Christians Desecrate Wiccan Religious Site at Air Force Academy

Evangelical Christians are at it again. The proselytizing only-through-Christ bunch have now taken up desecration of non-Christian religious sites: Not Jews this time but Wiccans. What the hell goes through the minds of these evangelicals who think they can tell other religions—at a military academy no less—what to believe? At their core, evangelicals who despise pluralism are infantile.

Update: In celebration of holy Super Bowl Sunday, I want to urge readers to check out the new book, Onward Christian Athletes by Tom Krattenmaker. Not for Jews, Wiccans, Muslims, Football-Only-though-Christ. This is a critical book and Krattenmaker is brilliant. –

- The opening of the worship area at the Colorado Springs academy had been hailed as a step for religious tolerance
By DeeDee Correll—Reporting from Denver – The Air Force Academy, stung several years ago by accusations of Christian bias, has built a new outdoor worship area for pagans and other practitioners of Earth-based religions.

But its opening, heralded as a sign of a more tolerant religious climate at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., was marred by the discovery two weeks ago of a large wooden cross placed there.

‘We’ve been making great progress at the Air Force Academy. This is clearly a setback,’ said Mikey Weinstein, a 1977 graduate of the academy. He is founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and has often tangled with the academy over such issues.

Although he credits the academy’s superintendent, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, with an improved climate of religious tolerance, Weinstein criticized other academy officials as trivializing the incident, which he said was not revealed to cadets.

Rhetorically addressing academy officials, Weinstein said Tuesday, ‘It’s been two weeks — were you going to get around to telling them about this horrible thing that happened, and why haven’t you?’

Academy spokesman John Van Winkle said officials reported the situation to those on base and issued a message reiterating the school’s policy of religious tolerance and respect.

In a statement, Gould said, ‘We absolutely will not stand for this type of destructive behavior. I consider this no different than someone writing graffiti on the Cadet Chapel.’ In 2004, an academy survey found that many cadets felt that evangelical Christians were imposing their views and harassing non-Christians at the school.

The following year, an Air Force task force determined that there was no overt discrimination but the academy had failed to accommodate the religious needs of some cadets. Since then, the academy has worked to change that, Van Winkle said.

“It boils down to the key issue of respect — respect for everyone’s right to practice their faith as they choose,’ he said.

Specific steps include the creation of a Cadet Interfaith Council that identifies upcoming religious holidays and helps adjust cadets’ schedules to observe them.

The academy — which also has worship areas for Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish faiths — already had a designated area for Wiccans, pagans and followers of similar traditions, but it was located on the north end of the 19,000-acre campus and was not easy for cadets to visit, Van Winkle said.

The new site, a collection of stones set in a circle unveiled late last year, is closer to where cadets live and train.

Modern Wicca is a reconstruction of ancient European pagan religions and is based on respect for Earth, nature and the seasons. On the weekend of Jan. 17, Weinstein said a client of his organization who is based at the academy spotted a cross, constructed of railroad ties, propped against a rock at the center. The client reported it, and the Office of Special Investigations began an inquiry.

The dean of faculty, Brig. Gen. Dana Born, discussed the incident at a Jan. 27 staff meeting, Weinstein said.

Weinstein did not attend the meeting but said that faculty members who did described the official reaction as tepid.

One faculty member, who attended and asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, supported Weinstein’s characterization of the meeting.

The reaction would have been stronger, Weinstein said, if another worship center had been involved. Had a swastika been placed in the Jewish center, ‘heads would be rolling,’ he said.Van Winkle said he saw video of Born’s address: ‘She downplayed nothing. She addressed the expectations, the issue and moved on.’

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314 Comments for “Christians Desecrate Wiccan Religious Site at Air Force Academy”

  1. This one’s for all the Christian’s out there who think it’s acceptable to attack another’s beliefs. It is not your job nor your right to judge another’s beliefs. If yours is the “right” path, we’ll find that out. But your own Bible declares that we have the right to free will. So is it not counter-productive to then judge us “sinners” or “wrong?” For the record, before making the decision to become Wiccan, I studied all major religions in depth, with a great deal of time spent on Christianity, and have read your Bible four times through. I’m more than happy to post other passages that support my statements just as well. Your God has told you that he and he alone is to judge man. Not you. So leave us in peace, we’ve never in the history of humanity attacked you.

    1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Mk. 4.24
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
    6 ¶ Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

  2. goddamnathiest Rick

    Back around 2001 the same thing happened at Ft. Hood. The Wiccan’s had their place vandalized too. But the III Corp Commander put an MP out there. He wasn’t going to put up with anything like that.
    Later, a Republican Congressmen came down to protest, get some PR and so on. Funny thing, there were more anti-protesters then there were protesters. Not the welcome the Congressmen was expecting.
    That should get some press too. It did back then, but I think it should be brought up.

  3. mike weinstein is my kind if man and my kind of american.i hate religion because just like politics you have a certain amount of dipshit racist assholes that use religion to hide their rightous hate.religion should come with a warning label like drugs because it is the opiate for the masses!to much and weak minds od!sgt mjr you’re no differnt than a islamic rebel.

  4. Amnon Shadow Walker

    And while we are burning all of this metaphorical powder on this event, I would like to share a comment to help put this into perspective.

    As a fellow pagan friend of mine commented to me after his return from the sand box;
    After spending time in a *real* fundamentalist country, the Christians we have here are not a real big problem.

    And he went on to point out that the Christianity practiced in America today bears little resemblance to the “Convert or Die” Christianity of the 12th century crusades.

    I mean it has been, what, 300 years since we’ve had a burning at the stake here and just *ages* since the Christians have cut someone’s head off.

    Christians, like any other grouping of humans you could name, will have some real winners and some true a-hole rejects.

    I’ve met pagans and atheists and others who fit the same categories.

    Yep, some igits pooped in someone else’s sacred space.

    This is a problem for us because

    1) It happened at one of our academies
    2) As veterans, we are the type of folks who get very p*ssed off by this kind of thing. It is the sort of thing we generally fight against.

    But there is no reason to paint all of any group from the igits that do something stupid like this. Especially when it is something this minor in the long term scheme of things.


  5. who cares about the wiccans? seriously, they are just a bunch of girls playing with a ouija board. they’ll grow out of it eventually, just ignore them.

    • there not all girls ((smiles )) but i am a woman and i dont use a Ouija board and i wont grow out of the wiccan rede or my pagan beliefs but talking with my father in his christian church is some times pleasant but uncomfortable .,

  6. I’m a disabled veteran of the war in Iraq. I am a Christian. I am appalled. Disgusted. Don’t you geniuses see? Desecrating that Pagan symbol was EXACTLY against everything we swear to “support and defend” when we enlist in the first place. I may not agree with a man, but I’ll put my ass on the line to defend his freedom to be different from me. (Snd shame on you, Sergeant Major, if you really are one, for not seeing that. You’re supposed to be a LEADER.)
    When the Apostle Paul encountered a Pagan temple, he didn’t destroy anything, didn’t preach against anyone, didn’t take an “us against them” approach at all. What he DID do was look around and find some common ground- in this case, the shrine “to the unknown god,” and started his discourse from there.
    I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t compare myself or anyone I’ve met to the apostle Paul as far as spreading the Word goes… and if someone thinks doing something this stupid is doing anything but pushing people AWAY from the cross of Christ, they’re a complete fool.
    This is a bad thing- for America, the Service, and Christianity.
    whoever did this is a coward… too much of one to walk in like Paul and make a difference in person. And a fraud.
    And shame on his/her supporters in the name of Jesus Christ and the Constitution of the United States of America we all swore to defend.

  7. I agree that the military has a job to do, but obviously ‘wiccans’ are not going to be able to perform that job as well as others.

    • woah what that was probably the idiotic statement in this entire forum look here guy im pagan Wiccan actually and buddy i was a combat medic in the army attached to a cavalry unit and for you to say that if i were christian i could have done a better job at saving lives is the stupidest thing i have ever heard i only lost one soldier in a 14 month tour of iraq and he swallowed the barrel of his weapon. we do our part in the war despite being descriminated against

  8. You all seem to be forgetting that this is the United States of America. Still. And that religious freedom is everyone’s right, whether you agree with that religion or not. And, the military of the United States respects and honors that. … for the most part.

    I served for six years as enlisted in the U S Air Force. I was a damn fine aircraft mechanic and earned the respect of my peers. It’s no aircraft carrier, but the flightline can be a dangerous place to work. We all watched out for each other. We ate together, sweated together, swapped stories about spouses, deployed together, and relied on each other to keep each other safe.

    Oh, yes, and I had Wicca on my dog tags. And do you know what? The Evangelicals I worked with watched my back just as closely as the Atheists did. And do you know what else? I watched their backs, too, and kept them safe.

    Let’s not lose sight of what’s really important. The military has a job to do.

  9. I love how everyone has to preface their comment with a statement like “As a pastor of 55 years” or “as a vet with enough shiny metal decorations to make Kanye West jealous”. You know what those opening statements say about you? They say that you are speaking from a point of view that you will never ever consider looking beyond. You are announcing to us that you are indoctrinated. It’s so thoughtful of you all to warn us that your thoughts and opinions on the matter mean absolutely nothing to the portion of the population capable of exercising simple common sense. For crying out loud… a makeshift wooden cross was found leaning in a rock circle. How does that equate to bigotry and religious intolerance? Was the cross burning? Was there some kind of heathen hit list nailed onto it? Was it cut from one of the trees that they worshiped? If the cross was really that disturbing, why didn’t one of the pagans simply move it away from their place of worship… perhaps do the neighborly thing and give it to one of the rabid evangelicals? As much as I dislike organized religion, I really don’t want to see the men and women charged with defending everyone’s right to believe what they want destroy each other with their absurd dogma and rhetoric. All of this bother… when the solution is SO simple. In the end, the easiest and most effective way for the US armed forces to deal with such polarizing lifestyles and beliefs as religion and worship… “don’t ask; don’t tell”. It will help lead to better unit cohesion and make it that much easier for the men and women fighting side by side for America can trust and depend on their fellow soldiers.

    • By your logic blacks who find a burning cross in their yard should just put the fire out and get rid of the cross. Jews who find swastikas spray-painted on their synagogue should just paint over them and get over it. The fact is that crosses do not inherently “desecrate” another religion’s place of worship, it is the INTENT. This was not some innocuous act, the intent was to send a message that says, “we are the dominant faith and intend to stay that way, we have been getting rid of people like you for over a millenia and we will continue to do so.” That isn’t something to simply be scoffed at by the people it is directed at, and that may be your problem: it isn’t directed at you so you are inclined to minimize the situation and laugh it off. If that’s your view then why do you bother to even comment? It doesn’t matter to you so go about your business then.

    • I rather like the DADT solution to all the religious nonsense. Once upon a time, in America, religion was a private matter between a person and his god/goddess/gods/self/etc. Adults had been reared to respect that privacy, not getting up in anyone else’s face to discuss religion — at least, not outside of church, and since that suggested the person approached shared same or similar beliefs, it was no problem. Oh, for a return to the days of respect.

      Sadly, my own former commander convinced a committee inside the Pentagon to require superiors to ask about the “spirituality” and, of course, related practices, of those beneath them, during their annual pre-evaluation interviews. Clearly, this was intended to affect the ratings and furture inside the military, for those being so questioned.

      And this was an Air Force commander.

  10. I think the emo wiccans did it to draw attention to themselves

    • charlie not all wiccans pagans or christians are emo emo is a state of mind that happens mostly with teenagers i have noticed where they get popular by crying and cutting there wrists and emos vary in having all kinds of religions . (( no offense intended i am speaking on what i have seen )) hopefully they will survive long enough to grow outta the crying and cutting .

  11. Really, you want to mess with someone who screams about their way and only their way… Go on a little tour of some of the oldest “Christian” churches in Europe… And try to count all the various bits of Pagan Iconography that was included AT THE TIME OF THE CHURCHES’ CONSTRUCTION! I find that all rather amusing… Especially when people ask me if I would be OK entering a church because I might find it uncomfortable, or especially the time someone actually watched me walk into a church as if that person expected me to be smote by lightening! ROFL!

    • Amnon Shadow Walker

      I swear, some times I think they expect me to burst in to flame when I step into a church.

      and I stopped smoking years ago 8-)

      Yes, some of the stuff in the old cathedrals is just *great!*

  12. As a Christian (Evangelical), I find that this is not behavior that is representative of Jesus Christ, or his teachings. It is difficult to understand how a “Evangelical Christian”, if that is who committed this act, could think that these actions would lead anyone to Christ.

    As Chrstians, we are to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ not convert, and the best way to begin that is demonstrating his teachings by the way we live.

    • I agree..thats what I was taught and believe..
      I really do hate the stuff it down my throat attitude so much of Evangelical christans practice..that if we see a differnt side of sprititialism they are all frothing at the mouth to us..
      The tennets of the message is what we are all about..

  13. Brandon Longcrier

    I do wish that everyone could call this what the original story called it. It’s an Earth-Centered worship cirlce, not a Wiccan worship circle. Wicca is a tradition (or denomination if you will) that falls under Earth-Centered / Pagan spirituality, but everyone just assumes to call it a Wiccan circle. I can tell you that as of today, we don’t even have any “Wiccans” in our group. I just wanted to put this out there so people would know because calling our circle a Wiccan circle is like calling the Christian Chapel a “Baptist” Chapel. And by doing so, you leave out numerous traditions / denominations.

    • Well put. I call myself a Pagan, not a Wiccan. Though most of the literature I have been able to read does focus on Wicca, Paganism is also a form of Earth-centered belief. With all belief systems out there, there are many sects/groups/what call you that have their own views on how the belief system should be followed… All Earth-centered faiths would have/could have been using this circle for their own versions of what ever rites they wished to perform there…

  14. I consider myself an evangelical Christian. However worship and believe in who ever and what ever you choose, its your right of free choice. Just leave me alone to follow my spiritual belief, and don’t try to elevate your belief system above mine. I’ll pray for your eternal soul if you want me to or not. You will be held accountable for you choices, as will I.

  15. Has anyone considered this just might have been a (lousy) joke pulled off by students or others? These things have happened in the past…NO justification but certainly less than a real big threat…

    I’ve heard reports of some intense (rabid?) Christianity at the Academy but has it become so intolerant as to be disassociated from the tenets of real Christian behavior.

    in case I’m mixed up on this ..where do they keep the snakes, in that pretty chapel?

    • Another Pagan Madra

      We could use some snakes. If they would be so kind as to lend us some, Id be more than happy to put their shed skins to use, get us another form of change. (no snakes were harmed in the invoking of this change ^_^)

    • I am FOR Freedom of people.
      I dont disrespect Wiccan,
      I support their right to practice in this country..
      and I said ( the Religious Right maybe a part of this) but possibly just a awful Prank..
      If it was the Christians they have been nazified..and their hate for anything not exactly like them may become an issue to all of us..

  16. Lawrence A Dickerson

    That many Christians believe that the End Times are upon us they seem to openly attack any religious view that differs from their own.Keep in mind fundamentalists,there are over 1500 faith groups in the US alone,each with their own interpretation of what is ,”True”.

    This country was founded on the freedom to worship freely as one chooses.These fringe groups are a danger to themselves and others by advocating violence and destruction of those sects,denominations and religions.

    Nobody is above the law of the land and those individuals that take the law into their own hands need to be punished to the maximum sentence allowable.

  17. Change that ‘C’ to as tiny a ‘c’ as you can produce, these aren’t ‘christians’ no where near any religion, though they are rewriting the bible to fit them, again!

    • While you are at it, change the James S. to j.s. It’ll make you feel better for sticking your nose in other peoples’ religious business.

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