US military vetoes Vacation Bible School invite, disappoints children

(Photo: REUTERS / Mike Blake)

Active and non-active U.S. military personnel participate for the first time in San Diego's Gay Pride Parade in San Diego, July 16, 2011. The group is reported to be the first openly gay enlisted service members to march in a pride event in the United States following Congress repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Members of the Bible Baptist Church in Missouri, were frustrated after the U.S. National Guard snubbed the church's invitation to its Vacation Bible School.

Vacation Bible School is a religious education program usually held each summer to teach children bible truths and values.

Pastor Kent Hogan told Fox News that the church wanted the National Guard to participate in the VBS to help inspire kids and inform them of what the military does to defend the country.

"We are a very patriotic church," Pastor Kent Hogan told Fox News. "We love America. We love this country."

In this year's VBS, the church decided to honor the military with the theme, God's Rescue Squad.

The idea is that for each day of the week, the church would invite "Rescue Squads" to visit and inspire the participants.

Paramedics came on the first day, and the fire department taught the children simple fire safety concepts and drill procedures. On another day, the Jasper County Sheriff's Department brought their police dog handler's K-9 unit.

On Thursday, the National Guard was suppose to appear with their Humvees. But they were not allowed to do so.

Pastor Hogan said they were told that it was against military policy for National Guard troops to participate in the VBS. He said that by attending the event, the National Guard feels as if they are supporting the Baptist religion.

State Representative Mike Kelley said the Missouri National Guard told him that U.S. federal policy prohibits it from doing anything with any specific church.

The policy states that troops are to avoid activities that might involve the promotion of any religious or sectarian movement.

Members of the Missouri National Guard were disappointed with what happened.

One guardsman said he is ashamed and embarrassed as this is not the military he signed up for.

Another guardsman pointed that there were many disappointed children because the National Guard was "unwilling to allow a Humvee and a few soldiers to spend an hour at a Baptist Church."

"I will never understand why it's okay for the military to march in a gay pride parade but not allowed to spend an hour talking to children who look up to them (soldiers)," one guardsman noted.

In June, the National Guard was allowed to participate in Washington DC's gay pride parade. It was the first time that the U.S. Army Military District of Washington participated in the parade.

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