Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

An Update:Judge rejects government motion, allows Wiccan lawsuit to proceed

Expand Messages
  • ladyhawker2001
    Judge rejects government motion, allows Wiccan lawsuit to proceed By SCOTT BAUER http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2007/02/01/ap-state- wi/d8n14fag0.txt
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 1, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Judge rejects government motion, allows Wiccan lawsuit to proceed
      By SCOTT BAUER

      http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2007/02/01/ap-state-
      wi/d8n14fag0.txt

      MADISON, Wis. - A federal lawsuit filed by Wiccans against the U.S.
      Department of Veterans Affairs will proceed despite a request by the
      VA that it be put on hold for perhaps as much as a year.

      The lawsuit, filed in November, accuses the VA of coming up
      with "excuse after excuse" for more than nine years to deny the
      Wiccan symbol on grave markers of veterans who were members of that
      religion. The department does not allow its religious symbols on
      veterans' headstones in national cemeteries.

      The VA argued in a motion filed Jan. 19 with the U.S. District Court
      in Madison that the lawsuit should be put on hold until after the
      department finalized its new rules related to accepting new grave
      marker symbols. That process could take up to 12 months but the VA
      would make a decision on the Wiccan request within a month after the
      process ended, the government's motion said.

      The Wiccans' attorney objected, arguing that nothing commits the VA
      to finalize its rules within that time frame, or take up the Wiccan
      request at all.

      U.S. District Judge John Shabaz issued a one-line order on Jan. 26
      allowing the case to proceed. He set a trial date for June 29.

      "We're pleased that the litigation will go forward and the VA will
      not be able to delay further coming to the right decision and giving
      the families of veterans the memorials that they're entitled to,"
      said Richard Katskee, lead lawyer in the case for Americans United
      for Separation of Church and State.

      U.S. Attorney Erik Peterson, who is defending the government, did not
      immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

      Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in
      Barneveld, praised the judge's decision.

      "The VA's decade-long pattern of delay, disregard, and discrimination
      against the Wiccan religion must stop," she said. "The thought of
      possibly having to wait more than a year to have our case heard was
      terrible."

      A nature-based religion, the Wiccan faith is founded on respect for
      the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons.

      The Wiccan symbol is a pentacle, a five-pointed star representing
      earth, air, fire, water and spirit. Variations of it that are not
      part of the Wiccan belief have been used in horror movies as a sign
      of the devil.

      The lawsuit argues that constitutional rights of freedom of speech,
      religion and due process have been violated by the department's not
      acting on requests to allow the symbol. The lawsuit seeks an order
      compelling the VA to make a decision.

      The lawsuit was filed by Circle Sanctuary, Isis Invicta Military
      Mission, a Wiccan and Pagan congregation serving military personnel
      based in Geyserville, Calif., and two widows of Wiccans _ Roberta
      Stewart of Nevada and Karen DePolito of Utah.

      The lawsuit argued that it makes no sense for Wiccan symbols to be
      denied on grave markers especially given that Wiccan soldiers can
      list their faith on dog tags, Wiccan organizations are allowed to
      hold services on military installations and the Army Chaplains
      Handbook includes an explanation of the religion.

      Americans United is in the process of objecting to the new proposed
      rules that the VA has drafted covering acceptance of new symbols on
      grave markers, Katskee said. The rule gives the VA too much
      discretion in deciding what to allow and doesn't have firm enough
      timelines governing the process, he said.

      "It leaves a lot of room for the government to reject things out of
      hand," Katskee said.

      A message left with the VA's public affairs office was not
      immediately returned.

      Currently, 38 religious symbols are recognized by the VA for
      gravestones. 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 VA has suspended consideration of all requests while the new rule
      is being drafted.

      On the Net: VA approved religious emblems:
      http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hm/hmemb.asp

      Circle Sanctuary: http://www.circlesanctuary.org/

      A service of the Associated Press(AP)
    • Charles P. Arnold
      ... the ... Thank you, thank you, thank you For the news For the judge making this decision ... Court ... the ... Exactly what I have been saying as well. ...
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 1, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com, "ladyhawker2001"
        <Ladyhawker@...> wrote:
        >
        > Judge rejects government motion, allows Wiccan lawsuit to proceed
        > By SCOTT BAUER
        >
        > http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2007/02/01/ap-state-
        > wi/d8n14fag0.txt
        >
        > MADISON, Wis. - A federal lawsuit filed by Wiccans against the U.S.
        > Department of Veterans Affairs will proceed despite a request by
        the
        > VA that it be put on hold for perhaps as much as a year.


        Thank you, thank you, thank you
        For the news
        For the judge making this decision


        > The lawsuit, filed in November, accuses the VA of coming up
        > with "excuse after excuse" for more than nine years to deny the
        > Wiccan symbol on grave markers of veterans who were members of that
        > religion. The department does not allow its religious symbols on
        > veterans' headstones in national cemeteries.
        >
        > The VA argued in a motion filed Jan. 19 with the U.S. District
        Court
        > in Madison that the lawsuit should be put on hold until after the
        > department finalized its new rules related to accepting new grave
        > marker symbols. That process could take up to 12 months but the VA
        > would make a decision on the Wiccan request within a month after
        the
        > process ended, the government's motion said.
        >
        > The Wiccans' attorney objected, arguing that nothing commits the VA
        > to finalize its rules within that time frame, or take up the Wiccan
        > request at all.


        Exactly what I have been saying as well.


        > U.S. District Judge John Shabaz issued a one-line order on Jan. 26
        > allowing the case to proceed. He set a trial date for June 29.


        OK, folkies, you believe in magick; here you go. I don't care what
        you do or how you do it, slam the whammies!


        > "We're pleased that the litigation will go forward and the VA will
        > not be able to delay further coming to the right decision and
        giving
        > the families of veterans the memorials that they're entitled to,"
        > said Richard Katskee, lead lawyer in the case for Americans United
        > for Separation of Church and State.
        >
        > U.S. Attorney Erik Peterson, who is defending the government, did
        not
        > immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
        >
        > Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in
        > Barneveld, praised the judge's decision.
        >
        > "The VA's decade-long pattern of delay, disregard, and
        discrimination
        > against the Wiccan religion must stop," she said. "The thought of
        > possibly having to wait more than a year to have our case heard was
        > terrible."
        >
        > The lawsuit argues that constitutional rights of freedom of speech,
        > religion and due process have been violated by the department's not
        > acting on requests to allow the symbol. The lawsuit seeks an order
        > compelling the VA to make a decision.


        And that their attempts to subvert the processes through their
        new 'regulations' is still just that, subversion.


        > The lawsuit was filed by Circle Sanctuary, Isis Invicta Military
        > Mission, a Wiccan and Pagan congregation serving military personnel
        > based in Geyserville, Calif., and two widows of Wiccans _ Roberta
        > Stewart of Nevada and Karen DePolito of Utah.
        >
        > The lawsuit argued that it makes no sense for Wiccan symbols to be
        > denied on grave markers especially given that Wiccan soldiers can
        > list their faith on dog tags, Wiccan organizations are allowed to
        > hold services on military installations and the Army Chaplains
        > Handbook includes an explanation of the religion.
        >
        > Americans United is in the process of objecting to the new proposed
        > rules that the VA has drafted covering acceptance of new symbols on
        > grave markers, Katskee said. The rule gives the VA too much
        > discretion in deciding what to allow and doesn't have firm enough
        > timelines governing the process, he said.
        >
        > The VA has suspended consideration of all requests while the new
        rule
        > is being drafted.


        Now isn't that what I said yesterday?
      • Connie
        Whoooooooo-hooooooooo!!!! What a wonderful message to bring inspiration, hope and light to this cause :-) Blessed Imbolc Thursday, February 1, 2007, 11:43:09
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 1, 2007
        • 0 Attachment

          Whoooooooo-hooooooooo!!!! What a wonderful message to bring inspiration, hope and light to this cause :-) Blessed Imbolc


          Thursday, February 1, 2007, 11:43:09 PM, you wrote:


          l> Judge rejects government motion, allows Wiccan lawsuit to proceed

          l> By SCOTT BAUER 


          l> http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2007/02/01/ap-state-wi/d8n14fag0.txt





        • Christopher Blackwell
          Don t want to rain on the parade but. Judging from past court cases before this case goes to court the government will appeal this judge s decision to the next
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 1, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            Don't want to rain on the parade but.

            Judging from past court cases before this case goes to court the
            government will appeal this judge's decision to the next highest
            court, so we could still have a few years before the case even
            comes to trial.

            Remember delay is the lawyers favorite game. And the government
            has unlimited taxpayers money to spend on this case.

            Hopefully I will be proven wrong and this case now will go to trial.
            But even then if we win, that case can be appealed to the next
            highest court.

            I enjoy a good judge decision but I am not quite ready to celebrate
            till I see what happens next.

            I watched another Wiccan case go all the way to the Supreme Court.
            That Wiccan is still under attack and the local police are still not
            investigating any crimes against her. Of course that will require a
            separate court case and the first case took about six years to work
            its way though the courts.

            I am glad she stuck to it and I am glad she won that first case, though
            I still worry someone may kill her or burn her house down in that little
            town and if it happens no police investigation will be down, based on
            the last six years of them refusing to do so n numerous crimes against
            her, including one beating. Even the FBI has done nothing about her
            complaints about the local police department and she has recording
            of the police chief admitting he was threatened with loss of his job
            by the town government and never getting a police job anywhere again
            if he ever investigated any crime against her. The FBI even has a copy
            of that recording.

            Still she continues to fight where she can. She did all the paralegal work
            on the case herself even while under death threats and attack.

            Blessed Be,

            Christopher


            --- In Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com, "ladyhawker2001"
            <Ladyhawker@...> wrote:
            >
            > Judge rejects government motion, allows Wiccan lawsuit to proceed
            > By SCOTT BAUER
            >
            > http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2007/02/01/ap-state-
            > wi/d8n14fag0.txt
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.