07 March 2006

More Discrimination In the U.S.

Although the times have changed in most of America, it seems the military still discriminates against pagans and atheists. Around December 17th, 2005, it was reported that some army chaplains went as far as to say that atheists are unqualified as soldiers compared to their Christain counterparts. Atheists are also not allowed to put atheist on their id tags as their religion, but must put "no preference". According to Wayne Adkins, "There is a world of difference between having no religious preference and being an atheist. Often soldiers must choose between religious services and work details. Twice in my career I was told to either go to church or pick up trash. Soldiers are often captive audiences for chaplains as well. The first thing that happened when my plane landed after returning from Iraq was a chaplain boarded and held a ten minute devotional on the PA system before soldiers had an opportunity to get off the plane."
More recently, discrimination has showed up in the form of headstone battles. Here's part of the article from alternet.com: "The National Guard had no problem taking Wiccan Patrick Stewart when he decided to serve his country. They even listed Wicca on his dog tags.
Now that he's been killed in action in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?), however, they
refuse to put his religion's symbol on the headstone. Right now, the stone remains blank:
[His widow, Roberta] said she had no idea the pentacle could not be used on her husband's memorial plaque until she had to deal with the agency after the death of her husband. "It's discrimination," she said. "They are discriminating against our religion."
According to
The Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign: "thirty-eight different "emblems of spirit" allowed on veterans' headstones, and despite the fact that there are thousands of Pagan veterans and hundreds more currently serving today, none of those are the Pentacle..."" Here's a site to check out: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Pagan-Headstone-Campaign/

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