Wiccan symbol update

I wrote about this story in March of this year, and this is an update that I happened to run into today in the newspaper (remember that thing that we once received on our door steps).

The original story was that a Nevada National Guard’s man, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, was killed in the line of duty in 2005, when his Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. His remains were returned to the states and buried with his squad mates in a military VA cemetery.

The original story said:

“Stewart was a follower of the Wicca religion, which is not recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs for use in its cemeteries.”

And so consequently, they left his memorial blank because:

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and its National Cemetery Administration prohibit graphics on government-furnished headstones or markers other than those they have approved as “emblems of belief.”

In other words, his family could not use his emblem of faith, the pentacle, on his memorial.

The update is that his wife won a state appeal to include the emblem of his faith on his memorial. The story today from the times goes on to say…

“The new development came Wednesday when state veterans officials said they had received a legal opinion from the Nevada attorney general’s office that concluded federal officials have no authority over state cemeteries.

As a result, they intend to have a contractor make a plaque with the Wiccan pentacle — a circle around a five-pointed star — to be added to the Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Fernley.

“The VA still has not determined yet if a Wiccan symbol can go on the headstone,” said Tim Tetz, executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services. “But we have determined we control the state cemetery and that we therefore have the ability to recognize him for his service to his country,” he said.”

What does this mean? To Freemasons, I think this is more of a reminder to remember that there are many more faiths out there, all as equally valuable to the beholders as theirs is to themselves. Freemasonry being tolerant of ALL faiths can especially appreciate the victory for Sgt. Stewart’s widow in this story. I think the message should be just as clear to non masons as well. Recognizing this man’s faith is really what this country is all about…

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~ by Greg on September 14, 2006.

5 Responses to “Wiccan symbol update”

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  2. Brilliant post!!! This is true! Diversity is the spice of life! Celebrate it!

    Darren Simpson
    Modern Freemasonic Journal

  3. useful information blog,very good content.

  4. This is indeed good news.

    Governments should not be in the business of determining what is and what is not an acceptable religious symbol.

    Widow’s Son
    BurningTaper.com

  5. This post is particularly relevant since many Wiccan men are also Freemasons…

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