In exciting news for minority faiths, USA Today reports on the first Buddhist chaplain of the US Army. For those of you who keep up with the news, you’ll remember that back in 2007 one military chaplain who tried to change his denomination from Pentecostal to Wicca was not only denied, but removed from the chaplaincy altogether. So the inclusion of a Buddhist chaplain gives us hope that perhaps, one day, there will be military chaplains representing all minority faiths.
If you or someone you know is Pagan and is either in the military or thinking about joining, may I recommend our award-winning book by the wife of a two-tour Iraq War veteran and a member of a Gold Star family, Stefani E. Barner: Faith and Magick in the Armed Forces: A Handbook for Pagans in the Military. Until Pagan servicemen and women are represented by dedicated chaplains, this book offers welcome practical advice for setting up a faith group on base, what to know about interacting with the military system as a Pagan, and of course lots of little ways you can carry your faith with you, even in the absence of a helping hand. And the more the military learns about Pagans, perhaps the less resistant they’ll be in the future to instating a Wiccan or Druid chaplain. Keep your fingers crossed!