Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
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: 2,357
Times Read: 3,007
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Author: Aradia Beatnik Betty
Posted: December 10th. 2006
Times Viewed: 3,007
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://18.104.22.168/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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com with your responses.
Copyright: Bethany Moore
Aradia Beatnik Betty
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
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