Members of a religious minority are complaining that the United States government and the military are treating them in an exclusionary and discriminatory manner.
You thought I was talking about Muslims, didn’t you?
Well, not this time. According to the Associated Press:
The widows of two Wiccan combat veterans sued the government Monday, saying the military has dragged its feet on allowing the religion’s symbols on headstones.
The Department of Veterans Affairs allows military families to choose any of 38 authorized headstone images. The list includes 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.
The Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star surrounded by a circle, is not on the list, an omission the widows say is unconstitutional.
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Wiccans worship the Earth and believe they must give to the community. Some consider themselves “white,” or good, witches, pagans or neo-pagans. Approximately 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as Wiccans, according to 2005 Defense Department statistics.
Some consider themselves “good witches”? What about the rest? Do they have pointy black hats and fly on broomsticks?
Witches, like any other group with a grievance, have organized themselves, hiring lawyers, publicity consultants, and — one assumes — lobbyists. Complaining to the media and filing lawsuits are, after all, part of the American Way.
[Isis Invicta Military Mission, a California-based Wiccan and pagan congregation] claims that the VA has made “excuse after excuse” for more than nine years for not approving the symbol and that by doing so, it has trampled on the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech, religion and due process.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, D.C.-based group representing the plaintiffs in court, is seeking an order compelling the VA to make a decision.
“After asking the VA on a number of occasions to stop its unfair treatment of Wiccans in the military, we have no alternative but to seek justice in the courts,” said the Rev. Barry Lynn, the group’s executive director.
Now that Barry Lynn is involved, the VA just might as well surrender. It doesn’t have a chance.
One thing I’d like you to notice is how much the Left approves of military widows. Goodness knows, liberals don’t approve of the way those widows are created — “Bring our boys home! No blood for oil!” — but once it finds a few of them, it milks them for all they’re worth. And then there are the grieving parents to be exploited — think of Cindy Sheehan.
They’re kind of like children: lefties don’t have many of them, and like to dispatch them while they’re still in the womb, if they can’t be prevented entirely. But you’ll notice that every progressive public policy — from setting up after-school gay sports programs, to saving the endangered Northeastern Amorphous Salamander — is designed for “the sake of the children.”
Funny about that.
But back to the witches. Here’s a quote to send chills down your spine:
“I’m hoping it’s going to open the door to allow other pagan faiths to be approved,” [plaintiff Roberta] Stewart said.
That’s exactly what it’s going to do. Do you know how many different religions there are in this country? The Veterans’ Administration will have to employ a full-time battalion of stone-chiselers just to learn and execute all the designs for the headstones.
If we can have Eckankar, why not the Moonies? Why not Scientologists? Why not the Avowed Disciples of Ung-Noth the Serpent God? Excluding them is discriminatory and unconstitutional, too.
Then there’s the Church of the Sub-Genius. Not to mention the Church of Bob. Okay, I admit, there probably aren’t that many members of the military who profess these faiths. But you never can tell…
There are a lot of hole-in-the wall churches in this country, because plenty of savvy charlatans have realized that the best way to do what they like to do without the IRS vacuuming out their strongbox is to incorporate as a religion. Every single one of them has a legal right to claim the same privileges as the Wiccans.
Driving this process to its logical conclusion would force the government to recognize the existence of no religions whatsoever, since it can’t possibly “include” them all. And that result would be perfectly fine with Barry Lynn and People for the American Way and the ACLU, because it’s exactly what they want.
Atomize us all, divide us from one another, and drive religion out of the public square. Each of us could have his own personal and idiosyncratic religion, entirely private, never to be mentioned in public.
Call it “A Religion of One.”