North Point again fails to honor Memorial Day

For all of the wisdom and leadership that exists in this church, there is one thing at which North Point Community Church fails miserably: knowing how to address Memorial Day.

The most offensive tribute was the Sunday service Memorial Day weekend in 2004, after which I sent our pastor, Andy Stanley, a letter, which included this paragraph:

The purpose of Memorial Day is to honor American soldiers who have given their lives in defense of freedom. I’ll confess my sensitivity in holding to this purpose: my hero, mentor, and cousin, Lt. Col. Timothy Kehler, was an Air Force fighter pilot who was killed when his Phantom F-4E crashed in 1986. This past Memorial Day, North Point made no attempt to honor American soldiers who have given their lives defending the freedom we all enjoy. The song “American Soldier” followed by the recognition of former and active American armed service members was patriotic and heartfelt in its sincerity, but these are more appropriate for Veteran’s Day in November. The slideshow of U.S. soldiers shown during the song appeared to be desert images which reminded me of the 700+ service members killed in Iraq, but yet no mention was made of them. In ignoring them, the church also ignored tens of thousands of American men and women who have given their lives in wars and conflicts before. Was a proper acknowledgement of Memorial Day too solemn for North Point’s upbeat service format or does remembering the deaths of service members run contrary to someone’s politics?

Regrettably, Andy never responded to this note unlike my letter a year later.

While North Point wisely ceased stunts like those of two years ago, it still fails to give honor and respect to our dead armed service members and their families while patronizing current and veteran members of our armed services by acknowledging them instead.

And perhaps it was nervousness, but insulting nonetheless were the announcements made by the Navy officer (in full uniform) at the 8:30am service on Sunday when he twice mentioned celebrating Memorial Day "today" when in fact Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May, never a Sunday.