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Title: A Wiccan in the Military -- The Wiccan Warriors
Source: www.universalonehealing.com
URL Source: http://www.universalonehealing.com/ ... ions/a-wiccan-in-the-military/
Published: Feb 24, 2012
Author: E. Strauss
Post Date: 2012-02-24 16:36:16 by Ferret Mike
Keywords: None
Views: 6881
Comments: 16

While attending the Pagan Pride Festival ’08 at Battery Park, in Manhattan, I saw a man wearing camouflaged pants and an ALICE pack harness. The camouflage was the new design, made of tiny blocks of pigments over beige rather than large splotchy colors on a green background. The way he looked and how he carried himself was that of an American Soldier. I went to talk with the man and explained how I would like to feature him in an article about being a Pagan soldier, he agreed to the interview under one condition. He didn’t want his name used, for fear of reprisal if it ever got back to his command that he was talking to the press out of turn. We sat down on one of the benches and agreed on a pseudonym to protect his identity, Private first class, Butler.

Pfc. Butler was born in Brooklyn. He joined the Army National Guard when he was 19. The reasons for joining were altruistic, to better himself and give back to his community and get out of a neighborhood plagued with drugs and gang violence. He wanted to go to college and make something of himself and be an example to those he grew up with. Pfc. Butler is also Wiccan. When he joined he expected both acceptance of his way of life and absolute intolerance of it. One thing he didn’t expect was how soon the intolerance started.

While signing up at the recruitment station the question of religion came up. Butler explained he was a Wiccan, the recruiter said that choice wasn’t available, so Butler said Pagan, again it was unavailable. Butler tried to explain the validity of his religion but to no avail, he was left with having his religion listed as “other” on his dog tags.

When we went to basic training the other recruits learned he was a Wiccan, some respected his lifestyle and others were more or less confused by it.

“No one messed with me,” Butler laughed, “They thought if they did I would cast a spell on them.”

Butler never was offended by any ignorance shown, he knew his duty was to show the Army what Wiccans really were, just as he was showing his family and friends in Brooklyn what being a soldier was all about. He took all that they gave and understood the rules of conduct. If he got in a confrontation with another soldier, he would have been dishonorably discharged, which would ruin his chances of making it in the world. So, instead of holding a grudge on another soldier, he would sit and meditate and center himself. This lead to the other recruits believing he was either a pacifist or a homosexual.

However, he dealt with these rumors as a professional soldier and as a man, he proved himself to be a worthy companion, a team player, a soldier who would watch out for the rest of his squad and someone who didn’t hold any secrets.

This attitude brought respect and understanding amongst his platoon, his fellow soldiers started to understand more about Butler, the way he lived, how he thought and how he prayed.

This unfortunately was not the end of his troubles. His dog tags still had his religion listed as “other.” His sergeant told him he would put in paperwork to change it to Wiccan, but instead, His sergeant had it listed as “no preference,” meaning atheist.

He graduated from Basic Training and went to Advanced Individual Training to specialize in chemical warfare decontamination. While at AIT, he tried to find someone, anyone who could help him get the right information on his dog tags. He went through his chain of command. He passed the Lieutenant who said he couldn’t help him, passed the Captain who said it wasn’t his problem, passed the Major who said “talk to the Lieutenant,” all the way up to the Division Colonel. The Colonel happened to be a practicing shaman and forced the issue. The Colonel got the correct dog tags in a few days after almost year of Butler requesting new ones.

“It sometimes feels like I am a black man living in the 1950s,” Butler commented. “People are just ignorant of us.”

Pfc. Butler got his orders already. He is shipping out in mid March. Due to military regulations he cannot say exactly where he is going, all he can tell me that it’s a “hot zone” in Iraq. Butler also didn’t want to say what his plans were after his tour of duty. All he knows is that he’s thinking about college and wondering what his 21st birthday in Iraq will be like. I asked him what being a Wiccan in Iraq would be like.

We mused on the topic before Butler commented, “In Iraq, the guys shooting at us don’t see us as Pagans, or Christians, or Jews or anything like that. We’re just American Infidels. We’re all equal in a firefight.”

Poster's comments;

I too wore dog tags with my religion on it, a religion with Army Chaplains who also serve and have served with pride.

You cannot be in the U.S. Military and slam another's religion with words of hatred and bigotry.

In the military, one is sworn to defend, preserve and protect the U.S. Constitution. And the First Amendment calls for freedom of religion and the right to worship as one choses.

I do my ceremony with pride, and have become over the years one of the leaders of one of Eugene, Oregon's largest Wicca groups. I take great pride in helping others learn more about our religion and have helped many people discover Wicca and become what deep inside they always knew they were.

I respect all religions. We all as human beings have a deeply embedded need to find our inner thread of spirit and contact with that whom we call the creator and keeper of the light that life is

Hatred and intolerance of religions does no one any good. We have the First Amendment in large because many came to this continent to escape religious hatred and intolerance. Hatred and baiting others about their religion is not an American value; let the blessings be.

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Begin Trace Mode for Comment # 16.

#3. To: Ferret Mike (#0)

he knew his duty was to show the Army what Wiccans really were

Evangelical pagan, preaching the gospel of satan. Hellbound wiccan is a lifestyle choice, just like becoming a homo.

I have no objections whatsoever, to you all going to hell. It's a free country.

hondo68  posted on  2012-02-24   17:19:43 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#8. To: hondo68 (#3)

Hell is a non existant place created by the Roman catholic Church to convert people through fear into the Papal religion. It made its way into the Protestent Church through holding on to some Roman Catholic doctrines and translating their Bibles accordingly. Christians here should really look into the Reconciliationist (so called Trinitarian Universalist) doctrine which eliminates Hell and other Roman Cahtolic fear based doctrines.

Coral Snake  posted on  2012-02-25   3:47:22 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: Coral Snake (#8)

Hell is a non existant place created by the Roman catholic Church to convert people through fear into the Papal religion.

You are a heretic. You just called God a liar. What else do you cut out of your Bible?

A K A Stone  posted on  2012-02-25   8:59:38 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: A K A Stone (#9)

You are a heretic. You just called God a liar. What else do you cut out of your Bible?

Jews also don't believe in hell.

mininggold  posted on  2012-02-25   10:26:23 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#13. To: mininggold (#10)

"Jews also don't believe in hell."

The only function of that mythical place is to scare people into accepting a dress right dress, cookie cutter mindset religion that creates the perfect climate for Western civilization to flourish.

It allows the rich a carte blanche existence without fear the poor will revolt and get their just due, and it allows for the systematic destruction of the natural world where everything is instrumentalized into capital.

It is the Religious concept that makes people not afraid to be Borg.

Of course these people are afraid of the preindustrial religions that sanctifies all life and recognizes the beauty and inherent good in all.

People who know what we make of life roight now matters the most who don't ait getting screwed waiting for the pie in the sky fiction of a Heaven are dangerous to the rich and powerful.

People who dare to think for themselves and value all life with deep esteem are feared by the rich and powerful, as well they should.

Ferret Mike  posted on  2012-02-25   13:51:40 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#15. To: Ferret Mike (#13)

Actually all of the religions with the exception of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Armstrongite "Churches of God", Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism and the Rapture monkeys are Pre Industrial (if you start the Industrial age in the 19th century).

Coral Snake  posted on  2012-03-08   2:04:59 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

#16. To: Coral Snake (#15)

Actually all of the religions with the exception of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Armstrongite "Churches of God", Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism and the Rapture monkeys are Pre Industrial (if you start the Industrial age in the 19th century).

The industrial age started in the eighteenth century.

Rek  posted on  2012-03-08   11:59:58 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  

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