As someone who has been sheltering under the Pagan umbrella for well over a decade I can say with truth that Paganism is close to my heart. As a witch my practise is fairly solitary but as a Pagan I welcome the community, the values and the people that this path of life attracts.
Unfortunately a path that is not bound by scripture or years of convention has, in recent times, also attracted a different element. An element to my mind that has no place in a belief system which I equate with equality, fairness, kindness, a love of the Earth and a compassion for all people and beasties.
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.
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 learning or memorising of scripture. There is no formal initiation into Paganism. It is therefore perceived by some as a faith that requires minimum effort to adopt.
The far right are attracted to Paganism as they perceive it in some way as being the traditional faith of the ‘English’ people. A faith that predates Christianity, Islam and Judaism appeals to their obsession with Nationalism and their white heritage. It is interesting to note however how inconsistent they are with this as those of the far right who do try to adopt Paganism focus very much on the Nordic Gods and Nordic mythology of the Vikings who, rather ironically, would have been the “invaders” and not the indigenous settlers of the British Isles.
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