Roberta Stewart, a Wiccan war widow, was not invited to a meeting with President Bush earlier in the week, even though he met with other families who have lost loved ones in Iraq.
Stewart told local media that she was concerned that her exclusion was an intentional snub for her leadership in an Americans United-sponsored lawsuit that forced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow the Wiccan symbol of faith on government-issued grave markers.
Today, President Bush called her personally to apologize for not inviting her. He added that “he would not discriminate against someone because of their religion.”
Americans United for Separation of Church and State issued a press release commending the President for doing this:
Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “The president has done the right thing, and his apology to Stewart should be commended. All veterans of war, regardless of their faith, should be honored and treated with the utmost respect, especially from their commander-in-chief. We are pleased the president recognized his slight of Stewart was wrong.”
Today, during an interview on Lynn’s nationally syndicated radio program “Culture Shocks,” Stewart also commended Bush for apologizing.
“I just now got off the phone and personally spoke with President Bush,” Stewart told Lynn. “I am happy to say that he did give me his deepest condolences. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and I do have to give him kudos that he at least took the time to call, give his condolences, and apologize for the VA problem.
“He apologized for the exclusion and the error that was made and said that he admired me for my spirit and thanked me for accepting his apology and said that he hoped he would have the opportunity to someday meet me,” Stewart continued. “I was very pleased with the way the conversation went, very pleased that he did call and put this right.”
So the next time you want to bash President Bush, just pause for .00002 seconds and remember this before proceeding.