Cultural Revolutions

By the Hammer of Thor

Thor, in Norse mythology, is a pagan god wielding mjölnir, his magic hammer.  His devotees include heathens, pagans, and followers of Ásatrú, a neopagan belief system.  “Thor’s hammer” may now be etched on the headstones of American soldiers killed in the line of duty, following a little-publicized decision by the Obama administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs.  The mjölnir pendant, popular among pagans, is among the 57 “available emblems of belief for placement on government headstones and markers,” according to a Veterans Affairs website.  Thor’s mjölnir, “a sacred symbol” for heathens who worship the Norse gods, has taken its place alongside the Latin Cross, Russian Orthodox Cross, and Star of David.

The Department of Veterans Affairs explains, “An emblem of belief for inscription on a Government headstone or marker is an emblem or symbol that represents the sincerely held belief of the decedent that constituted a religion or the functional equivalent of religion and was believed and/or accepted as true by that individual during his or her life.  The belief represented by an emblem need not be associated with or endorsed by a group or organization.”

The American taxpayer, in some instances, will pay the cost for inscribing Thor’s mjölnir on headstones. ...

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