jPay Message #211

I’ve mentioned before how the social conditions of prison incentivize the adoption of extremist religious positions: chomos become Bible thumpers, ex-crack heads turn into black supremacist Muslims, certain whites join the Odinists.

As much as I’ve tried to go back to church, I quickly lapsed after a couple months. It just felt insincere; incarcerated convicts turning to Jesus is a trend thatll never die. Except for whatever spiritual solace it bestows, practicing Christianity in prison has few (worldly) benefits. The feeling of solidarity with fellow Christians is quickly undermined by the realization they are, almost exclusively, sex offenders. 

Conversely, joining any of the three Muslim sects at this joint is basically joining a gang. Every Muslim, in the parlance of the yard, is basically considered ‘affiliated’. The three Muslim sects, to some degree, all exert some pull on the yard. Unlike your meek Christians, Muslims–whether the Nation of Islam, the Mobites, or the more traditional service attended by the handful of Arabs that’s less ‘prisonified’ –will jump in, guns blazing, on behalf of their co-believers in any altercation. The best policy in dealing with any of ’em, remains the tried and true: No Smoke.

There’s a smaller and less influential membership in the Odinist service, which functions similarly to the Muslim ones, but for white people. They ‘worship’ Odin and the Norse gods, but the service is really about white identity and being proud of who you are. They’re not exactly gang bangers; they’re acting out of self-preservation. And I totally sympathize.

(N.B. Unless you’re covered in face tattoos or a muscular beast, you’ll automatically be a target as a regular ass white dude, and almost assured of getting dragged into a situation that’ll demand a [physical] response. Typically, a group of Bloods or some other young shitheads will try to steal your TV or pop your locker open to get at your store bag and will you regularly do so until you respond appropriately.)

The Odinists don’t really garner much respect on the yard either; that is, no one is afraid they’ll get fucked up for accidentally running afoul of a member. Even the hardcore white gangbangers regularly make jokes at their expense.

At the prison I’m at, violence isnt outta control (despite a stabbing the other day) so I dont feel the need to join any religious clique or ‘organization’ for protection. I quit team sports in high school. I know who to fuck with and who to keep my distance from; what I can get away with when dealing with this person versus that one.

Furthermore, the members of these groups for the most part become true believers in their ridiculous doctrines and extremist dogmas, including the Odinists. It imparts meaning and importance on a life that can often feel devoid of both.

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