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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Service Symbol

Surely the courts have better things to do than answering a question of religious freedom, one that by all accounts was answered properly and in perpetuity by the crafters of the Constitution more than two centuries ago.

At issue is a religious symbol, the Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star representing the four elements of earth, air, fire and water, along with spirit, that are the foundations of the faith. The military does not allow that symbol to be used on the headstones of deceased veterans of that religious persuasion in national cemeteries, unlike the Christian cross, the Jewish Star of David and the crescent of Islam. Even atheists may choose to have a specific symbol acknowledging their particular (dis)belief for eternity.

The issue should never have made it to court. The deceased soldier, Sgt. Patrick Stewart of the Nevada National Guard, was killed in Afghanistan last year. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service. That, and the fact that he died for his country, should prove his right to be buried as he would choose, or as his family would choose.

This shouldn’t be a federal case. It shouldn’t even be a district judge’s case. It should just be done. Full Story

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