A fair journalistic coverage of Hellenismos

There are some individuals on the internet, journalists and bloggers, who write about Hellenismos, since it seems to become an increasingly interesting subject to investigate. Many of these people make claims about Hellenismos and describe us Hellenes based on what they have found online (videos, texts, pictures). Some of the data were extracted from Hellenic websites (YSEE, Labrys, Thyrsos etc.) or Facebook pages; others, on the other hand, are taken from Facebook pages or online groups of Neopagans, New Agers or Neopagan fascists who have their own religious beliefs. The truth is, there is only a handful of Hellenic websites with English texts out there. However, today there are quite a few reliable books in English on the subject available to which journalists and bloggers can turn for information.[1]

Regardless, many writers rely on datas from English-speaking countries respectively websites. But the majority of these sites are not Hellenic but Neopagan. So studying them to write an article about Hellenismos is like writing about Hinduism based on information obtained from Islamic websites. The main problem is, many of these Neopagans call their online groups or Facebook pages «Hellenic,» «Temple of Hellenismos», «Hellenic Polytheism» etc. Thus they mislead the public and harm the Hellenic people.

Some even claim they are priests of Apollon or Aphrodite, though sometimes they admit they are Occultists. I have seen some of them on social networking sites and read the articles they published on websites like «Patheos.» The problem: these titles and claims can lead the readers to the wrong conclusions about Hellenismos, make them think that a connection exists between Hellenismos and Occultism, and hence misinform rather than inform them. Thus Neopaganism engages in counter-Enlightenment at the cost of Hellenismos and other ethnic religions. We Hellenes are aware of that, we know about the dishonest use of labels and unethical behaviour within these new religious movements of the Occident. But many journalists don’t, and the titles some Neopagans use, give them the impression of being reliable sources; they don’t announce themselves as Neopagans but as Hellenists.

By presenting themselves to the public as Hellenists and sometimes even as Hellenes (!), they give to those who are seeking information a wrong impression, including journalists, though many of the Neopagans playing this game are anti-Hellenes, which doesn’t make sense, but that’s the way things are. The information in these articles are, of course, wrong, but people don’t know that.
I think
this is why some journalists make the mistake to think of Hellenismos as a kind of «Pagan reconstructionism» (sic!), «faith» or «spirituality.» Most of them do not mean us harm, they just don’t know any better. Our duty is to give them the right information and explain to them the difference between Re-Indigenization and what they call «Paganism» or «Pagan reconstructionism.» As I said before, they don’t want to hurt us, they are simply being misled or deceived by some confused and problematic persons on the internet and social media[2]; behind their self-exposing, and sometimes even narcissistic, behaviour lies the need for positive feedback because their self-view depends on the recognition and validation from others.

Nevertheless, the result of such journalist articles is the unintentional consolidation of prejudices and the perpetuation of the exact same centuries-old Christian propaganda many of us grew up with (that our ancestors were «idol worshippers,» «pagans» and «magicians,» our oracle priestesses «sorceresses,» our ancestral religion «Paganism,» theurgy «magic,» and other stories characterized by the typical equation of «idolatry» with «magic» and «devil-worship.»)
Organized
Christian anti-Hellenes, mainly Church sites, use Neopagan books or the same websites mentioned previously but also the articles written by journalists who relied on them for information, to attack Hellenismos and present it to society as a branch of Neopaganism. In Greece there are countless Church sites and articles attacking Hellenic History, Hellenismos and ethnic religions in general. They also attack other religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, the theory of reincarnation, Christian «heresies» and many others. Nationalist bloggers help spread them across the internet and other social media platforms. So far only few of these articles are available in English.[3]
They
point to Neopagan texts or pictures and say: Look, this is Hellenismos. They know that many of their fellow Christians don’t know anything about Neopaganism, since there is little to no presence of Neopaganism in Greece, so they get away with it. Not only that, the Church in Greece has succeeded to re-define what is to be understood by «Neopaganism»: mainly Hellenismos.

The term «Neopaganism» is used by fanatical Christian groups and journalists to label, not the modern religious movements of the Occident that emerged from Occultism and the Christian perception of ancient religions, but the revitalized ethnic religions of Europe. They don’t differentiate between them and para-Christian movements – on the contrary, they lump them together with Occultism, Neopaganism, the New Age movement and Christian orthodox conspiracy theories into one category: «Neo-idolatry» respectively «Neopaganism.»
And since
they have all the power, in one way or another almost all media in their hands, they can claim and say whatever they want without having people there to contradict them. It was only due to the use of legal resources that Hellenic collectives made, or to be more precise, forced some media to correct themselves publicly. For instance, when the big Greek channel ANT1 did a story about the fascist party Golden Dawn, they used pictures and video sequences from the Supreme Council of ethnic Hellenes (YSEE). By doing this they linked Hellenismos to fascism or other forms of political monotheism. After the YSEE took legal action against ANT1, they corrected their misleading story during a newscast.
All this affects
the way people see and treat Hellenismos. Due to all this confusion, misleading labels and partially or completely wrong information, Hellenismos is very often referred to as «Hellenic reconstructionism» or «Hellenic Neopaganism,» even in apparently or actually objective sites, which not only reinforces stereotypes and misunderstandings but also reproduces cultural and religious misconceptions that place Hellenismos again within the Neopagan context and thus distorts its true nature.

All that Christian propaganda, Neopagan role games, the inflationary use of the word «Paganism,» the missing of a serious definition of Neopaganism, the neglected or inaccurately carried out journalistic projects, the unconscious ethnocentrism of some writers and undifferentiated use of «burdened» terms on the part of the scientific community, shapes the public opinion of Hellenismos and other traditions. But don’t take my word for it, just look on the internet.

It is very important for the world to know that we are only responsible for ourselves, for what we say, think or do. Hellenismos is only responsible for its own worldview and practices, not for foreign religious beliefs or groups. Hellenismos is not responsible for what other people say or think about us and our history, what they say about or how they approach our Gods, how they live their religiosity, decorate their altars, deal with other people, what they believe or not believe. Hellenismos is not responsible for the religiosity or practices of foreign people, their syncretism and propensity to superstition. Finally, Hellenismos is not responsible for other people’s websites, Facebook pages, books, videos or articles, even if the responsible persons present themselves as «Hellenists» or «Hellenes.» The latter can be checked very easily: find out if they can speak Greek or ask them questions about their local Heroes.
Hellenismos
is only responsible for Hellenismos just like Hinduism is responsible for Hinduism and Shintoism for Shintoism. Hinduism is not responsible for the way foreigners approach the Hindu Gods. Judaism is not responsible for the interpretation and use of Kabbalah within the context of occultism. Shintoism is not responsible for the way other people or groups use its practices, myths or the names of the Japanese Gods. What other people take from Shintoism and how they use it does not and cannot affect Shintoism; actually, it says more about these people than about Shintoism. The exact same applies to our culture and our people. To this extent, there are no other criteria than those reserved for the other ethnic religions. No double standards.

I therefore appeal to all journalists, if you want to write a story about us, take a close look at Hellenismos, check the information you get, identify the sources, verify the datas, make sure it comes from Hellenes and not from third parties who for their own reasons disguise themselves as something they are not. Otherwise your texts will be used against us and make the rehabilitation of our culture difficult. I am not telling you what to write about us, but check the sources, make the effort to get to know Hellenismos. It is important to know the various cultures, religions and traditions as they are.
Please,
don’t make our situation more difficult than it already is. We all rely on you to tell us what is going on in the world or to learn about things we never heard before. You have a great responsibility in writing documents, reports and news articles in order to let us know what is happening.
Nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, including journalists and reporters. That’s human nature. We don’t expect you to be perfect or make no errors.
All we ask of you is to fulfil your responsibility and journalistic duty to accuracy towards our communities.

[1] https://hellenismos.org/2014/11/07/best-books-on-contemporary-hellenismos/ (last time checked: September 26, 2020).
[2] One should not underestimate the influence of social media. Social media affects the journalistic process «on all levels.» (Social media affects the journalistic process on «all levels,» from: Journalism Research news, March, 29, 2020): http://journalismresearchnews.org/article-social-media-affects-the-journalistic-process-on-all-levels/ (last time checked: September 27, 2020).
[3] https://www.impantokratoros.gr/idolatry-paganism.en.aspx (last time checked: September, 26 2020).

Original Source: Hellenismos (Facebook page), September 26, 2020. Last time checked: October 18, 2020. Published with the permission of the owner.