By Lindsay Beyerstein
Posted on July 6, 2006, Printed on July 6, 2006
Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart gave his life in Afghanistan, but the Veterans Memorial Cemetery refuses to officially acknowledge him in death.
Why? Because Stewart was a Pagan who requested that his grave be marked by the five-pointed emblem of his faith, the pentacle.
Cynical-C points to this Washington Post article on Stewart's widow's struggle to get a Wiccan memorial plaque for her husband:
At the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in the small town of Fernley, Nev., there is a wall of brass plaques for local heroes. But one space is blank. There is no memorial for Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart.
That's because Stewart was a Wiccan, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to allow a symbol of the Wicca religion -- a five-pointed star within a circle, called a pentacle -- to be inscribed on U.S. military memorials or grave markers.
The department has approved the symbols of 38 other faiths; about half of are versions of the Christian cross. It also allows the Jewish Star of David, the Muslim crescent, the Buddhist wheel, the Mormon angel, the nine-pointed star of Bahai and something that looks like an atomic symbol for atheists. [WaPo]
Lindsay Beyerstein a New York writer blogging at Majikthise.