Temple Restorations and Religious Rights in the Military

After a long restoration, the Roman Forum’s Temple to Vesta and the Vestal houses and atrium are now open to the public. If I ever make it overseas, this will definitely be on my must see list.

Sadly, not all restoration plans are going so smoothly. In Germany, a visitor center is being planned that will be built right in the middle of an prehistoric Goddess sanctuary. This is just a bad, bad, idea. Why can’t it be built just outside the historical site? Besides the massive display of disrespect, wouldn’t this destroy valuable archaeological evidence? The Goddess Pages has more information and calls for a campaign to stop this crime. There is a facebook group protesting this travesty. Take a look and consider leaving a message of your own. Thanks to Jason Pitzl-Waters at the Wild Hunt for bringing this to my attention.

Some scary news regarding religious rights in the military. Soldiers are now required to take a “spiritual fitness” test. Atheists would get this response “Spiritual fitness is an area of possible difficulty for you. … Improving your spiritual fitness should be an important goal.” If a low score is received, spiritual modules are offered to “help a soldier improve his or her spirituality”. They are optional, but I imagine there would be not a small about of pressure to attend. They are supposed to be confidential and not used in determining promotions, but something about this just doesn’t sit well with me. The article doesn’t say who gets access to this confidential information – even if a CO is sworn to keep them from influencing their decisions, you know that it will. All soldiers in basic are REQUIRED to take this test, and soldiers not deployed in war must take it EVERY YEAR. Does that seem right to you? Luckily there is already protest over it. An atheist group and lawyers for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are currently fighting this, but its too soon to say how it will turn out.

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