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No honor guard at Abilene

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fourth_july_flagMARTINEZ - Abilene Baptist Church near Augusta will not have an honor guard to enhance their Independence Day Worship celebration on July 5th. Although the church, established in 1774, predates the founding of the nation and although the U. S. Army has provided an honor guard for the church’s 4th of July celebration for nearly two decades, it won’t happen this year.

According to officials at Fort Gordon, providing an honor guard for a religious service is a violation of military policy. Public Affairs Officer J. C. Mathews stated, “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.”

Todd Starnes of FOX News wrote, “That policy would be an offense to most churches in America – but it is especially offensive when you consider the Army just refused to provide an honor guard for a church whose first pastor was a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army.”

Interestingly, in the minds of those who make policies for our military gay pride has begun to receive preferential treatment over churches when it comes to providing color guards.

Aaron C. Davis of The Washington Post explained that while the U. S. military may not offer honor guards for religious services that does not stop them from providing that service for others. Davis wrote on June 5, 2015: “Shortly after Dykes on Bikes rumble across the starting line of the Capital Pride parade in DuPont Circle on Saturday, an expected 150,000 spectators should witness something never before seen on an American city street – a U.S. Armed Forces color guard marching alongside rainbow flags in a gay pride parade.

Abilene Pastor Brad Whitt commented, “That’s what makes this so sad. This is what we’ve come to in our nation - where even just representing the colors is some sort of political thing.”

Starnes described this as another tragic example of the secularization of America. Of course, secularization is the process of removing religious and moral influence from our society.

I remember when each school day was started with prayer. In fact, we often had preachers in the community preach for our school assembly programs. Christian holidays were celebrated in many of our public schools almost to the same degree they were celebrated in church. If that happened today, the ACLU would be issuing lawsuits from coast to coast. That is an example of secularization.

There was also a time when our society would never think of scheduling a ball game on a Wednesday or especially a Sunday. That was due to the deference our society showed toward those who held Christian values and practices. However, those days are gone. Few things militate against faithfulness to the church like travel ball Very little thought is given to the religious practices of some people when it comes to preparing a league schedule. This is another example of secularization.

The examples of secularization are endless. Unfortunately, the church now has to take a backseat to every sporting event and every sideshow that blows into town. The days of the Christian consensus in America are gone with the wind.

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