Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Wiccans Seek Justice: Religious Liberty Is Still Not Secured For Minority Faiths - Part 2
Article ID: 11363
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,646
Times Read: 3,249
RSS Views: 86,854
Author: Aradia Beatnik Betty
Posted: December 10th. 2006
Times Viewed: 3,249
By Bethany Moore
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
First Freedom First Project Manager
Nearly one month after litigation was filed to force the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recognize Wiccans’ right to have the Pentacle on the list of “approved religious symbols, ” the Department of Veterans Affairs has yet to uphold the American promise of religious freedom, and to stop blatantly discriminating against more than 1, 800 Wiccans serving in the military.
Active duty Wiccan military personnel have seen this battle drag out for nine years now. Patience has been endured for these nine years as their request has remained stuck in the "approval pending" file at the VA. For religious freedom, believers are only a step closer.
Thankfully, and quite appropriately, Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn has stepped up to honor religious freedom for Wiccans at the state level. Gov. Guinn ordered the plaque for Sgt. Patrick Stewart to be placed over what was a blank space in the Fernley, Nevada Veterans Memorial Wall.
So, the Stewart family has "won" their battle for the Pentacle! Or so said the Associated Baptist Press in a December 5, 2006 article.
Stewart may have won this battle, but the war is not yet over. The VA has still not named the Pentacle to the list of "approved religious symbols." Any grasp of reason for this stagnation is a mystery. To add insult to injury, other religious symbols were approved by the VA in a matter of months over these last nine years. In 2004, the paperwork for the Sikh symbol was approved in merely three months.
After nearly a decade, efforts and actions to see this battle truly won are now increasing, and Wiccans and Pagans are now determined to stay the course.
After seeking solution through education and outreach, exchanging letters, making phone calls, and meeting with government officials, AU was left with no choice but to pursue litigation. At a Nov. 13 press conference, Americans United Assistant Legal Director Richard Katskee announced that we are now turning to courts to demand the well-deserved, decent respect of the government toward Wiccans. The AU legal department sent two letters to the VA demanding approval of the Pentacle.
Roberta Stewart described her experience as being "put in a position above dealing with the loss, and also having to discuss this again and again just so her husband’s actions to defend religious freedom were not done in vain." She questions, as many of us do, why her husband is being punished for upholding his oath to protect the US Constitution?
"Gold Star Wife" Roberta Stewart, a title she has earned because her spouse died while on active duty, feels that she has not only filed litigation for her husband, but also on behalf of all Wiccans and Pagans.
Until the VA approves the Pentacle and recognizes equally the Wiccan and Pagan faith, the phrase of Sgt. Stewart’s battle call, "Peace and Freedom Will Prevail" rings hollow in the hearts of those who must fight this battle with the VA to uphold that same freedom for Wiccans.
Please visit http://www.firstfreedomfirst.org/ to sign the First Freedom First petition. Learn about the issues. Watch videos. Take a stand against religious discrimination. Safeguard separation of church and state. Sign the petition, and encourage your friends and community to do so as well! Contact me for volunteer opportunities.
Barry Lynn, Executive Director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, conducted an interview with Roberta Stewart and Selena Fox about the case on his radio show, Culture Shocks. You can listen to the archived show on AU's website.
(see: http://www.au.org, and direct link to audio: http://188.8.131.52/qtmedia/mp3/722.mp3)
Rob Boston at Americans United for Separation of Church and State has published an interesting and popular piece this week about Jerry Falwell, and Pagan flyers sent home in school children's backpacks! Americans United supports religious freedom for ALL religions.
Since 1947, Americans United has led the way in defending the separation of church and state, the cornerstone of religious liberty in America. As a non-sectarian, non-partisan organization, AU's membership includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, people with no religious affiliation and others.
Please feel free to contact Bethany Moore at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, support, feedback, etc. You can also visit my blog at http://enlightened77.livejournal.com/.
Coming Soon!: Part 3 will expand on more philosophical concerns, and historical examples of discrimination and persecution against followers of Wicca and Paganism. Please feel free to write me at the above mentioned email address if you would like to express your personal views, concerns, experiences, or ideas in relation to this topic. I will be composing the next part of this series over the course of the next week or so, so all suggestions during that time are more than welcome.
Some questions to consider:
Have you been a victim of religious discrimination because of your Wiccan or Pagan faith? How did you handle this situation? Has it been resolved?
Why do you think some non-Wiccans are fearful of us? Has Hollywood contributed to this false stereotype by portraying us negatively in television and movies? What have you done to dispell the negativity?
How can we bridge the gap in understanding that exists between Pagans and Christians? What do members of both faith groups share in common? What is the major disconnect? Do you think members of other religious groups feel the same way toward Pagans and Wiccans as some Christians do?
Your responses will be well received and appreciated.
I appreciate this opportunity to share with others at Witches Voice. Please email me at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org with your responses.
Copyright: Bethany Moore
Aradia Beatnik Betty
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
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