This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans

Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans - Comments

gordon's Avatar Comment 1 by gordon

I have a Wicca pit in my garden. It’s great; we call it a barb-a-que. We worship there a great deal during the summer when the sun is at its highest. Sometimes we imbibe a juice that brings on changes in my perception of reality. Y’all welcome.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 19:32:57 UTC | #893958

Mrkimbo's Avatar Comment 2 by Mrkimbo

I won't be satisfied until the USAF has a giant pirate ship with a statue of His Noodliness to worship in.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 19:58:39 UTC | #893963

Aztek's Avatar Comment 3 by Aztek

Every time I hear about governmental institutions becoming more accepting of different faiths, instead of just pandering to the Christians, it feels really bitter-sweet.

On one hand, it's good that they open their eyes to the diversity of world views (hopefully non-religious views) and start respecting religious freedom. But at the same time reading about something like this makes me go: "Really?? What the fuck?" Watching them spend a lot of money, time and effort to give people the opportunity to practice faiths which are equally ridiculous as Christianity, doesn't seem like progress to me. Is having 100 stupid ideas better than having 20? I mean, come on, paganism?! And every time they give an empty statement like "we're here to accommodate all religions, period". But it's not because they want to, it's just because they have to, even though they think paganism is a joke.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 20:01:48 UTC | #893964

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 4 by Zeuglodon

Comment 3 by Aztek

Well, I'd rather read that they are accommodating all faiths and non-faiths than that they were banning specific religions. I don't agree with paganism either, but there are other times and other, better ways to debate about religion, and I at least admire the military for being gracious with their recruits. It also doesn't mean the USAF has to agree to any religion's tenets. In any case being non-accommodating is just bad manners, and practically it is likely to be interpreted as ostracism and as a rebuff of pagans and other religious people, which would hardly endear us to them.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 20:23:21 UTC | #893969

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 5 by drumdaddy

I'm not here to "accomodate all religions," I'm here to expose them for the silly delusions that they all embrace. Witches, bible-thumpers, all the same.

Peace Through Atheism! Keep it real, brothers and sisters!

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 20:32:25 UTC | #893974

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 6 by ZenDruid

I like this trend. It represents a crack in the hive mind.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 21:24:38 UTC | #893991

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 7 by nancynancy

Oh come now! Would it be progress if the Air Force welcomed Satanists, Moonies and Scientologists? How about Jim Jones and Warren Jeffs?

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:02:51 UTC | #893994

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

Their ranks are slim. According to the academy's enrollment records, only three of 4,300 cadets identified themselves as pagans,

There are also 43 self-identified atheist cadets whose beliefs, or lack of them,

There is a ratio in these figures!

he says, is no different from the past conversion of chapel rooms into worship spaces that serve this year's 11 Muslim, 16 Buddhist and 10 Hindu cadets.

..and an even smaller percentage here.

It does not say what percentage are Xtians or "no comments".

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:09:08 UTC | #893995

kamel's Avatar Comment 9 by kamel

Of course some of our specie have the right to believe the silly,absurd and utter ridiculous,but building a shrine for it in an air force academy, I find that very offensive.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:17:26 UTC | #893996

MAJORPAIN's Avatar Comment 10 by MAJORPAIN

Unfortunately I think it is exactly the opposite my friend ZenDruid. I think this is an example of a con game. Next time the USAF is criticized about not being religious tolerant, they're all going to holler and go "but look at the 80,000 US smackaroos we just spent on religious tolerance!!" A shell game, at best.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:19:58 UTC | #893997

Layla's Avatar Comment 11 by Layla

The rule is no spells cast without someone's permission. There is a prevailing tenet of her faith, she says: Do as you will, but harm no one.

And that's why she decided to join the forces.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:32:06 UTC | #893998

78rpm's Avatar Comment 12 by 78rpm

And all of us U.S. taxpayers are supporting this. It's still religion, and I don't want to have to pay a cent for it!

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 23:15:50 UTC | #894011

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 13 by aquilacane

Let me know when they adapt to reason.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 23:31:24 UTC | #894013

danconquer's Avatar Comment 14 by danconquer

It's a really lovely, charming, life-affirming story.

I imagine all those Buddhists and Pagans lighting incense candles while blessing the five tons of TNT and showering rose petals on the cluster bombs just before they dump the lot of it over some village a mile below them. What a nice, warm, buzzy, interconnected happy-clappy feeling it must give them all.

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 23:47:50 UTC | #894014

Save me jebuz!'s Avatar Comment 15 by Save me jebuz!

Correct Danconquer, well said.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 00:11:36 UTC | #894021

danconquer's Avatar Comment 16 by danconquer

Personally I hope that in future the US Army might also deploy accredited Feng Shui practitioners to oversee the placing of landmines so as to ensure they're positioned to maximise their harmonious natural zen energy chakras.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 00:25:52 UTC | #894025

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 17 by QuestioningKat

I look forward to hearing about loud drum circles at the Colorado Springs base. Hopefully, they will be so loud that the sound travels far enough to be heard at the Focus on Family center.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 01:17:43 UTC | #894029

Metamag's Avatar Comment 18 by Metamag

I can't tell if this is good or bad.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 03:10:15 UTC | #894041

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 19 by The Truth, the light

I can just imagine the pagan soliders in combat going up to the enemy and requesting that they please stop trampling on the flowers and breaking twigs from a tree as they are all apart of their spiritual well-being.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 03:16:26 UTC | #894042

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 20 by Starcrash

This is the problem with giving one religious group special privileges. In the name of consistency and fairness, you have to do it for everyone. You certainly don't want to get sued for discrimination.

And while I may sound like I'm against this practice, the first amendment not only prohibits establishment of one religion over another, but it also says that the government can't prohibit the practice of religion. So if a religion needs to continue having church services, you have to accommodate them. The problem isn't the Air Force or its policy, it is - as it usually is - a problem with religion itself.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 04:00:30 UTC | #894047

chris 116's Avatar Comment 21 by chris 116

I love this story and hope to see many more like it.

While I have no idea what the pagans believe in, I have complete faith that there is exactly as much evidence for their beliefs, as there is for any of the major religions and therefore their Witches are as deserving of respect as any Bishop, Rabbi or Iman. And we should remind followers of the mainstream religions of this whenever possible.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 05:06:22 UTC | #894057

Sines's Avatar Comment 22 by Sines

My big concern here is the cost. I mean, I don't have problems building religious centers for the soldiers. Whatever. People have needs and desires, religious or not, and the army has to help accommodate them... within reason...

Spending 80k for three people is a waste of money. Once you accept no lower limit to the need to spend money on accommodations, you have to accept every request. I'll join the army and say that my religion requires a massive theatre complex, in which I can watch cheesy ninja movies. Apparently, I deserve about 27k worth of theatre, that always shows cheesy ninja movies. This isn't a religious issue here, it's an issue of economics.

There's also the paradoxical need to allow greater religious freedom in order to allow the fall of religion altogether, but I've already accepted that. So, it does count as progress... sort of.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 05:48:50 UTC | #894059

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 23 by Rawhard Dickins

More tax payers money spent on mumbo-jumbo.

How about a secular centre to promote a real understanding of the universe?

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 08:06:58 UTC | #894062

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 24 by Premiseless

I've given this some thought and after considering a raft of the traumas life brings many of us, unannounced, so from various positions of education, expectation and confusion, I decided to consider the potential benefits from some of what was previously known that is sometimes disregarded by science per se.

To begin with I will completely disregard the fortune telling and dream interpreting inherited from less educationally aware ancestors. I think though that there is something about studies of the self such as Wicca delves into, that are of intrinsic and valid scientific consideration.

They are the kinds of studies that attempt to help the individual recognise their inner feelings and begin to quantify them, isolate negative associations and then strengthen the inner feelings that all to often, in our frenetic media controversy addictive world, become fragmented and in despair.

We all have inner voices that conspire with us or against us but which at the same time meet with appreciation or rejection from others harbouring the same personal fights for reciprocity. The mix can become an unconscious chaos!! The recent tragic UK alleged suicide of a leading sportsman reminds me we each have a personal science we each strive to negotiate with the world around us. It often cumulatively misfeeds us cues, or ensnare us, in ways that can become too great for the single human we all are.

I noticed a number of online news items commenting on the suicide 'taboo' and it struck me there is real need for greater understanding by science of the personal experiential, which is what Wicca endeavours to do, and I wondered if any learned minds on here might have better insights on this?

I understand the military have disproportionate issues with similar personal traumas due the extremes they experience. It requires some forms of counsel which deeply understands the science of how we feel and think if it is to confront the issues successfully.

Has science a framework to help in such cases?

Here are a few chosen thoughts of mine about the convergence upon tragic consequences humans sometimes contemplate:italics below. (The human who experiences "falling hero" syndrome. A vertigo about life per se). I thought this doubly apt with respects to the military, having to respectfully administer the same to others they are to avoid themselves. It goes against the inner intuitive! It needs a personal science to corroborate itself. I'd hate to think of 'hard science' selecting psychopathic tendencies to effect outcomes for military benefit! What has science to say even? Does it perpetuate reluctance about discussing the feeling self?

Suicide? What that word conjures up for me: We all need a shoulder to lean our greatest worries on. If you are that shoulder it may feel you have no place to lean? It's when you feel this is your role, that in times when your inner strength feels weakest, you think everyones reliance on you has become your impossible task. Being everyones hero can become an emotional prison. Nobody knows ( a scientific personal truism ) - and sometimes decades of unsaid pains have no mirror in another person to which one can speak. There is no accessible, personal, hero for you! There is no voice of unconditional reason to understand your feelings. Something in yourself has become your only place of retreat. And it has emptied its energies unto others!

So with the above in mind, I felt forced to consider that maybe the Wiccan inclusions are perhaps more apt than their absence might be. They do teach about inner core strengths. They do teach daily ritual to self strengthen the inner feeling self. They do contemplate 'withershins; i.e. the external corrosives that eat away at the "Two Brains" the inner self has running. They are more centered on personal resolution than external consciousness. But they also still have irrational attachments, as likely to spurn reason as theism per se - work in progress for the rational minded.

I think the real task is how we can science up Wicca as much as it is about how we can anesthetise it!

And I also think it a useful stepping stone out of scripture based hardliners thinking which have a tendency to turn the self against itself in my experience.

Any thoughts?

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 12:10:39 UTC | #894083

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 25 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 22 by Sines

My big concern here is the cost. I mean, I don't have problems building religious centers for the soldiers. Whatever. People have needs and desires, religious or not, and the army has to help accommodate them... within reason...

I don't think the army has any obligation to accommodate ANY religion. In fact, it is my opinion that the army has an obligation not to favour ANY religion. What other employer has to provide for the religious disposition of its employees? Where do you draw the line and not be discriminating? Nuwaubianism? The Church of Euthanasia? Universe People? Each of the 38,000 Christian denominations? It's a nonsense and once on route down that road a rod is made for your own back.

Spending 80k for three people is a waste of money. Once you accept no lower limit to the need to spend money on accommodations, you have to accept every request. I'll join the army and say that my religion requires a massive theatre complex, in which I can watch cheesy ninja movies. Apparently, I deserve about 27k worth of theatre, that always shows cheesy ninja movies. This isn't a religious issue here, it's an issue of economics.

I totally agree, this is why there should be no religion favoured in the services. Like minded individuals should at liberty to meet and do whatever it is they do for their flavour of woo woo, I don't think space for such meeting is at a premium. Interestingly, the kinds of figures are minuscule on the grand scale of things. A U.S. serviceman in Afghanistan costs the taxpayer over one million dollars annually to remain in theatre of operations.

There's also the paradoxical need to allow greater religious freedom in order to allow the fall of religion altogether, but I've already accepted that. So, it does count as progress... sort of.

I think the paradox is the wrong way, but as I said, it is just my opinion, give religion, ANY religion, an inch and next thing ya know, it's taking a mile.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 12:45:34 UTC | #894095

Alex, adv. diab.'s Avatar Comment 26 by Alex, adv. diab.

Comment 16 by danconquer :

Personally I hope that in future the US Army might also deploy accredited Feng Shui practitioners to oversee the placing of landmines so as to ensure they're positioned to maximise their harmonious natural zen energy chakras.

Genius. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

If only wars were fought by misaligning pebbles such as to disturb the life energy flow towards the enemy.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 13:08:21 UTC | #894101

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 27 by Premiseless

Comment 26 by Alex, adv. diab. :

If only wars were fought by misaligning pebbles such as to disturb the life energy flow towards the enemy.

Of course the real tragedy is noone has a clue how to take minds infected with ancient indoctrinations and synchronise them all realtime with a combined, positive feed, thought process. Hence it all reduces to dogma anyhow! People all fighting about fossil thoughts whilst trying to dig out a foxhole amidst the chaos to get a life out of - as if it's a real prospect everyone should have the right to enjoy at the same time as knowing that very proposition is against everything Darwin suggested.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 14:01:29 UTC | #894110

Red Foot Okie's Avatar Comment 28 by Red Foot Okie

So mote it be and bombs away!

Sorry, that's really reaching...

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 15:21:54 UTC | #894119

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 29 by huzonfurst

I see this as progress in a kind of upside-down way: the recruits will at least be made aware that xianity isn't the only religion out there and that the practitioners of these other lunacies are just like them in most other respects. There's a long way to go, however: anyone who picks up a copy of the Military Press will see what a pro-xian propaganda tool this sorry excuse for a magazine is. Not an issue goes by without a column by Cal Thomas or Pat Buchanan in it, or an article "explaining" how the USA was founded on xian principles; it's like a time-warp into the 1950s to look at this rag!

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 16:14:22 UTC | #894129

Veronique's Avatar Comment 30 by Veronique

Why can't they just adapt to reality instead of hiding under variously coloured bed warmers?

I suppose that they have added some colour at least to the bed warmers may mean the colours will run together in the washing machine. Maybe after a few washes the bed warmers will look manky and be thrown out!! Well, one can hope!!

So, maybe it's a start.

Tue, 29 Nov 2011 18:05:37 UTC | #894148