Sheriff to hold second annual patriotic, religious rally
For the second straight year, the Bossier Sheriff’s Office is inviting you to spend your Independence Day with them and send a message to the rest of the nation.
Sheriff Julian Whittington will host the 2nd annual “In God We Trust” rally Friday, July 4, from 1-4 p.m. at the Bossier Sheriff’s Office Viking Drive Substation at 2510 Viking Dr., Bossier City.
What began last year as a stance against the federal government’s denying $30,000 in funding for the Young Marines program because of the mention of God and voluntary prayer in the program has evolved into a rally to support the country’s religious foundations.
“This year, we’re focusing more on a patriotic rally and celebrating our nation’s birthday. I think we’re going to be bigger and better than last year,” said Whittington.
The free event encourages the public to celebrate Independence Day and show support for the national motto, “In God We Trust.” There will be food, children’s activities and patriotic and God-lifting music.
“We’re not telling anyone, ‘This is how you have to believe.’ But this is what we believe and support,” said Whittington. “We’re not ashamed that we’re Christians, this country was founded on Christian ideals — it’s woven into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and it’s on the back of your money. Now a few people don’t approve and say we need to abandon our principals. And I’m tired of it.”
Among the church singing groups, patriotic videos and remarks spaced throughout the program, six Bossier Sheriff’s Office Posse members who served during World War II will be honored during the rally.
“I know some of their stories and those guys, they’ve been to hell and back. And it will really make you appreciate what they have done,” said an emotional Whittington.
Other goings on will include students from Princeton Elementary School reading their award-winning essays of “What Does Freedom Mean to Me,” face-painting, cookie-decorating, games and snacks while the Bossier City firefighters will be grilling hot dogs on the east side of the building. Attendees can also register for their chance to win special U.S. flags flown over the U.S. Capitol and Louisiana State Capitol.
At 3:30 p.m., Sheriff Whittington will offer his remarks, and Gov. Bobby Jindal will also deliver a special message via video. Whittington will also make a check presentation to show the thousands of dollars that have been donated to the Young Marines program after Whittington told the Department of Justice that he was not going to remove voluntary prayer and the mention of God from the Young Marines program in order to receive the grant money.
“Last year, that issue (Young Marines) is what united everybody. It really struck a nerve with people on government oversight of a meeting in a building in Bossier and the religious concern that a mere mention of God and voluntarily prayer was a federal offense,” Whittington explained.
Looking back, Whittington admits he was surprised at how many people turned up for the event and reacted so strongly.
“People were already uneasy over where the country was headed and the Young Marines issue was a boiling point that they could attach to and say, ‘Here’s an example right here in Bossier City of how it’s affecting us.’”
As it stands now, Whittington paints an image of the BSO in one corner and the DOJ in a separate corner.
“They’ve moved on from religious criticism to other parts they disagree with — style and methods of the program they don’t think are effective,” said a defiant Whittington. “We don’t have the money, but we’re still doing the program like we think it should be done.”
Whittington said that no taxpayers’ money is being spent on the rally, with most materials being donated and the rest paid for out of a private fund.