WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Advocates for separation of church and state are urging cancellation of a Christian concert at a U.S. Army base but base officials say the event will be held.
"Rock the Fort" -- scheduled for Saturday at Fort Bragg, N.C. -- is being sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which said on its Web site the concert would be a "clear presentation of the Christian Gospel," CNN reported Friday. Americans United for Separation of Church and State said in a letter to U.S. military officials the concert will be used to proselytize on a U.S. military base in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
"It's not the Army's job to convert Americans to Christianity," Americans United Executive Director, the Rev. Barry Lynn, said. "This event is totally unacceptable and must be canceled."
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association did not comment on the matter, CNN said.
"Attendees will have an opportunity to respond to the Gospel Evangelistic message, be encouraged by Fort Bragg Chaplains and trained counselors from off post Churches and on post Chapels, and then be offered ongoing Biblical Spiritual Resiliency training at our military chapels and local churches," the organization said in a promotional item for the event.
Fort Bragg Chaplain Col. David Hillis wrote to local churches inviting congregations to participate in organizing Saturday's event, CNN said.
Hillis told CNN the concert complies with military rules and attendance is voluntary. He said he would be willing to support a similar event if believers in other faiths wanted to produce them.