Here is the official kickoff of the campaign I started over a year
ago. As of today This press release has been sent out to all of the
groups indicated. I hope that each of you will become actively
involved by sending one of these letters to your congressional
representative as well as both of your senators. If you can, the nest
step would be to forward copies of this letter to everyone you know,
not just Pagans; if people what, they can change the wording so that
it does not indicate their faith. For those of you with a high
profile, I ask that you mention this cause at every opportunity. The
first Pagan veteran whose family wants one of these headstones of
whom I am aware has already passed away. It was his wife who got me
back on track here. I ask for your help.
FROM: Charles P. Arnold, HP
TO: The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Associated Press,
Witchvox.com, The Wiccan Pagan Times, The Aquarian Tabernacle Church,
The Pagan Federation US, and 83 lists to which I belong
SUBJECT: Equality for American Pagan Veterans Campaign
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A letter has just been released to the hundreds of thousands of
American Pagans across the country asking them to pressure their
congressional representative to approach the Veterans Administration.
The complaint is that, despite 32 different religious symbols
available for headstones in veterans cemeteries, the Pagans symbol,
the pentagram, is not included. The upshot of this is not only that
Veterans Affairs will not provide a free headstone but families are
not even allowed to purchase their own headstone and have it placed
in a VA cemetery.
This is an aggressive letter writing campaign not only asking
representatives to object to this practice but demanding that
representatives report back to letter writers, informing them of what
steps have been taken and where the matter stand.
Paganism, a growing religious movement in the United States, claims
at least a million members in the United States. The US Military
Chaplains Manual recognized Paganism and its various branches well
over ten years ago and the practice of the faith within the military
has sparked discussion at the highest levels.
The text of the letter is as follows:
I ask that you copy this letter and send it to your congressional
representative as well as your senators.
Madam or Sir:
It has come to my attention that, while there are thirty-two (32)
different religious symbols allowed on veterans' headstones, my
religion is completely unrepresented and its military members will be
buried with a blank headstone unless this situation changes. If
members of religious organizations with as few members in the US
military as The Aaronic Order, The Native American Church, Baha'i,
Konko-Kyo, Sufism, Tenrikyo, Seicho-no-ie, The Church of World
Messianity, the Moravian Church and Enkankar are entitled to
religious, why, may I ask, are not Wiccans entitled to our religious
symbol, the Pentagram?
I am writing you to protest this situation and to ask that you not
only bring this situation to the attention of the Secretary of
Veteran's Affairs but that you actively pursue this matter until this
humiliating situation is remedied.
Please respond to this message by informing me what actions you have
taken in this matter.