For over a decade, new military recruits at the Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex in Alabama have received a pocket-sized Bibles from Gideons International volunteers. These volunteers are now being told by the military that they would no longer allowed to distribute Bibles to recruits.
"They kicked us out," Gideon's volunteer Michael Fredenburg told ChrismaNews in a telephone interview. "They told us, 'Get your Bibles out.'"
Gaylan Johnson, a public affairs officer for the Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCS) defended the decision and said, "They can place their literature within our facility, but they are not allowed to stand there and talk with applicants or hand them [the Bibles] out," he told Charisma.
Fredenburg stated that his father begun the task of giving Bibles to new military recruits more than 10 years ago, four days a week. He took over the group when his father died last July. Had he been alive to see the practice forbidden, "it probably would've killed him," Fredenburg said.
The custom was, after recruits finished their paperwork, they would walk by Gideon volunteers, who shook their hands and offered them a pocket-sized Bible. Gideon volunteers had military identification cards and had been allowed to store Bibles on the base, the unhappy leader said.
Once the volunteers were instructed to stop handing them out he said, "I tried to get ahold of the colonel, but he would not return my call."
So Fredenburg instructed the volunteers to continue spreading the Bibles until they received official orders. Those orders came on Wednesday. Instructing the Gideons to no longer give the recruits God's Word, he said.
"I contacted one of my guys and asked him to get the Bibles out," Fredenburg explained. "He went over and got all the Bibles-and we're out."
According to the report, the Gideons are allowed to have a display rack within the premises that can have Bibles on it, but are no longer allowed to directly hand them out.
The military passed a policy that says, "non-federal entities shall not be permitted to post or station a member within the premises of any MEPCS, including outdoor areas under the exclusive control of the MEPCS for purposes of distributing literature," charisma reports.
The Gideons were never told why.
Below is a video of Rep. Fleming on the Air Force Halting Gideon Bible Distribution