The Missouri National Guard was barred from attending a meet-and-greet at a Bible Camp this month.
It is against military policy.
Bible Baptist Church in Carthage, Missouri is a small country church bursting with American pride. Old Glory is posted in the sanctuary. And every morning at summer youth camp, the teenagers pledge allegiance and sing the national anthem.
Patriotic holidays are big doings at Bible Baptist. On Memorial Day, the church ladies put out quite a spread – fried chicken, potato salad. Veterans would wear their uniforms and the preacher would salute them during the morning worship service.
“We are a very patriotic church,” Pastor Kent Hogan told me. “We love America. We love this country.”
So it was not that big of a surprise when the church decided to honor the military during their annual Vacation Bible School. The theme was “God’s Rescue Squad.” And each day of the week, the church invited local “rescue squads” to visit with the boys and girls.
The paramedics came on Monday and on Tuesday, the fire department showed up. The boys and girls were taught how to stop, drop and roll. On Wednesday, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Dept. brought their K-9 unit..
But our story picks up with what happened on Thursday. That was the day when the church was supposed to honor the National Guard. They had invited troops from the nearby armory to drop by with one of their Humvees.
“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 the military does.”
But the National Guard did not visit Bible Baptist Church on Thursday night, and the reason why has caused great anger and frustration among church members.
“We were told it was against military policy for National Guard troops to participate in Vacation Bible School,” Pastor Hogan said. “They said if the National Guard had assets on church property it would look like the National Guard is sponsoring the Baptist religion.”