Widows Sue Over Wicca Symbol
The widows of two Wiccan combat veterans sued the government Monday, saying the military has dragged its feet on allowing the religion's symbols on headstones.The Department of Veterans Affairs allows military families to choose any of 38 authorized headstone images. The list includes commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.
The Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star surrounded by a circle, is not on the list, an omission the widows say is unconstitutional.
Wiccans worship the Earth and believe they must give to the community. Some consider themselves "white," or good, witches, pagans or neo-pagans. Approximately 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as Wiccans, according to 2005 Defense Department statistics.
The lawsuit was filed by four plaintiffs: Roberta Stewart, whose husband, Nevada National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart, was killed in combat in Afghanistan last year; Karen DePolito, whose husband, Jerome Birnbaum, is a Korean War veteran who died last year; Circle Sanctuary, a Wisconsin-based Wiccan church; and Isis Invicta Military Mission, a California-based Wiccan and pagan congregation serving military personnel.
It claims that the VA has made "excuse after excuse" for more than nine years for not approving the symbol and that by doing so, it has trampled on the plaintiffs' constitutional rights of freedom of speech, religion and due process.
Circle Sanctuary and Stewart began calling in 1997 for the VA to allow the symbol's use.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, D.C.-based group representing the plaintiffs in court, is seeking an order compelling the VA to make a decision.
"After asking the VA on a number of occasions to stop its unfair treatment of Wiccans in the military, we have no alternative but to seek justice in the courts," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, the group's executive director.So much for Americas Faith Based politics, we know which faith groups the Bush regime and its military support; WASPs.
Heck Eckankar is not even a religion it is a phenomena of the seventies, a makeover of Theosophy in the tradition of Lopsang Rampa.
Wicca is far older religion and more established, even if modern day Wicca began in 1954 with the publication of Gerald Gardners High Magicks Aid, when the British Governments removed witchcraft from the criminal code. Until then, like homosexuality, witchcraft was considered a hanging offense.
Of course the pentagram is controversial because Christains fear it. Conservative Christian Boycott of the U.S. Army
It is also used by Satanists.Hence the confusion. Though Satanism is also recognized as a valid religion by the U.S. military as is Wicca. They are two distinct religions.
This article talks about 'white' witches, there is no such a creature. That was is a myth out of the Wizard of Oz. You are a Wiccan or pagan or not. Nothing black or white about it.
Black magick is a racist term, used to differentiate between African based religions such as Voodoo, Santeria and European (white) Magick. If one uses white and black magick in a modern sense by Wiccans it is sometimes to differentiate themselves from Satanists. But in reality the terms mean negative or harmful magick versus useful or good magick. A hangover from the ninteenth century but that is an issue for another article.
The cheeky Aleister Crowley defined the Black Brothers as being the Catholic Church and their infernal rights. He had even a lower opinion of the Pentacostal evangelicals who allow themselves to be possessed by trickster spirits.
Find blog posts, photos, events and more off-site about:
US, military, Wicca, veterans, pagans, satanism, voodoo, faith, neo-pagans, lawsuit, gravestones, headstones, pentagram, crowley, agrippa, santeria, GeraldBGardener, Britain, WizardofOz, witchcraft, religion, war,