3285File - Rosemary Kooiman's Hardcopy Petition
- May 1, 2005The Pentacle (a five pointed star, one point upward, surrounded by a circle) is ideologically recognized and utilized as a non-Christian symbol for most Neopagan religions. They may be known collectively as Wicca, Isian, Dianic and Gardnerian, to name a few, or just Pagans. Pagan is not of itself a religion, but serves to identify this minority lifestyle and belief system. There are hundreds of thousands of American citizens who belong to these minority belief systems, including many hundreds of members of the United States Armed Forces, some of whom have Wiccan or Pagan or Neopagan inscribed upon their dogtags. >
Members of the United States Armed Forces are entitled under United States Military Laws and Regulations to have the symbols of their belief systems inscribed upon their headstones upon burial in Veterans' cemeteries. At the present time the Veterans Administration has already approved for headstone use symbols of the Christian faiths. Only selected non-Christian belief systems such as Hinduism and Shinto, as well as the Native American Church of America, and New Age belief systems such as Eckankar and the United Church of Religious Science have received symbol approval. The more mainstream Pagan religions, as named above, have been denied use of their primary symbol, the Pentacle.
The Veterans Administration has refused for several years to approve official requests from the families of Wiccan and Pagan members of the United States Armed Forces to have Pentacles inscribed upon the headstones of deceased American veterans, per their requests.
I am a registered, voting citizen of the United States of America. It shames me to have even a single veteran who died in the service of his country interred beneath a headstone void of the emblem of his chosen religion, be it Christian, Pagan, or neither. Religious discrimination should not be allowed to flourish in such a manner.
I petition the Congress of the United States to direct the appropriate division of the Veterans Administration to immediately approve and initiate the use of a Pentacle upon the headstone of any member of the United States Armed Forces buried or to be buried in a United States Veterans' Cemetery when so requested by that member or that member's survivors. Furthermore, we petition that this directive be made binding upon all public and private cemeteries receiving funds from any federal, state, regional, or local government agency.
Our troops n the Middle East are fighting for religious freedom. Will they come home to a barren headstone?
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