The Life and Thoughts of a Modern Day American Heathen

Nithing of the Week – Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

Nithing of the Week – Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who is currently (one might say justifiably) running third in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary race, is apparently  not sure if the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of religion apply to Islam, which happens to be the world’s second-largest religion – right after Ramsey’s own religion.

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This incident of gross stupidity and intolerance (it can only be both) took place at a recent event in Hamilton County, TN. Ramsey, responding to an audience question regarding the “threat that’s invading our country from the Muslims,” pretended support for the Constitution and the whole “Congress shall make no law” rigmarole when it comes to religion but voiced reservations about Islam’s status as a religion, claiming it’s more of a  “cult” than a religion.

“Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it,” Ramsey said. “Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face.”

If you want to start pulling out your guides to what constitutes a cult, you will quickly see that Christianity qualifies in many ways as a cult. And this is to ignore the terrifying prospect of religion mixing with politics – which is the purpose of the Constitutional guarantees Ramsey pretends to support. Our Founding Fathers lived at a time in which governments supported state religion and of course deprived minority religious groups of their rights. I have in my family tree a French Huguenot, a protestant, who fled Catholic France for a chance of religious freedom in the New World. The Catholics then spoke of protestants in much the same way Christian conservatives in this country speak of Muslims, as non-people, a non-religion, an infestation to be stamped out.

Talk about a religious group controlling the US government to the extent that it decides which religions are religions and which are not is one that should not be taking place in this country. Christianity has made it quite clear that Christianity is the only true religion, that it is more equal than other religions, etc. This is fine. They have a right to feel that way. They do not have a right to impose it as public policy. That’s why we have the Constitutional guarantees Ramsey treats so carelessly.

14 Comments

  1. Interestingly, Adrastos at “First Draft” has named him “Malaka of the Week” as well. Two awards back-to-back. Doesn’t get any better than that.

    Link to http://www.first-draft.com/2010/07/malaka-of-the-week-ron-ramsey.html

  2. There is certainly no one more deserving. I read the piece by Adrastos. Very good!

  3. So, you’re basically hitting this Republican with an ancient curse of the Norse people, for standing up and exercising his Right to Free Speech in questioning America allowing a religion that demands the deaths of All Polytheists, Pagans, Heathens, and non-believers in Islam?

    I don’t know this man. I don’t even know what he stands for, but your article says he is questioning Islam, the Second Largest Religion in the World. A religion which still slaughters Pagans like animals to this day under its religious laws. This man might just be protecting our Heathen butts and you are placing a Doom upon him?

    I understand fearing he will turn on us with this rhetoric, but We do not need to fear that. We know our believes and can prove they are good and decent. I do not fear this Christian. It is true, the Christians are no friends to us Heathens and Pagans, but if the thing from our nightmares is scared of something, don’t you think it would be smarter to at least look at what scares them, before jumping on Islam’s band wagon? At least in Christian lands we may pray to our gods. Try doing it in Muslim lands.

  4. Norse Alchemist, I am naming this Republican as a nithing because he is #1 not standing up for his Right to Free Speech, but #2, claiming that because he disapproves of a group that said group does not have Constitutional Rights.

    Furthermore, Islam no more demands the deaths of all polytheists, Pagans, Heathens, and non-believers than has Christianity historically (a road some American conservative Christians are eager to re-visit, by the way). If you study your history, you will see that, arguably, Pagans got along quite nicely under Islam as compared to Christianity. They were certainly no worse off.

    Can you please provide me with statistics and facts regarding this ongoing slaughter of Pagans?

    He has already turned on us with his rhetoric, Norse Alchemist. The day he started denying Constitutional Rights to a religion because in his opinion it is not a religion, he turned on us and every other religion. Yes, we know our beliefs. That is irrelevant to people like this. It is fine if you do not fear him. That is your right and your choice.

    As for jumping on Islam’s bandwagon, I have not. I am defending Constitutional Rights, not Islam. Muslims have the same right to their religion that anyone else has under the Constitution. Are you saying you are opposed to the Constitution, or to the “free exercise” it grants us under the First Amendment?

    I think you misunderstood the entire purpose of my article.

  5. Hrafnkell, I cannot provide you with the statistics. Muslim countries don’t keep them. All I can give you is reports I’ve seen where people were being given the death penalty for witchcraft as well as personally carried out killings to remove those deemed “witches or wizards”. One article, I saw just a few months ago.

    I do agree that given the chance, the Christians would certainly start killing us again. Interesting that you say Islam no more demands the deaths of all polytheists, etc than say Christianity or Judaism. It seems as if you are trying to declare Islam harmless, but a careful reading will remind everyone that All Monotheistic religions demand the deaths of Pagans. I would also ask you for the statistics of Pagans living in Islamic countries, as well as remind you that historically, there are no Pagans in Muslim countries. Christians and Jews, yes, but no pagans, they were killed or converted.

    I give you a quote from the Quran known as “Verse of the Sword” 9:5:

    But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    This passage is considered Law under Islam. It says to hunt the Pagans till they convert or are dead. Under Islam, the Quran and its Shariah Law may not be changed, for it is holy and comes from Allah. To change it is blasphemy, which warrants death in its own right. A Punishment that is carried out to this day. Ergo, The law concerning Pagans must be carried out, lest Allah bring his wrath against the Muslims. There is not middle ground.

    I wish that there was.

    I too stand eagerly with the Right to Freedom of Religion. I believe each man and woman have the right to worship as they please. However, as with all Rights, that stops as soon as they wish to harm me. Muslims are free to practice their religion in America, but does that mean we must let them engage in that right when their kill their women in the name of honor (which happens in the US) or when they come to kill Pagans, which is irrefutable law in their religion? If their religion demand supremacy over all others, and doesn’t recognize the Right others have to their religion, Where do we stand to keep our Right to Pagan Religion, in the face of their Right to Muslim Religion.

    I do not speak with hate. Only with knowledge I sometimes wish I didn’t know.

  6. Norse Alchemist,

    Look at all the people being done to death for witchcraft in Africa as a result of Christianity – not Islam. I see many articles of this nature – it is an old and recognized problem by anthropologists. I see very little in this regard about Islam.

    Where do you get the idea that I have declared Islam harmless? Clearly, you are intent on insisting that I have said things that I have not said. Anyone at all familiar with my writings is aware that I find all forms of monotheism equally dangerous.

    If you want to start citing the Qur’an, please also be honest enough to cite the Bible as well. You won’t win any arguments that way, my friend.

    And whatever the Qur’an says, reality was quite different. Non-Muslims were not summarily put to death, simply taxed. Inducements were made to become Muslim; the people were not forced by fire and sword.

    Even Muslim conquest did not extinguish the flame of Pagansim. Though Harran nearly lost its religious freedom in 830[1] the flame was still burning when in that century Theophanes mentions in his Chronographia “the impiety of the pagans who inhabit Harran.”[2] We have a description from the pen of Abu al-Hasan tabith, who died in 901:

    Although many have been subjugated to error [i.e. made Christians] by means of torture, our fathers, by the hand of god [Aziz] have endured and spoken valiantly, and this blessed city hath never been defiled with the error of Nazareth. And we are the heirs, and transmitters to our heirs, of heathenism, which is honored gloriously in this world. Lucky is he who beareth the burden with a sure hope for the sake of heathenism. Who hath made the world to be inhabited and flooded it with cities except the good men and kings of heathenism? Who hath constructed harbors and conserved the rivers? Who hath made manifest the hidden sciences? On whom hath dawned the divinity which giveth divinations and teacheth the knowledge of future events except the wise men of the heathen? It is they who have pointed out all these things, and have made to arise the healing of souls, and have made to shine forth their redemption, and it is as they also who have made to arise the medicine for bodies. And they have filled the world with the correctness of modes of life and with the wisdom which is the head of excellence. Without these products of heathenism the world would be an empty and needy place, and it would have been enveloped in sheer want and misery.[3]

    In the end, it was only the new tide of invaders from the east in the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks, who extinguished forever Paganism in the city of Harran. As Pierre Chuvin tells us, “Islam, by redrawing the political map and permanently destroying the system of the polis, which was replaced by another form of urban civilization, erased nearly all vestiges of the paganism of classical Antiquity.”[4] But Paganism would not have long survived in Harran in any case, for the city was entirely destroyed during the Mongol invasion in the 1260s.

    Muslims have a right to practice their religion in this country. Like everyone else, they’re expected to obey our laws and follow our Constitution (something our own Talibangelicals refuse to do). Whatever laws they follow in their own country are their business. We don’t punish Muslims here because Muslims there stone people or cut off hands. You say you embrace freedom of religion, but it does not really sound like it.

    Notes:

    [1] See MacMullen (1997), 29, who notes that the Pagan community “continued to repeat its annual New Year’s prayer ‘for the revival of the religion of Uzuz [Aziz]’”which used to be found where currently there were a mosque, a Melkite church and a women’s market. This does not sound like a defeated Paganism.

    [2] Trombley, 346.

    [3] In Bar Hebraeus’ Chronicon 168f, Budge translation (1932), cited in MacMullen (1997), 19.

    [4] Pierre Chuvin, A Chronicle of the Last Pagans, 11. MacMullen (1997), 29.

  7. Anyone who would get in bed with Talibangelical Christians just because they’re afraid of those “scary brown people in the funny clothes”–and let’s face it, Norse Alchemist, your comments scream that out quite loudly–is fooling themselves.

    This isn’t Saudi Arabia, Norse Alchemist. Nor is it Afghanistan or Pakistan or any other Muslim country. It’s a country that has the free exercise of religion written into law. A Muslim in America neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, same as any Christian that doesn’t feel the need to try to beat me over the head with a tract or Bible. No matter my dislike of either religion, I won’t begrudge them their right to exist.

  8. Well put, AcidQueen. The relevance of the Constitution is sadly missing from so many anti-Islam arguments. I don’t have to approve of any monotheism to grant them the right to exist and Norse Alchemist’s arguments sound all too much like the same arguments being offered by conservative Christians.

  9. Very nice, imply I am a racist to make that my argument is invalid.

    I have not once complained about “scary brown people.” Muslims come in all colors and races. I do not like the white ones any better or worse than the other races. I judge men by their deeds, not by their skin.

    You say that Islam never converted anyone by the sword? I would remind you of Mecca, which was originally a pagan holy city, that was laid siege too, captured, and forcibly converted. It is popular today for the story to be that Islam came about peacefully. I would that it were so, but sadly that is not the case. From Byzantium to Al Andulus, they came by the sword, and when those who were Muslim were judged not Muslim enough, more radical Muslims would come in and take over. This in the history books. I does not come from any hate in my heart.

    I am sorry if I was miss understood. I merely stated that it seemed, I repeat, seemed you considered Islam harmless. I agree with you that all monotheistic religions are dangerous. But I ask you, do not let the color of Muslims cause you to hesitate in carefully judging and finding out the truth.

    You say my argument sounds like that of a Conservative Christian (interesting, because I’m about as far from that as you can get.) I would ask you, should I not use an argument used by Christians? Do they have a monopoly on Information. If my argument sounds like that of a Christian, it is likely because Islam is one of Christianity’s oldest enemies, surpassed only by us pagans. And while I’m sure they get some details wrong, they have a lot of experience. My own arguments, however, come from the Secular sector. Frankly, much of the argument for Islamic rights here sounds much like the, how do those Christians put it; “Marxist Liberal Hippies.”

    Just because an argument sounds similar, doesn’t mean its the same.

    If a heathen uses the same lines as the Catholic Church to discuss Hitler, do we tell said Heathen; “Silence, you sound like a Catholic?” Or do we admit that they probably have similar information and draw similar conclusions. I’m not saying the Muslims are like the Nazis (though they were strong allies in WWII).

    AcidQueen, you say a Muslim neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg (and I get the reference) but I would encourage you to look over to Europe, in Britain, France, Germany, and Sweden. There are places where the police and medics will not go. There are places where natives of those countries dare not tread. There are places declared official no-go zones. All these areas, are controlled by strong Muslim populations in parts of Major and minor cities, where Muslim youths attack ambulances, cops, and civilians. Where they will literally pick your pocket, break your leg, and probably keep going.

    Something that must be realized is that the Muslim world never suffered the horrors of WWI, WWII, the Atomic Bomb, or the Cold War. They never lost their taste for war, nor their zeal for their religion like Christians in the West did. They did not have Scientific and Industrial revolutions, and even when the advances from said revolutions were imposed upon them, however rightly or wrongly, they still did not learn the lessons that come from its development.

    I understand completely where you were coming from, and were it any other religion, Voodoo, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc, I would be right there with you screaming about a violation of constitutional rights. But this is Islam. It is a monotheistic religion that didn’t lose its fangs. You never have to worry about Islam imposing its views on pagans.

    Until you do.

    I ask that you do not dismiss my words because they sound like people who are still our enemies. I ask that you do not dismiss my words because they sound to some as “hateful” and “racist.” This is not the intent of my word. It is clear that I am not welcome here, so I will say no more. My goal is simply to inform, not to justify hatred or spread it. I simply ask that my fellow Pagans and Heathens do not swallow the information given to them blindly, but hunt out all views on Islam, and come to a balanced decision. I hope that is not too much to ask.

    Go with the Gods, long may they be with us.

  10. Why do you hate Islam so much, Alchemist? Why do you not condemn Christianity in the same breath? They are the same – same laws, Mosaic Law = Sharia Law, same God, Allah = YHWH. Both have the same end time scenarios, We Lose/They Win.

  11. Why do I hate Islam? For the same reason I hate Christianity. It wants my people and our ways eradicated. I hate them both equally.

    You ask why I don’t condemn Christianity in the same breath? I’ll tell you. It is because the threat of Christianity is well known to Pagans and Heathens. I didn’t think I needed to rant my venom against Christianity, as I figured 1800 years of history and personal experience among Pagans would be more than enough and I wouldn’t need to restate it. Sorry, perhaps I should have.

    The reason I have ranted against Islam here, is because it is the unknown threat to Pagans. Yes, they are much the same, they have similar laws (I’ve studied Judaism and while harsh, isn’t as bad at Shariah. The Jews at least had more equality of women.) Yes, their end goal is that their religion is the only one, just like Christians. The only differences is that Pagans don’t have much experience with Islam, and Islam has not been forced into Moderation like much of Christianity has.

    I would that both were gone, but right now I’ll focus on the one holding the sword above my head, rather than the one who has been forced to sheath his sword temporarily. There will be time to deal with Christianity later, as they aren’t actively killing us. Should that change, I will be one of the first to strike back. But Islam is trying to kill and convert, so I figure they need a little more of my focus.

  12. You’re missing the point that we don’t live in Saudi Arabia or any other Islamic country and that unless you are a cultural imperialist you have no right to impose your views of law or morality upon them – that would be doing the same thing you’re accusing them of doing. Whatever their laws are in other countries is irrelevant to what happens here, and the Muslims here are not persecuting me, nor threatening to persecute me. The Christians are. That is the immanent threat, not Muslims thousands of miles away.

    And deal with? That sounds rather ominous. You have plans, do you? Look, live and let live. I don’t approve of any monotheism but I tolerate them. They have a right to their religion just as I have a right to mine. I don’t have plans for any of them beyond retaining my Constitutional right of free exercise.

  13. I’m advocating forcing my views of right or wrong on anyone. I’m not saying I have the right to do that. All I have said is that Islam wishes to impose their ways and laws on us. Though I would ask you if you feel we should be silent on the murder of women, homosexuals, and pagans simply because it happens in a different country than the ones we live in?

    As for what laws exist in other countries being irrelevant here, that seems naive to me. Everything in this world is connected and relevant to everything else. Especially when there are those who seek to bring their laws and enforce them here. Forgive me if I find such an action relevant. You say the Muslim threat is thousands of miles away, but that doesn’t mean what it used to. Planes and missiles can circle the planet, men and women go halfway around the world in less than a days time. I’m sorry if a few thousand miles isn’t a comfortable barrier.

    And yes, I have plans. I am happy to live and let live, but should someone screaming the Name of Allah come to take my life, I want to be ready. And don’t think it won’t happen. Muslims don’t care who you worship when it isn’t Allah. We have the right to our religions, but they don’t recognize that right, just as they don’t recognize the rights of women, homosexuals, pagan, or any non-Muslim. I’m not saying the Christians aren’t after us, nor that we should ignore them or ally with them. But we live in a “Christians Majority” nation, tell me which is smarter, to stay low and play the Christians against the Muslims and weaken them both, or side with the Muslims, who when they have enough power will come after us, and get even further on the Christians hit list?

    I say play them, and pick up the peaces when they’ve gotten rid of each other. Because as much as I want to live and let live, neither of them seem willing to play by those rules. They never have, they never will.

  14. “All I have said is that Islam wishes to impose their ways and laws on us. ”

    So does Christianity.

    “Though I would ask you if you feel we should be silent on the murder of women, homosexuals, and pagans simply because it happens in a different country than the ones we live in?”

    Do you feel we have the right to impose our laws and morality on other countries? Do you propose we attack and destroy everyone we don’t approve of, and force them to “behave” according to our dictate?

    “Muslims don’t care who you worship when it isn’t Allah.”

    Neither do Christians, though it is dangerous to generalize to such a degree. There are moderate Muslims just as there are moderate Christians.

    “We have the right to our religions, but they don’t recognize that right.”

    Neither does Christianity. Christianity was forced by the processes given birth in the Enlightenment to let us believe and worship as we wish. It was not a right freely given.

    “But we live in a “Christians Majority” nation, tell me which is smarter, to stay low and play the Christians against the Muslims and weaken them both.”

    I am not playing anyone against anyone. I am supporting the Constitution. It is what it is, however little you may like it.

    “and get even further on the Christians hit list?”

    Read some history. Being a “good Indian” didn’t get Native Americans any consideration and it won’t get you any consideration either.

    “I say play them, and pick up the peaces when they’ve gotten rid of each other.”

    Unless one or the other of them is right about their end-time scenario, the only other means to see this done is nuclear holocaust. Neither offers a happy outcome for the rest of us so I’d as soon see monotheism die a natural death as people realize it’s a spiritual dead-end.

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