Pagan US Soldier Wears “Masculine” Beard
Nevada Army National Guard Soldier SFC Benjamin Hopper has been granted a waiver allowing him to wear a beard — because he believes it is a “sacred and defining feature of masculine men” consistent with his pagan religious beliefs:
“My personal faith is deeply tied to the modern warrior lifestyle that I have been able to live during my military career,” said Hopper, adding that the beard has never hindered his ability to put mission first.
“In short, it is honoring the pillars of heathenism, our ancestors and ancient gods and way of life.”
There is no central pagan belief structure, but an organizational website called Open Halls made a point in 2017 of saying facial hair isn’t a religious requirement for heathens like it is for, say, Sikhs.