Angry veterans walked out after a vicar used a Remembrance Day service to preach about Donald Trump and Brexit.
Servicemen reportedly left the service in Whitstable, Kent in disgust when the Rev Rachel Webbley side-lined the sacrifice of fallen soldiers in favour of preaching on the election results. She also said that climate change is the biggest threat to world peace today.
Veteran Terry Marsh, 72, who was present at the service, told Kent Online: “This was a service to remember the Fallen. Whatever you think of Brexit, we were there to pay our respects – it wasn’t the time or the place for it.
“When it went from Brexit to Donald Trump, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, when is this going to end?”
The Rev Webbley said in her sermon that Brexit and Trump had divided British and American society, and called for sides to come together to fight the apparently much bigger threat of global warming.
She told the servicemen: “The Brexit referendum highlighted a huge split within our country, which would have been unthinkable when we faced the common enemy of fascism in the last war.
“The American election this week has been the most divisive and controversial ever, and may bring the special relationship with our historical allies into question.
“And the fallout from both of these distract from the greatest threat to world peace and global security today – climate change.”
She added that social media has increased “our human tendency to withdraw from those who are different”.
Mr Marsh said the vicar’s decision not to focus on the sacrifice of the fallen had cause some people to walk out of the service.
He said: “An old boy beside me in a wheelchair was shaking his head with tears in his eyes.
“People were actually leaving, they were that upset with what she said.
“We were at the front of the crowd because I’d laid a wreath. If I was nearer the back I would have left as well, no doubt about it. She was totally out of order.”
The Rev Webbley defended her sermon, however, saying: “Whatever side you are on, in whatever conflict, you must try to understand those who have the opposing view to you.
“That is the message I was trying to put across in reference to Brexit and Donald Trump.”