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Emmet 
Posted: 23-Apr-2007, 08:55 PM
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MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) -- The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on government-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday.

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of "emblems of belief" allowed on VA grave markers.

Eleven families nationwide are waiting for grave markers with the pentacle, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The settlement calls for the pentacle, whose five points represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit, to be placed on grave markers within 14 days for those who have pending requests with the VA.

"I am glad this has ended in success in time to get markers for Memorial Day," Fox said.

The VA sought the settlement in the interest of the families involved and to save taxpayers the expense of further litigation, VA spokesman Matt Burns said. The agency also agreed to pay $225,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.

The pentacle has been added to 38 symbols the VA already permits on gravestones. They include commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

"This settlement has forced the Bush Administration into acknowledging that there are no second class religions in America, including among our nation's veterans," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represented the Wiccans in the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the agreement also settles a similar lawsuit it filed last year against the VA. In that case, the ACLU represented two other Wiccan churches and three individuals.

VA-issued headstones, markers and plaques can be used in any cemetery, whether it is a national one such as Arlington or a private burial ground like that on Circle Sanctuary's property.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Variations of the pentacle not accepted by Wiccans have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil.


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Sekhmet 
Posted: 24-Apr-2007, 03:40 PM
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Hot damn. About time.


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Shadows 
Posted: 24-Apr-2007, 04:06 PM
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I agree!!!


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I support the separation of church and hate!

IMAGINATION - the freest and largest nation in the world!


One can not profess to be of "GOD" and show intolerence and prejudice towards the beliefs of others.

Am fear nach gleidh na hairm san tsith, cha bhi iad aige n am a chogaidh.
He that keeps not his arms in time of peace will have none in time of war.

"We're all in this together , in the parking lot between faith and fear" ... O.C.M.S.

Beasts feed; man eats; only the man of intellect knows how to eat well.

"Without food we are nothing, without history we are lost." - SHADOWS


Is iomadh duine laghach a mhill an Creideamh.
Religion has spoiled many a good man.

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Senara 
Posted: 25-Apr-2007, 08:57 AM
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Yes it was a long fight on that one...but good to see it's finally accepted. I'm hoping to take a drive out to the Circle Sanctuary grounds on Memorial Day weekend. Will be good to pay my respects to those that fought so hard not only before death, but afterwards to have their beliefs finally recognized by the government. It's been too many years that those of us of pagan beliefs have been forgotten.


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Cha chir drn a thoirt an aghaidh pig.
A kiss ought not to be met with a fist.

Thig crioch air an saoghal, ach mairidh gaol is cel.
The world will pass away, but love and music last forever.

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Dade Emeraldstone 
Posted: 08-May-2007, 03:47 PM
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Should've never been such a big spat over it, but I'm glad it ended this way.


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stoirmeil 
Posted: 14-May-2007, 12:53 PM
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It is a point that the inverted form of the symbol has been used irresponsibly to represent satanic forces (which for my money don't exist at all, but that's what happens when you get a religious system of any kind that thinks to externalize evil away from human responsibility). I'm sure that will be a pressure point for some time to come. But this really is a major development, and I'm happy for the vets and families who finally have their rights respected.
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Emmet 
Posted: 28-May-2007, 06:06 AM
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Wiccan pentacle will finally mark fallen soldiers' graves
4:15 p.m. EDT, May 27, 2007

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) -- Since Korean War veteran Jerome Birnbaum died in 2005, his grave in a pagan cemetery had been marked with only a pile of stones and U.S. flags.

On Memorial Day, Birnbaum's grave and those of other military veterans will be dedicated with government-issued markers etched with a symbol of their religion -- the Wiccan pentacle.

Wiccans sued the government last year, arguing that it was unduly stalling a decision on whether to add the pentacle to the list of acceptable symbols for veterans' graves.

A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans added the five-pointed star to the list of "emblems of belief."

"I like to see our success literally etched in stone, because it will be," said Birnbaum's wife, Karen DePolito. She said winning the fight is vindication for all Wiccans.

Half of her husband's ashes were scattered outside their house in Utah, while the rest were interred in a cemetery at Circle Sanctuary, one of the nation's largest Wiccan churches.

Circle Sanctuary, located in Barneveld, Wisconsin, about 25 miles west of Madison, will be home to three grave markers -- more than any other place in the country, high priestess Selena Fox said.

Arlington National Cemetery will have two markers. A World War II veteran's marker was dedicated Wednesday, and a ceremony for another Wiccan veteran was planned for July 4, Fox said.

The VA said five pentacle markers have been delivered since the April 23 settlement with one more request pending. Fox said she knows of 12 requests that are going to be made to the VA.

The VA now permits nearly 40 symbols, ranging from the pentacle to commonly recognized symbols for Christianity and Islam.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Variations of the pentacle not accepted by Wiccans have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil.

Among those attending the dedications will be Roberta Stewart of Fernley, Nevada, whose husband, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 when the Nevada Army National Guard helicopter he was in was shot down. Stewart's ashes were mostly scattered, but some are at the Wiccan cemetery.

"To me it shows that our Veterans Administration is hopefully going to think twice before they discriminate the next time," she said of the settlement. "They don't get to pick and choose our soldiers' faith."

The widow of a third veteran receiving a marker, A. Douglas Wilkey, also planned to be at Monday's ceremony. Wilkey, who died in 2003, served in Korea and Vietnam.

Ceremony attendees will gather at the church -- a former dairy barn -- and then proceed to the cemetery at the top of a hill overlooking the Wisconsin wilderness. At the grave sites, Fox said she will perform a Wiccan blessing on the new markers.

At the end, a large circle will be formed to honor deceased veterans, Fox said.

HEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD AS WE
THAT ARE LEFT GROW OLD;
AGE SHALL NOT WEARY THEM NOR
THE YEARS CONDEMN.
AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN
AND IN THE MORNING,
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
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Druid_of_Ark 
Posted: 11-Dec-2007, 09:48 PM
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The US is currently at war with an Islamic nation, yet in the Military Cemeteries of this Nation it has been policy to allow the Islamics to have the emblem of their faith on their headstones. It is high time the Pagans (regardless of Path) have the same right!

Blessed Be!


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