Monday, February 26, 2007

Army Boots Wiccan Chaplain

Don Larsen was, by all reports, an excellent Army Chaplain. When he was a Pentecostal Christian, that is. His superior while he was in Iraq, Chaplain Kevin L. McGhee, called Larsen "the best" out of the 26 chaplains he supervised. But then Larsen applied to change his religious affiliation to Wicca, and the Army railroaded him out of Iraq and out of the Army.

The whole sordid story is extensively detailed in a recent article in the Washington Post which (though long) is well worth reading for anyone interested in the subject.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

On July 6, he applied to become the first Wiccan chaplain in the U.S. armed forces, setting off an extraordinary chain of events. By year's end, his superiors not only denied his request but also withdrew him from Iraq and removed him from the chaplain corps, despite an unblemished service record.

Adherents of Wicca, one of the nation's fastest-growing religions, contend that Larsen is a victim of unconstitutional discrimination. They say that Wicca, though recognized as a religion by federal courts and the Internal Revenue Service, is often falsely equated with devil worship. Full Story

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