Sunday, June 10, 2007

Perspective: Pagans in uniform

Left: A U.S. soldier in Iraq chose 'Winterwolf' as his pagan name.

They each have a story about how they found their path.

One is a former Catholic who gave the faith up at 21.

Another was raised by strict Southern Baptists.

One had parents who encouraged him to explore many faiths.

For another, a self-described hereditary witch, it’s been a family tradition.

They are airmen, sailors and spouses — and they are Pagans. They are also perhaps part of one of the least understood religious minority groups in the U.S. military.

They wear pentacles (a circled pentagram) instead of crucifixes as a sign of their faith. They do not believe in the devil and they don’t cast vengeful spells. Their rituals don’t involve sacrifice or blood.

At a base that’s 75 percent Christian — a proportion generally found across the military — Misawa’s Pagan community is striving to be treated like any other religious group on base.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes