Citing recent “inflammatory rhetoric” by Army officials, the head of the Family Research Council is warning supporters that President Obama could put evangelical Christians and Catholics on a “watch list” to prevent them from purchasing guns.
FRC President Tony Perkins said on his “Washington Watch” radio broadcast Wednesday that the Senate’s bipartisan proposal requiring background checks for Internet gun sales is “very concerning given the fact that the United States military has been increasingly showing hostility toward evangelicals and Catholics as being somehow threats to national security and people that need to be watched.”
In an email today to FRC supporters, Perkins explained that a recent Army briefing on “religious extremism” declared evangelical Christians and Catholics are among the biggest threats to America, along with Islamic supremacist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas.
Perkins said it was also discovered that, in an email, Army Lt. Col. Jack Rich highlighted FRC and the American Family Association as groups that do not share “our Army Values.”
In his broadcast Wednesday, Perkins tied together the Army rhetoric with the proposed Senate legislation.
“Well, what does that have to do with gun control?” he continued. “Well, what happens if all the sudden you are identified as an evangelical, Bible-believing fundamentalist and the government decides you’ve got to be put on a watch list?”
Perkins explained that under the legislation, if “a caution comes up when they put your name in, you don’t get a chance to buy a gun.”
The controversial Army briefing, titled “Extremism and Extremist Organizations,” was given to an reserve unit in Pennsylvania.
A slide titled “Religious Extremism” listed organizations and movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Hamas, the Nation of Islam, the Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity as examples.
However, the first group on the list is “evangelical Christianity.” Catholicism and ultra-orthodox Judaism are also on the list of religious extremist organizations.
Perkins, in his email dispatch today, noted that Lt. Col. 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 puts FRC and AFA together with the Ku Klux Klan, Black Panthers and neo-Nazis, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center, which, according to a judge, inspired the shooting at Family Research Council’s headquarters last August.
Perkins cited Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes’ list of “recent military missteps”:
- A Fort Leavenworth War Games scenario identified Christian and evangelical groups as potential threats;
- A 2009 Department 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.
Perkins noted members of Congress, led by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., have sent a letter to the secretary of the Army calling on the Army to apologize for attacking Christians and labeling them as extremists.