November 14, 2006, - 2:32 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
In June, I wrote about Wiccan veterans who are fighting for recognition by the U.S. Armed Forces. They want the right to have the Wiccan pentacle on tombstones in military cemeteries, and are fighting the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration over it.
And now some widows of Wiccan military vets are suing over it.
Many Wiccans served with honor, and some died while fighting terrorists, including Patrick Stewart, who gave his life in Afghanistan.
Even though I do not believe in witches and don’t identify or empathize with religions that do, it’s absurd that we allow crescent symbols on the few Muslim military graves, but won’t recognize these people. The facts are these: The IRS already recognizes the Wiccan religion, and the U.S. military already recognizes and sanctions the use of 38 religious symbols on tombstones, including the atomic whirl for atheists.
There is no reason our government should be saying that these men who served their country and fought extremists can’t have their religious symbol on their tombstones, while the religion of the men who took their lives and that of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 gets full recognition at Arlington National Cemetery and beyond.
If we let some have their crescent, there is no reason why we cannot let others have their pentacle. Read my complete take on the story.
Tags: Afghanistan, Arlington National Cemetery, Debbie Schlussel, Department of Veterans Affairs' National Cemetery Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Many Wiccans, Patrick Stewart, U.S. military, United States