This is where leadership is so very important ! Without strong leadership from people like Sveinbjorg Beinteinsson the Icelandic Asatru might still be searching for recognition. But what about here in America ? Who speaks for us here ? When I did my first draft for this article weeks ago, I could not see a single leader out there fighting for us. When I commented to Galina Krasskova that we needed a strong leader here in America, she replied: " The dynamics are different here in the states and that a single leader would not be practical here. " And she is of course right ! In the Scandinavian countries there is a long history of Asatru religious practice. In Iceland even the Christians have a fondness for the old Gods and Goddesses, as I found out for myself when I went there last year. But here in America our history is wrapped around Christianity all the way back to the Pilgrims and Conquistadors. Also here in America we have a much greater diversity of Pagan religions and one leader would never suffice.
Well, what if we had a panel, or board, of Pagans here in America with one leader being chosen from each Pagan branch. Above them could be one ultimate leader, or president if you will, who could act as an arbitrater to all these diverse groups. Through donations they could fight for Pagan rights, one case at a time. They could promote our religions in a new light and dispell any, and all, myths that others have of us, and in time hopefully gain acceptance socially and legally for us.
If I had to pick one person to be the overall leader it would be Patrick McCollum. Wiccan minister Patrick McCollum was ordained by the Cauldron of Cerridwen in 1971, and serves as the National Prison Chaplaincy Affairs Coordinator for the Lady Liberty League. Reverend McCollum has been working very hard for Pagans, who are in prison, to gain them the right to freely practice their given right to honor their Gods and Goddesses. He has gone to court several times to overturn the Five Faiths Policy.
In 1997, he became the first government recognized Wiccan Chaplain in the United States and has spoken before the United States Commission on civil rights. Earlier this year he attended the first World Forum of Spiritual Culture in Kazakhstan. The Reverend McCollum, on September 14, 2010, received the Mahatma Gandhi award for the advancement of religious pluralism from the Hindu American Foundation. Yes, he would be the perfect leader for the advancement of Pagan religions here in America.
I doubt that any of the above will ever happen, but isn't it a nice thing to contemplate. Though I am an Independent Asatruar I still dream of the day when I can walk into an Asatru Temple and honor the Gods and Goddesses that I love so much. Unfortunately I will not live to see that day ! Only through strong leadership from people like Sveinbjorg Beinteinsson and Patrick McCollum can we ever hope to reach the goals we strive for, and be content with who we are and where we are going.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !