Department of Veterans Affairs Backs Down, Allows Pentacles On Headstones

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In March of 2006, I reported that the widow of a Nevada National Guardsman shot down in Afghanistan was trying to get permission from the Department of Veterans Affairs to have a pentacle engraved on her husband’s headstone. Her request was denied.

Both the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed lawsuits against the Department of Veterans Affairs on behalf of families whose loved ones’ headstones remained blank. The ACLU’s suit involved three individuals and two churches. The DVA settled the suit brought by Americans United, an act which automatically settled the ACLU suit.

Under the terms of the settlement, which was reached April 23, the DVA will add the pentacle to its list of approved emblems of belief, and will provide appropirate headstones to the families who filed the lawsuits.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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