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Christopher Blackwell
More Pagan religion gain Recognition in the Military
Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:29pm

A long ways from the early ten year fight for recognition of the Pentacle back in 1997.

Pagan religions to recognized faith groups
Cara Schulz — April 27, 2017 — 1 Comment

UNITED STATES – The Department of Defense (DoD) has added several Heathen and Pagans religions to its recognized faith groups list after a multi-year effort by Heathen and Pagan religious organizations and individuals. The DoD added or updated just under 100 religions to its document: Faith and Belief Codes for Reporting Personnel Data of Service Members. Being listed on this document allows Pagan and Heathen military members to accurately communicate their religious preference, rather than being designated “Other,” and grants them associated benefits and protections.

Four of the religions added to the document include Heathenry, Asatru, Seax Wicca, and Druidry. The Army had already recognized The Troth, while the Air Force had already recognized Heathenry and Asatru. All military branches recognize Wicca or Earth-Based Spirituality as a recognized Faith Group.

Military’s mixed history with Paganism
On of the most famous examples of Pagans fighting for religious rights within the military system was the Pentacle Quest.

The Pentacle Quest began in 1997 when Aquarian Tabernacle Church’s Archpriest Rev. Pete Pathfinder Davis applied to have the pentacle added to the Veterans Affairs list of religious symbols available for use on memorial markers. Over the years, other persons and groups would also send in applications and a lawsuit would be launched by Circle Sanctuary.

Sgt. Stewart Pentacle Marker

In 2007, ten years after it began, Americans United, who had joined in support of the lawsuit, announced, “The Bush administration has conceded that Wiccans are entitled to have the pentacle, the symbol of their faith, inscribed on government-issued memorial markers for deceased veterans.”

That decision ended the lawsuit and the long wait for many Pagans veterans and their families.

This April marks the 10th anniversary of Veteran Pentacle Quest victory, one that paved the way for the inclusion of other Pagan and Heathen emblems including Thor’s hammer and, more recently, the Awen.

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