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Fallen soldier gets a Bronze one but no Wiccan star

The deal is that you get to serve and die, but your religious preference is a budgetary issue.  This is why I selected “No Preference” when I was in the USMCR.  Zealots still don’t seem to understand that this is a country that was founded by Christians that fled religious persecution.  They fled because the practice of their religion was hindered by the state.  I don’t know what it looks like, but maybe the Bronze Star is similar enough to the Wiccan Star that they’ll use the Bronze Star as the symbol of his religion.

“I’m sorry sir, we don’t have that symbol to honor your sacrifice.  Won’t you choose from one of our more popular icons?”

At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.

That’s because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion—a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle—to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.

The world is home to many spiritual stories, and we’d like to hear yours. Tell us, in 400 words or less, about a time of crisis that tested your faith, the person who most influenced your beliefs, a life-changing event that shaped your spiritual identity, or a religious teaching or ritual that you find especially moving.

The department has approved the symbols of 38 other faiths; about half of are versions of the Christian cross. It also allows the Jewish Star of David, the Muslim crescent, the Buddhist wheel, the Mormon angel, the nine-pointed star of Bahai and something that looks like an atomic symbol for atheists.

Stewart, 34, is believed to be the first Wiccan killed in combat. He was serving in the Nevada National Guard when the helicopter in which he was riding was shot down in Afghanistan last September. He previously had served in the Army in Korea and Operation Desert Storm. He was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

His widow, Roberta Stewart, scattered his ashes in the hills above Reno and would like him to have a permanent memorial.

She said the veterans cemetery in Fernley offered to install a plaque with his name and no religious symbol. She refused.

“Once they do that, they’ll forget me. They don’t like having a hole in the wall,” she said. “I feel very strongly that my husband fought for the Constitution of the United States, he was proud of his spirituality and of being a Wiccan, and he was proud of being an American.”


Posted by SPN on 07/07 at 02:49 PM in Religion / Sprituality

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