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Air Force Academy Dedicates Pagan Chapel

By Lindsay Watts (generic)
Published On: Jun 15 2012 03:46:47 PM CDT
Updated On: May 03 2011 11:52:31 AM CDT
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The Air Force Academy officially dedicated its pagan chapel Tuesday. The outdoor worship area is for cadets who practice Wicca, Druidism and other earth-based religions.

"It's just a place where I can go to be myself," said Cadet Nicole Johnson, who calls herself a pagan. "It's outside so you can see the stars at night, we get to be closer to nature. Now, when we have full moon rituals you can see the moon."

Johnson and several others are part of the pagan worship group at the academy. Cadets of all religions also came out to support the new chapel.

"It's just a great symbol of what the academy is capable of , how supporting we are of everyone who is a cadet," said Philicia Fahrenbruck, president of the academy's Inter-faith Council.

There was some controversy last year when someone left a large wooden cross in the chapel. Some called it desecration.

"It's just kind of annoying," said Johnson. "This is our space. We're trying to call a space our own."

The academy investigated the incident but said they never found out who left the cross. AFA leaders said nothing like that has happened again.

Johnson said she feels her religion is accepted by fellow cadets, as it should be.

"We serve our country like everybody else," said Johnson. "My religion makes no difference to the service of my country."

Like all worship areas at the AFA, people of every faith are welcome at the chapel.

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