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American Vinland Association
http://www.freyasfolk.org/ Although "Heathen" is now generally accepted as denoting any non-believer of Judeo-Christian dogma, it originally applied to a specific group of dissenters... those who held to the native religion of Northern Europe. These people had no word for non-believers, since they were tolerant of different faiths, but the early Christian converts needed a
name for those who resisted forced conversion. The most vociferous dissenters were those who lived far from the early urban strongholds of ecclesiastical power, out on the heath lands. Thus the heathen, or dweller on the heath, became the maligned rival of a philosophically insecure religio-political power. Proud of our accomplishment in
remaining close to nature and our Gods and living a life of honor, we enjoy the name Heathen.
Submitted by John T Mainer
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