It looks like the negative backlash over the President’s “oversight” of not inviting Wiccan widow Roberta Stewart, but inviting her husband’s extended family to a private meeting, has resulted in an apology call from the President.
“Fernley resident Roberta Stewart, widow of Wiccan soldier Sgt. Patrick Stewart, received an apology from President Bush Thursday morning for not being invited to meet with him during a recent visit by the president to Reno. Stewart received a message from White House staff Thursday morning asking her to return a call from President Bush. After receiving the message, Stewart said she called the White House and was patched directly to the president. During a seven-minute phone conversation, the president extended his apologies for all Stewart’s grief over nearly two years since her husband Sgt. Patrick Stewart’s death in Afghanistan in September 2005. Bush asked Stewart to accept his apology for the oversight, she said. Bush said he admired Stewart hoped they would meet someday. He seemed truly sincere as he apologized, she said, accepting his apology. “I am happy that I was able to speak with him and hope that now I can truly move forward and close this chapter,” said Stewart.”
No word on if Stewart asked Bush why her husband was dishonored by his administration, as she said she would if able to meet the President. But still, it is nice to see George Bush do the right thing and apologize. If this private chat with a modern Pagan represents a new attitude towards modern Pagan political concerns remains to be seen.
ADDENDUM: American’s United has a press release out on the apology. When Stewart was asked if the Wiccan religion was touched on in their conversation, she replied that Bush said “he would not discriminate against someone because of their religion.” Let’s hope that statement holds true for Bush and his administration from now on.