What are America's biggest threats? Hamas? Al Qaeda? According to recent statements by U.S. military officials--including an Army briefing on "religious extremism," the military should be just as concerned with Evangelical Christians and Catholics as threats to America.
In another example, it was discovered that Lt. Col. Jack Rich of the U.S. Army highlighted FRC and American Family Association (AFA) as specific groups who do not share "our Army Values." Rich warned his subordinates "When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values--don't just walk by. Do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem." The 14-page email goes on to smear FRC and AFA by name, lumping us in with the real extremists of the Ku Klux Klan, Black Panthers, and neo-Nazis--as labeled by the anti-Christian Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which was connected in court to the terrorist shooting at Family Research Council's headquarters on August 15.
This type of inflammatory rhetoric is not isolated. As Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes reported this week, these incidents follow a long line of recent military missteps:
- A Fort Leavenworth War Games scenario identified Christian and Evangelical groups as potential threats
- A 2009 Dept. of Homeland Security memo identified Evangelicals and pro-life groups as potential threats to national security
- The U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center released a study linking pro-lifers to terrorism
- Evangelical leader Franklin Graham was uninvited from the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer service
- At the National Cemetery in Houston, Christian prayers were prohibited at the funeral services for military veterans
- Distribution of Bibles was banned for a time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
- Christian crosses and a steeple were removed from a chapel in Afghanistan because the military said the icons disrespected other religions
- Catholic chaplains were prohibited from reading a letter to parishioners from their archbishop regarding the Obama HHS mandate.
A number of lawmakers, led by Congressman Doug Lamborn (R- Colo.) are demanding answers. In a letter to the Secretary of the Army, he and other Members of Congress are calling on the Army to apologize for attacking Christians and labeling them as extremists.