NBC News reports that the neo-Völkisc Asatru Folk Assembly has opened a new house of worship in Murdock, Minnesota—a farming town of 280 people. 50,000 people signed a petition opposing the move; but then, most of them probably didn't live in the town.
The vote came after Murdock's city attorney advised town officials that rejecting the Asatru Folk Assembly's request could violate its religious rights. A recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit religious organization that claims to be "pre-Christian" despite being founded by white people in the US state of California, the AFA is recognized as a hate group by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. Their pseudo-Viking "Pagan" religion does not accept Black, Indigenous and People of Color—even though there were plenty of non-white Vikings.
Or, as they explain on their own website:
Our forefathers were Angles and Saxons, Lombards and Heruli, Goths and Vikings – and, as sons and daughters of these peoples, we are united by ties of blood and culture undimmed by the centuries.
Asatru is our native religion. It gave our ancestors comfort in millennia past, and it can give us strength and inspiration today. The word "Asatru" comes to us from Old Norse, the tongue of ancient Scandinavia, where it means "those loyal to the Gods." Since the ancient Scandinavian version of our religion is the best documented, it has given us much of Asatru's terminology and imagery. The soul of Asatru, however, is not confined to the Scandinavian model but encapsulates the belief of all the Ethnic European Folk. Indeed, Asatru reflects the deeper religiosity common to virtually all the nations of Europe.
The AFA's new church zoning permit was approved on a 3-1 vote by the Murdock city council—in a remote meeting held over Zoom in which the voting council members conveniently kept their cameras off, according to the WFLA-8 News. Mayor Craig Kavanagh added in a statement:
There has been a lot of concern on this topic in the city of Murdock and rightfully so. We just want to be clear we are not discussing race with our decision. This is strictly a zoning issue. We as the leaders of the City of Murdock want it be known that the city of Murdock condemns racism in all of its forms: conscious, unconscious, any place, any time, now and in the future. We are committed to building a community that promotes equal justice and opportunity to every single person regardless of their race.
To be fair, Americans do have a freedom to practice their religion, even if their religion is an ahistorical clusterfuck of racism and nonsensical cultural appropriation.
After permit approved for whites-only church, small Minnesota town insists it isn't racist [Deon J. Hampton / NBC News]
Image: Lenka Kovářová / Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 3.0)