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Federal Cemeteries Permit Witch Symbol

From the devout Washington Post:

Administration Yields on Wiccan Symbol

Pentacle to Be Permitted on Tombstones in U.S. Military Burial Grounds

By Alan Cooperman
Tuesday, April 24, 2007; A12

Facing lawsuits by veterans and their families, the Bush administration relented yesterday and agreed to allow the Wiccan pentacle — a five-pointed star inside a circle — on tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery and other U.S. military burial grounds.

The Department of Veterans Affairs previously had given veterans a choice of 38 religious symbols, including numerous forms of the Christian cross, as well as the Jewish Star of David, the Muslim crescent, the Buddhist wheel and an atomic symbol for atheism.

But, for nearly a decade, the department had refused to act on requests for the pentacle, without a clear reason. VA spokesman Matt Burns said that approximately 10 applications were pending from adherents of Wicca, a blend of witchcraft and nature worship that is one of the country’s fastest-growing religions.

In yesterday’s legal settlement, the VA agreed to grant all the pending requests within two weeks and to approve new ones on an expedited basis for 30 days. The department will also pay $225,000 to the plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees.

“This is a complete capitulation by the administration,” said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed suit last year on behalf of Wiccan veterans.

The settlement stipulates, however, that the plaintiffs must not keep or disclose any documents handed over by the government during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Lawyers familiar with the case said that some documents suggested the VA had political motives for rejecting the pentacle.

During his first campaign for president, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in 1999 that he was opposed to Wiccan soldiers practicing their faith at Fort Hood, Tex. “I don’t think witchcraft is a religion, and I wish the military would take another look at this and decide against it,” he said.

Lynn, of Americans United, said references to Bush’s remarks appeared in memos and e-mails within the VA.

“One of the saddest things is to learn that this wasn’t just a bureaucratic nightmare, there was a certain amount of bigotry,” he said. “The president’s wishes were interpreted at a pretty high level. . . . It became a political judgment, not a constitutional judgment.”

VA officials did not respond to requests to comment on Lynn’s assertion.

The VA’s agreement with Americans United also settles similar claims filed in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“I am ecstatic,” said plaintiff Kathleen Egbert of Laurel, who is seeking to place the pentacle on the tombstones of her parents, Abraham and Rosemary Kooiman, at Arlington National Cemetery. “It makes us equal in the eyes of the law again.”

This is a mockery. Of course witchcraft isn’t a religion.

But I hope the ACLU and the “Americans United for Separation of Church and State” are happy. They always have the best interests of country at heart.

Which is why they are both taxpayer supported 501c3 “charities.”

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Federal Cemeteries Permit Witch Symbol”

  1. xuenbaookufn says:

    Witchcraft isn’t a religion? What? It involves worship and reverence of a deity, no? How exactly are you defining ‘religion’?

    • JohnMG says:

      Gotta go with SG on this one. Even Islam can point to Muhammad, and he can be seen as a the founder of an offshoot religion. But where is the diety of Wicca?

      Cult and religion aren’t one and the same. But if instinct can count for anything I will rely on my gut feeling that anything the ACLU and Americans United are for, all sane individuals should be against.

    • sheehanjihad says:

      I actually know a wiccan, and she “worships” a dried beet. That’s right!. Somehow for her that translates into a deity and she is comforted by the “Big Borscht” or whatever she calls it, so to her it’s a religion, and she is passionate to defend it as such. I always thought that when she died, I would have a box of Fruit Loops bronzed and placed on her grave site. It would read, “Sunset Elm Leaf….who has descended back into the primordial soup to rise again perhaps, as side salad, or a breadstick”. But I wont, it costs too much, so I will just have her ashes spread at the cannery.

    • JohnMG says:

      That’s poetic, SJ. ;-}

  2. dulcimergrl says:

    My nephew’s wife is wiccan. I’m not sure what that means, exactly; I’m afraid to ask. I do know that she has a pentacle tatooed on the back of her neck. She picked up the belief in high school, from one of her teachers (isn’t that just great?). She grew up in a single-parent household with no religious training that I know of. I guess wicca came along and filled an emptiness in her. My nephew is a practicing athiest, since he got no religious training either (my brother and SIL are fallen-away Catholics).

  3. wardmama4 says:

    I am extremely bothered by these constant attacks on the foundation principles (religion, the Constitution, individual freedom, taxes) that the Left is driving at breakneck speed and no one seems to have the backbone and guts to stop it.

    Placing a cult symbol on a religious gravestone is offense enough but to do it in Arlington is like spitting on the concept of religion, patriotism and The American Way all in one spit.

    America is going to hell – and these are just the Opening Shots.

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