The VA does the right thing, at last

The Department of Veterans Affairs has settled with families of Wiccan soldiers, allowing the pentacle to be on grave markers in national cemeteries. I’m not a pagan, but I think this was the absolutely right thing to do. It would have been better if they had just allowed the pentacle the first time it was requested, but this is better than nothing.

I’m fine with this.

However, it is worth noting that this process is essential to maintain the dignity and solemnity of our military cemeteries. There is no way the wide variety of monuments, inscriptions, and grave decorations seen in most cemeteries would work in this very different kind of cemetery.

So while reasonable requests for religious inscriptions and grave markers should be accommodated, many requests cannot be, and would be better handled by cemeteries not affiliated with the government.

This is a good thing.

From what I’ve seen, the symbols are all designed to fit in the same space, on a stone of standard proportions and layout. Sounds pretty restrained to me.

Oh, I’m fine with there being a restricted set of acceptable symbols. But it’s taken since 1997 (pdf, long) until now to get a Wiccan symbol approved. Other symbols didn’t take this long or require a lawsuit to be approved, and I suspect this has to do with some people’s prejudices against Wicca and paganism in general. I think the VA should be concerned only with the symbols themselves, and getting one approved shouldn’t be a judgment on the validity of a religion.

Wow they have an Atheist symbol!

That’s not an “atheist” symbol; that looks more like a “believer in Science as a religion” symbol. Or maybe the 'Nuke’em High" symbol. Logically, the atheist symbol would be blank. :slight_smile:

Or would it? Having a spiritual belief or religion doesn’t necessarily imply having a belief in a god, as “theist” implies?

(Can you choose to have no symbol?)

(What’s “Eckankar”)?

(And what’s the deal with not being able to reproduce two religions’ symbols due to copyright restrictions? )

I hadn’t realized different Christian denominations had different styles of crosses. Neat.

There’s still some things missing, though; inverted pentacle for the Satanists? Mjolnir for the heathens? Pentagon and golden apple for the Discordians? Plate of linguini for the followers of the FSM?

You can choose to have no symbol.

I think the copyright restrictions mean the churches in question hold a legal copyright to the symbols in question, and while they may have approved its use on tombstones for members of their faith, they may not approve its use on a website of the federal government.

Their symbol, their right to use it in ways they see fit.

The “Atom” was the symbol of the American Atheists organization, Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s group. The Humanist symbol might be an option for those atheists who want a symbol but don’t want the association with MMO’H.

Eckankar is a recent (1950s-60s) faith developed by Paul Twitchell from Eastern mystical traditions which emphasizes “soul travel” and a living “Godman” guru, now Harold Klemp.

What?!? No Dobbshead? Those bigoted bastards.

The Stupidest Cult.

I think it would be cool to have my gravestone say “Not shown because of copyrights.”

The VA is a Pink organization, obviously. But be assured, all that give their lives for their country (and have sent in their tithes) will have both Slack **and ** triple their money back.
Seriously, I am glad the families’ efforts have paid off and the VA will make things right.