A story from Sweden has hit independent news and it’s alarming. Lead by Justice Minister Morgan Johansson, the Swedish government is investigating the possibility of placing a ban on Norse symbols including runes and the Hammer of Thor. (1) Their reasoning has been reported as the symbols have been used in the past by the Nazi party of Germany and contemporary “Far-Right” groups to instigate hatred. Runes, multiple Norse symbols and traditional jewelry may all be included in the ban. I can hear the questions now, why should Americans care?
The runic alphabet and other Norse symbolism such as the Hammer of Thor are used as religious symbols by many in Sweden and the world over, including here in America. The religions are classified as Heathen and include Asatru, Odinism and Germanic Pagan Reconstructionism. These religons have been officially recognized by many European countries and America as an official religion.(2) For these groups and other pagans, the banning of Norse symbols would compare to banning the christian cross or the jewish star of David. The reason given, that groups who are ‘undesirable’ have used these symbols in the past is the same as saying people can’t display the cross because the KKK used it as one of their symbols. Freedom of religion is one of the core founding principles of the United States, and our country would not exhist as it is today without that belief. The banning of religious symbolism places a hard limit on the practice of the religion who’s symbols are proscribed. This does not speak to freedom for anyone.
Sweden, like all of Europe, has a rich cultural history. Along with other European nations (Denmark and Norway), Sweden was the birthplace of the Vikings.(5) Norse Symbology is prominent in historical sites all across Sweden and the rest of Northern Europe and a ban on these symbols would mean the destruction of these sites and artifacts. Regardless of the Vikings’ violent history, their contributions to European art and culture cannot be denied. History is not always pretty, never all bad and always has lessons to teach modern peoples.
Onward to the rationalization that these symbols are being misused by “Far-right” groups. Leaving aside the appaling lack of meaning in the phrase “Far-Right” when used by anyone on the political left. The groups cited have organized for the stated purpose of defending the destruction of their nations, histories, and cultures by globalist elites and honestly, the discustion of banning the historical/religious symbols they use to represent their dedication to the above is making their point for them. What else can it be but an attack on all Swedish and Norse history and Culture? I predict these groups will find more support from the international community than ever before, acheving the exact opposite of the Swedish government’s aim.
If this isn’t enough, consider that the Heathen religions were recognized by the Department of Defence in 2017.(3) Even before that, Thor’s Hammer was recognized and approved for VA provided headstones in 2013.(4) Meaning we have Thor’s Hammer displayed on military headstones at Arlington National Cemetary. If we follow the previous trends of many European ideas being adopted by American Leftists, such as Globalism, and a ban like this were to take place in the US, who would allow the defacing of our fallen heroes’ graves?
I don’t tend to get involved in politics or social commentary. As an American, I despise people from other countries commenting on US elections. Non-residents of the US don’t have a stake in our electoral processes and generally, should butt out. However, this is Sweden considering a law that would be what I consider an attack on a religion, one that is very close to my own. Hearing that this has even been opened for discussion among the suposedly enlightened countries of Europe is personally enraging and absolutely unconsionable to me. My opinion may not mean a great deal and many people more widely known and articulate will probably be more influential. However, at times there are causes which need to be spoken for, this is mine. To all of America, whatever your religion, ancestry or political stance, we should all care very much about the result of this discussion.