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

Low Turnout - Comments on New VA Regulations

Expand Messages
  • David
    Hey all, The below was posted on another group I m a member of noting that only -71- comments have been made to the proposed new regulations. That number
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 19, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Hey all,

      The below was posted on another group I'm a member of noting that
      only -71- comments have been made to the proposed new regulations.
      That number indicates there are a very few people in this country who
      care about this issue. This certainly helps the VA's lawyers argue
      that the matter is a waste of time if so few people are concerned.

      In the event the courts decide the VA has the authority to continue
      deciding which emblems are allowed, these regulations will be the
      basis for which their decisions will be made.

      Hopefully, our comments will be unnecessary if the courts will decide
      the VA must allow any emblems.

      Just in case the courts don't go our way, don't forget to comment on
      the new regulations. We only have one month left to make comments
      (deadline - March 20th).

      David

      ------------------------------------------------------------

      Hello All,

      I just submitted my response to the Dept. of VA's proposed new
      regulations
      for judging what symbols may be put on military headstones. In brief,
      the
      proposed regulations are terrible and would allow the VA to continue
      to
      deny or refuse to rule on the Wiccan pentacle's use on gravestones.
      They
      are currently soliciting comments for how to improve the regulations.

      Quality information on this topic, and how to submit comments and see
      the
      proposed regulations, can be found at:
      http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usfl&c=military&id=11583 and
      http://www.circlesanctuary.org/liberty/veteranpentacle/VARuleComment.h
      tm

      I'm writing today because there are ONLY 71 COMMENTS MADE ONLINE in
      response to this proposed regulation!! With all the months of hype
      this
      issue has received in our community, only 71 people have submitted
      feedback
      online. Internet being the easiest method of response, I shudder to
      think
      how very few additional comments may have been submitted via fax and
      snail
      mail.

      I read several of the comments, and I'm happy to see that they are
      overwhelmingly from Wiccans and Pagans. However, most are short
      comments
      along the lines of "you are discriminating against us and should add
      the
      pentacle". This is fine so far as it goes, but what is being
      solicited for
      are specific comments as how to line-by-line change the wording of the
      proposed regulations. Very few responders have gone through the
      regulations and quoted by paragraph and page number what offending
      portions
      of the regulations need to be changed.
      We need to do this to be taken seriously.

      Few enough people are commenting that I fear the VA can rightly
      conclude
      that they can get away with shoddy regulations that let them do
      whatever
      they want.

      BB,
      Michael
    • Morgan
      ... Could you please post a link for all of us here, showing WHERE we can see the tally of comments, and what the comments are? I ve been to the webpage, and I
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 21, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com, "David"
        <celt3067@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hey all,
        >
        > The below was posted on another group I'm a member of noting that
        > only -71- comments have been made to the proposed new regulations.
        > That number indicates there are a very few people in this country who
        > care about this issue. This certainly helps the VA's lawyers argue
        > that the matter is a waste of time if so few people are concerned.

        Could you please post a link for all of us here, showing WHERE we can
        see the tally of comments, and what the comments are?

        I've been to the webpage, and I see nothing showing me that info.

        Morgan
      • Rev. Eric Roberts
        If you use their very non-intuitive search interface, you can search on condiment number and see all the comments posted…bother online and offline (they
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 21, 2007
        • 0 Attachment

          If you use their very non-intuitive search interface, you can search on condiment number and see all the comments posted…bother online and offline (they scanned them into pdf’s and posted them)

           

          Eric

           

          From: Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Morgan
          Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 10:56 AM
          To: Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [Pagan-Headstone-Campaign] Re: Low Turnout - Comments on New VA Regulations

           

          --- In Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com, "David"
          <celt3067@...> wrote:

          >
          > Hey all,
          >
          > The below was posted on another group I'm a member of noting that
          > only -71- comments have been made to the proposed new regulations.
          > That number indicates there are a very few people in this country who
          > care about this issue. This certainly helps the VA's lawyers argue
          > that the matter is a waste of time if so few people are concerned.

          Could you please post a link for all of us here, showing WHERE we can
          see the tally of comments, and what the comments are?

          I've been to the webpage, and I see nothing showing me that info.

          Morgan

        • Charles P. Arnold
          I had been waiting to see where the process was going but, due to the low number of comments, have gotten involved before I had wanted to. Anyway, here is what
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 22, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            I had been waiting to see where the process was going but, due to the
            low number of comments, have gotten involved before I had wanted to.
            Anyway, here is what I posted:

            I wish to open by thanking you for the opportunity to address this
            issue.

            In reference to your statement on page 2480, para 6, "Congress has
            authorized VA to promulgate all necessary tules and regulations to
            ensure that these cemeteries are maintained as "national shrines as a
            tribute to our gallant dead... 38 U.S.C. 2403(b) and (c), 2404 (a)
            and (c)," I find my first obstacle to this proposed rule.

            The conduct of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs over
            the last nine years as it relates to this point has been abysmal in
            that it has continued to disregard the Constitution, a variety of
            federal statutes and even its own policies in its clear
            discrimination against members of the Wiccan faith and in the way it
            has treated the various groups and individual spiritual, social and
            political leaders of that faith in their attempts to remedy the
            situation.

            RE: page 2480, para 8: "VA continued that policy under its management
            of the program but did not promulgate regulations specifying emblems
            of belief as an approved type of inscription." While this may be
            correct it has also been the policy of VA to approve, disapprove, or
            in the case of at least this one religion, ignore applications for
            emblems of faith. since such an application process was in place it
            must be considered that VA did, in fact, promulgate policy concerning
            acceptance and rejections of emblems of faith generally as well as
            specifically.

            Thus, it may be demonstrated that VA, by accepting applications from
            some religions while either rejecting or ignoring applications from
            other faiths, did, in fact, follow a practice of religious
            discrimination even though such discrimination was not encouraged in
            writing. Evidence of this can be seen by the embles of faith which
            have been approved for use by VA since 1973, as well as through
            rejections and applications.

            RE: p 2480, para 9: ".. VA proposes to ... clarify its policy for
            requesting the addition of a new emblem of belief to VA's list of
            emblems available..." In fact, what this new rule seeks is the power
            to grant recogized status to some religious groups while,
            potentially, withholding such recognition from others; in clear
            violation of the Constitution and various rulings by federal courts
            as such would constitute the recognition of, and interference in,
            various churches, synagogues, temples, denominations, etc.

            RE: p 2481, para 2: "... an applicant may request that VA also
            inscribe an emblem of belief, that that represents the belief system
            of the decedent. The emblems of belief available for inscription on
            Government-furnished headstones and markers are listed..." It must be
            recognized that these two sentences are in contradiction and that
            contradiction is at the very heart of what is being debated.

            If VA actually follows the policy that, "an applicant may request
            that VA also inscribe an emblem of belief" which, in fact
            represents, "the belief system of the decedent," then the wishes of
            the decedent or their representative for a particular emblem of faith
            should not and can not necessarily be limited by the
            statement, "emblems of belief available...."

            RE: page 2481, para 3: "Proposed Sec. 38.632(g) would establish
            criteria for evaluation a request to add a new emblem of belief to
            the list currently available for inscription." What this, in fact
            would be is a governmental recognition of the legitimacy of a
            particular religion of, conversely, a formal governmental rejection
            of the ligitimacy of one or more particular religions - something
            that is clearly beyond the power of the federal government. It would,
            in fact, be a direct attack on the "establishment of religion" clause.

            In regard to another statement contained in that same
            paragraph, "These criteria are necessary to ensure that: there is an
            immediate need to inscribe the proposed new emblem of belief on a
            new, first headstone or marker based on the death of an eligible
            individual," I call on VA to demonstrate why such emblems, once
            approved, should not be placed on replacement headstones considering
            that fact that currently blank (in regard to emblem of spirit)
            headstones are a direct of VA's policies of religious discrimination
            to this point?

            If headstones are blank because VA refused to issue headstones with
            the requested emblem of spirit because said emblem was not on the
            approved list, once that emblem is approved, it should be the policy
            of VA, as well as a requirement under an amended National Cemeteris
            Act.

            RE: page 2481, para 4: "In any event, VA would make no attempt to
            distinguish among the doctrines of various churches or other groups
            holding a system of belief, provided the beliefs are genuine and not
            frivolous, and the churches or other groups do not promote or engage
            in any activity that is illegal or contrary to clear public policy."
            I respond simply by asking who is to decide thether or not beliefs
            are frivilous or not and to whom may a decision be appealed and under
            what conditions.

            But I also would go beyond that simple question to ask regarding
            the "promote or engage in any activith that is illegal," what is
            meant here. It is utterly true that the Catholic Church has never
            broken child endangerment laws, child and adult sexual abuse laws,
            conspiracy and a multitude of other laws, a large number of its
            priesthood have. Would this preclude the Catholic Church from ever
            being granted an emblem of spirit?

            The Church of God has seen some pretty rough times as have several
            other Protestant denominations. Fraud, embezzlement, drug possession,
            sexual relations with prostitutes and a variety of other charges have
            been lodged against very high ranking church leaders. In several high
            profile cases juries have found these leaders guilty of charges;
            other leaders have simply admitted to crimes. Would this constitute a
            situation in which those religions could either face a rejection of
            an application or, in the case where an emblem has already been
            approved, the removal of that emblem from the approved list?

            RE: page 2481, para 5: This entire paragrapn, along with paragraph 6,
            seem to be quite confusing, at least when compared with past VA
            practice. In para 5 you look to the DoD for leadership. In the case
            of Wicca the DoD has been completely open and accepting of Wicca as a
            legitimate religion for three decades, opeining post chapels for
            Wiccan worship, etc. But while DoD held this position, VA took
            exactly the opposite tack, refusing application after application for
            nearly a decade from various Wiccan groups for approval of their
            chosen emblem of spirit, the pentacle.

            RE: page 2481, para 6: You choose to utilize IRS guidelines for the
            recognition of churches for tax purposes. But we are not considering
            tax purposes here, we are considering the wished of deceased veterans
            and/or their representative for an emblem of belief on their
            headstone. As well, you list a series of conditions which the IRS
            uses as guidelines for recognition of a church and state, "The IRS
            generally uses a combination of these characteristics, together with
            other facts and circumstances, to determine whether an organization
            is considered a church for federal tax purposes." You do not mention
            that several of the organizations which have already receive
            acceptance of their emblems of spirit by VA do not meet all of these
            criteria.

            Further, I would remind VA that any number of the churches which have
            applied for a pentacle as a Wiccan emblem of spirit or belief ARE, in
            fact, recognized byt the IRS as churches but that VA has seemed to
            ignore that situation when considering past applications.

            RE: page 2481, para 7: "... we believe that determination (of IRS
            acceptance of an organization as a church) should be one of the
            factors that VA considers in reviewing requests fo add a new emblem
            of belief to the current list..." But you fail to state exactly what
            criteria will be used. Finally, you then go back and say again that
            VA will ensure that available emblems represent only GENUINE and not
            frivilous belief systems and that the practices and rites associated
            with the belief system are not illegal or contrary to clear public
            policy."

            This I am once again forces to the question of who decides "clear
            public policy" and what that has to do with the religious beliefs of
            a deceased veteran. And what is "clear public policy," especially in
            regard to religion? Who would set it? Under what legal precedent? I
            find such nebulous thinking repugnant and would expect that such an
            incredibly broad definition would be found sadly lacking by the
            judiciary.

            In summation, I find the proposed new rule to be in direct conflict
            with the Constitution in that the situation which this would created
            would constitute the ability, in fact, to recognize or refuse to
            recognize a religion by a federal body, not for tax or any other
            purposes. This does not mean that I support the current VA policy in
            regard to recognition and acceptance or rejection of particular
            religions based on the current situation as it does the same.

            I call for members of both the House and Senate Committees on
            Veterans Affairs to hold public hearings on VA policy and activities,
            past and current, in this area in order to create a more fair and
            legal system for dealing with this situation.

            Charles Arnold
            Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign
          • Christopher Blackwell
            David, Happy to state that I am one of the 71. The hard part is being brief enough they don t all a lot of room for comment so I had to get straight to the
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 25, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              David,

              Happy to state that I am one of the 71. The hard part is being brief enough
              they don't all a lot of room for comment so I had to get straight to the point.

              Blessed Be,

              Christopher

              --- In Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com, "David" <celt3067@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hey all,
              >
              > The below was posted on another group I'm a member of noting that
              > only -71- comments have been made to the proposed new regulations.
              > That number indicates there are a very few people in this country who
              > care about this issue. This certainly helps the VA's lawyers argue
              > that the matter is a waste of time if so few people are concerned.

              > (deadline - March 20th).
              >
              > David
            • Christopher Blackwell
              David, Then spread the word to all veterans. I did in our local newspaper. This is my third letter to the editor on the VA pentalce quest.
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 25, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                David,

                Then spread the word to all veterans. I did in our local newspaper.
                This is my third letter to the editor on the VA pentalce quest.

                http://www.demingheadlight.com/opinion/ci_5208546
                Article Launched: 02/12/2007 12:00:00 AM MST

                Your view:

                VA's arrogrance needs attention


                The VA is setting up new procedures for choosing what religious
                symbols are to be allowed on veteran head stones. Once again,
                they refuse to allow this choice to the deceased vet, or his family,
                as required by the Constitution.

                The Constitution of the United States does not give any government
                agency the right to make such to decide what religious symbols are
                allowed on a veteran's head stone, so, once again, the VA chooses to
                thumb its nose at the Constitution.

                However, public comment is allowed and we should let the VA know
                this is not acceptable. Go to:
                http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main.
                Use "Keyword or ID" search and type in the documents ID:
                VA-2007-NCA-0008-0001.

                Once you are at the Web site entitled "Regulations.gov," you will see
                "Document Details." Print out a copy and then find the little yellow
                conversation bubble and click on it to submit comments.

                Also, contact your senators and representative and complain about the
                new VA's end-run around the Constitution and veteran's rights.

                Christopher Blackwell
                Deming
              • Rev. Eric Roberts
                How were you limited? You can type as much as you like…though I would recommend doing it in word or notepad and then pasting it in so it doesn’t time out
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 26, 2007
                • 0 Attachment

                  How were you limited?  You can type as much as you like…though I would recommend doing it in word or notepad and then pasting it in so it doesn’t time out :-D

                   

                  Eric

                   

                  From: Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Christopher Blackwell
                  Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2007 11:31 AM
                  To: Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [Pagan-Headstone-Campaign] Re: Low Turnout - Comments on New VA Regulations

                   

                  David,

                  Happy to state that I am one of the 71. The hard part is being brief enough
                  they don't all a lot of room for comment so I had to get straight to the point.

                  Blessed Be,

                  Christopher

                  --- In Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com, "David" <celt3067@...> wrote:

                  >
                  > Hey all,
                  >
                  > The below was posted on another group I'm a member of noting that
                  > only -71- comments have been made to the proposed new regulations.
                  > That number indicates there are a very few people in this country who
                  > care about this issue. This certainly helps the VA's lawyers argue
                  > that the matter is a waste of time if so few people are concerned.

                  > (deadline - March 20th).
                  >
                  > David

                • Charles P. Arnold
                  I posted a copy of my comments to WitchVox to allow them to decide whether and where to post it.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 27, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I posted a copy of my comments to WitchVox to allow them to decide
                    whether and where to post it.
                  • Christopher Blackwell
                    Eric, Just the experience I had when it told me I had used too much room. Maybe I misunderstood. Blessed Be, Christopher
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 1, 2007
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Eric,
                      Just the experience I had when it told me I had used too much room.
                      Maybe I misunderstood.

                      Blessed Be,

                      Christopher

                      --- In Pagan-Headstone-Campaign@yahoogroups.com, "Rev. Eric Roberts" <woad@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > How were you limited? You can type as much as you like…though I would
                      > recommend doing it in word or notepad and then pasting it in so it doesn't
                      > time out :-D
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Eric
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.