Air Force Academy to accommodate Wiccans


They’re planning a student dorm named Hogwarts

The Air Force Academy will add a worship area for followers of “earth-centered religion” — pagans — with a dedication ceremony scheduled for March 10.

A double circle of stones atop a hill on the campus has been designated for cadets and other service personnel in the area to practice Earth-centered faiths.

The academy said Monday that staff at the academy chapel worked with Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, a follower of the pagan tradition, to establish the site. He’s the noncommissioned officer in charge of the academy’s astronautics labs.

Longcrier said the stones had been moved to the area at some point in the past to keep them from rolling downhill and potentially striking buildings. The crews placed them in a circle thinking it would be a pleasant place for cadets to relax. The circle will join Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist sacred spaces at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The chief of the academy has made religious tolerance a priority after 2004 a survey of cadets found instances of harassment. Longcrier said earth-centered spirituality includes traditions such as Wicca and Druidism. Wicca is the largest religious group in the Air Force after Christianity.

Not that the Academy will start accepting openly gay or lesbian cadets any time soon.

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