Beards – A Clarification

At the Open Halls Project, we are often asked about the matter of beards as a religious requirement, and if we can somehow help service members in gaining permission to wear beards.

Unfortunately, this is not something we can help with for two main reasons:

1. There is no religious requirement for beards in Heathenry. Sikhs are allowed to wear beards and turbans because it actually is a religious requirement of their faith that they do so. Kesh, or ‘uncut hair’ is one of the 5 religious requirements of baptized Sikhs. We as Heathens, have no such religious requirement with regards to hair.

2. While some cite the historical example of warriors refusing to shave or cut their hair until they have fulfilled an oath, this is also not supported as a religious requirement for Heathens in the military. The oath to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” taken at enlistment supersedes any further oaths.

In other words, without an explicit religious requirement to wear a beard, the likelihood of the military changing the regulations that you oathed to uphold in order for you to keep a beard, is very unlikely. This is not a matter of religious rights, this is matter of trying to get the entity you oathed to, to change the conditions of your oath.

It is for these reasons that we at the Open Halls Project will not involve ourselves on the beard matter. Moreover, it is our view that focusing on this issue not only detracts from far more important issues, but also makes us appear foolish and uneducated in our own religious beliefs in the eyes of the military.

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Department of Defense Approves Heathen Belief Codes

It is with great joy we announce that Heathen, Asatru, Druid, and several others are now official Belief codes. Please see the DoD memorandum below.

-Josh OHP

 

Faith-and-Belief-Codes-for-Reporting-Personnel-Data-of-Service-Members

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Financial Reports for 2016

2016 Financial Records for The Open Halls Project INC

Incorporation Fees: $220

Care Package Expenses: $30

Incoming Funds: $250  (Funds provided by co-directors)

Total Net Funds for 2016: 0

Edited on 4/13/2017 to show incoming funds as gift from co-directors to OHP.

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Update

Hello Friends of the OHP,

An update on two things related to the Project. We are officially The Open Halls Project INC a non-profit organization incorporated in Maryland. We have published our By-Laws here on the page, and we are in the process of putting our paperwork together to apply for federal  501c3 status.

We are still waiting on the Department of Defense’s Chaplains Working Group to complete their work so that Asatru and Heathen can be added as religious preferences across the services. You can still contact us on our Facebook Page, Group, and at our email address. In the near future we will be running a fundraising drive, once we are an official charity.

I’m also learning a lot about WordPress recently, so we may be doing more regular updates.

-Josh, Co-Director OHP

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What Have We Been Up to?

There has been a long gap in between updates here on the site. Don’t take that as we’ve forgotten about it, or that the OHP isn’t working hard to help Military Heathens still. On the contrary, we’ve been pushing the US Army to get Asatru and Heathen finally added to the religious preference system. However, we have run into perpetual issues.

Please see the article below.

http://www.religionnews.com/2015/07/07/will-thor-join-army-believers-still-limbo/

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Awesome news for our Air Force Heathens!!

I figure it’s easier just to link the article from the Wild Hunt rather than repost it here.

Questions? Please email us at heathenopenhalls@gmail.com

 

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Religious Preference?

Just saw the Army Times update that Humanism was added to the Army’s Religious Preference list.

This after the Chief of Chaplains stated that no new Rel Pref’s would be added until a new system was brought out to deal with new requests.

We’ve reached out to the CoC, but I’m understandably skeptical that anything will come of this addition, since it appears as if a lawsuit was required to make anything happen.

I’ve emailed the Chaplain in charge of these requests for more information. I’m also going to be contacting the groups that assisted the Humanists to see if they would be willing to assist us.

http://www.armytimes.com/article/20140424/NEWS/304240056/Army-recognizes-Humanism-religious-preference?sf25406377=1

-Josh – OHP

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Another Project by one of the Directors

Old Don: A Heathen Tale is a story written and illustrated by heathens for heathen children, and for any children that enjoy a great story! Old Don is a story about a family struggling to make ends meet, until they are visited by a large burly man who used to have a red beard and carry a hammer. This Kickstarter is your way of helping us get the book printed, with its 14 full color illustrations the book will be about 30 pages long. The main reward for backing the project is receiving a copy of the book!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/552269154/old-don-a-heathen-tale-by-josh-heath-and-jen-wagne

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Veterans Day 2013 Yule Drive

CALL TO ACTION: YULE CARE PACKAGE DRIVE

It’s that time of year again, folks! When we not only think of and honor our Veterans, but begin our Yule care package/Yule card drive for our service members that will spend the holidays far from home.

This year, things are going to work a little differently, so please read these instructions carefully before signing up.

If you would like to contribute a care package/Yule cards:
*Please mail us at Heathenopenhalls@gmail.com to be assigned a service member. When you do, you will receive acknowledgement, and then when we have a clearer picture of factors such as the ratio of contributors to service members, we’ll put you in contact with a service member. Some of you may receive the same contact details, especially in cases where one service member is acting as a ‘lead person’ for a number of other service members down range.

*Please refer to our list of suggested care package items. This list was compiled by service member members of the Open Halls Project Facebook group, because we wanted it to be as helpful as possible.

*Please be advised that the deadline for mailing out care packages to reach service members in time for the holidays, is the 6th of December.

If you are a service member that would like a care package/Yule cards:

* Please don’t think that you’re somehow less deserving than other service members that are in potentially harder environments than you. Year after year, we’ve had a surplus of offers for care package contributions. If you’re far from home, sign the hell up.

*Mail us at Heathenopenhalls@gmail.com and let us know that you’d like a care package AND don’t forget to include your mailing address.

Both groups: Please don’t message us on Facebook regarding the care package drive. It makes it far harder to organize these drives when we’re fielding messages over multiple types of social media, and we want to be able to run this drive as efficiently as possible.

Suggested Items For Care Packages

Please note: This is not a list of things you have to put in a care package, but a helpful list of suggested items to hopefully make it easier to put care packages together. The one resounding thing that service members down range have said to us about care packages or cards, is that it’s not so much what is in the packages, but that people back home are thinking of them that counts. So don’t be afraid to personalize.

Beef or bacon jerky

MiO water enhancers (e.g. flavor enhancers such as Crystal Light: http://www.kraftbrands.com/crystallight/Pages/default.aspx#/home)

Individually wrapped snacks (cereal bars, fruit roll ups etc.)

Periodicals (e.g. magazines focused on topics such as tattoos, bikes and outdoor activities)

Anything outlandishly fun that will entertain for an hour or so (e.g. bouncy balls, silly string, candy necklaces, alien goo etc.)

Chapsticks

Loofahs/Shower scrunchies

Travel size deodorant/mouthwash/toothbrush/toothpaste.

Moleskin (http://www.drscholls.com/Products/MoleskinPlusPadding)

Ziploc bags

Baby wipes

Hand sanitizer (the small bottles that can be attached to clothing/bags etc.)

Blankets, hats, socks

Weapon cleaning supplies

Cotton swabs and/or Q-tips

Batteries (various sizes, for personal electronic devices)

Peanut butter, or other ‘foods from home’ that might not be available to service members in their areas.

Hobby supplies

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Open Halls Project Supporters! HEAR OUR CALL TO ACTION!!!!

Now that we have your attention.

 

The Open Halls Project is about to begin an endeavor, and we would appreciate any assistance and support that we can muster. Recently, the VA approved the Thor’s Hammer as a headstone emblem. However, we still cannot choose Asatru or Heathen as our religious preference! We have attempted to process the request to add those terms, but CH(COL) Bryan Walker,  of the Chief of Chaplains, has stated that the US Army and the DoD are preparing a new system that will allow philosophies and other religious preferences to be added more efficiently. However, his expected ETA for this change is ‘several years.’

We’ve already processed this request twice, with the support of the Asatru Alliance and the Troth. That was over two years ago now and we are being told we will have to wait even longer. The OHP would like to initiate a letter writing campaign to our legislators, in the hopes that putting congressional pressure on the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense will have some positive effect. We specifically are calling on those who live in a district run by a member of either the House Armed Services Committee or the Senate Armed Services Committee. These are the folks that can really bring some political muscle to bear for us!

I’ve drafted a standardized form letter for folks to use, if you so desire. We have also been in communication with several of our allies, to help begin publicizing this action. We are hoping you will write to your Senators and to your Congressional representative, we have tried to be patient, and allow the system to work, but there is no need for us to wait several more years for our service members to have the ability to choose their religious preference on their official paperwork! We want to make sure that the religious needs of our service members are ensured and we hope that you will help us take action.

 

The form letter is posted as a link below.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3lNaelIdoggTk5Td1FfZy1rRmc/edit?usp=sharing

Please let us know of any interesting developments you hear about, by emailing us at heathenopenhalls@googlemail.com

 

Josh Heath – OHP

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