Wiccans may be winning the fight
against the Department of Veterans Affairs, which refuses to allow Pentacles --a Wiccan religious symbol-- to be placed on the headstones of Wiccan soldiers.
That crusade may be nearing an end. The Veterans department said this week that it is nearing a decision on several requests for memorial markers adorned with Pentacles, including one from the widow of a National Guardsman killed in a helicopter attack in Afghanistan.
"We expect a decision soon," said Jo Schuda, a VA spokeswoman.
In a step interpreted as partially smoothing the way for Pentacle approval, the VA's National Cemetery Administration amended a rule last October that had been a bureaucratic roadblock. Until then, applicants had to submit a letter from a "recognized central head" of the faith attesting to the fact that the requested symbol in fact represented the religion.
But because the Wiccan faith and its related sects are substantially decentralized, that requirement was essentially impossible to meet. Now, the National Cemetery Administration asks for a letter from "a recognized leader."
It seems that this is at an end and that the Pentacles will be allowed on the headstones. My only question is, why is the DVA restricting what religious symbols may go on these headstones? Shouldn’t anyone be able to place a representation of their religion on a headstone if they choose? How is it legal for them to only allow certain religious symbols?
Tags:Wicca Pagan Religion Religious Rights