Located in Carthage, Missouri is Bible Baptist Church, where parishioners are full of American pride. They celebrate patriotic holidays in grand style, having large gatherings and the congregation applauding military members and veterans during church services.
According to Fox News, the church decided to honor a variety of rescue squads during their vacation bible school. For one week, on separate days, they were going to showcase different types of “heroes”.
On Monday, paramedics came to visit the young children. The fire department visited on Tuesday. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Department brought in their K-9 unit the next day.
However, Thursday did not work out as planned. The church had invited the National Guard to attend on that day. They never showed up.
“We were going to thank them for protecting our religious liberty,” said Pastor Hogan. “It was more of a promotion for the military, to show the kids what they do.”
Fox News reported that the military was concerned about people getting offended by the presence of National Guard troops visiting a church.
“We were told it was against military policy for National Guard troops to participate in Vacation Bible School,” said the Pastor. “They said if the National Guard had assets on church property, it would look like it was sponsoring the Baptist religion.”
“They said they didn’t want to offend anybody. Well, it’s offended our whole church,” he said.
He contacted State Representative Mike Kelley, who then called the Adjunct General of the Missouri National Guard.
“They told me that federal policy prohibits them from doing anything with any specific church,” Kelley said. “The guys on the state level did everything they could. I have great respect for our local Missouri National Guard. But we are dealing with an over-burdensome federal regulation.”
Army regulations state:
“Army participation must not selectively benefit (or appear to benefit) any person, group, or corporation (whether profit or nonprofit), religion, sect, religious or sectarian group, or quasi-religious or ideological movement.”
It also states that troops are to “avoid any activities that might involve or appear to involve the promotion, endorsement, or sponsorship of any religious or sectarian movement.”
Several Missouri National Guardsman expressed anonymously to Fox News how embarrassed they were by the incident.
“We had a lot of disappointed kiddos because of the National Guard being unwilling to allow a Humvee and a few soldiers to spend an hour at a Baptist Church,” said one Guardsman. “It makes me wonder what I’m actually fighting for.”
The Missouri National Guard did not respond to requests for comment.