The widows of two combat veterans sued the government Monday for not allowing Wiccan symbols on their husbands' military headstones.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allows military families to choose any of 38 authorized headstone images. The list includes commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.
The Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star surrounded by a circle, is not on the list, an omission that the widows say is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed by Roberta Stewart, whose husband, Nevada National Guard Sgt. Patrick Stewart, was killed in combat in Afghanistan last year, and Karen DePolito, whose husband, Jerome Birnbaum, is a Korean War veteran who died last year.
Wiccans worship the Earth and believe they must give to the community. Some consider themselves "white" or good witches, pagans or neo-pagans. Approximately 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as Wiccans, according to 2005 Defense Department statistics.