At Air Force 'Stonehenge', a Pagan Sanctuary

'We're here to accommodate all religions, period,' faith chief says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2011 8:10 AM CST
The academy's Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle was dedicated earlier this year.    (US Air Force/Mike Kaplan)

(Newser) – The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado is taking its commitment to respect religious minorities very seriously, the Los Angeles Times finds. Earlier this year, the academy dedicated a Stonehenge-like worship center on a hill for the use of current and future cadets who are pagans, druids, Wiccans, or other followers of what the academy calls "Earth-based" religions. Two witches—a civilian and an Air Force reservist—lead ceremonies at the site.

Of this year's intake of 4,300 cadets, just three consider themselves pagan. There are also 11 Muslim, 16 Buddhist, and 10 Hindu cadets—as well as 43 who have identified themselves as atheists. "We're here to accommodate all religions, period," says the chief of faith communities at the academy. "We think we're setting the standard." In 2004, a survey found that non-Christian cadets felt harassed by their evangelical Christian peers and some tensions remain: A cross was found planted at the academy's previous Wiccan worship center early last year.

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