Why Thor's Hammer is on military headstones

John Brownlee on how the U.S. military’s epic journey into religious tolerance reached Odinism. Mjölnir is a weapon of honor and virtue, and a fitting symbol for any noble warrior. So it’s appropriate that American soldiers can now request the symbol for Thor’s Hammer be placed on their headstone if they die in the line… READ THE REST

gotta say, that’s a pretty nifty symbol for atheism.

Generally, the US military has been ahead of society in general on respect for paganism. I’m glad that the VA caught up to the active services.

Mjollnir, runes, etc. are problematic because some racist pinheads use them. It was nose-bleeding hard to get the Anti-Defamation league to put a disclaimer on their Hate Symbols Database:

Users of this database should keep in mind, however, that few symbols ever represent just one idea or are used exclusively by one group. For example, the Confederate Flag is a symbol that is frequently used by white supremacists but which also has been used by people and groups that are not racist. To some it may signify pride in one’s heritage but to others it suggests slavery or white supremacy. Similarly, other symbols in this database may be significant to groups or individuals who are not extreme or racist. The descriptions here point out significant multiple meanings but may not be able to relay every single possible meaning of a particular symbol. For this reason, all of the symbols depicted here must be evaluated in the context in which they are used.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like to go to prison with Asatru/Odinist tattoos, because of their use by the Aryan Brotherhood gang.

Here’s the list of all approved emblems: http://www.cem.va.gov/hmm/emblems.asp

Everything’s gravy, up until the bottom: 98 - MUSLIM (Islamic 5 Pointed Star) Not shown because of copyrights.

What the? How? Who could possibly hold a copyright on that?

I wonder if you can get both the atheism and half of this one:

And yes, i know what it is.

I’m sort of inclined to think that the reason behind most of its uses will be “we couldn’t use swastikas”. Though, perhaps those warrior Buddhists will convince the military brass to reconsider that position as well.

The obvious question is when we’re going to see a Pastafarian symbol.

I’ve never quite understood why atheists are presumed to have the same effective nuclear charge as Lithium nuclei; but apparently it’s how we roll.

The graphic designer, I suppose, though only on their specific implementation of it. Now, for a trivially simple piece like that, and one that has presumably been around long enough that you could hire anybody to draw it for you, I don’t know how you could possibly fail to get an unlimited license(or a full grant of copyright and/or work-for-hire) for $20. Might be a wacky story of prickly religious sensitivities meeting hilarious contracting ineptitude…

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