Why We Fight

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 27, 2006 — 2 Comments

After endless delay and foot-dragging by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, military widow Roberta Stewart has sent forth an ultimatum.

“Wiccan widow Roberta Stewart announced Tuesday at the Americans United rally at Powning Park in Reno that an official notice was sent to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to respond within 14 days demanding the approval of the Wiccan symbol of the pentacle as a grave marker or a lawsuit would be filed. Americans United, the legal representatives for Stewart and another Wiccan widow, sent the letter to the Veterans Administration regarding the religious of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, Roberta’s late husband, and an alleged violation of the U.S. Constitution.”

It looks like the battle over Pagan symbols on military headstones will end up in court.

Meanwhile, Jim Kasuba of The News-Herald illustrates the kind of attitudes that have held up progress and mainstream acceptance for modern Pagans.

“If bin Laden’s terrorist group would ask permission for a meeting in Bishop Park, would the mayor and City Council give him a permit…please give some thought as to where you need to draw the line on who can acquire a permit and come into our city park and hold such a disgraceful show.”Kenneth and Hazel Woodruff

In addition to Pagans being equated with Osama bin Laden, we were also likened to poisoned water. Despite that, the event went off without a hitch.

Some Christian attitudes towards Pagans are so informed by magical thinking that they believe the mere presence of a Bible will destroy us.

“We were talking and laughing in our discussion group one night when someone came and threw a Bible down in front of us. It was very disrespectful. What most people don’t realize is that we’re not Goth, many of us are in our mid-40s, own homes, have children in the school system and work alongside of them every day. They think we’re running around barefoot and burning babies, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

This is why we have to fight. This is why I think it is important that Pagan Pride days are held in public spaces, and why individual Pagans like Roberta Stewart are so important. These things are connected, as we fight for dignity and respect on multiple fronts it will be slowly awarded to us (despite the protests of small-minded religious cowards) by society at large.

Jason Pitzl-Waters