Christianity Today Stands Behind Wiccan Widow

first_img Sgt. Stewart identified himself as belonging to the Wiccan faith. Although Wiccans are not considered part of America’s mainstream religious establishment, they are a growing minority. According to 2005 Defense Department statistics, approximately 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as belonging to the alternative religion that subscribes to magical activities and Earth worship. According to federal guidelines, only approved religious symbols—of which there are 30—can be placed on government headstones or memorial plaques. Included among the 30 approved symbols are those that represent such mainstream religions as Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. The list also includes more obscure religions like Konko-Kyo Faith and Seicho-No-Ie. And while the list does not include a symbol for the Wiccan faith, incredibly enough, it does include symbols for atheism and humanism. Whatever one’s opinion might be about the Wiccan faith, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution provides for religious freedom for all individuals of all faiths—whether they are Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, Wiccans and others. The United States Supreme Court has routinely held that viewpoint discrimination by the government against particular expressions of religion is unconstitutional. In the Supreme Court’s 1963 ruling in Sherbert v. Vernor, Justice William J. Brennan observed, “The door of the Free Exercise Clause stands tightly closed against any governmental regulation of religious beliefs.” In that same opinion, Justice Brennan wrote that “Government may neither compel affirmation of a repugnant belief, nor penalize or discriminate against individuals or groups because they hold religious views abhorrent to the authorities.” ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ Yet by refusing to place the Wiccan symbol on Sgt. Stewart’s memorial plaque, while permitting symbols of other religions and non-religions, the government is clearly engaging in viewpoint discrimination—which is a shoddy way to treat someone who has died in service to his country. Having posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart to Sgt. Stewart, the U.S. government intends that he should be remembered for his bravery and sacrifice. Yet what his widow, Roberta Stewart, will remember is the fact that her husband died defending the country that is denying him the right to express his religious freedom. Hours before official Memorial Day ceremonies were set to begin at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery, Patrick Stewart’s widow gathered at a park a few miles away to hold an alternative service in honor of her husband, his faith and his service to his country. Speaking to a gathering of approximately 200 friends and family, Roberta Stewart declared, “This is discrimination against our religion. I ask you to help us remember that all freedoms are worth fighting for.” How do we remember? We do so by renewing our resolve to preserve and protect our freedoms. As President Ronald Reagan remarked as he looked out upon a sea of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery on a Memorial Day many years ago: The sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. Yet, we must try to honor them—not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice. If we are to keep faith with Sgt. Stewart and the other brave men and women who have died in service to the United States, then we must remember that all rights hang together. That is both the genius and the strength of the American system. Although our country was founded on a Judeo-Christian base, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution understood that religious freedom was for everyone, not just Christians. In other words, the only way that freedom can prevail for Christians is for Christians to stand up and fight for the minority beliefs and religions of others. Without it, freedom will most likely be lost. And we will be left wondering whose freedoms we are really fighting for. Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at [email protected] Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org. _____________________ Editor’s Update: Tim Tetz, executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services said that he was “diligently pursuing” the matter in cooperation with Gov. Kenny Guinn, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev. “It’s unfortunate the process is taking so long, but I am certain Sgt. Patrick will ultimately receive his marker with the Wiccan symbol.” So far, there are no online petitions to sign in support of the widow, but a petition is circulating among Patrick’s comrades in Afghanistan.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThis article appeared in June 5 issue of Christianity Today Stand Up, Stand Up for Wicca A war widow rightly wonders: Whose freedom are we fighting for? Amidst a sea of memorial plaques at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, one space remains blank. That space is waiting to be filled by a plaque honoring the life and sacrifice of 34-year-old Sgt. Patrick Stewart, who was killed in action on September 25, 2005, when his helicopter was struck with a rocket-propelled grenade as it flew over Afghanistan. But it may be some time before Sgt. Stewart is remembered with a memorial plaque. That’s because his war widow and the Department of Veterans Affairs are at odds over the Stewart family’s request to have the Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star surrounded by a circle, placed on the plaque. As of May 31, 2006, government officials have refused to allow the Wiccan symbol to be placed on Stewart’s plaque. last_img read more

Fawns Saved by C-Section

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore Although the mother doe couldn’t be saved, a conservation officer knew there was hope for her unborn fawns. He took the inhured mother to a vet where the fawns were successfully delivered by c-section. (CTV has the story and photos) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img

Yo-Yo Ma to Perform Moments Before Oath of Office for Obama (Video)

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore On Tuesday, Yo Yo Ma’s cello will punctuate that sentiment in the moment just before Barack Obama takes the oath of office. Presidents have chosen poets, sopranos, and even choirs to perform at past inaugurations. But never before has one picked a classical quartet during such a critical moment in the ceremony. Along with Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and pianist Gabriella Montero will introduce their ode to Mr. Obama, a piece created by famed “Star Wars” composer John Williams. (Watch the video below or read the transcripts on CBSNews.com) last_img read more

A New Survey of Economists Offers a Bit Of Optimism for US Economy

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe economic news in recent weeks suggests that the recovery has hit a rough patch, but at least one forward-looking review of the macro trend says the rearview mirror may be misleading.The 35 economists in yesterday’s update of the biannual Livingston Survey—the longest-running continuous set of predictions by scientists—see moderately improving conditions in the second half of this year.(READ more about the survey by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img

Mediterranean Diet Shines In Clinical Study

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreA careful test of the so-called Mediterranean diet involving more than 7,000 people at high risk for heart attacks and strokes found the diet reduced them when compared with a low-fat diet. A regular diet of Mediterranean cuisine also reduced the risk of dying.Overall, the people consuming the diets rich in olive oil and nuts had about a 30 percent lower risk of having a heart attack, stroke or dying from a cardiovascular cause. (READ the story from NPR News)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img

WWII Letters Reveal Parents’ Untold Love Story

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreAs Darrow Beaton was dying from lung cancer in 2008, the World War II veteran mailed his eldest daughter four boxes of family photos.Hidden away under those photos were hundreds of love letters, some nine pages long, single spaced on a typewriter. They were on onionskin and fancy hotel stationery. There were postcards and telegrams — all written between December 1941 and November 1945.Beaton, a private man, had never revealed any details about his past.The tender letters tell the story of a young Beaton and the love of his life, Elinor Landgrebe Beaton.(READ the story, w/ photos, from the Arizona Star or WATCH the video at the Daily Mail — It starts by itself at the bottom of page)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Intern Solves Dog’s Paralysis Problem Moments Before He is Euthanized

first_imgShare This Story With Your Pack Of Friends….AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore As the dog was being prepped for euthanasia, the office intern was scratching him and found a tick behind Ollie’s ear–a parasite that contains a neurotoxin that sometimes can cause paralysis. The vet removed it and within just a few hours, Ollie was back on his feet.WATCH: Bear Literally Can’t Stop Jumping For Joy After Being Rescued“The next morning my mom opened the door and said, ‘Look at your doggie,’ and he comes walking up to me, and I’m barely awake, and he just smiled at me,” Fate told KPTV News.(WATCH the video below from KPTV News) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreA loving veterinary intern bought Ollie the Collie a second lease on life just minutes before the beloved pet was to be put down.WATCH: Dog Wearing Life Jacket is Found Adrift in Vast Gulf of MexicoFalline Fate had watched a sudden downturn in her collie’s health,  until it became paralyzed and unable to walk or even stand. After a couple of days with no improvement, her family decided it would be best to end Ollie’s suffering.last_img read more

Brad Pitt Pulls Young Girl To Safety, Away From Fan Mob (WATCH)

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore Now we know that not only is Brad Pitt talented and dreamy, but he pays attention to the throng of humans around him, as well.When the actor emerged from his movie set in San Canaria, Spain, his fans who were waiting behind the security fence surged forward to get photos, all while almost crushing a young girl against the fence in the process. WATCH: Gymnast Falling on Her Head Saved By Coach With Ninja MovesPitt noticed the struggling child and got one his security guards to help him pull her safely away from the fence.The star – a father of seven kids himself – took a photo with the girl after making sure she was unharmed.Save Your Friends From Negative Celebrity Press–Click to Share…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Friends of Disabled Man Carry Him Up Mountain So He Can Go Volcano Surfing

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreZach Anner is a comedian and an adrenaline junky. He also happens to have cerebral palsy, but that hasn’t stopped him from living an exciting life.The man from Austin, Texas has done everything from bungee jumping to zip-lining. More recently, he went “volcano surfing” thanks to a little help from his friends.As a means of raising awareness for UCP Wheels For Humanity, a nonprofit organization that delivers wheelchairs to the poor, Anner traveled to Nicaragua. Over the course of an hour, Anner’s loyal friends took turns carrying him on their backs as they hiked up the side of the Cerro Negro volcano. Then, in three “magical” minutes, they all slid back down on a wooden boards.WATCH: Man Finds Puppies Abandoned in the Middle of the Desert and Takes Them on Epic Cross Country Road TripAnner not only hopes that his stunt raises money and awareness for charity, he hopes it will inspire other people with disabilities.“These are the kinds of things that Zach does. He really pushes his limits,” said Ron Cohen, CEO of UCP Wheels for Humanity. “He creates awareness about what people with disabilities are capable of doing.”“You really can’t talk about Zach with a disability because he does things that people without disabilities would be too afraid to try,” he added. “I wouldn’t do half the things that he does.”(WATCH the video below)Click To Share The Inspiring Story With Your Friends AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

‘Projects For Good’ – This Ingenious Website Makes it Easier to Change the World!

first_img“I realized how valuable a campaign could be to the world, and that politicians weren’t all bad—they just didn’t know what to do. We provided momentum and direction.”Beyond studying business at college, Furlotti began captaining ships for researchers who were studying human impact on coral and water quality around the Hawaiian islands.At age 20, he was one of the youngest ever to captain a sailboat from California to Tahiti, gaining a deep respect for the natural forces that connect us to the planet. Now 37, he enjoys big wave surfing whenever he’s not launching or investing in social impact technology and environmental protection.He also has attended many green tech conferences: “I saw all these people with great ideas—so many half-baked projects, but the world needs all these ideas.”“I had seen firsthand how hard it is to get projects started, funded, and completed, and wanted to create a whole new model to help people with their ‘Projects for Good’.”It took a year to design the web platform, and today they are adding new features all the time to make it “a complete project success ecosystem”.‘Currently with Kickstarter and Gofundme, you can just give money. That’s cool, but what about if you’re really inspired and want to join the project? A lot of people don’t have any money, but they think, ‘I would really love to work for this cause.’”Patrick Furlotti, center, launched Projects for Good in 2017“Our commitment is not to make money, but to build a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about changing the world—not by featuring someone who is trying to build a robot that makes coffee and smoothies (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but by focusing on projects that help the greater good,” Patrick told GNN.“It’s about humans working together, and educating each other on what’s possible, that’s why I love partnering with Good News Network.”PFG is trying to give project owners the tools they need—to make it cheaper to become a nonprofit, easier to find grants, and even make it free to crowdfund, so fees aren’t diverted from the money that is being donated. Patrick also believes there should be more transparency about where the money is going on these fundraising platforms.The Community Center is where jobs can be posted, milestones recorded, and new members welcomed. These are some early success stories on the PFG platform:Peter Gottesman is passionate about animal rights and has championed projects from saving cheetahs in Africa to rescuing bears in Laos through his non-profit Endangered Species Revenge. For him, Projects for Good offers exposure to caring people who want to support him. To date, he has raised over $6500 on PFG to help fund his animal causes.Andrew Malais saw how badly Joshua Tree National Park needed a trash cleanup. He used PFG partially as a fundraising tool but mainly to list jobs and hire the perfect candidate or find volunteers. His project was a success, raising over 80% of its fundraising goal to purchase the supplies he needed and hire workers to cover the vast acreage.Peter Fiekowsky raised money on Projects for Good to help develop patented technology that will capture excess CO2 in the atmosphere—and convert it into building materials. They are literally turning ‘air into concrete’. The founder of Foundation for Climate Restoration and partner in Blue Planet Ltd. praised Projects for Good for “helping the foundation raise the crucial seed funding needed to design our first Blue Planet prototype direct air capture machine.”“PFG is the first crowdfunding platform where jobs can be posted and bid on.”“It’s not always about money, it’s about love, and about passion, and being dedicated to a cause. Maybe I can volunteer; maybe you can pay me–maybe I can message that guy saving the dolphins and go there to help him save those dolphins.’’ECO NFL? All-Pro Player Pushes to Make Education Fun With ‘Green Hero’ Comic Book“It’s like when I was working at Heal the Bay, and I was facilitating the envelopes. Those mailings made things happen. That project never would have happened without the little people, and the big people all working together.”Whether you can help with social media, or donate time as a pro-bono attorney, or stuff envelopes, join Projects For Good, and get involved in the community to make real change in your world.HEAR Patrick below, in his own words…MULTIPLY the GOOD by Sharing on Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreUnlike Kickstarter which funds creative startups, or GoFundMe which addresses personal needs, Projects for Good was designed for people who want to support the greater good, not just with money, but with their talent and energy—and don’t know where to start.Patrick Furlotti is giving them that opportunity. Growing up in Santa Monica, California, Patrick learned at an early age that society could create a better world if people just worked together.As a teen he volunteered with Heal the Bay, which was trying to clean up water pollution in 1980s Los Angeles. He folded, sealed, and mailed thousands of letters. The group scored a huge victory when a billion-dollar sewage treatment facility was erected right next to LAX airport.last_img read more