"The department of veteran's affairs has agreed to add the Wiccan pentacle to the approved list of approved religious symbols that it will engrave on veterans' headstones." This decision came after several Wiccan widows had sued when their requests for Wiccan symbols on their spouses' headstones - spouses who had fought and died for their country in Afghanistan and Iraq as Wiccans. They cited religious discrimination for the previous repeated denials. The ACLU gave its support and filed the lawsuit on behalf of Wiccan families and clergy after having refused to do so since the mid-90s.
In 1999 when Shrubbie was still governor of TX, he was asked about the controversy over Wiccan soldiers being given equal rights including the right to worship freely at Fort Hood, TX. He responded “I don’t think witchcraft is a religion. I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made.” Until now, Wiccans were able enlist in the armed services as Wiccans, and since 1999 they were allowed to practice their religion, but they were not allowed to be recognized as Wiccan after they died in service to their country.
There are 1800 Wiccans enlisted in the armed forces. They are fighting, and dying, in service to their country. They deserve this respect and recognition.
I attended several Wiccan services in the past, and though I still have a hard time identifying myself with any organized religion, I was seriously drawn to Wicca because of their one 8-word piece of dogma - the Wiccan Rede:
"An it harm none, do what ye will."This Golden Rule was familiar to me from my Catholic upbringing, but every religion has a version:
“Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.”
“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
"If only people could leave people the hell alone."
Baruch Spinoza, a metaphysical philosopher who believed God was everywhere ("Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived.") and who for this reason stole Aristotle's line of "Nature abhors a vacuum" to define his one philosophy (ie: there can't be NOTHING - what appears to be empty space is, in reality, filled by God), once said:
"As men's habits of mind differ, so that some more readily embrace one form of faith, some another, for what moves one to pray may move another to scoff, I conclude... that everyone should be free to choose for himself the foundations of his creed, and that faith should be judged only by its fruits."
Shrubbie probably doesn't know Spinoza, probably can't even prounounce or spell his name, so he can dismiss that quote (though the first syllable of Baruch's surname, "spin" is certainly familiar to Shrub - his administration is spinning the outcome of this case to make it look like they had a hand in the decision to add the Wiccan symbol to the "approved!" list, those benevolent do-gooders!).
Here, on the other hand, is a quote from a document Shrub might be somewhat familiar with - not because he believes in it, but because it keeps getting in his way, the pesky thing:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
- First ammendment to the Bill of Rights