Veterans Affairs Settles Religious Discrimination Suit
As a foundational principle, there can be no official, government-established religion in the United States. All religions are free to compete for adherents without governmental preference, and all who are within the country's borders have the freedom to worship (or not) as they please. For that reason, the religion of Wicca is entitled to the same governmental respect as every other sincerely-practiced religion.
It should not have taken a lawsuit to motivate the Department of Veterans Affairs to approve the engraving of a Wiccan religious symbol, the pentacle, on veterans' tombstones.
There are 1,800 Wiccans in the armed forces, according to a Pentagon survey cited in the suit, and Wiccans have their faith mentioned in official handbooks for military chaplains and noted on their dog tags.
Veterans Affairs officials no doubt shared the same view as noted constitutional scholar George Bush, who said of Wicca in 1999, "I don’t think witchcraft is a religion." Apart from mistaking (and trivializing) Wicca as "witchcraft," Bush previewed the arrogance we came to know in the ensuing years of his presidency. Who is George Bush to decide what faiths or spiritual beliefs deserve recognition as a religion? More importantly, how could an officeholder with the slightest understanding of constitutional law believe that the government is entitled to prefer some established religions over others? He must have been getting his legal advice from Alberto Gonzales.
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