OMAHA, Neb. — Two Nebraska inmates have succeeded
in getting a pagan religion recognized by state prison officials and will be able to hold their own worship services.
Wolfgang Rust, 59, and Bobby Conn, 30, reached a settlement in December with the state Department of Correctional Services over their fight to practice Theodish Belief
at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.
The inmates’ lawsuit, filed in August 2008 in U.S. District Court in Lincoln, said they had been forced to combine worship services with Asatru
followers in violation of to their constitutional rights and federal law. Both religions are forms of heathenism practiced in northern Europe about the 5th century but are as distinct as the Christian religions of Catholicism and Protestantism, according to the filing.
“Plaintiffs are dedicated to practicing the religion of our ancestors in an authentic, traditional tribal form which is as close to the elder ways as possible,” the lawsuit said. They contend Asatru is “radically different and blasphemously obnoxious.”
I have yet to figure out how old a 'religion' has to be, before it can qualify for recognition by governmental agencies.