Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Use of Wiccan Symbol on Veterans’ Headstones Is Approved
What a wonderful Beltane gift! From the NYTimes:
WASHINGTON, April 23 — To settle a lawsuit, the Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to add the Wiccan pentacle to a list of approved religious symbols that it will engrave on veterans’ headstones. The settlement, which was reached on Friday, was announced on Monday by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, which represented the plaintiffs in the case...It normally takes a few months for a petition by a faith group to win the department’s approval, but the effort on behalf of the Wiccan symbol took about 10 years and a lawsuit, said Richard B. Katskee, assistant legal director for Americans United...A Veterans Affairs spokesman, Matt Burns, confirmed that the “V.A. will be adding the pentacle to its list of approved emblems of belief that will be engraved on government-provided markers...The government acted to settle in the interest of the families concerned...and to spare taxpayers the expense of further litigation.”
Heh, nice to know where their priorities are. Regardless of the VA's motives, this is a great day for Wiccan's and Pagans, the men and women in uniform and their families, and celebrators of religious freedom and tolerance. Congrats to Roberta Stewart and her family, Rev. Selema Fox of Circle Sanctuary, the various veterans groups who supported the effort, and all who blogged or annoyed their Congressional Representatives. AU is to be particularly congratulated (I'm a supporting member of AU; why not do the right thing and join right now!)and so is the ACLU. Many of us have sent out our wishes in this quest during ritual: what a wonderful thing to have happened at Beltane.
UPDATE: great article via AU, Bush Administration Agrees To Approve Wiccan Pentacle For Veteran Memorials.