The Air Force denied it was a sponsor of a Memorial Day weekend festival at Stone Mountain, Ga., honoring the military and featuring introduction of a new paperback Bible designed for military personnel published by the Southern Baptist Convention.
Holman Bible Outreach International, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, announced plans to give away 3,000 copies of its new Holman CSB Military Bible, “designed to meet the specific needs of military personnel and was created a format that is easy to carry,” at the May 26-28 event honoring active duty and veteran U.S. troops and their families.
Featured speakers at the three-day event, expected to draw 100,000 people, included former SBC President Bobby Welch, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and author of You, The Warrior Leader.
LifeWay said it was sponsoring the event with the United States Air Force, Task Force Patriot USA, General Motors and others. The advance press release described the Task Force Patriot Salute to the Troops as “an official U.S. Air Force 60th anniversary event.” At least one military publication, from Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, called it an official Air Force event.
Americans United for Separation on Church and State wrote a letter May 23 saying military involvement in the three-day event violated the Constitution and the military should not endorse or promote a festival arranged by evangelical Christians.
The Air Force responded with a statement saying it was “not a sponsor” of the event and was “not aware until recently of the religious connotations surrounding Task Force Patriot’s participation.”