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Patti Wigington

A Hero Denied: Stewart's Widow Speaks Out

By July 19, 2007

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Many of you have been following the saga of Sgt. Patrick Stewart, the Wiccan soldier who died in September, 2006, in Afghanistan. After a long battle, the VA finally relented in May, and allowed Stewart's widow, Roberta, to place the pentacle on his VA-issued headstone.

Roberta Stewart had a documentary film crew join her for much of her quest to get the pentacle placed on her husband's stone, and now plans to release the film, A Hero Denied, to the public. Producers Todd Bernsten and Melody Gilbert hope that A Hero Denied will help educate people about the importance of tolerance between members of all faiths.

Stewart is hoping to have the film pre-screened at next year's Sundance Film Festival.
Comments
July 20, 2007 at 9:30 am
(1) Teresa says:

I come from a Military Family and can only amigine what you must feel.May your heart be at ease and SGt.Patrick Sterwart be at Peace.
Blessed Be,
Teresa

July 20, 2007 at 12:02 pm
(2) Seshat says:

I would like to thank Sgt. Patrick Stewart’s widow, Roberta, for standing her ground. I am, myself, a veteran of the U.S. military, and I feel it is a sad and shameful thing that our military, and government, would stoop to such bias and discrimination. Our country was founded on the basis of freedom of religion. That to me means All religions. It is written in our Constitution and it should be strictly adhered to by our government. Roberta, you have done a wonderful thing for your husband. He is truly Goddess blessed to have had you in his life, and he is a true hero in a world where so many strive for a peace they never seem to find. May Sgt. Patrick Stewart now find his own peace in the company of the Goddess. I am certain we all feel gratitude for the efforts the Stewarts have put forward in the name of humanity. Thank you for your time. Blessed Be to all! Sincerely, Seshat Ma’at.

July 21, 2007 at 10:17 am
(3) Renee says:

Congratulations. Its people like Roberta that are just trying to make a difference for personal equality who shine above the rest and bring the positive light on Wiccan/Pagan issues. I am so extremely glad that she was able to do this for her husband. Blessed Be!!!

July 27, 2007 at 8:52 am
(4) Dave says:

I was one of the attendees of PSG to watch the frist part of ” A Hero Denied”,
and was touched by the courage and and quite strength that Roberta has shown during this trial.

I’m confident that those who see the finished productin will come away with the same pride that I did when I saw the preview.

Good Luck to Roberta, Todd and Melody

July 27, 2007 at 8:59 am
(5) Cedalion says:

I too am a veteran, and although only having started on the Pagan path for a few years now in earnest, I’m grateful for Roberta’s tenacity, and applaud her efforts and success. What I thought was funny, was that the VA recognized the symbol of Athiests, who don’t believe in Deity with the Nucleus (I’m guessing that is what it is called…), but balked at a symbol for those who would have a representation for Polytheism… Looking forward to the film! Love and Light, Cedalion

July 27, 2007 at 9:06 am
(6) Tedi says:

I am looking forward to seeing the film. I know it was a hard battle & I’m so thankful that Sgt. Stewart received the honor he deserved. It’s sad that it took months of fighting in courtrooms & Roberta did not only did her husband proud, she did us all proud! I’ll be watching for ” A Hero Denied” Blessed be!

July 27, 2007 at 9:31 am
(7) Epona says:

Being a Pagan myself I can imagine your outrage at this travesity of justice, he fought and died for HIS country and his religion didn’t stp them from letting him put his life on the line. When will they learn that so many of our modern day religions got there start bases on our tools. like wine and incense and altars, like Duh. well good luck and may the Goddess shine her loving light on you and comfort you in this sorrowful and trying time. Brightest Blessing you…epona

July 27, 2007 at 10:15 am
(8) LadyWolf says:

My heart goes out to you, Roberta! Thank you for standing your ground until your husband received what was his. Blessed Be!

July 27, 2007 at 12:03 pm
(9) Wanderer says:

I am Wiccan, as well as retired Navy. Though your husband is no longer with us in this world, he will always be a part of the light, and your heart. I am grateful for his selfless sacrifice, and hope to meet him in the light of the Blessed Mother when it is my time to move on in the light of the Ancient Power.

Brightest blessings to you and your family. May this also show us the path to true tolerance and respect for all.

July 27, 2007 at 12:34 pm
(10) kristy says:

I am glad they finally let her put the pentacle on there, but the fact that she had to struggle to let him have his faith, that wasnt christianity, shows just how ingornat, and far our country really hasnt come.

July 27, 2007 at 12:37 pm
(11) Carla says:

Three cheers for Mrs. Stewart. Being a Pagan for most of my Adult life and having coped with the fact that our moons and (stars) pentacles are just overlooked as if they didn’t exist. If the cross, star of david, the crescent, or symbols for buddha were overlooked they’d be screaming at the top of their lungs about religious freedom. Maybe we need to take up a loud voice, too.

July 27, 2007 at 2:11 pm
(12) Quedesh says:

Thanky you Robeta, you have made us all very proud.

July 28, 2007 at 1:40 am
(13) Cindy says:

I’m glad that you won this battle. The main force behind not letting the pentacle be placed on the headstones has been Bush. He is so Christian and RIGHT that everybody who is Pagan is wrong. I hope anyone else has this right to have the pentacle placed on their headstone also.
Blessed Be

July 28, 2007 at 7:42 am
(14) Denise Carpenter says:

I think this is a wonderful thing that has happened. It will further the public’s knowledge on the variety of other faiths. This nation was based on Freedom of Religion, it seems we take a step forward and 2 back. However this is many steps forward, may we continue to gather more steps as the Children of Light come out of the closet.
I look forward to seeing this film.
Bless and keep you,
Denise

July 28, 2007 at 9:14 am
(15) Magdalena says:

This article actually appeared in my local paper back in december if Im not mistaken, I cut it out an saved it.Good for you Mrs.Stewart!An thank you for giving us hope. Blessed Be!

July 28, 2007 at 7:59 pm
(16) Nina says:

Thank you, Roberta. The Christian right is a scary thing and it had to be trying to debate with them. They just don’t seem to be able to get their minds around the fact that there are other beliefs out there that are important to many and that christianity is not the one true religion for a lot of us. One of the reasons we are in this war in the 1st place. Much sorrow for your loss. Spirithorse

July 28, 2007 at 8:55 pm
(17) wwgrl says:

It wasn’t right for the government to deny her. It doesn’t really surprise me though. the government is christian biased and they think they can put their views on anything. I’m so glad she fought for it and won!!!

July 29, 2007 at 2:42 am
(18) Lisa says:

I admire Roberta for her perseverence to finally make our government wake up and remember the first amendment to our Constitution. I hope this sets a precidence for other issues that may serface regarding freedom of religion. It is absolutely apalling that our government would recognize Atheism but deny Wicca. There is strength in numbers, and there are more Wiccans coming out of the broom closet everyday. It is a comfort to know that Wicca now has a loud voice in religious freedom. Thank you Roberta for being the driving force,and may your Husband find peace in Summerland.
Blessed Be.

July 30, 2007 at 12:50 am
(19) Tamara says:

I am so sorry for the loss of your Husband, Roberta, and thankful for your courage to pursue the right to have a pentacle placed on Patrick’s headstone. You have paved the way for all Pagans to have our religion recognized, and respected for what it is. There is no reason for any Pagan to stay in the broom closet, anymore than any other religion. No one, nor any oraganization including the Goverment has the right to tell anyone what religion they should hold dear to them. After all, isn’t it freedom that our Solidiers are fighting and dying for?

July 30, 2007 at 8:16 pm
(20) priscilla says:

I will keep you in our thoughts and bless you

July 31, 2007 at 1:54 pm
(21) Angela Stewart no relation says:

We have all talked about change, I am glad that people are comming out of the Broom closet finally, and stepping up for their Faith. We as anyone else has a right to our beliefs, there is no wrong way to believe in A God/s. I am proud of my religon, I know I am a part of a greater plan. I appaud The Stewarts for all they have done and will continue to do, and looking forward to the upcomming film. I wish their were more public displays, so that others may learn we are not here to fight or be cruel, but the opposite. We can learn a great many things as well as teach it just takes a few to step forward.
Congradulations to the few for your first step.

August 3, 2007 at 4:57 am
(22) Someone Longlost says:

Thank you. Simple words but the closest I have to offer you for the appreciation swimming through me at your success.
You are just as much a hero as your husband. There are no other words to describe the magnitude of respect I have for you and your devotion to your faith. May we all find something to believe so whole heartedly in. Especially let us find equal grace in experiencing it as well.

Blessed Be!

December 28, 2007 at 1:24 pm
(23) Candie Glisson says:

My son, SGT Jason A. Schumann, US Army, was killed in Iraq this past May 19, 2007. Jason was also Wiccan, and originally the Army said for months there was nothing in his papers saying he was, which we now know is not true. He was also given a headstone with a cross, which was finally changed this past month. The Army officials, my ex, did not want people in this area knowing Jason was Wiccan, which is very Christian and conservative.
My thanks to Roberta Stewert for standing her ground. Neither she nor my own daughter-in-law should have had to fight the military for the right given to those of other faiths in order to display their own.

December 29, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(24) PATRICIA says:

I am not surprised at how the V.A. fought this and I strongly admire Roberta’s perserverance to make them do the right thing for her husband.
My son is mentally ill, 100%disabled vet from the Gulf War. He was falsely accused by a child of sexual abuse. She grew up and recanted. It seems two women encouraged her to lie because they did not like my son’s looks and thought he was “wierd”. He looked the way he did and acted too friendly because of his illness.
This child was extraordinarily street smart and lied as she told me later “all the time” and her grandmother knew it. She wanted to break up the relationship between my son and her older sister. The family was an extremely disfunctional one. My son has been living with this horror (along with our family) ever since…his case is still under appeal. But the V.A. has helped make a terrible situation far worse. There are people at the V.A. who have treated my son as if he were guilty and when a newspaper account came out showing the girl lied, they still treated him very badly. (my son had no record at all before he took a plea for this….we had no clue why the child lied…and if you think you would never do this if you were innocent, you don’t know how horrendous it is to have this kind of accusation and have no idea why a child would lie and have a lawyer who shrugs when you ask if it doesn’t matter if someone is innocent and have a lawyer who gets angry when you ask to think about the plea instead of just automatically agreeing.)
I have a very bad taste in my mouth about the V.A. and their treatment of this mentally ill vet who never did what he was accused of, took an Alford plea for and did not know how to fight. We need less Christians who are quick to judge and assume anyone who takes a plea is automatically guilty. We need less self-righteous and vindictive Christians… there are two recent cases where a young man was murdered in Maine (it was a Romeo-Juliet case he was 19, she was 15 and it was consensual) and the old man in Florida who wasn’t even on the sex offender registry and he was beaten to death. I believe Christianity causes too much of this thinking and behavior.

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