Multiple press releases announced the settlement of the lawsuit against the Veterans’ Administration that sought to add the pentacle to the list of “approved” symbols of faith. Under the terms of the settlement, the VA will add the symbol to the list. The VA must also replace headstones previously provided to Wiccans with no marker. Ironically, the AU has claimed ‘victory,’ though this agreement did not meet the AU’s previous request that the “unconstitutional” list of emblems be abandoned.
Tag Archives: Wicca
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State picked up on the story of the Army Chaplain who wanted to switch from Christianity to Wicca, claiming that the Army’s treatment of him was “so obviously a case of religious discrimination.” As noted in the public comments on the article, there are questions as to why the AU hasn’t made the same appeal about Chaplain Klingenschmitt, who the Navy attempted to discharge when he switched endorsers. The basic circumstances are nearly identical; in fact, Klingenschmitt’s is arguably harder to justify.
A Washington Post article opines about a former Pentecostal Army chaplain who lost his endorsement when his denomination found out he wanted to switch to Wicca. He was attempting to become a Wiccan chaplain, which is heretofore unknown.
As repeated by a variety of sources, the Associated Press has reported that the Wiccan lawsuit against the Veterans Administration will proceed without a delay requested by the government.
The Military Christian’s Response
Updated April 2007. See bottom of page for most recent updates to this story.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) is now representing Mrs. Roberta Stewart, the widow of fallen soldier SGT Patrick Stewart, in her dealings with the Veterans’ Administration (VA). Mrs. Stewart is a Wiccan and desires to have a Wiccan symbol (a “pentacle,” an encircled five pointed star) placed on a VA-funded memorial plaque. (Her efforts have also been reported in the Washington Post.) To be clear, Mrs. Stewart is not seeking a headstone to place on an unmarked grave, as she has scattered her husband’s ashes elsewhere. The plaque she seeks would be placed on a “Wall of Heroes” memorial at a veterans’ cemetery near Fernley, Nevada. When notified that her pentacle was not authorized, the VA offered to produce a plaque with no emblem, but Mrs. Stewart declined. The request for a pentacle was made in January of this year. In June, the AU corresponded with the Veterans’ Administration on her behalf and demanded a response within 30 days to “avoid litigation.” Read more