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Wiccans Thank Goddess for Headstone

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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ALSO INTO PENTACLES Crüe

Onward, Wiccan soldiers! The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has added the pentacle, emblem of the pagan belief system, to its list of religious symbols approved for military headstones.

The concession settles a lawsuit brought by Americans United for Separation of Church and State on behalf of the 1,800 Wiccans in the armed forces. (Though opponents, including President Bush, have derided Wicca as modern-day witchcraft, adherents describe it as an ancient practice centered on worship of nature and fertility.)

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The pentacle (a five-pointed star inscribed in a circle) now becomes the 38th symbol approved for use in military memorials. That puts Wicca on equal footing with faiths including Buddhism (symbol: the Wheel of Righteousness), Sufism Reoriented (a winged heart), the United Moravian Church (a goat carrying a flag), Seicho No-Ie (a star inscribed in a sunburst), and the Native American Church of North America (a teepee). Atheism also has its own approved symbol: the letter A inside an atom.

A full list of symbols is available here.

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