Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Win for the Wiccans

Good news for the Wiccans of the world – after a 10-year battle, the Department of Veterans Affairs has approved the Wiccan pentacle as an emblem allowed on government-issued headstones and in national cemeteries.

Several veterans’ widows brought a lawsuit against the VA through the ACLU after traditional requests to recognize the emblem were denied. Initial claims by the VA that no new requests were being approved due to a procedure evaluation were found to be false, as symbols for 6 other religions were approved between the time of the Wiccans’ initial request and the lawsuit. I find this strange - if it’s okay to memorialize someone as a follower of Seicho-No-Ie or Eckiankar, (both of which are approved non-traditional religions,) why not as a Wiccan?

There is considerable conjecture that our President’s personal feelings regarding Wiccans were the primary influence in the VA’s actions. You never know what’s true and what’s just propaganda, but regardless, it’s fairly clear that discrimination did occur.

I believe our government plays a dangerous game when it gives preference to some religions over others. I have read all the way to the end of my Bible, and I know that someday, like it or not, the “moral majority” will not exist, and Christians will be the ones wondering why we’re not being given equal rights. If we don’t treat other religions fairly now, how can we even hope for them to treat us fairly in the future?

I am so tired of people posturing about how this nation was founded on Christian values, but then trying to circumvent basic American rights such as Freedom of Speech and Separation of Church and State when upholding them is not convenient for their particular cause. Americans are free to believe in whatever god they choose, and the government shouldn’t be deciding who gets to display that belief and who doesn’t. If I don’t want to see a Wiccan pentacle on a tombstone, then I have the freedom not to look at it.

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