Pentacle Symbol Denied by VA to Military Wife

November 21, 2006

Source: BBSNews

AU via BBSNews 2006-11-21 -- Americans United for Separation of Church and State last week filed litigation against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) over its refusal to include the Wiccan symbol of faith on its official list of emblems for government headstones and markers.

Americans United is representing Roberta Stewart, whose husband, Sgt. Patrick Stewart, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2005; Karen DePolito, whose husband, Jerome Birnbaum, is a veteran of the Korean War who died last year; Circle Sanctuary, a prominent Wiccan church; and the Isis Invicta Military Mission, a Wiccan and Pagan congregation serving military personnel.

The filing of the litigation was announced this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., by the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director; Roberta Stewart; the Rev. Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary's senior minister; and Americans United Assistant Legal Director Richard Katskee.

"For far too long, the VA has discriminated against service members of the Wiccan faith," said Americans United's Lynn. "After asking the VA on a number of occasions to stop its unfair treatment of Wiccans in the military, we have no alternative but to seek justice in the courts."

Circle Sanctuary and Stewart have repeatedly called on the VA to include the pentacle an encircled, intertwined five-pointed star on its official list, but have been rebuffed.