1160File - Hard copy petition #2
- Feb 1, 2004Pagan Veterans� Headstone Campaign
As you may or may not know, the US Department of Veterans Affairs provides headstones for honorably discharged veterans of the US Armed Services. At this moment members of 31 different religious groupings, as well as Atheists have symbols recognized by the VA for use on free veterans� headstones as well as all headstones used in US military cemeteries. Unfortunately, none of the approved designs hold any meaning for the thousands of Pagan and Wiccan veterans or active duty service personnel. For at least six years the Veterans Administration has sat on application after application from a variety of churches and religious organizations asking that the most common symbol used by Pagans, the pentacle (a five pointed star within a circle) be added to the list of approved symbols. Without such approval, not only will the VA not provide a free headstone but families are not even allowed to purchase their own headstone and have it placed in a VA cemetery.
Therefore, members of the Pagan and Wiccan clergy, along with followers of these faiths have come together to ask the public to engage in an aggressive letter writing campaign to ask our representatives to object to this unfair situation and to keep us abreast of their progress. Secondly, petitions such as this one will be circulated across the country where signatures will be collected and sent to both elected officials as well as the bureaucrats at the VA.
Paganism, a growing religious movement in the United States, claims hundreds of thousands of 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. We ask you, in the name of religious equality and out of respect for Pagan veterans and active duty service personnel to please sign this petition. Copies of this petition will be sent to members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Pagan Veterans� Headstone Campaign Petition
WE, the undersigned citizens of the United States or legal residents thereof de hereby state our dismay and disgust at the policies of the US Department of Veterans Affairs in their treatment of Pagan and Wiccan veterans, active duty personnel and their family; specifically in that agency�s refusal over the last six years to accept and recognize the pentacle, a five pointed star within a circle, the most widely accepted symbol of the Wiccan and related faiths, for use on headstones supplied to families of veterans and/or approved for placement in military and veterans� cemeteries.
Further, we demand that those bureaucrats responsible for ruling on the acceptability of symbols for veterans� headstones act immediately and recognize and accept this symbol no later than December 31, 2004. And, since the employees of this government agency fall under the supervision of our elected representatives, we call on members of The House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House to insure that such a decision is rendered within the timeframe herein established. Should this not be accomplished within such a timeframe we call for the immediate dismissal of those bureaucrats whose responsibility involves such recognition.
PRINTED NAME SIGNATURE
ADDRESS, CITY, STATE
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