Pagans in the Military

January 22, 2004

Source: Beliefnet

On January 22, 2004 Beliefnet reported, "In the spring of 1999, Georgia congressman Bob Barr sent shockwaves throughout the Pagan community when he repeatedly attacked the presence of Witchcraft on U.S. military bases. Upset by the existence of a visible and apparently successful Pagan organization at Fort Hood in Texas, Barr introduced legislation to prohibit the practice of Wicca or any other form of Witchcraft at Defense Department facilities. Barr's motion went nowhere in Congress--and it resulted primarily in galvanizing Pagans to become more aware of our precarious status as a minority religion. But the Barr fiasco also served to highlight the quiet revolution that has been occurring in Paganism, as more and more Pagans enter the armed forces... Exact numbers of military Pagans is nearly impossible to determine, since so many Pagans keep their faith a secret. But at least one organization--the Military Pagan Network (MPN)--has been attempting to identify the number of Pagans in uniform, even if only through estimation. In their 2002 Annual Report, MPN estimates over 1,000 active duty Pagans in the Air Force alone, based on the Air Force's own documentation of a number of Pagan groups."