Religious Bigotry in the Dept of Veterans Affairs

Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister for the heads up on this jarring bit of news.
Fallen Soldier Gets a Bronze Star but No Pagan Star

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 4, 2006; Page A02

At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.

That's because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion -- a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle -- to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.

As I've mentioned before, I've tried on many religious, at least spiritual, guises through the years. I was always searching for something of human invention that could help me come to terms with myself, and Wicca actually seemed a natural intuitively sound possibility. When I was 19.

I've even got a gnarly little ghost story about the day I "consecrated" my space in my parents attic, but will leave that for perhaps another time...

Anyhow, this is simply closing on beyond belief. Shake's Sis says it very well and quite succinctly.
The minister who served as the chaplain of Sgt. Stewart’s unit, Rtd. Army Chaplain William Chrystal, strongly supports Sgt. Stewart’s widow’s request to have the pentacle put on his memorial. He suspects that the reasons it’s being denied are strictly political, considering “It’s such a clear first Amendment issue… I think the powers that be are afraid they’ll alienate conservative Christians if they approve a symbol that connotes witches and warlocks casting spells and brewing potions.” I believe he’s right, which leaves me with only one question.

Just how much of our country are we going to sacrifice to protect the delicate sensibilities of the willfully ignorant?

[Check out her post for the comments as well.]


  1. It is maddening, isn't it? I heard about this story on NPR awhile back before a decision was made. Even atheists (the MOST hated group, and not even a religion) have a symbol, and Bahai, and 30 some odd others. This is bigotry and bureaucracy at its worst. Shameful! People think Pagans are Satanists, which is mistaken. And besides that, Satanism is a religion too, and one with quite a few acceptance issues of its own (to say the least)

  2. I respect the separation of church and state. However, if there are crosses or stars of David on others memorials, this is a matter for the ACLU because it obstructs one's civil liberty.

  3. In the grand scheme of things a slight like this is small potatoes, but somehow I'm very offended by this.

    I agree with adorable girlfriend...where's the ACLU on this one?

  4. Yah. Messed up, eh? It shouldn't need ACLU intervention, but still, and there's no mention of it in the WaPo story, nor on their website.

    Maybe just not yet. We'll see.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts