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Bob Barr Bullish on Bigotry...|
Military Pagan Network Press Release
Ellicott City, MD - May 19, 1999:
Military Pagan Network, Inc responds to U.S. Representative Bob Barr's demands to end the taxpayer-supported practice of witchcraft on military bases. Barr's request came in response to reports that chaplains at Fort Hood, and other bases, are sanctioning, if not supporting, the practice of witchcraft as a "religion" by soldiers on military bases.
John Machate, Coordinator/CEO of the Military Pagan Network responded in a letter to Congressman Barr, "This is a direct attack on the Constitution of the United States. All religions are protected, not just those that Congress, the President or the Supreme Court determine. All religions are and should be permitted free practice on military bases, within reasonable limits, to insure that the service can accomplish its mission, and to quote Chief Justice Rehnquist, 'foster instinctive obedience, unity, commitment, and esprit de corps...' . Wicca, also known as witchcraft, in no way prevents the military from accomplishing its goals. By allowing service members and dependants to worship on post they are increasing morale of the troops and families as well as fulfilling their Constitutional obligation."
Congressman Barr stated in his press release on May 18, 1999, "This move sets a dangerous precedent that could easily result in the practice of all sorts of bizarre practices being supported by the military under the rubric of 'religion.'" If Congressman Barr knew anything about the military he would understand that it is not easy to accomplish what the Ft. Hood Open Circle has accomplished. There are regulations and guidelines that strictly govern the appointment of Lay Leaders within the military. The Army requires that the leader, called Denominational Faith Group Leader, be ordained and sponsored by a church. They then still have to get the approval of the Chaplain, which is reviewed annually or when the sponsoring Chaplain transfers and another Chaplain takes over as sponsor.
In another press release called "CAUSES OF YOUTH VIOLENCE FOUND IN ADULT CULTURE" (May 13, 1999) Congressman Barr is quoted saying that "In today's news alone, there are reports that military bases are allowing the practice of witchcraft as a 'religion,' on military bases by military personnel, and that 'secular humanism,' which shuns the teaching of religion and refuses to recognize the existence of God, is making a comeback among our young people on campuses." The statement implies that witchcraft is one of the causes of youth violence. In a matter of a week Barr attacked Wicca, a religion practiced by over 100,000 military personnel or dependants, twice with false statements.
In an effort to get Ft. Hood to not allow celebrations by witches, Barr sent letters to Army Secretary Louis Caldera and Lt. Gen. Leon S. LaPorte, commander of Fort Hood, Texas. The Military Pagan Network will be sending our military and government leaders a letter of support for thier work to preserve the 1st Amendment in the military. Founded in 1992,incorporated in 1997 the Military Pagan Network Inc. acted as a store and group information resource for Neopagans in the military. The corporation now provides material regarding various Neopagan religions to the Chaplaincy, as well as fulfilling its original goal of providing contacts near military bases around the world. In 1997 the corporation expanded its services to include assisting military members with the proper handling of harassment and discrimination. In 1999 the IRS gave the Military Pagan Network, Inc. tax exempt status in accordance with Internal Revenue Code 501(c)3.
Note For additional information on MPN, please visit the MPN website at http://www.milpagan.org/ .
Copyright 1999, Military Pagan Network Inc.
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