US Air Force Grants Exemption for Norse Heathen Beard

The Air Force Times reports on Air Force SSgt Garrett Sopchak, who just became the first US Air Force Airman to be allowed to wear a beard — because he adheres to Norse Heathen religious beliefs.

The Army granted a similar waiver last year, and beard exemptions have been granted for a growing number of Sikhs and Muslims — though not atheists.

Sopchak, a 28-year-old aerospace ground equipment craftsman at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, on July 8 become the first airman to get approval to wear a beard in accordance with his Heathen faith.

Sopchak said in a Tuesday interview that in the old sagas, a beard was a sign someone was a respected member of the community who could be trusted to help others. Central figures in Norse mythology such as Odin and Thor are commonly depicted as wearing beards.

With that as the justification, how long will it be before the first Christian asks for an exemption, given that “central figures” in Christianity are “commonly depicted” having beards…?

Incidentally, has anyone noticed that all these military religious freedom issues are being resolved without anyone calling Michael “Mikey” Weinstein?  Seems he’s not as important as he might think.