No Pentacles From the Pentagon

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The Wiccan pentacle is not among the 38 symbols authorized by The Veteran's Administration for use on grave markers, so the spot reserved for Nevada National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart on a Nevada memorial is blank:

Stewart's widow, Roberta, said she will wait until her family's religion—and its five-pointed star enclosed in a circle, with one point facing skyward—is recognized for use on memorials before Stewart's plaque is installed.

Patrick Stewart's dog tags, which Roberta Stewart wears around her neck, carry the word Wiccan on them to identify his religious beliefs. But she said he was never told the Wiccan religion was not officially recognized during his 13 years of military service in different capacities.

"By they way, if you die for your country, your religion won't be recognized, that would be nice to know," Roberta Stewart said.

Via this Sploid write up, which notes that the authorized emblems include "obscure or possibly fictional religions such as Ixumo Taishakyo, Soks Gakkai, Aaronic Order, Seicho-no-ie and Presbyterians."

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  1. No Taoists, huh? Well, at least they let me put it on my dog tags.
    Actually, I have only one question here: Where in the fuck do these people get off refusing to put whatever the hell that solider wanted on his grave marker?

  2. And what sort of self-respecting atheist would let this be used on his or grave marker: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/images/Emblems/emblem16.png

  3. If Patrick Stewart wants a pentacle on his grave stone, the VA ought to make it so.

  4. Are those symbols for real? I love the “Atheism” one; it looks like the symbol on the spine of the Science Fiction books in the library.

  5. SR, that’s actually not for atheists in general, but Atom Man specifically.

  6. And the “Humanist Emblem of Spirit” looks like what was on the cover of some of those 1950s SF books.

  7. MUSLIM (Islamic 5 Pointed Star): NOT SHOWN BECAUSE OF COPYRIGHT

  8. I’ve always assumed that atheists got a “0”.
    But the null symbol would be cool too. That’s what I’d want.
    ‘Cause when you’re dead you’re pretty damned null.

  9. I LOVE the atheist symbol . . . Very Monsanto’s House of the Future. Googie style and The Jetsons and all that. Sign me up!

  10. The atheists need to have a symbol, because whether or not they admit it, they’re really part of the Scientific Religion. And every religion has to have a symbol.

  11. Interesting. In the late 1990’s, Richard Viguerie raised a huge stink because Ft. Hood allowed Wiccans to celebrate Beltane. He actuallly suggested that Christians could no longer serve in the armed forces because the army allowed pagans to practice their own religion. I wonder if that mess had anything to do with the Pentagon pulling this stunt.

  12. MUSLIM (Islamic 5 Pointed Star): NOT SHOWN BECAUSE OF COPYRIGHT

    …distinct from the Muslim crescent and star. So the copyrighted Muslim star is Nation of Islam? Or who?

  13. Wooo … I want the pirate fish on mine!

  14. At least Scientology isn’t on there either.

  15. If they can’t show the Nation of Islam or the Christian Scientist emblem because of copyright, how can they put it on a headstone?

  16. “If they can’t show the Nation of Islam or the Christian Scientist emblem because of copyright, how can they put it on a headstone?”

    The copyright holders presumably licensed the emblems only for use on headstones and not other media.

  17. Bahai is on there?

    *snickers*

  18. The atheist symbol SR linked to is actually that of Mrs. O’Hare’s old “American Atheists” organization.

    I’d go with ?, myself.

    Kevin

  19. I believe Scientology’s official symbol is $

  20. Kevin, “?” is the agnostic’s symbol.

  21. Ed- I thought it was Gail Wynands.

  22. There seem to be a disturbingly high percentage of Shinto and Mormon offshoots among the “authorized” religions. The number of Protestant groups that weren’t satisfied with the Christian Cross was surprising as well.

  23. Eh, Episcopals and Lutherans (especially the Missouri Synod variety of the latter) are basically Catholics sans transubstantiation. No surprise they’d want their own symbol.

  24. If Patrick Stewart wants a pentacle on his grave stone, the VA ought to make it so.

    Whatever you want on your grave stone should be your business, not the governments. If Stewart’s widow wants to pay for a pentacle to be put on it, they shouldn’t stand in her way.

    And why should I be limited to one symbol? I take bits and pieces of various faiths. I’m nearly an equal-opportunity worshipper.

  25. If Patrick Stewart wants a pentacle on his grave stone, the VA ought to make it so.

    Geeze.

  26. “I love the “Atheism” one”

    The atheist symbol is incredibly lame. They should come up with something cooler looking than that. That’s super-cheesey.

    I like the ? symbol though. That would be a much cooler symbol for atheists or agnostics.

  27. What? No Flying Spaghetti Monster?

  28. Five Easy Points –

    Bobby: I’d like a Bahai 9-pointed star, plain, and a Buddhist wheel of righteousness, no inner circle, no spokes. And a cup of coffee.

    Waitress: A #15, plain, and a #2, hold the inner circle, the spokes, and a cup of coffee. Anything else?

    Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to do is take 4 of the points off the star, point it upward, hold the righteousness, put the circle from the wheel around the star, give me a check for both, and you haven’t broken any rules.

    Waitress: You want me to hold the righteousness, huh?

    Bobby: I want you to hold it between your knees.

  29. “I like the ? symbol though. That would be a much cooler symbol for atheists or agnostics.”

    Why should atheists get it? They’re the ones that claim that they do know (We believe that there is no God/gods.) Agnostics are the ones who don’t claim to know shit. Atheists are actually metaphysically closer to theists than they are to agnostics.

  30. “I like the ? symbol though. That would be a much cooler symbol for atheists or agnostics.”

    Why should atheists get it? They’re the ones that claim that they do know (We believe that there is no God/gods.) Agnostics are the ones who don’t claim to know shit. Atheists are actually metaphysically closer to theists than they are to agnostics.

  31. I’ve always assumed that atheists got a “0”.

    From an old Playboy cartoon showing a bunch of natives bowing before a giant zero:

    “Is nothing sacred?”

  32. Lutherans (especially the Missouri Synod variety of the latter) are basically Catholics sans transubstantiation.

    They also don’t pray to Mary or any of the saints; it’s considered idolatry or something like that. That’s a pretty big difference.

  33. So should the Pastafarians get the FSM logo or the Pirate Fish on their headstones? And what about the IPU (Invisible Pink Unicorn)?

    Do the Discordians deny the existence of headstones?

    So are we going to pass the hat to get this to fill in until the VA gets its head out of its ass?

    http://rof.com/pentagram.htm

  34. Wow, I had no idea I had all these options when I was in the Army.

    Dog tags were always fun because when you buy them off-post, you can get anything you want put on the religion line. The challenge was getting the guy making them on post during deployment record checks to put weird shit on your dog tags. I got Druidic on mine one time that way.

  35. I’ve always assumed that atheists got a “0”.

    From an old Playboy cartoon showing a bunch of natives bowing before a giant zero:

    “Is nothing sacred?”

  36. You can get just about whatever you want even on your offcial dogtags nowadays. Used to be I had to settle for “no pref”, but now it’s fill in the blank, so I can get ‘agnostic’.

    One guy in my detachment has “Rastafarian” on his.

  37. I’ve always assumed that atheists got a “0”.

    Not to pick nits but ‘zero’ is not the same as nothing.

    0 != NULL

  38. I’d prefer a blank spot myself. I guess technically I’m an atheist but I don’t see any point in stamping every aspect of myself with a tribal group marker.

  39. ? == NULL

  40. “Soks Gakkai” is actually “Soka Gakkai”, and I assure you it’s a “real” religion, despite its cultish appearance. After all, here in Japan, it’s the third most popular political party and even claims the Jap-Hawaiian reggae group Def Tech as members.

  41. Zach-
    Are you really the only one who picked up on the Star Trek reference? Come on people, this is dumb joke gold!

  42. Russ 2000 said:

    I take bits and pieces of various faiths.

    So, you’ll be having the flaming chalice, then.

  43. I would want the Darwin fish

  44. How about a marker with an arrow pointing to your left and the words “I’m with gullible” ?

  45. A few topics up, we’re talkin’ testicles.
    That got me thinkin’.
    What say we propose to change the name, Pentagon, to Testicle-gon?

    How about Funny Gun-agon?
    Or Pendulous Gonad-agon?
    Brainstorming here.
    Lake Woe Begone-agon?
    Shock ‘N Awe-Agamemnon?
    I know, before my idea could get far, the Democrats would co-opt me and propose spending zillions on a new “Tranquility Department.”
    It’s symbol might be the peace sign.
    Is there an official geometric name for the peace sign?

    Personal story: I witnessed the announcement of the selection of the symbol of the Environmental Protection Agency. I happened to be in Indianapolis on bidness.

  46. For my money, Atheist would be “!” and Agnostic would be “?”.

    What I don’t get is why there are “authorized emblems.” doesn’t the phrase connote government sanctioned religion?

    Seems Ms. Stewart could easily launch a lawsuit claiming 1st amendment infringement. By precluding her religion they place some above another. In fact, I think the right to the pentagram is the very thing he died trying to protect.

  47. I’m not sure what I’m more surprised by–that they find Presbyterians obscure or that Presbyterians get their own symbol.

    I guess it was meant to be.

    (ba-dum-bum, if you know about Presbys and predestination)

  48. Jap-Hawaiian reggae group Def Tech

    Well, I’m off to I-tunes for a little shopping . . .

  49. What about the Sacred Chao, or maybe the Dobbshead?

  50. Say, they left out Zeus.

    The Thunderer is not pleased!

  51. I wonder if you can have the symbol for infinity on your grave?

  52. For a person still on the topside of the soil, I’ve spent quite a few hours at Spring Grove Cemetery here in Sinincincinnati.
    Among the lessons one learns there is a history of symbols.
    It’s a privately-funded cemetery which has evolved over the years. It has symbols for every taste, religion, war, fad… you name it.
    The Queen City has been a melting pot/ preserving pot.

  53. @ zach|3.24.06 @ 3:33PM
    “The atheists need to have a symbol, because whether or not they admit it, they’re really part of the Scientific Religion. And every religion has to have a symbol.”

    No, no, and no.

    Need I say more?

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