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1Press release information

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  • Charles P. Arnold
    Dec 13, 2003
      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.

      Charles Arnold

      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

      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.