We and our Kindred at Ýdalir do not condone hatred or discrimination carried out in the name of our religion, nor any religion, and will not associate with those who do. We will not grant the tacit approval of silence in the name of family, kinship, or community to those who would use our traditions to justify prejudice on the basis of race, nationality, orientation, or gender identity. Many Heathens have experienced the flourishing hate communities passively supported by other religious organisations, and have decided to band together to stop this from happening in our own communities. Heathen Kindreds are safe places for their members and for the members of the communities they reside in. Ýdalir Kindred is one of these safe places.
Declaration 127 is taken from the Hávamál, a poem of wisdom believed to be written by Óðin himself. Verse 127 is the basis for Declaration 127:
“Hvars þú böl kannt kveðu þat bölvi at ok gefat þínum fjándum frið.”
“When you see misdeeds, speak out against them, and give your enemies no frið.”
The website for Declaration 127 has been down for some time now, but its text has been preserved across the net, emblazoned on the pages of many Kinships and Heathen organisations. Though originally created to make a statement against the AFA’s racist and homophobic principles, the Declaration has become a stand against the tiny minority of hate groups assembling under the Heathen banner:
“The organizations listed below represent a truly diverse set of voices within modern Heathenry. They represent national organizations, resource centers, local kindreds, as well as a plethora of authors and community leaders from every possible branch of our religion and walk of life. These independent organizations have signed this article due to a single shared interest.
To state their complete denunciation of, and disassociation from, the Asatru Folk Assembly.
The Asatru Folk Assembly (hereinafter referred to as the AFA) has a long and well-documented history of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity. In a recent statement the AFA declared point blank that non-white and LGBT Heathens were not welcome in their tradition. While the undersigned organizations listed here fully recognize the AFA’s right to govern themselves as they see fit, and with full autonomy, we hereby exercise the same right.
We will not promote, associate, or do business with the AFA as an organization so long as they maintain these discriminatory policies.
The AFA’s views do not represent our communities. We hereby declare that we do not condone hatred or discrimination carried out in the name of our religion, and will no longer associate with those who do. We will not grant the tacit approval of silence in the name of frið, to those who would use our traditions to justify prejudice on the basis of race, nationality, orientation, or gender identity.
The AFA is free to stand for whatever principles it sees fit. They are free to stand alone.”
While the Declaration has been criticized for its primary focus on the AFA, it was a huge step towards defining who we are as Heathens and how we conduct ourselves in our communities. It was not intended to ban interactions with specific AFA members, but to condemn the AFA’s actions and make a statement of support on behalf of our minority brethren.
THE DECLARATION OF DEEDS
Declaration 127 eventually became the Declaration of Deeds, a more general and inclusive statement, and a commitment to the principles outlined in the Declaration. It has since become the main antidiscrimination reference for Kindreds who originally signed Declaration 127, and a continuation of the work we do in making sure discriminatory principles and practices are eliminated from Heathenry.
“We heathens, pagans, followers of the old ways, we are more than the choices that brought us into being; we are more than our orlay. Instead, we are our deeds, we are the choices we make and not those chosen for us. In acknowledgement of this we declare the following points:
I. We endeavor to be better than our forebears. Their society was a product of its time and was often deeply flawed, but their religious belief in the gods we hold to be timeless. We endeavor to reconstruct their religion, not the flaws in their society.
II. Our religion gives no basis for discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or origin; the gods have nothing to say on the matter of race. We maintain that a person’s race, ethnicity, or origin does not impede their ability to participate in our religion or our group.
III. Our religion gives no basis for discrimination based on gender, including gender identity, or discrimination based on sex; our religion has divine and powerful goddesses and gods who are themselves complex at best. We maintain that a person’s gender or sex does not impede their ability to participate in our religion or our group.
IV. Our religion gives no basis for discrimination based on sexual orientation; the gods we worship do not always conform to one orientation or another and still hold their positions and importance regardless of their sexuality. We maintain that a person’s sexual orientation does not impede their ability to participate in our religion or our group.
V. Deeds matter to our communities and to our gods, deeds are the foundations of our reputations. We maintain that the basis we are to be judged on is through our actions and our deeds and not merely through circumstances beyond our control.
We are charged in the Havamal to speak out against evil when we see evil; bigotry and discrimination based on the chances of our birth is just such an evil. We heathens, pagans, followers of the old ways; we join our voices in unison with this our Declaration of Deeds, that we may declare that the chances of our birth that are beyond our control have no bearing on our ability to participate in this religion nor to lead full spiritual lives, but rather that in all cases it is our actions and deeds that truly matter.”
We hope that you will join us in supporting and upholding these principles, both individually, as Kindreds, and as part of a larger global Heathen community. If you are looking for resources to help you with this, Heathens Against Hate is a great place to start. Ocean Keltoi published a very informative discussion of Folkism and Spiritual Racism on YouTube here.
We all have the freedom to choose what we stand for and how we act in the world. Make the gods proud!