Saturday, February 8, 2014

Religious Sect of U.S. Marines Demand Recognition and Rights for Norse Paganism Practice

On January 22, 2014 the Department of Defense issued a change to DoD Instruction 1300.17 entitled "Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services" (view DoDI 1300.7 here). According to a U.S. Department of Defense news release (see DoD Releases New Religious Accommodation Instruction, American Forces Press Service, January 22, 2014) the new instruction details its updated policy on making religious accommodations requested by service members. The new policy states that military departments will accommodate requests for the wearing of beards, turbans, religious apparel, and other tenets of their respective religions. The updated DoD instruction is quite specific as to which religious sects are covered by the new policy - including Sikh, Muslim, and Jewish members. However, one group of U.S. Marines is quite unhappy with the new policy as they feel their specific religious sect has been left out. This small religious group is comprised of members from Camp LeJeune, North Carolina who have converted to Norse Paganism and are now demanding that they be authorized to wear horns and wings on their helmets. The Marines have not as yet officially responded to the demands although there are unofficial reports that a working group has been established to determine the actual garb and equipment that Vikings wore into battle as they ravaged their way through England, France, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, North Africa, Russia, and New Zealand. Read more in "Marines Convert to Norse Paganism, Demand Horns and Wings on Helmets", DD Blog, January 30, 2014.

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