Pagan worship at Air Force Academy

A few years back, when I was in the US Congress, I took the Army to task for permitting the practice of Wicca on its bases, including at Ft. Hood in Texas.  After speaking with a number of officers and military leaders, and meeting with several former military who adhere to the practice of Wicca, I was convinced that a belief in or practice of witchcraft, was not necessarily incompatible with the good order and discipline essential to a military lifestyle.  However, one might legitimately wonder just how far such tolerance should extend.

The US Air Force, at no less a prestigious location than the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, has taken the notion of religious tolerance to a new level, in creating an outdoor worship area for pagans.  The site, apparently sacred to pagans, consists of an inner and an outer circle of large stones.  I’m sorry, but this truly is hilarious.  Don’t get me wrong, if someone “has little or no religion and delights in sensual pleasures and material goods,” which is the definition of a “pagan,” then I say live and let live. 

But I have to tell you, if I were in the Air Force and was being commanded by an officer who practices hedonism as a religion (another part of the definition of “pagan”), and who dances around a circle of stones in the woods carrying a lighted candle, I would be more than a little worried about following him into battle.

330 comments Add your comment

Sean Burke

February 17th, 2010
6:14 am

As opposed to a belief that a great man in the sky produced a human son through virgin birth who can be consumed every seven days in the form of wafers and wine? The fact I voted for you in 2008 now embarrasses me.

Adrian Shadowmoss

February 17th, 2010
6:30 am

I agree Bob Barr and believe the blogger above most likely got up at 0500 hrs and began his usual daily habit of “Nine Before Noon.” That’s tokes to the uninitiated. He’s probably a Scientologist. Wait a minute! This blogger IS L. Ron himself posing as a blogger.

BTW: Second

drb

February 17th, 2010
6:30 am

I first heard of this a few weeks ago from someone actually IN the military. His concern was exactly as you say, and it seems that the grest majority of those he has contact with in the military agree. Based on that, I am inclined to think that this effort may be undermining our best military efforts and I don’t think that the military is a good place for division, not for the military itself, and not for the individuals within it. These young men and women signed up as a part of a military entity of “One Nation Under God” and I believe it reasonable that they should expect that special interests NOT under God, would be discouraged, or at the least not encouraged.

Paul

February 17th, 2010
6:32 am

I am shocked at your position on this. Who is to say what religious practices can be openly practiced? If you allow open worship of a zombie god/human, why not other beliefs?

John Duncan

February 17th, 2010
6:37 am

I think you’re confusing the dictionary definition of “pagan” with those who practice earth-based religions who refer to themselves as pagans. I’ve known a few and, outside their religion, they’re really just like anyone else. I would have no problem at all “following one into battle”. In the heat of battle, I could honestly care less who or what someone worships – I just want a good CO. This isn’t a Christian nation, as many on the right seem convinced – various resolutions to procaim this to be such have been attempted throughout our nation’s history and have been soundly defeated every time.

Anthony

February 17th, 2010
6:38 am

I see you’ve dropped libertarian ideals and are back and redwing rebpublican bigotry, Bob. Guess its time for me to unsubscribe. Peace.

Winfield J. Abbe

February 17th, 2010
6:46 am

The CEO of the public hospital in Athens reportedly, in the Athens Banner Herald a year or so ago, located the point on their property to drill a well during the drought. He did this with dowsing rods or divining rods. The noun divination is defined in my Webster’s dictionary : “The act or practice of trying to foretell the future or the unknown by occult means.” A divining rod is defined as : “A forked stick allegedly useful in discovering underground water, minerals, etc.” Of course it wouldn’t matter where one drilled since water is everywhere in most areas especially if you have enough money to drill deep enough as does the public hospital. This individual is paid about $ 1 million per year and you can be sure he won’t return telephone calls if your loved one is a victim of medical malpractice at Athens Regional Medical Center, Inc. which operates in secrecy like most police departments and district attorneys in Georgia.

Dave Briggman

February 17th, 2010
6:53 am

Now, Bob, you’re seeing why the LP can never succeed in our country. Anthony, John Paul, and Sean, and those like him in the LP will never recognize that this is a Christian-based nation.

Sean Burke

February 17th, 2010
6:56 am

Shadowmoss, first off, cute name. I find it ironic that someone with such a name as Shadowmoss would be critical of pagans. Anyway, I’m not stoned, but if Barr was in fact a Libertarian, he wouldn’t care about that, or about the personal religious beliefs of our soldiers. The fact that he was a drug warrior until he “saw the light” and ran for President, and the fact that he’s willing to trash some of our soldiers for their personal religious beliefs, shows me just how un-Libertarian he is. He’s shown himself as a meddling bigot just like his former Repugnantian colleagues, and he’s finally lost the last little bits of my support.

Also, I’m not a Scientologist. If I was, this post would be full of references to psychology being a Nazi science, and praise for that guy’s crappy writing (seriously, have you tried reading Battlefield Earth? Zzzzzz…)

And BTW, what the hell is the appeal of indicating you’ve posted first or second? Who the hell cares? First! Second! Shotgun! I’m going to work, have fun.

Wakey

February 17th, 2010
6:58 am

Bob, this sounds like like something you chuckle at over a beer with friends. Easy for me to say, I have no deadlines but..

Blarney Stoned

February 17th, 2010
7:09 am

The destruction of mankind thru-out history by the follower’s of Christianity and Islam is awe-inspiring. Lennon said it best, “Imagine there’s no countries It isn’t hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too, Imagine all the people living in peace” …..

A

February 17th, 2010
7:09 am

Bob, you are being close-minded as usual. Pagans don’t worship the devil and molest kids. They see the divine in nature and (just like Christians) realize we are part of a larger universe. How would those qualities diminish a commanding officer…one who probably would value human life at least as much as, if not more,than someone who follows a “traditional” religion. And speaking of traditional religions, we see how well that’s turned out with the situation in the Middle East, Israel, you name it.

Captain America

February 17th, 2010
7:10 am

What? No whine about how bad it is that they are having parades in New Orleans celebrating Bacchus the God of wine? He was worshiped long before this new age Jesus ever came around.

Aquagirl

February 17th, 2010
7:12 am

I’d rather follow a pagan than follow a cannibal (catholic) or demigod in holy underwear (mormon.)

Religion: when your crazy beliefs make perfect sense, and other people’s crazy beliefs are obviously crazy.

Captain America

February 17th, 2010
7:14 am

A ~ of course pagans don’t molest children. That would be the province of christian pedophile priests and ministers.

Bob

February 17th, 2010
7:20 am

You’re right, Bob. Not to mention the fact that entering combat alongside the sworn enemies of God is never a good idea.

You have obviously stirred the Christ hatred in many readers. He who sits in the heavens laughs.

Captain America

February 17th, 2010
7:21 am

Briggman ~ If this is a christian nation, why are the words “christian” or “jesus” no where to be found in ANY of America’s founding documents? You’d think if you were basing a country on a religion you would mention the religion at least once in your founding documents.

A

February 17th, 2010
7:28 am

Captain America–good point, because we are *not* a Christian nation. It doesn’t take much research to find out that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were vehemently opposed to merging church with state. It’s the religious right of modern times that has corrupted the original reasons for the founding of this nation. And like another poster said above, I too would rather be led by a pagan (most of whom value human life and all life on this planet) than a Christian zealot who can’t think for himself.

Blarney Stoned

February 17th, 2010
7:29 am

What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us-Just a stranger on the MARTA bus-Trying to make his way to Decatur….

A

February 17th, 2010
7:30 am

Bob, just because some of us are open and accepting of all religious beliefs and don’t blindly follow doesn’t mean we are Jesus haters. I’m sure Jesus would be the first to respect anyone with other beliefs. How conveniently people forget that Jesus loved all humankind, no matter their financial situation, station in life or anything else that people who follow him today would persecute people for.

Isaac

February 17th, 2010
7:35 am

It is April 1st already or did a supposed Libertarian just piss all over the 1st amendment?

DonsBlog

February 17th, 2010
7:42 am

Just the point I was going to make Isaac. Not my cup of tea, but since when did we require all religious people to worship like Christians? I don’t think libertarian is freedom as long as you agree with me.
As a matter of fact, the Air Force Academy has quite the record of forcing cadets to accept Jesus as their one and personal savior.

Blarney Stoned

February 17th, 2010
7:49 am

jesus was the most-famous medical marijuana dealer in history, cannabis was a heavy ingredient in his holy oil…

Todd

February 17th, 2010
7:50 am

I thought the post was a good one Bob.
Christian Nation vs Pagan Nation are missing the point. I believe most if not all the founders were Deists and envisioned ALL having the opportunity to worship however they choose.
I don’t see Bob’s post straying from that founder’s vision at all.

kitty

February 17th, 2010
7:51 am

I guess our men and women in uniform are not serving to protect their right to practice whatever religion they choose? Good grief, Barr, your right wing nut propensity is showing. Thanks, now I know what kind of phony libertarian you really are.

kitty

February 17th, 2010
7:52 am

Actually America’s religion is greed…isn’t that one of the seven deadly sins? I suspect Jesus wouldn’t recognize much of this place at all.

Marine

February 17th, 2010
8:01 am

Is this a sign that Bob ran out of ideas?

interested observer

February 17th, 2010
8:02 am

I am a Christian, but I can think of a number of so-called Christians I’d hate to have leading me into battle. I don’t see religious philosophy as particularly important when the bullets are flying and the bombs are falling. There are nutcases and zealots in every religion (and political party), and none of them should be leading anyone.

Lisa

February 17th, 2010
8:05 am

Thank God, Gaia, or Whoever! All is right with the world. I was starting to really doubt myself because lately I’ve actually (to my horror) found myself agreeing with most of what Mr. Barr has written. Along comes this bit of lunacy and that goes right out the window! Thank you for reminding me of your true colors. North is once again north, the sky really is still blue and the world’s not about to end!

Reality

February 17th, 2010
8:10 am

No wonder the USA is decaying so fast!

PS. Just a historical fact: the Continental Congress opened every meeting with a prayer to God as did the Constitutional Convention an wrote this fact in their meeting minutes. And for you unintelligent, God is a deity!

sharecropper

February 17th, 2010
8:13 am

And all this time you have posed as a Libertarian. The fact is, whether it is the AF Academy or anywhere else, religion or the lack of it is none of our business. (And you will recall that the academy is infamous for foisting its version of The Word, a flatly unconstitutional act.) A reasonable case can be made that all “religions” are hoked up and phony: water into wine? raise ‘em from the dead? Golden tablets and heaven in Missouri? You should worry, as previous posters have written, more about whether these people can lead and less about whether they “worship” their shoe laces or some such. You must remember, certainly, that Jefferson made reference: if it doesn’t break my leg or take my money, it is none of my business. Jeez. Get a life.

how2fish

February 17th, 2010
8:13 am

Bob I’m not much worried about which God warriors follow..the Roman legions follow Mitra for hundreds of years and that worked out pretty well…War is its own religion.. “It is well that war is so terrible –lest we should grow too fond of it” Robert E. Lee

Loren

February 17th, 2010
8:13 am

I do not understand how feeling connected to Mother Earth the way others have for thousands of years is any less battle worthy than believing in some almighty, loving, spirit-man who produced a son via virgin birth who later was killed which magically wiped away all of mans’ sins – thereby allowing men to commit horrendous crimes against man and Earth because forgiveness is a just prayer away. As was said previously: I am truly embarrassed to have not only voted for you in 2008, but actively & financially supported you!

CJJScout

February 17th, 2010
8:15 am

As a Christian, I could care less what you worship. But the AFA taking steps to actually build a wicca worship ring or whatever you call it… That is what is disturbing to me. Not that you’d passively let it happen, but that you’d actively encourage it.

AnhydrousBob

February 17th, 2010
8:22 am

Since the issue seems to be “battle worthy” or not, what about another example? Aren’t Native American religions considered “Pagan” by definition (non-Christian)? They have been both formidable enemies and formidable allies in battle – obviously “battle worthy”.
And another thing, I can’t see how you libertarians missed the biggest issue here – a standing army! Where is your indignation on that as the root cause here?

dewstarpath

February 17th, 2010
8:24 am

- I agree with Sean Burke and Captain America (Marvel fan since
the age of five).

The “folk” that seem to think that America is exclusively a Christian
nation, in my experience, are clueless about our military.

Chaplains in the service branches cover several denominations –
Christian (who would have to cover Baptist, Pentecostal, Catholic,
Mormon, etc.), Jewish, and Islamic. The gravesites of fallen soldiers
at every military cemetery reflect these denominations as well.

Whether you think paganism is a religion is open for debate.
But religion itself is not a “one size fits all” belief, as many fringe-right
zealots seem to be convinced of.

jconservative

February 17th, 2010
8:27 am

See the following new article, it may help explain what is happening at the AFA. It appears we have gone from officers using their position of authority to promote their religion to the Academy now allowing Wicca
displays on campus. I suppose if you allow a Christmas tree you must allow a Wicca display.

Published: June 23, 2005
WASHINGTON, June 22 – An Air Force panel sent to investigate the religious climate at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs found evidence that officers and faculty members periodically used their positions to promote their Christian beliefs and failed to accommodate the religious needs of non-Christian cadets, its leader said Wednesday.

But the panel said it had found no “overt religious discrimination” – only “insensitivity” – and praised the academy leadership for working aggressively to confront religious problems in the last two years.

Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady of the Air Force, who led the 16-member group, said in a news conference at the Pentagon that the academy and the Air Force as a whole were struggling to define the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable religious expression in a government institution, a reflection, he said, of a debate under way across the country.

We believe that people were doing things that I think were inappropriate,” General Brady said. “They had the best intentions toward the cadets. I think in some cases they were wrong.”

He said his panel had referred seven cases of questionable behavior to the Air Force for further investigation but declined to elaborate.
Source: NY Times

neo-Carlinist

February 17th, 2010
8:28 am

I’m pretty sure the Air Force Academy also has a chapel and come to think of it, a football stadium. Are you suggesting cadets need only worship certain gods? the irony in this non-issue is so amusing. the year-end “Christian” celebration of the birth of Christ has its orgins in the solstice rituals of norther European pagans. in short, Pope Leo (or was it Gregory) “took” the holiday from the pagans and claimed it as Christian (it is accept that Christ was born sometime in the Spring). but, as with all (OK, most) zealots and “people of faith”, why let the facts (science, physics, history) get in the way of a good story (and ANY relgion is just “a good story”). frankly, the idea of warriors praying before battle concerns me. next thing you know, Army recruiters are going to be “pitching” recruits with promises of 73 virgins…

BlackAirForce

February 17th, 2010
8:29 am

I was in the Air Force and I would much rather follow any other religion than the one which used whips to beat your christian beliefs into the backs and souls of my ancestors! I lost respect for christanity when a military priest asked jesus to guide my bullets into the head of my enemies…my aim would have did the job just fine…I didnt need his two cents.

The Barr Tab

February 17th, 2010
8:39 am

Okay Bobby B, I don’t have a problem with the rocked out amplitheater Pagan church but this thing with human sacrifices will require more thought before I can enter a critical review. Another double Jack please!

Rufus

February 17th, 2010
8:43 am

What’s even worse, Bob, is to find your commander, operations officer, and first sergeant dressed in black robes, standing around a big, boiling cauldron chanting as they throw in bits of bat and frog. I think that’s how they’re working assignments now in the Air Force.

neo-Carlinist

February 17th, 2010
8:48 am

oh, and one more thing for the “we are a Christian nation” crowd. there is no question our European ancestors were Christian (and pagan before that – see my earlier post). there is not question the Bill of Rights is dervied (in part) from the Magna Carta, which drew from the 10 Commandments. Christianity’s influence – the good and the bad – see BlackAirForce – cannot be ignored. BUT, despite the influence, our Founding Fathers saw the need to documment the importance of religious freedom/tolerance (the 1st Amendment, no less). the superstitions, beliefs and rituals of our forefathers have NO bearing on the 21st century. if you listen to some, we are fighting a “war” against a foe that seems to be “stuck in the past” when it comes to theology and social mores. I don’t know enought about Wicca or pagans, but what I do know suggests that they favor a “less is more” approach to worship.

Kramer

February 17th, 2010
8:51 am

Well, Sean, I’m agnostic and I’m not embarresed by Barr. Agreing with a religion and tolerating a religion are two very different things. I don’t agree with Judeism, Christianity, Islam, etc. but chaplins are allowed in the military, why can’t you extend a similiar courtesy to a religion that’s a little “goofy”?

itpdude

February 17th, 2010
9:12 am

I like Mr. Barr and voted for him in ‘08 and would vote for him again. However, this Christian thinks Mr. Barr is putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Whether this nation’s military should install shrines for small religions is not the issue. The issue is whether we should have a military so huge that it enables formal attention to small religions such as Wicca or paganism.

Really. Our military-industrial-complex is SO huge that they can spend time installing religious facilities for one of the less popular religions in the US. THAT fact is far worse than the practice of a religion some may consider goofy. Our worship of the war-machine gives me far greater chills than some smelly hippies dancing around a rock-circle.

Former Fan

February 17th, 2010
9:13 am

Well, guess I’ll catch you on the flip side Bob. Unsubscribed.

Ostrich Racer

February 17th, 2010
9:17 am

Methinks Bob is engaging in a little good-natured rabble rousing. Context is the key to this thing. Everyone recalls the AF Academy has been in the spotlight for some rather aggressive proselytizing by faculty and students. The Academy not only has a Chapel, it’s huge and beautiful (in a modernist sort of way) and the centerpiece of the campus. Letting the fringe put rocks in a circle, somewhere in the half-million acres of woods around Colorado Springs, to dance around or sit on or whatever sounds like a clever compromise on the part of the school administration to mute counterculture grumbling about the Chapel, etc. No big deal — certainly not the weirdest thing going on in Colorado.
And for what its worth, I served with a lieutenant in Afghanistan who claimed to be a Wiccan. He drew strange graffiti, but was pretty much unobtrusive, otherwise. It struck me that he did it to get attention which, ironically, he didn’t get, because we had more important things to worry about.
Nothing to see here; move along.

Azazel

February 17th, 2010
9:17 am

But would Bob follow Gengis Khan or Julius Ceasar or Alexander the Great into battle? Or, those pagan warriors who forced Hadrian to build his wall?

MANUEL URIBE

February 17th, 2010
9:21 am

I find your lack of religious respect for a major religion of the world, disheartening. But I do agree expressions of any religion in a military setting are not to be fostered, or condoned.

Chris

February 17th, 2010
9:24 am

I am currently serving in the U.S. Army. I have served for over 10 years, and have deployed to war twice. I am also a practicing Pagan. I have been a Wiccan for over 23 years. I find your comments rude and ignorant. I vote Libertarian, and in 2008 I voted for every Libertarian candidate on the ballot EXCEPT Bob Barr. I cannot support someone who wants to discriminate against me. Pagans can and do serve honorably in our armed forces.

Salt & Light

February 17th, 2010
9:27 am

“Tolerance” means you “tolerate” someone else’s beliefs or opinions. It never means you elevate them to the same level as you own.

This “pagan worship” at the Air Force Acacemy is just one more nail in the coffin of a once great Republic.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”.