban. And yeah, that should alarm you. So, if you’re seeing book burnings, remember: the people who are doing it are dangerous because they don’t want other ideas to exist. Including ours.

Thoughts on America and Who Discovered It

Thoughts on America and Who Discovered It

To all my fellow Heathen Americans, I wish you all a happy Fourth of July/American Independence

Day.  (For those outside of the US, I’ll admit I’m American-centric.  Deal with it and enjoy the Fourth.)

I’ve been doing some research about America and our Viking roots, and I’ll be talking about a bunch of different subjects over the next few posts.  Why?  Because I can.

Who “Discovered” America?

If you’re of my generation (talkin’ about my g-g-generation…), chances are you were told Columbus discovered America, and that Leif Erikson may have landed on our shores, but naught came of it.  Columbus was the true hero because he opened the door to the New World for Europeans.  <sarcasm> Never mind those pesky “savages” who lived here for thousands of years. </sarcasm>

When I was old enough to reevaluate what I learned in school, I thought it odd that an entire group of indigenous people were pretty much left high and dry on the “discovery” portion.  I get that our history is largely American/European-centric, since Columbus’ discovery really was the beginnings of the modern colonization of the West.  I won’t get into the whole exploitation of indigenous people, partially because there is plenty of blame to go around in just about any culture when it comes to exploitation, but largely because that’s not what this post is about.

We can say that with Columbus “discovering” the New World, it opened the door for colonization on an unprecedented scale. Although Leif Erikson did indeed “discover” Vinland, and the Norse did have at least one colony at L’Anse auxMeadows, and possibly more, the Norse were without gunpowder and were too few against the indigenous population. I suspect the colonization of the Americas happened not because the Europeans were wiser or had the Christian god on their side, but rather, because by the 13th Century, gunpowder was being used in Europe. (Never mind the Marco Polo connection–but that’s for another day.)

It Wasn’t Leif Erikson?

It’s tempting to say that Leif Erikson was the first European who “discovered” the New World, but that could be very wrong.  He certainly wasn’t the first human to discover it. We know that humans came across the Bering land bridge at somewhere around 13,500 years ago from Asia to the New World.  Scientist think a few thousand people managed to get in on the ground floor before the ocean rescinded its offer.

Beringa, or the Bering land bridge, appeared sometime just as the Last Glacial Maximum was ending.

During a couple of thousand years, human migrated across the land bridge before the glaciers had melted enough to finally submerge it. People, being the resourceful hominids that they are, found the New World to their liking and stayed.  Or perhaps when the ocean finally reclaimed Beringa, they discovered there was no going back. These are indeed the first discoverers of the New World, according to modern theories about how humans got here.

However, there is the possibility that people showed up some 20,000 years ago from Europe during one of the Ice Ages when much of the world’s water was locked up in ice.  Called the Solutrean Hypothesis, it’s considered controversial because most archaeologists believe that the Americas were devoid of humans until 13,500 years ago.

Solutrean tools

Solutreans and their Tools

The Solutreans were a group of Stone Age peoples who lived in Europe. The claim is that the Clovis people were actually Solutreans who came from France at that time.  There are similar tools in France that look like Clovis points. The 20,000 years ago marker was arrived at when a stone ax was dredged up along with mastodon bones in the ocean off of Virginia’s east coast. Solutrean proponents claim that the ax and bones were linked and the bones were found to be 20,000 years old.  A carved mammoth tusk in Florida which dates to 13,000 to 20,000 years might also be of Solutrean design.

The hypothesis also focused on genetic similarities, that being haplogroup X, a mitochondrial DNA that mutated from haplogroup N.  This haplogroup is present in about 7 percent of Europeans and 3 percent of Native Americans.  However, there are other haplogroups present that might have come from Europe via Siberia.  In fact, Native Americans have mtDNA from five different haplogroups, all which can be found in Asia, doesn’t help the Solutrean argument.  And the haplogroup X might just be a leftover from hundreds of years ago due to intermarriage between Europeans and Native Americans.

So, What Does That Leave Us With?

Clovis points

We know that humans got to the Americas through the land bridge.  That’s been pretty much established. Whether they were the first humans to discover the New World is up for debate. There is sketchy evidence, at best, but it’s hard to prove a negative and say definitively they were not there. Most scientists stick with the migration after the Last Glacial Maximum because the evidence supports it.  Could there have been a crossing from Europe to the Americas?  Maybe.

I’m not going to say it happened or it didn’t, because I just don’t know.  It is an intriguing idea, certainly, because humans are infinitely adaptable and are capable of moving around damn near everywhere.  One thing we can be certain of is that today is the American Independence Day, and you need to be careful if you’re lighting off fireworks.  So have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

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