Ever since I had the misfortune of seeing Jack Renshaw, the leader of proscribed hate group National Action, wishing one of his white supremacist members a merry Yule I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the links various far right haters have been attempting to make with Paganism.
In much the same way that Britain First have tried to co-opt Christian values and Isis have tried to usurp Islamic values I am starting to see my own faith become associated with a misrepresentative and unwelcome element and one that I worry will cause the same confusion and controversy for Pagans that the idiots in Britain First and Isis have done for the Abrahamic faiths.
To some extent it is easier to co-opt Paganism than it is Islam, Judaism or Christianity. We have no single scripture or doctrine that spells out what it is to be a Pagan or what our beliefs entail. The holy scriptures of the three Abrahamic faiths clearly detail what being a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim involves. Pagans enjoy no such clarity, to be a Pagan can mean something very different to every individual who identifies under the umbrella term of Paganism. This makes it hard to deny somebody as a part of the faith as there is no objective set of rules we can point to as being broken.
The far right have a definite need to identify with a faith. This is because a good deal of their prejudice is targeted at those with differing religious beliefs. Historically they have attempted to align themselves with Christianity in order to fuel their prejudice against Muslims and Jews but as the tactics the far right deploy in their persecution of UK minority faiths move further and further from the teachings of Jesus Christ they have increasingly started to usurp the Pagan faith as an alternative.
The fluidity of Paganism is one of the elements that attracts the far right. As a non-prescriptive faith there are no hurdles to overcome to self-identify as a Pagan. There are no mandatory rites of passage, no set holy…