The United States Army has infringed on the rights of minority religious groups before, but this time, they risk being smitten by the hammer of Thor.
For the past six years, Heathens (their word) in the Army have been fighting for official recognition of their religion, which modernizes traditional Norse, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon beliefs in gods like Odin and Freyja and an afterlife in the warrior’s paradise Valhalla. While the Air Force began recognizing Heathens last year, the other branches of the U.S. Military have not followed suit. In January, the Army briefly approved Heathen and Asatru (the Norse word for the religion), but reversed its position a few days later.
The Army’s refusal to recognize Heathens puts its followers in a frustrating state of limbo: