For the first time in 20 years, the Army has denied providing an honor guard for a historic Baptist church’s Fourth of July celebration.
Officials at Fort Gordon informed Abilene Baptist Church they will not be sending an honor guard to this year’s celebration service because it would violate a military policy that bans troop involvement in religious services.
“While there are conditions under which the Army can participate in events conducted at a house of worship, we cannot participate in the context of a religious service,” Public Affairs Officer J.C. Matthews told Fox News.
What makes the blow even harsher is the fact that Abilene Baptist Church has deep ties to the Revolutionary War. Founded in 1774, Abilene Baptist is one Georgia’s most historic churches. The first pastor of the church, Rev. Loveless Savage, served as chaplain in the Revolutionary Army.
Fourth of July is not just a celebration of America for the church, but also a celebration of the lives of the men who founded Abilene Baptist.
“It was an absolute shock,” said Brad Whitt, current pastor of Abilene Baptist Church. “What a sad commentary on the state of affairs in America when we cannot even allow the flags to fly if they are in a church building.”
Pastor Whitt said the church has had a great relationship with the Fort in the past, and even hosted many events for military families.
The church still plans on having a “God and Country” themed service with patriotic music and a Sunday picnic, July 5.
“They have participated for the past two decades and now they are saying – no,” Pastor Whitt told Fox News. “This is just another example of the secularization of America.”
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SOURCE: CBN News