And why Asatru? Is it related to how the religion honors the warrior archetype?
I think it is. And I can kind of sympathize with that in a way because, many years ago, as a young ROTC student in college, my focus was primarily on the warrior. It took me time to understand that the warrior is not a community. The warrior is a part of a community and has a role to play in service to and in protection of that community. Most of these men are, at this point in their lives at least, not mature enough, not sophisticated enough perhaps, to see all the other connections. You know, they’re not quite ready for some of the other aspects. And for them, this is probably a valuable tool. In fact, it’s probably something that helps them get through the day.

What tools are those?
The ideas that it’s good to be strong and to be courageous and to be loyal to your friends.

What happened [with Michael Lenz] in that prison, is this the real Asatru? 
Unambiguously what this gentleman did was wrong. It does not represent Asatru, hatred of this sort is not a part of Asatru. We strongly disapprove. This does not represent our religious beliefs in any way whatsoever.

How did this mutation of white supremacists being attracted to this religion evolve from mainstream Asatru?

It’s important to point out that, among Asatruar in general, probably our percentage of white supremacists or white power advocates, or however you want to call these people, is not higher than it is amongst any other group. Now, in prisons, that’s going to be a little higher because you have a different demographic, and certainly a different situation. Unfortunately, some men will use this as an excuse for hostility towards other races and will use it as an excuse maybe to prop up their damaged self-image. I do not find it that common, frankly, though.

Can you explain a little bit about the Asatru relationship to heritage?
We see ancestral heritage as an innate part of our religion. We believe that we are connected with our ancestors, that we have duties to those ancestors and, at the same time, that we receive blessings from the ancestors. In many early cultures, death was seen as a semi-permeable membrane, and that the ancestors watch on. The ancestors, in a sense, are us. We are, in a sense, them reborn. We are so intimately connected with them that we are a continuity, even though that cannot be perceived by the senses. We have our duties to the ancestors, but the ancestors in turn give us gifts. They give us spiritual nourishment. They give us that hunch, that intuition. They give us that good luck that gets us through a tight spot. We are connected with them, and that bond is so strong that it transcends life and death. They and we and the gods form almost a unity.

Can anyone of any race become Asatru and have that kind of ancestral connection?
Well, obviously, this is the United States in the 21st century, and people can follow any path they want. It’s not for us to say that they cannot or should not. Now, my own feeling is that, just as the way of my ancestors is the best way for me, my advice, if it were asked, to someone of a different ethnic group, would be, “Seek the ways of your ancestors.” There’s where you will find peace. There’s where you will find home.

How do you honor the ancestors in practical ways?
One is by remembering them. Many Asatruar have little informal shrines in their homes and, on these, have photographs of known ancestors, or they’ll have bits and pieces of ancestral significance. For example, I am fortunate enough to have roof tiles that came off the ancestral home in Ireland that had been there for hundreds of years. Secondly, we feel it is our duty to keep the family reputation intact, to not let the family name be dishonored but, if anything, to add luster to it, to elevate it still farther, to carry it to greater heights.

Does Asatru value its own heritage above others?
There’s a very definite value that this is the best heritage for us. But, the important caveat there is… that there really is an appreciation of other peoples and other cultures. You know, we don’t want the world to all be the same. We don’t want us to all be alike. We think differences really are okay and really laudable, and that all of us can stand together against those forces that would just homogenize us, that would make us all look the same, shop the same, listen to the same music, etcetera.

Is Asatru a pacifist religion?
We are not pacifist. We believe in moderation. We believe in being slow to rile. There’s an old saying that goes something like, “The coward strikes at once, but the strong man holds back and waits before acting.” I believe that the warrior, properly understood, illustrates one particular spiritual discipline that can lead one to a higher level. I would use the term “warrior” to include any man or woman who puts their own safety, their own lives, on the line for the benefit of other people or for an ideal. And this can be a way, a spiritual discipline, that leads to control of the emotions, control of one’s actions that leads one to various realizations.

How would you like to see Asatru evolve?
I would like it to continue the evolution that it has been making for years now, which is away from the warrior stereotype. I would like people to see that we are a balanced, positive path, that just as we have gods, so we have goddesses. Just as we value assertiveness and all of these "tough" values, so also do we value nurturing, the gifts of the Mother—and Mother with a capital M here—respect for the earth, care for the earth, love for the earth… Asatru is a native European religion. Just like the Native Americans have their way, so have we our way. Words like "pagan" and "heathen" are inadequate. I'd like the world in general to understand the importance of the ancestors, not just of my ancestors but their own.
This time-transcending unity is, in many ways, our last defense against a mechanistic, inorganic, life-denying materialism that threatens to eat all of us, whether we’re in Norway or Nigeria.