A small fight for religious freedom is an important fight nonetheless. After more than a decade of legal struggles, the survivors of US Service men and women who were of Pagan faith may finally put the symbol of their loved one’s on their grave stones. Even though the Veterans Administration has provided engraved symbols for 39 other religions (Atheists may have an atomic symbol but on their graves) Pagans were denied any symbol–those service men and women who died in combat were buried with a blank for a religion. Here is a quote from a particularly good article on the relationship of Pagans and the US Government. Note: not all Pagans are Wiccans but some Wiccans are Pagans.
“[there are] 130,000 self-identified Wiccans in the U.S. in 2001, according to a poll conducted by the City University of New York. The Pentagon has recognized over 1,500 Wiccans in the Air Force, 354 in the Marines, and although numbers aren’t available for the Army or Navy, it is estimated that there are over 4,000 Wiccans in uniform. But Wiccans are not allowed military chaplains, and practitioners are generally frowned on by the military.”
I like this article because it looks at the legal issues of government interaction with religion–being a law dork, that it quotes Lemon v Kurtzman makes me happy as well :-D.
“I don’t think anybody has the right to put a damper on other people’s beliefs,” adds Janis. “We should all be able to accept each other’s faiths. We’re all searching, aren’t we?” (Janis Oulfkih)