Barr blasts Army for allowing Wiccan celebration at Texas base

Associated Press/May 18, 1999

Washington -- Georgia Rep. Bob Barr asked top Army officials Tuesday to stop sanctioning the practice of witchcraft on military bases by contending it's a religion for some soldiers.

The Smyrna Republican fired off letters to Army Secretary Louis Caldera and Lt. Gen. Leon S. LaPorte, commander of Fort Hood, Texas, after seeing a newspaper report about a Wiccan celebration of the vernal equinox by soldiers at Fort Hood.

Barr said allowing such celebrations sets "a dangerous precedent" that could lead to "all sorts of bizarre practices being supported by the military under the rubic of religion."

"If military personnel who consider themselves witches want to practice such nonsense outside of their military service, the Constitution may be construed to allow them to do so," he said.

"The military, however, does not operate under the same restrictions as society in general and it is difficult, if not impossible, to make the case that encouraging the practice of bizarre rituals makes a positive contribution to combat readiness," he said.

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