Wiccans and Druids Now Have a Chapel of Their Own at the Air Force Academy
Add Wiccans and Druids to the list of faiths that have their own chapel at the Air Force Academy.
A circle of stones around an altar was dedicated on a hilltop above the campus Tuesday with earth-centered prayer and speeches about religious liberty at the academy, a school that has long faced criticism as a bastion for evangelical Christianity.
"This outdoor worship space is something we have created to help people of all religions," Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, the academy's superintendent, said before a ribbon cutting on the site.
The academy is home to about 10 cadets who regularly attend "earth centered" worship groups. Earth-centered is a catch-all phrase for groups including New Age religion, paganism, Wicca, Druids and ancient Norse beliefs.
"This is very important for us, we didn't have a place to call our own, to be outside in nature," said cadet Nicole Johnson, a member of the earth-centered group.
Johnson and others used to meet in an engineering classroom to worship before construction of Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle, on a 7,200-foot hill top that overlooks the main cadet chapel.
Maj. Joshua Narrowe, a rabbi at the academy, said chaplains signed off the earth-centered chapel and pushed for its construction.
"I think its great," Narrowe said. "It's not a big group, but is a religious need."
The site will be open for use by any religious group at the academy, but earth-centered groups will have priority for its use.