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Bossier Sheriff’s Youth Programs Lose Federal Funding Due to Use of God and Prayer

Young Marines
Young Marines placing Flags on Veteran’s graves on Memorial Day courtesy of Bossier Sheriff

In a story originally reported by Amanda Crane and the Bossier Press Tribune, we find that Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington’s “Young Marines Program” and “Youth Diversion Program” will lose federal funding for their mention of God and use of prayer.

Whittington received notice that funding would be restored only if he signed a letter “pledging that no prayer or mention of God would be allowed” in the programs. However, Whittington said he is appalled by the government’s decision and refused to sign the letter, foregoing the $15,000 grant award.

Instead, he has written his own letter to state delegates, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and Congressman John Fleming.

In the letter, Whittington said the situation arose when someone in the Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights, in Washington, D.C., objected to allowing voluntary prayer and the mention of God in the Young Marine Obligation, which is recited aloud at the beginning of the program.

The Young Marines Obligation states, “From this day forward, I sincerely promise, I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines. These I will honor and respect in a manner that will reflect credit upon them and myself. Semper Fidelis.”

Whittington charges, “I don’t work for people in Washington. I work for the people of Bossier Parish and the majority of people in Bossier feel the same as I do. What we are asking for is certainly not infringing or forcing anyone to do anything. We are not lining people up against a wall and forcing them to pray. It has always been a volunteer led prayer.”

Way to go Sheriff!  We’re proud of you!

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