I originally wrote about this last July when the first suit was filed against the Veteran’s Administration over their refusal to place a pentagram on the headstone of a deceased Wiccan soldier. I was surprised to learn how many symbols for various faiths had been approved including, oddly enough, a symbol for atheists.
Since then a couple of other suits have been filed on behalf of other Wiccans and yesterday the VA decided to settle the case:
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.
I’m pleased the Wiccans have finally won out. It’s another one of those religions that I don’t mind that much because its practitioners tend to be pretty tolerant people and don’t knock on my door early in the morning to try and convert me to their faith. They deserve to be recognized for service to their country just as much as any other religion.