I think I've heard it all now.
Read it all here and shake your head in disbelief. I know I am. Why do I somehow categorize this as something inmates are doing to mess with the Warden? Check out what USA today has to say about it:
An inmate serving life in prison for a torture murder that sent two co-defendants to death row wants a federal judge to approve a toy sword and other items and privileges for the practice of an ancient European religion.
Darrell Hoadley of Lead, who was convicted of murder for his part in the 2000 slaying of Chester Allan Poage near Spearfish, filed the handwritten complaint in U.S. District Court. He lists himself in court documents as counsel elder of the Asatru religious group.And..
In the administrative comments section of some of the requests, prison officials cite a legal settlement on the Asatru religion and another case that’s pending as reasons for why some things are allowed and others are not.
Hoadley said members of the Asatru religious group would make or buy the items themselves or ask for donations. Several times in the court documents, he acknowledged security and safety issues.
A passage from Hoadley’s handwritten document states: “Obviously, no sane person (would) request a real sword in the penitentiary. Therefor I am requesting to be allowed to purchase a small (no more than 2 feet) plastic or costume sword to be kept in the asatru locker. A cardboard sword is approved but it gets wet or bent or miraculously disappears from the Asatru locker and has to be replaced.”
Some followers of Asatru, which often is referred to as Odinism, say the religion is misunderstood and that the most adherent inmates do not use it to further violent agendas. Religious leaders and prison experts have said they believe its roots in Viking mythology attract prisoners seeking power, protection and unity.
So, if an inmate tells you their God is Thor, you probably don't want to tell them that if they stop picking at it, it will heal.
Asatru has been gaining popularity among inmates, say religious leaders and prison experts who believe its roots in Viking mythology attract prisoners seeking power, protection and unity.
The gang culture in prison also contributes, said theologian Britt Minshall, a former police officer and Baltimore pastor who ministers to inmates. Some white inmates who felt threatened by black prison gangs formed their own gangs and sought out a belief system they felt would provide additional security, he said.And...
Asatru is often referred to as Odinism, although some followers believe the two are separate religions. It is a polytheistic, pre-Christian faith native to Scandinavia whose adherents worship gods including Thor and Odin.
No national statistics are kept on how many inmates follow Asatru. But experts say its popularity enjoyed a boost from the Supreme Court, which last year sided with an Asatru inmate by upholding a federal law requiring state prisons to accommodate prisoners' religious affiliations.
Asatru is often associated with white supremacy, although most Asatru leaders bristle at suggestions of such a relationship.
A 1999 FBI report on domestic terrorism described Odinism as a "white supremacist ideology that lends itself to violence."
Me? I'll just watch and see what the courts have to say about this kind of goofyness.