More on the Worldnutdaily and Wiccans in the Military

In following up on yesterday's post, I thought it would be fun to go back in time to 1999 to see what the Worldnutdaily was saying about the issue of Wiccans in the military when the big stink over the issue was going on and Christian groups were telling their followers not to join the military as a result of it. It was even more idiotic than I expected. In a "Worldnetdaily exclusive commentary" (which, as previously stated, means that no other outlet would publish anything so monumentally stupid), Jon Dougherty declared that allowing Wiccans to practice their religion the same way that Christians or Jews get to practice theirs was "destroying our last vestige of sanity." It includes this astonishing statement:

At Ft. Hood, Texas -- the army's largest base with more than 42,000 troops -- "there are believed to be at least 100 witches (and warlocks, I presume) attending covens." In fact, "so respectful has the army become of the pagan rites that security was increased at Fort Hood's Boy Scout camp, where covens are held."

Memo to the Pentagon: If security had to be improved just to give these idiots space to "practice their religion," something is wrong already.

Memo to Mr. Dougherty: Yes, something is wrong already. What was wrong was the behavior of your fellow Christian hypocrites who, in the days following a newspaper report on the Wiccans at Ft. Hood, began calling the base threatening to show up and disrupt the Wiccan services. The lack of logic here is stunning - "We don't like what's going on so we're gonna threaten to shut it down, then we're going to use the fact that you had to beef up security to respond to our threats as an argument against you allowing it to go on." This is somewhat akin to breaking someone's leg, then criticizing them for having a limp, but one can hardly expect anything approaching intellectual or moral consistency from cretins like this.

Nevertheless, not to be outdone by their civilian social engineering counterparts, the Pentagon brass scored a politically correct "home run" on this one. Despite the fact that over 99 percent of the rest of the armed forces considers Christianity the dominant American religion -- through various but similar faiths -- the Pentagon obviously felt that unit cohesion no longer matters....

Not many soldiers, it seems, want to spend much time around male and female soldiers who are known witches and warlocks, either. Isn't that just as damaging to unit morale and combat effectiveness?

What makes this so amusing is that in the very first sentence of his commentary, he praised the military as the American institution that was "the most successful at integrating the races." Yet he is using the very argument that was used against integration of the military 60 years ago! Back then it was "not many soldiers want to spend time around negroes and that will be damaging to unit morale and combat effectiveness", and Truman's forced integration of the army was derided as "social engineering". Of course, even if the argument was true in this case, so what? If most soldiers didn't want to serve with Jews, would you keep Jews out of the military? What if most soldiers didn't want to serve with Catholics? You don't have to go back all that far to find anti-Catholic bigotry being common enough to find lots and lots of people who would have objected to allowing them into the service. Alas, Mr. Dougherty only seems to care about inflicting his current prejudices on others.

If these witches and warlocks, who call themselves Wiccans, are serious about their "religion," why isn't the Pentagon and the Clinton administration calling them "fanatics" and preventing them from living a free and normal life? Or is that a term reserved only for Christians who fervently believe in their faith? I suppose if the Pentagon and the White House labeled the Wiccans "fanatics," they'd have to demonize them, make sure everyone knew they were inherently dangerous, and then actually prevent them from practicing their "faith" and thus destroying morale in the ranks.

That is about as incoherent as one can get, isn't it? All the Wiccans were asking for was the right to do what Christians, Jews and Muslims do on a daily basis on military bases all over the world, to be allowed to freely exercise their religion by holding services.

It used to be if something being done by a small group of soldiers offended or was otherwise counterproductive to the rest of the force, it was deemed improper and preventative measures were instituted. Now, we give them special "rights," where none really existed before. If that's progress, I don't want it.

More hypocrisy. When Christians want to practice their religion on military bases, not only are they allowed to, the Pentagon pays tens of millions of dollars to insure that they have constant access to chaplains of their faith and time set aside for their services. When another religion wants to do the same thing, that's "special rights". And then they wonder why we call them idiots while making arguments like this:

But there is more inside this Pandora's Box. For instance, as an 18-year-old soldier, you cannot even buy cigarettes in some states or drink a beer. But you can pick up a rifle, kill somebody, and are permitted to worship Satan. Oh, brother.

LOL. What exactly is our braindead commentator suggesting here? That you should have to be 21 to "worship Satan" (something Wiccans do not do, despite the fevered claims of drooling halfwits like Dougherty)? No, he's suggesting that they shouldn't have the right to worship in ways he disapproves of at all. So what does the age at which one can buy cigarettes have to do with it? Precisely nothing. But this is what passes for an attempt at thinking among these pinheads. Or this:

There are other hypocrisies. Think about these for a moment:

Is it any wonder we have witches and warlocks in the ranks when American children cannot publicly espouse their Christian beliefs or openly promote and endorse Christian symbols? Is it any wonder we have Wiccans amongst us when our children cannot even say a prayer in a schoolhouse because it's "amoral" and "intolerant?"

Good idea, Jon, let's think about those for a moment. Let's think about the fact that both of your premises are entirely false. American children can and do publicly espouse their Christian beliefs and say prayers in school every day all over the nation. They form bible clubs and prayer groups and are allowed to use school facilities to do so. In fact, the big mean ACLU often defends their right to do so, and to hand out literature and talk to their fellow students about their faith. All of that goes on in schools every single day in the US. The only thing that can't go on is that the school, which is a government agency, cannot force anyone to participate in those things, just like no one can be forced into taking part in a Wiccan ritual on a military base. See how nicely it all works together? The government can't prevent people from practicing their religion as long as they don't deprive someone else of their rights in the process, and they can't force anyone to practice anyone else's religion either. It's almost like, you know, freedom for everyone, not just for you.

I wonder if our constitutional scholars in the Pentagon have thought that soldiers who won't sign up to defend "God and country" because they don't believe in God and country may just not fight for anything at all. Furthermore, if it gets to the point where most of our armed forces are fighting for "Satan and country," then they're no longer fighting for me or the country I used to know, or the core values in which I believe.

Just like Paul Weyrich, Mr. Dougherty is confused about the nature of military service. Soldiers do not sign up to defend "God and country", they sign up to defend their country only. Some of those soldiers believe in God and some don't, which obviously means that there is no reason to group God and country together in this manner. Their oath, by the way, is to defend the Constitution, not to defend "God", and that Constitution guarantees free exercise of religion not just for you and your fellow Christians, but for everyone.

Personally, I would be more concerned with people like you being unable or unwilling to follow through on that oath. You obviously don't accept the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, yet you would have to swear an oath to defend it. The big difference is that those Wiccan soldiers DO fight for you and your right to practice your religion; you're just too much of a hypocrite to fight for theirs.

Is there any doubt that this nation has lost its soul, when this sort of open blasphemy is officially tolerated -- even endorsed -- in our country's military services?

So let's see....merely allowing Wiccans to worship on a military base is an endorsement of Wicca? So then the tens of millions of dollars spent paying Christian chaplains in the military would be an endorsement of Christianity, right? That would mean that military chaplains would violate the establishment clause, something even I don't believe to be true. How fascinating.

It is one thing to encourage religious freedom, because in America, that is but one of the "inalienable rights" our Founders (and God) bequeathed to all of us. But putting a religious face on the evil practice of witchcraft is inane. You can't tell me a sizable majority of the American people would ever consider witchcraft a genuine religion on the level of, say, Catholicism or being a Baptist or Methodist.

Translation: it's one thing to encourage religious freedom and another thing to encourage religious freedom for people I disapprove of. The amusing thing is that in ancient Rome, the Mithraists would have said the same thing about Christianity. If they had been as successful at stamping out upstart cults at the time, one wonders what religion Mr. Dougherty would now be using to justify his desire to control others.


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Impressive. This is a pretty long post, after all, and yet you were able to address only a fraction of the idiocy on display in Dougherty's column. Possibly my favorite part was his sarcastic reference to the "constitutional scholars in the Pentagon." There's only one sentence in the First Amendment, and its meaning is pretty freaking clear. You don't have to be a constitutional scholar to grasp the concept of freedom of religion -- although you do need to have at least some tiny scrap of functioning gray matter in your skull.

Mr. Dougherty needs to do a google search of Wicca and learn a little bit about it; like how it's based on pagan beliefs his ancestors in england followed until christianity for forced upon them. Wicca is a pretty tame religion and in no way "evil", although i think it's pretty silly like most religions seem to be. Perhaps if he did that Mr. Dougherty might stop sounding like he came straight out of salem.

By Matthew Phillips (not verified) on 27 Jan 2005 #permalink

To be far more fair to him than he deserves, loony Christian types (and some less loony ones, I suppose) believe Wiccans are at least indirectly worshipping Satan, because the Wicca deities are just Satan in disguise. They're wrong, in that Satan doesn't exist. But if you believe in Satan it's not an entirely unreasonable position to take.

Even if we were to take that position at face value, I'd still rather have someone fighting "for Satan and country" than have the likes of Charles Graner fighting "for God and country".

By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 27 Jan 2005 #permalink

I agree Matthew Phillips. There is nothing evil about Wicca. It is a spiritual community that celebrates nature.

I am a Christian and see nothing threatening about Wicca.

There is a coven that lives not far from me and there is never a problem with them. They chant, sing, burn candles during their meetings. In that same area where they meet the KKK also meets and I must say they cause a lot of disturbances.

As a Christian I welcome Wiccans to this community.

If anyone doubts my sincerity ask Ed (my fiance) who writes this blog.

What's REALLY funny is that when the Air Force started allowing Wiccans in basic training to hold rituals, they assigned the Seventh-day Adventist chaplains to look after them...Adventists being among the most literal fundamentalists around (absolutely literal 6-day Creationists, they read the Old Testament so literally that they keep kosher and worship on Saturday rather than Sunday). I got a real kick out of that, as I was raised an Adventist and know exactly how they feel about Wiccans.

As a military member married to a Wiccan I had to laugh at Dougherty's idiocy. I certainly did not swear to support and defend "God and country," I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees the right of Americans to worship (or not) as they please, even if it pisses off dolts like Dougherty.

By Michelangelo (not verified) on 27 Jan 2005 #permalink

Next he'll want to start burning them again.

To be far more fair to him than he deserves, loony Christian types (and some less loony ones, I suppose) believe Wiccans are at least indirectly worshipping Satan, because the Wicca deities are just Satan in disguise. They're wrong, in that Satan doesn't exist. But if you believe in Satan it's not an entirely unreasonable position to take.

Well, as someone who is not willing to rule out the possibility of Satan, I nevertheless have to laugh at this. I've long thought that, Satan being a wiley fellow, he would never use any method of attack as obvious as pagan religions, rock music, or sex. No, I think he'd aim for humans in their most vulnerable place - religion.

Perhaps that is why we see the rise of fundamentalist perversions of all religions, perversions that promote narrow-mindedness, exclusivity, moral arrogance and often violence against "infidels." - Just a thought for the folks as WND.

To be far more fair to him than he deserves, loony Christian types (and some less loony ones, I suppose) believe Wiccans are at least indirectly worshipping Satan, because the Wicca deities are just Satan in disguise. They're wrong, in that Satan doesn't exist. But if you believe in Satan it's not an entirely unreasonable position to take.

Not a reasonable position to take because wiccans don't "worship" anything in the sense that the term is used in christianity. The relationship with their deity is not viewed in that way. In fact there is no direct communication with the deity at all, in the sense that christians, muslims, etc. feel they are directly communicating with their god through prayer and feel him "talking to them". The concepts of deities are philosophical to them. Satan, if we allow him to exist, can't "trick" wiccans into thinking he's their deity because it's not a religion based on feeling a "spirit" within you. Hope that makes sense because it's difficult to explain.

By Matthew Phillips (not verified) on 28 Jan 2005 #permalink

CPT Doom,

I couldn't agree with you more. This reminded me of a letter to the editor I wrote some time ago, so I published it on my blog.

My criticism of religions (or some who practice it, rather) was more subtle than yours as you will see, but the idea is the same. B

I must say, at reading this I was howling with laughter. 'What an imagination!' I've always loved satire. This Mr. Dougherty can only exist in fiction. Following the link to Mr. Dougherty's rant, I can only hope he writes it just for the pay because it concerns me that one with a psyche so bent with intolerance for such subjective concepts as belief and faith as to resort to abductive reasoning with weak conclusions may be truly in need psychiatric care and possibly treatment. I mean, isn't it because of this sort abnormal aversion to tolerance that the US Government is waging an ongoing war with terrorism? The more I read the likes of the stuff Mr. Dougherty eructs, the deeper my resolve to protect my holt.