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National Guard Cancels VBS Visit, Says Troops Cannot Be Affiliated with Church

Carrie Dedrick | Tuesday, July 29, 2014

National Guard Cancels VBS Visit, Says Troops Cannot Be Affiliated with Church

A Missouri church was shocked to find that a scheduled visit with National Guard members was cancelled to adhere to the military's policy. Bible Baptist Church of Carthage had planned for members of the military to visit children during their VBS program called “God’s Rescue Squad.” 

Children were going to learn what members of the military do and thank them for keeping the country safe. They had previously met with the fire department, EMTs and police officers with the VBS program. 

When the National Guard cancelled the visit “we were told it was against military policy for National Guard troops to participate in Vacation Bible School," said Pastor Kent Hogan of Bible Baptist Church. "They said if the National Guard had assets on church property, it would look like the National Guard is sponsoring the Baptist religion."

Hogan contacted state representative Mike Kelley about the situation, who told the church members that the military’s policy did prohibit soldiers from visiting churches. 

The policy states, "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."

Kelley expressed his disappointment with the policy and empathy for the church. Kelley said, “He (Pastor Hogan) basically got blown off by the federal government.” 

Pastor Hogan said, "I don't think most Americans realize how much their religious liberty is in jeopardy. If they did this to us, how bad is it somewhere else? This is not just a big-city issue. This is a small-town-America issue. Americans need to wake up."

Publication date: July 29, 2014