|July 4th, 2008||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2008
Open Letter Response Refuting Falsehoods & Slanders By Sell Out "Gothi" for Profit
BRUSH FIRES ONLINE
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." – Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution .
"In all ages, hypocrites, called priests, have put crowns upon the heads of thieves, called kings." - Robert G Ingersoll
"A sanctimonious man is one who under an atheist king would be atheist." - Jean de La Bruyere
"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by a change of circumstances, become his own." - Thomas Jefferson
"Political correctness is a form of bigotry behind which cowards hide." - James Von Brunn
"Were I the master of every language on Earth, past master of all the dead tongues of the ages, a genius in the use of every epithet the rage of man ever spoke, still the words would have no power to express my contempt for one who would betray his own Race!" -- From The Traitor, by Thomas Dixon, Jr
"Let the epitaph of 'race traitor' become the most shunned title one can acquire. May it be as dreaded by our people as the bite of a rattlesnake. Let it be shouted in our enemies' faces, painted on their buildings, inscribed on their tombstones; and to those who earn this title, may it become more deadly than the bites of three rattlesnakes!" -- Louis Beam
"One cannot free oneself by bowing to the yoke, but by breaking it." - Carl Gustav Jung
"The giant oak is an acorn that held its ground." -- Anonymous
The following is from LibRA member and Ohio prisoner Alfar Kynwulf, secular name Daryll Blankenship. You can (and should) write to Alfar at:
Alfar Blankenship, 295-771
Ross Correctional Institution
PO Box 7010
Chillicothe, OH 45601
Alfar was the initial "legal brains" behind Miller v Wilkinson, the civil rights suit out of Ohio prisons for the religious rights of Odinist/Asatru prisoners, which was one of the three suits combined in Cutter v Wilkinson, the US Supreme Court decision upholding the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). Alfar has been involved with LibRA since really before the beginning of our association. The following has been sent out to rebut yet another round of slanders and libels from one Valgard or Mike Murray, out of Arizona, with an outfit he calls Asatru Alliance. Last December I attended to witness a hearing in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, for a motion filed by Alfar. At that time I witnessed Murray's perfidious testimony for prisoncrat thought cops wanting to suppress religious rights and against Asatru or Odinist prisoners fighting for those rights. A report on this was sent out online last December, along with a follow up report when we intervened with outside support when officials of the Ohio Dept of Rehabilitation & Correction (DORC) retaliated against Alfar because of the hearing (I can send "back editons" of Brush Fires Online with these reports if anyone receiving this needs to see these reports either again or for the first time). Murray has justiably been rebuked and condemned across the board. His reaction to growing criticism of his sell out move and rebuttals of false or inaccurate allegations he testified to has been to send out boiler plate lies and libels against others, such as the one who oversees and co-ordinates the prison outreach ministry of Odinic Rite. Now he has also slandered the prisoner against whom he specifically was paid to come to Ohio to testify against. One purpose of this online e-newsletter is to give LibRA members, especially our prisoner members, a forum with which they can get out their own reports and articles into circulation. While our political prisoners are mostly what we had in mind when setting this up, also included are our regular, non-political prisoner members, especially those who are compelled to stand up and fight for our rights, fighting a battle from within the bowels of the beast. This forum also inlcudes enabling our own to respond to falsehoods like the ones spewed out by Asatru's answer to Judas Iscariot, Odinism's remake of Frazier Glenn Miller, one Michael aka Valgard Murray. Yes, Murray, unlike you, we in LibRA will and do stand up with and for our own. I will reserve more commentary until after Alfar's open letter.
To: An Open Letter in Regards to Valgard Murray's Allegations as to Federal Testimony
From: Alfar Blankenship # 295-771, P.O.Box 7010, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601
I have received a number of inquiries lately in regards to a letter mass produced and distributed by Valgard Murray as to testimony given at a Federal Hearing on the accomodation of the Asatru religion within the Ohio prisons. I find Valgard's letter to be untruthful and libelous and felt I must respond to at least some of his claims.
I'd like to begin by stating that the court ordered a seperation of witnesses. While I as a plaintiff was present during the entire proceeding and heard everyone's testimony, Valgard was not. Valgard was present only during his testimony and he did not hear me nor anyone else testify. As such, there is little or no basis for much of his claims.
First, I sought nothing that was contrary to Asatru. Our faith is as old as our folk, and simply because Valgard does not endorse a particular practice does not make it contrary to Asatru, rather it would only be contrary to Valgard. You may recall what H.R.E Davidson wrote in "God's and Myths of Northern Europe", to wit:
"We know that there was considerable variety among the religions of the different German Tribes, who had no universal faith or church," Id. pg.14
"There was no central orginization to formulate a body of beliefs, and so ideas about the Gods must have varied from one district to another." Id. page 215.
Granted, however, I was asking for things which, as Valgard states, "were contrary to the parameters which had already been established for Asatru inmates." This was because in Ohio, Asatru is not a recognized religion, we have no rights, and the "established parameters" are that prisoners may serve up to six months in segregation for discussing the faith under the pretext of "engaging in unauthorized group activity."
So, true, we in Ohio are seeking things outside the already established parameters, things such as recognition of our faith and holy days, the right to possess religious literature, Thor's Hammer and Runes, and the right to gather for worship and study.
Second, Valgard attacks my fasting for "cleansing and atonement." Valgard ignores our own Shamanic hstory, our folk often fasted in such manner. They, as I, also fasted for visions which were known as utsetti or "sitting out". I often fast for the nine days, or often longer, with no food or water, to seek visions, to build will-power, or as a means of taking personal responsibility for any ill on my part.
It seems Valgard takes exception to my oath or pact with the God Tyr, wherein I vowed to honor Tyr on Tuesdays, and to hold Tuesday as sacred to him. As part of the oath, I vowed to endure punishment if need be in order to honor Tyr on Tuesday, or if prevented from doing so by the state, to fast for nine days and nights without food or water. As a result of this oath I was placed in segregation for 14 months, had my security level raised to maximum and served an additional 14 months (the first 6 of those months in solitary), all as I refused to violate my oath. At other times I've been forced to violate my Tuesday dedications, at which time I fast as I vowed to do.
Granted, it would be nice not to have to go to such extremes just to practice my faith as I desire. But I don't have the luxury of living in the free world that Valgard enjoys. It is easy to condemn the extremes prisoners must go to in order to practice their faith while one is sitting in an easy chair in Arizona,... without a repressive governmental agency breathing down your neck. I wonder, would Valgard remain true to Asatru if he were punished for his beliefs at every turn??? Or would he quickly abandon the faith and conform? It is easy to criticize from the safety and security of one's home.
Third, Valgard takes exception with Heimgest and the Odinic Rite. Heimgest and I have never spoken or witten to one another. I don't know the man. I never asked my attorneys to mention him. What happened was during Valgard's deposition, Valgard was asked as to whether there were other Asatru related groups aside from the Asatru Alliance and whether these groups agreed totally on all elements of the religion. Valgard acknowledged there might be other Asatru related gorups, but stated he couldn't name any. When my attorneys asked Valgard if he ever heard of the Odinic Rite Valgard stated "yes, but they are not Asatru." He then began a verbal attack against Heimgest and the Odinic Rite. I sent copies of Valgard's deposition to various individuals. If Heimgest saw a copy and responded to it I am unaware. I have no internet access nor do I communicate with the Odinic Rite.
Fourth, as for Valgard's claim that no one from the Odinic Rite would step forward to testify for Ohio Asatru prisoners. This is technically untrue and unfair. The Odinic Rite was not asked to testify for the Ohio prisoners. The only group that was asked to testify for the Ohio Asatru prisoners who refused was Valgard Murray and the Asatru Alliance. Valgard refused to testify for the Ohio prisoners though he did agree to testify against the Asatru prisoners.
What actually happened was that our lawyers attended a local blot they saw advertised. At the blot the attorneys sought out Asatru elders and asked if they would testify on behalf of Asatru and they agreed. After Valgard's deposition was circulated, however, many groups came forward nd contacted our attorneys offering to testify to refute the claims of Valgard, and I believe the Odinic Rite may have been one of them. It was too late at this point to change our witnesses for this particular hearing, so we went with what we had. It is my understanding, however, that other Asatru or Odinist groups may testify on our behalf at the actual trial.
Fifth, no, we were not asking for a ban on work for Asatru prisoners. We are seeking days off on certain holy days, so prisoners can attend blot, etc, but we are not asking for extra days off work. Rather, we simply ask to trade our regular days off for days off on religiously significant days. I even went a step further and offered to give up all my days off in exchange for days off on significant days and times, which would result in me working an extra 40 plus days a year. It must be noted that the Christians are entitled to Sundays off work (52 days a year), while Jewish prisoners can get off work Saturdays and 14 other holy days (64 days a year).
Valgard suggests there is no support for Asatru work proscriptions on significant religious days. This is simply not true. For starters we offered as evidence Valgard's own Asatru Runic Era calendar which states work proscriptions on the four major solar holy days. Valgard's calendar reads as follows:
"However, the high feast days of Ostara, Midyear, Winter Finding and Yule must be observed on the listed dates because their solar significance. High Feast Days are also days of worship and rest from mundane labors."
At the hearing, however, Valgard testified that "rest from mundane labor" should not be confused with stating not to work on those days. Be that as it may, other texts make it clear that there exists historical precedent for refraining from work on significant Asatru holy days. See example:
Germania, chapter 40;
Teutonic Mythology, volume I, pages 191, 213-214, 252-253, 270, 274; volume II page 511;
The Winter Goddess, page 154;
The Indo-European Component in Germanic Religion, page 4.
And while I do ask for 30 seconds, three times a day (dawn, mid-day, and sunset) to honor the Sun with a brief Sunna Rite, my request is consistent with allowable practice within the prison system. Jews are permitted to pray three times a day, and Muslims are permitted to pray five times a day.
Seventh, Valgard states I supported my claims with numerous allegely forged documents from a non-existent church which I finally admitted to having written on cross examination. Such comments are ignorant, untrue and libelous. To begin with, these documents consisted of my "Certificate of the Gothar" and "Formational Kindred Status" issued by Valgard Murray and the Asatru Alliance in 199, which Valgard testified to admitting to. The other docment was the By-Laws and Precepts of the "Teutonic Kirk of Asatru" which I co-founded a number of years ago. This document was never denied by me and clearly has my name on it. As for being a "non-existent church" this is totally false. The "Teutonic Kirk of Asatru" is a valid religious organization defined under Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.01 (I), and for years now the Ohio Secretary of State has been licensing Gothar of this organization as legal ministers of the faith authorized to solemnize marriages. The "Teutonic Kirk of Asatru" is every bit as valid and legitimate as the "Asatru Alliance" promoted by Valgard Murray.
The facts are simple, Ohio prisoners, like prisoners elsewhere, are fighting for recognition of the Asatru Religion. Valgard Murray testified, not for the prisoners, but on behalf of the prison admnistrators who seek to suppress Asatru. What more needs to be said?
STAY STRONG, DO RIGHT & FEAR NO ONE
One of Murray's motives for testifying against prisoners fighting for religious rights seems to be a desire to have his World Tree Publications to be an "approved vendor" for prisoners to be able to obtain or purchase Asatru/Odinist religious items. In some state systems, Murray is the only approved vendor. Murray's collaboration with thought cop prisoncrats has also enabled him to receive money as payment for "helping prison officials formulate policies for accommodation of Asatru religious practice." Every state which has paid Murray for his collaboration represses Asatru/Odinist prisoners, to the point civil rights suits are in various stages of preparation for being filed. An example of Murray's "help" is the policy or attempt by Ohio DORC to arbitrarily label Asatru/Odinism as a Wiccan sub-sect! Murray also has been at least twice handsomely paid for his time and expenses to travel to Ohio as "expert witness" for the state prison system. In addition to reading Murray's deposition, sitting in the federal court room last December I personally witnessed Murray testify that Odinists don't need time off for rituals/blots or for other religious observances, and that prisoners don't need to honor the Deities more than once a year. The practical effect of Murray's claims is that Odinist/Asatru prisoners don't need any accommodation for any religious practices at all.
Murray also had the gall to accuse Alfar of not being sincere, only at the hearing under cross examination was he made to back up to at least an "I don't know." Alfar has fought harder, and underwent far more retaliation and harassment, for the right to practice the Asatru religion, then Murray and the rest of his band combined. I agree with Alfar in questioning just how well would Murray or the tiny few who support him would hold up themselves. Murray in his testimony tries to redefine Asatru in a way even most universalists don't go along with. Murray's redifinition accommodates the prisoncrats, not the prisoners who are sincere in their religious beliefs, nor even most of those outside prison. Prisoncrat thought cops push the neo-marxist "politically correct" universalist agenda. Religions which are incompatible with this agenda are either repressed or, if opportunists within any given religion are willing to go along with it, to get the religion to change to r adapt the prisoncrat thought cop agenda. Murray is serving the neo-marxist agenda and not Asatru/Odinism, and being paid well enough, when he attempts to redefine Asatru in a way which conforms to those who pay him. Murray admitted he once certified Teutonic Kirk as a kin and Alfar as a Gothi, then later without notification or cause revoked the certification but has never stated why. It seems in Ohio Alfar's Teutonic Kirk has more legal standing and recognition than Murray's Asatru Alliance. Prisoncrats like to "recognize" by their own warped criteria, regardless of what other agencies or departments or courts have done, and Murray's "recognition" goes along with the prisoncrats.
Murray's statements in court attempts to push a more extreme and perverted form of universalism in Asatru/Odinism than even that pushed by the sort of mixed up transplants I some times refer to as "pc pagans" or those who insist on bringing their neo-marxist multiracialist universalist baggage from judeo christianity or new age belief systems into Neo-Paganism with them. But prisoners are the ones who will be the most afflicted as a consequence of policies formulated with the help of characters like Murray and his ilk. Like your judeo-christian counterparts, you "heathens against hate" and "pc pagans" have the luxury to babble the insane un-natural "politically correct" doctrines and policies which have no place in any ancestrally based religion, because you can flee to your all-Eurofolk neighborhoods and escape (for now) the consequences and results of these policies.
Miller will be going to trial later this year, over the issue of the right to group "services" and related practice of the Asatru/Odinist religion, and this will be a major post Cutter trial which will effect the rights of prisoners not only in Ohio, but in other state prison systems as well. We will be doing all we can to help and support those fighting this battle, and you can also help us help in this fight as well. Also, if any of you may be interested in attending the trial, even for one day, to listen, witness and review, and mainly to help show moral support, let me know.
John W Gerhardt, Chief Advocate
Liberty Rights Advocates
PO Box 713
Johnstown, OH 43031
The name of our e-newsletter, Brush Fires Online, is taken from our membership newsletter, Brush Fires, which was inspired by the Sam Adams quote you often see us use. We give our political prisoners a forum for their own articles and reports, and this forum is also available to other prisoners who are also LibRA members who are taking a stand against tyranny. In addition to reports on LibRA activities, articles and reports by "free world" LibRA activists will be shared with those on this list. As we grow in strength and resources, we will also address civil liberties, civil rights, constitutional rights issues effecting our Eurofolk people outside America's gulags. Those not on this list can be added upon request by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, if you are finally ready to actively participate in something positive and effective, become an associate member of LibRA and be part of a growing network of active advocates.