Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Arlington Burial Discrepancy



Okay, so I'm raggin' on the military a bit this week... BUT, there's something else that's been bothering me...

For those Veterans that are eligible to be buried at Arlington Cemetery there are 38 "available emblems of belief for placement on government headstones and markers". These are crosses and various "religious" (not really because there's an atheist symbol) symbols that are deemed "acceptable" for this cemetery.

There are "religions" (in quotes because I have no idea what some of them are and since atheism is in there, maybe others are states of mind and not religions also) in there that I have never heard of --and ones that baffled me even after I looked them up. Such as: SOKA GAKKAI INTERNATIONAL, ECKANKAR, UNITED MORAVIAN CHURCH, SEICHO-NO-IE, SUFISM REORIENTED (You can see the complete list HERE)

Here's the thing, as soldiers and marines are fighting and dying in the war against Islamic-fundamentalism... they CAN be buried at Arlington with an Islamic Crescent, but CAN'T be buried in Arlington with a Wiccan symbol (though Wicca can be found in the "U.S. Department of the Army, "Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains" -and is a recognized religion in the Army and it can be the religion engraved in your dog tags.)

What you think of the Wiccan religion/practice is not the issue... It's the discrepancy that bothers me. If 2,000+ soldiers practice Wicca, earn their Purple heart and choose an Arlington burial -why can't they display the symbol of their choice? Christian Scientists can, Sikh's can...and during a Global War on Terror, Muslims can.

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