I have left the VFW on Veterans Day

Well, it’s Veterans Day, 2011. This morning I cut my lifetime membership card into quarters. At the ceremony at the local memorial I gave one piece to the Post 6393 Chaplain, one to the Past Commander and one to the Commander; all with very little comment.

I am sick and tired of the VFW’s disrespect for Pagan veterans and those on active duty. I have totally had it with new VFW members being initiated and having the post chaplain point to a King James Bible and tell people that it is the source of all wisdom and the guide to true comradeship. To me that is, at the very least, downright insulting.

Thus, I encourage each and every Pagan who is a member of the VFW or those who are thinking of joining that organization to consider the aims, goals and practices of the organization. Personally, I find it openly insulting but each of you are free to act as you seem best. However my advice is, if you belong, quit and explain why. If you don’t already belong allow them to try to recruit you and, at the last moment, explain why you will not join until and unless they make some very major, very basic changes.

Remember, many of the national officers, board members and staff continue to insist that the VFW is a Christian organization.

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Pagan Veteran Mistreated by United Arilines

I am contacting United Airlines in my official capacity as National Commander, Pagan Veterans of the United States of America regarding an incident this last August in Chicago. It involved Pagan Veteran Rev. Jessie “Mebh” Olson, and an employee of AirServe Corporation, a United Airlines subcontractor. To quote Rev. Olson concerning the incident: “In August I filed a complaint against an employee of United Airlines who verbally attacked me for my religious beliefs… I was waiting for a wheelchair to preboard my plane, but the attendant arrived too late to preboard me, despite the fact that I had asked him several times to ensure he returned for me on time. He then got another attendant who asked me to pray with him and give up my burdens to god. I am not a Christian and I informed him (of this) and then asked to change the topic. At this point he became confrontational and got down in my face; he began to quote scriptures at me and was so vehement that he sprayed spit in my face. He told me I would go to hell, quoted scriptures about false idols and told me that I would be a better person with his god in my life.” After further complaints the subcontractor did fire the individual involved but neither United Arilines nor AirServe Corporation have issued a formal apology for the incident refunded the Rev. Olson’s ticket. Again, to quote Rev. Olson, “…neither United nor the contractor, Airserve corp, has offered any restitution for the humiliation I experienced. United claims to have sent me a certificate for a new flight (no amount has been indicated) but I have NEVER received it and wouldn’t fly with them again if my life depended on it. All I want is my ticket refunded, a small price to pay for the horrendous treatment I received. I want to send a very clear message that United can not allow its employees to harass customers, no matter their religion, particularly helpless ones that can not remove themselves from the situation.” Until United Airlines can offer an acceptable explanation for this totally uncalled for incident and corrects this situation with Rev. Olson, I will not fly on any United Airlines or United Airlines owned flight, will instruct the PVUSA Quartermaster that no travel on United Airlines is authorized for any of our officers or staff and will make all members of Pagan Veterans of the United States of America aware of this situation. Should this situation not be resolved by February 1, 2010, I will discuss further actions that our national veterans organization may take, to possibly include but not be limited to; a major press conference; a legal suit; public demonstrations at corporate offices, airports and/or travel agencies that book flights on United Airlines. Charles Arnold National Commander Pagan Veterans of the United States of America

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Just in case

Here, in case you missed it, is the latest from the local Yardley VFW concerning PVUSA participation in the Honor Color Guard on Memorial Day – along with a few comments from yours truly.

To: charles arnold <charlesparnold@…>

Cc: davidson057@…; Peter Hook <PeterHook@…>; Bill Tropia <seehaas@…>

Charles,

I am copying VFW6393 Senior Vice Commander Davidson, Legion 317 Commander Tropia, and VFW6393 Chaplain Hook on this note for clarity and communication efficiencies.

I am very glad to hear your support of and ability to participate in the WCNC Guardians Honor Rifle Squad.  As we have all discussed repeatedly, that duty is critical to proper honors of our departed comrades. Thank you.

Regarding your participation in the Yardley-Lower Makefield, VFW6393 / Legion 317 Commemoration of Veterans Day 2009, please be perfectly clear and understand that my invitation to you to deliver service upon our Honor Rifle Squad was based entirely upon your trusted and earned status Veteran and a prior ceremony participant within our VFW and Legion and local area community and not upon any denominational affiliation.  VFW6393 needed bodies to staff a properly manned Honor Guard, you are a trained, trusted, reliable, responsible handler of weaponry and you and I happened to be at our Post when I was looking to fill out the squad.  The extent to which you felt you were representing Pagan Veterans USA during those ceremonies and your participation in that Guard, is entirely up to your interpretation

(Here I feel a need to interrupt. The extent to which I was representing PVUSA was obvious; I was in PVUSA Honor Guard Blacks, with a PVUSA cap on my head – not a VFW hat. And I did not feel that I was representing PVUSA but was doing so obviously, so obviously that several people asked about the uniform and the organization.)

… but that connection was and is circumstantial and not intentional nor reserved for future participation.

VFW Post 6393 and its mission within the VFW at large is and will continue to be devoted to VFW members and Veterans of all persuasions,

(except Pagan veterans who happen to feel uncomfortable with VFW meetings which include THREE christian prayers -more at special events.)

… denominations, races and creeds and will not focus exclusively upon nor discriminate among them due to any circumstance outside of their Veteran service and status.

Regarding the objections to Pagan Veterans USA participation upon the Memorial Day Color Honor Guard, the statements delivered via separate letters to you by Legion Commander Tropia, and me, still and will, apply.  The institution of Memorial Day is not one to neither identify nor celebrate any service member of any individual affiliation whatsoever, nor will its Parade Flag Color Guard demonstrate recognition or celebration of any isolated group, regardless of denomination, races, creed or persuasion.

Regarding your perception of contradictions; while I don’t lay any claim to be any great theologian nor Constitutional scholar, I do know this, the National value of and foundation upon a separation between Church and State was not set forth to outright eliminate Church from our Nation, but rather to ensure that the State would not be permitted to establish and mandate any single particular Church or like devotion for all our citizens.

(See the previous letters to see the contradictions in this comment.)

… This fundamental protection is among the many that all we Veterans have fought, and in some cases died, to protect and ensure in our country and should not be permitted to be a source of division among us.

Congratulations upon your interview and imminent article with the Courier-Times to publicize and work to grow Pagan Veterans USA.  I spoke with Jim McGuiness about your interview as well and reiterated VFW6393s open welcome of Veterans of all Eras, an invitation to VFW membership of those qualified Veterans regardless of denominations, races and creeds.  I emphasized your past valued service to our Post and our mission and your participation during ceremonies throughout past years.

Most Very Respectfully, Yours in Continued Comradeship,

Christopher Desmond

Commander VFW6393,

Yardley-Lower Makefield , PA 19067

mailto:cmdesmond-vfw6393@…

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Rendering Honors

I realize that the community does not, as of yet, have adequate resources but I would like to raise the idea of a pet project that has been running around in my mind for months; I call it Rendering Honors.

Rendering Honors would be a documentary about the Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign and its multi-year campaign to have the Department of Veterans Affairs recognize the Pentacle and the ongoing saga of obtaining appropriate symbols for Druids and Heathers as well. I imagine this as a 48 minute documentary (1 hour on television on radio) examining not only the Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign but precursors such as the Isis Invicta Military Mission and the Military Pagan Networks efforts along with contemporary actions of the Lady Liberty League and The Aquarian Tabernacle Church.

The primary would be on the efforts of two widows, Rosemay Kooiman and Roberta Stewart, to have a headstone with a Pentacle placed in the name of their husbands. CPL Abraham Kooiman was a World War II infantryman who won the Bronze Star on his way from Normandy to Germany and who died peacefully in 2001. SGT Patrick Stewart was a helicopter crew chief whose Chinook helicopter was shot down over the mountains of Afghanistan in 2005.

I see a large part of the program being made up of interviews including those with Roberta Stewart and the children of Abraham and Rosemary Kooiman. Also included will be interviews with Selena Fox, Pete Pathfinder, and me, along with representatives of the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Additional footage would include shots of some of the Pagan veterans headstones around the country, comments from Pagans currently serving in the military and with Pagan veterans and, very importantly, footage of various politicians attacking Pagans, Paganism and Pagan service in the military.

I see this project being produced jointly by the Pagan Veterans Headstone Campaign, Pagan Veterans of the United States of America and private donors. Any person or group contributing $500 or more will be named in the credits, as will all of those who make major contributions in other ways.

Comments or suggestions???

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We may get some press

Most anyone who visits here has probably read the press release I put here. Now there is news on that front.

I talked to a wirter for the Bucks County Courier-Times, Jim McGuiness, and he is interested in writing a story. Thing is, I’m not sure what the story will be about. I don’t knew if he will focus on a member of PVUSA bieng involved with other veterans groups, about Pagans in the military, or something completely different.

What I do know is that no matter how bad the story turns out (or how good), it will help publicize the fact that thousands of Pagans have served and are serving in the American military – and that is flat out good.

Stay tuned boys and girls, no specific time, no specific station, just peek in here and check out what happens.

 

Oh, one question. I see that the decision has been made to put several accused terrorists on trial in New York because it is the safest location for such a trial in the country. Now let me ask what happens when the first lawyer for any of the defendants requests a change of venue based on bias on the part of prospective jurors in New York? Wonder why no one else is asking this question? Is it possible that changes of venue are not allowed in such cases and, if so, is that grounds for an appeal?

Oh, and what about speedy trial and all the rest of the possible defense motions? Miranda rights? Questioning using methods not allowed in other situations?

Just wondering…

Charles

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A Cross Burns – poetry

A Cross Burns

 

A cross burns

to keep away the dark

and the slope

and the kike

 

satin robes rustle

and lynch

and castrate

and burn

 

torches are raised

and hands

and fists

to fall on the

bodies and homes

and churches and children

 

to keep America

red, white and blue

with the red of the blood that flows

the blue of the bruises on the bodies

and the white of the skins of fanatics

 

standing in darkness

 

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Press Release, feel free to use it

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE DISSEMINATION

TO: All Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA media outlets and selected national outlets

FROM: Pagan Veterans of the United States of America

RE: History Was Made on Veterans Day 2009

DATE: November 10, 2009

CONTACT: Charles Arnold, National Commander, PVUSA – 609-651-7079

A seemingly small but important historical step was taken in Yardley, Pennsylvania this Veterans Day when a member of a new, national veterans organization, Pagan Veterans of the United States of America, was asked to be an active participant in the Yardley, PA, Veterans’ Day celebration.

Charles Arnold, wearing the black and purple of the Honor Guard of Pagan Veterans USA, participated as a member of the Rifle Squad which fired the traditional twenty-one gun salute to honor veterans. His participation was at the request of this year’s Master of Ceremonies, Commander Christopher Desmond of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6393. Arnold, a Vietnam veteran and Life Member of the VFW is no stranger to veterans events in Yardley and Lower Makefield Township. In past years he has served as a member of the Rifle Squad, firing salutes; as well as the Color Guard, but always representing the local VFW Post. This was the first event where Arnold or any other member of his organization has represented PVUSA in an official event.

Pagan Veterans of the United States of America, which began forming in March of this year, is a veterans’ service organization offering camaraderie, support and other services to its members and is involved in educational and patriotic activities as well. It came into being as a result of a successful campaign which convinced the US Department of Veterans Affairs to offer veterans the families of deceased the option of having a headstone with a recognizable Pagan symbol, the Pentacle. Often confused with a motorcycle club, the term “Pagan” in the name actually refers to a grouping of religious faiths to which the organization’s members subscribe. But officials with the group go to great lengths to point out that it is completely secular and is affiliated with no particular religious sect, as well as similarities it shares with other focused veterans organizations such as Jewish War Veterans, Catholic War Veterans, and Native American Veterans.

One of the more surprising outward features of the organization is its lavish use of the color purple which is found not only as the background color for its flag but its uniform hats and other regalia. Pagan Veterans USA chose purple because, as its written material states, “When you take the blue of loyalty and fidelity to be found in all who have served this country in uniform and combine that with the red of blood, often shed, the result is purple, a color that rightfully recognizes the true spirit or patriotism and sacrifice which personifies not only out membership but all veterans.”

For additional information contact National Commander Charles Arnold at the phone number given above. Alternatively, you may email questions or comments to charles.arnold@PaganVeteransUSA.com or his personal email account, charlesparnold@Yahoo.com. Whitten request for information or interviews may be sent to PVUSA, 490 Plaza Boulevard, Bldg. K, Suite 114, Morrisville, PA 19067.

 

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