"The Ecclesiastical Roots of Racism"
by Michael cunningham
As an Asatruar / Odinist one invariably, on occasion, finds oneself harangued as having a racist perspective solely because one chooses to follow one's own ancestral faith and follow it's inherent customs. To counter such I feel it prudent to explore the historicity of the concept...
In the early period of western Christian hagiography races such as black Africans (primarily Ethiopians), Mongols, Muslims and Jews were defined as 'monstrous races' and were often attributed with being deformed malcontents who would 'misbehave' and were viewed as inhabiting the far flung fringes of the known world, which would, at that time, encapsulate India, Ethiopia and the far north. Often the denizens of these 'monstrous races' would be pictured by Christian artists with having exaggerated or malformed features and practicing all manner of 'sinful' activities.
Thus the untenable Christian science of classical physiognomical theory arose whereby it was stated that the external appearance of a person was a visual manifestation of inner character therefore the 'monstrous races' were malformed, in the eyes of Christianity, owing to their moral and spiritual deficiencies.
This Christianisation of physiognomical theory allowed medieval moralists a vehicle by which they could deliver sermons which sought to highlight the assumed deformities of a particular 'monstrous race' as physical manifestations of sin or moral depravities.
In a world where one had to 'live rightly, flee the world, resist the devil and mortify the flesh' the pious Christian had always to guard their soul from such races. The use of races such as those mentioned to be depictive of the metaphorical representations of sin and thus viewed with repugnance appears wholly of Christian origin. If one examines how races viewed one another in the heathen, pre-Christian world one finds a different and more enlightened perspective.
For example, ancient Greeks such as Homer described Ethiopians as a pious and blameless people who drew upon a rich and exotic culture, but, of course, Christianity would later demonize them for their black skin which was viewed by the church as a demonic feature as black would come to be associated with the devil, evil and sin. Christianity had to create it's own devils much in the way it created it's 'godhead' and hypocritical mythology. Medieval Christendom abhorred physiognomical 'strangeness' as Christianity was a faith derived of abstract images and selfish ideals which adorned it's parasitic writings and illustrations.
Of course the Jews, whose own beliefs had provided the infrastructure of Christianity, were themselves viewed by the church as idol worshipping demonic pagans and thus rightful targets of subsequent Christian fueled purges. Often Christian texts would allude to members of these 'monstrous races' becoming 'white' as an example of how they would be made pure when they embraced Christianity.
It is somewhat ironic, and annoying, that while medieval Christianity originated and instilled racist occidental dogma it is a heathen folk faith such as Asatru / Odinism that is labeled, on occasion, as racist. So in the event of one of our folk finding themselves defined or derided as racist I would hasten to educate such would be accusers with the fact that Christianity nurtured, tended this doctrine of hate and then, as it is wont to do, slyly allowed an Elder Faith to be burdened by a beast of Christianity's rotten heart.