REHOBOTH, Del. (AP) - A Delaware pastor is planning to lead a July 4 rally in defense of religious freedom after being denied permission to hold a series of Sunday services at a public bandstand in Rehoboth Beach.
The Rev. Robert Dekker, pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lewes, asked Rehoboth officials in late May for permission to lead eight summer services at the bandstand. City manager Greg Ferrese denied the application, saying he could not mix church and state.
The denial came even though officials have regularly allowed use of the bandstand for Easter sunrise services sponsored by a local association of churches.
Dekker subsequently obtained a permit to hold a one-time rally on the beach on Independence Day, one of the busiest tourist days of the summer season.