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Soldiers in the U.S. military have been told in a training briefing that evangelical Christians are the No. 1 extremist threat to America – ahead of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, KKK, Nation of Islam, al-Qaida, Hamas and others.
“Men and women of faith who have served the Army faithfully for centuries shouldn’t be likened to those who have regularly threatened the peace and security of the United States,” said Col. (Ret.) Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization. It also appears that some military entities are using definitions of ‘hate’ and ‘extreme’ from the lists of anti-Christian political organizations. That violates the apolitical stance appropriate for the military.”
The briefing, which was given to an Army reserve unit in Pennsylvania, came from a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief titled “Extremism and Extremist Organizations.”
The material mentions neo-Nazis, the KKK and other white supremacist organizations. Pictures are shown on various slides of people in Klan attire and Nazi flags. The significance of gang tattoos, and racist acronyms and the significance of numbers were also discussed.
While the material on gangs and racist organizations is similar to what one might receive from a local police briefing on gang issues, after teaching on neo-Nazis in the military such as Timothy McVeigh, the material makes an amazing link.
A slide titled “Religious Extremism” lists multiple organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Hamas, the Nation of Islam, the Ku Klux Klan and the Christian Identity movement as examples of extremist groups.
However, the first group on the list is evangelical Christianity. Catholicism and ultra-orthodox Judaism are also on the list of religious extremist organizations.
Following the briefing, one of the soldiers who attended the presentation and describes himself as an evangelical told the trainer he was offended at the material and asked for a copy of the briefing. After receiving a copy, he forwarded the material to Crews.
The material describes religious extremism as those having beliefs, attitudes, feelings or actions that are “far removed from the ordinary.” It then elaborates by saying that “every religion has some followers that believe that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only ‘right way’ and that all others practicing their faith the ‘wrong way.'”
Crews said it is astounding that soldiers were taught that a key foundation of the Christian faith is now considered extreme and compared to those who want to implement Shariah law.
“The idea of salvation being exclusively through Christ is a key doctrine of the Christian faith,” Crews said. “It is amazing that the trainer felt they had the authority and right to list evangelical Christian, Catholics and orthodox Jews alongside groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.”
When pressed as to how evangelical Christians and Catholics are a danger to those serving in the military, the brief does not provide any examples. However, it does provide several examples of Muslim extremists in the military. Among them are:
- Navy petty officer Hassan Abujihad who emailed classified information to jihadists for possible attacks while serving on a destroyer.
- Ali Abdul Saoud Mohammed, who was an Army Special Forces instructor at the Special Ops Warfare School at Ft. Bragg while simultaneously being a trainer for al-Qaida and traveling overseas to fight with jihadists.
- Sgt Hasan Akbar, who killed two of his soldiers and injured 14 others at a military base in Kuwait when he threw four grenades into three tents where soldiers were sleeping. His reasoning was to prevent the killing of his fellow Muslims.
Conspicuously missing was one Muslim Maj. Nidal Hasan, who opened fire on fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood while allegedly shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Hasan’s rampage left 13 dead and 30 injured.
The Army has gone to great lengths to minimize the Hasan attack, going so far as to call it simply a case of workplace violence, similar to when an employee gets into a fight with another co-worker.
The Army has doubled down on its decision by issuing a report to Congress claiming that recent legislation that would label the shootings a terrorist act in order to help survivors and victim’s families would jeopardize Hasan’s chances of receiving a fair trial.
“Passage of this legislation could directly and indirectly influence potential court-martial panel members, witnesses, or the chain of command, all of whom exercise a critical role under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” the Army said. “Defense counsel will argue that Major Hasan cannot receive a fair trial because a branch of government has indirectly declared that Major Hasan is a terrorist – that he is criminally culpable.”
Crews said the major problem with the training brief is that it relies heavily on material provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center which has claimed that groups such as WND, the Family Research Council and other pro-family groups are hate groups and extremists.
“We’re concerned the use of the SPLC list is not isolated,” Crews said. “The Army should make sure its equal opportunity officers across the military do not fall prey and use this SPLC list that identifies Christian and conservative organizations as hate groups as the basis for their briefing.”
He went on to say that placing evangelical Christians first on the list of religious extremists speaks volumes about how the SPLC views Christianity compared to other religious groups.
“This is absolutely abhorrent to all those who identify themselves as evangelical Christians in this country,” Crews said. “We know other commands have used the SPLC list in briefing soldiers about hate crimes and hate groups, but this particular briefing is the most egregious in terms of blatantly identifying evangelical Christianity as the number one extremist group in the United States.”
The material claims the number of “hate groups, extremists and anti-government organizations” has increased because of the prospect of “4 more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.”
It goes on to state the purpose of the training is the belief that this issue “may be an indication of internal issues all services will have to face.” It advised participants that extremist organizations are inconsistent with the Army’s goals, beliefs and values regarding equal opportunity.
According to Crews, the Army Chief of Chaplains office told the Chaplain Alliance the training was an isolated incident and would not happen again.
Crews said while he accepts the explanation, the Army needs to go further and publically apologize to all evangelical Christians, Catholics and orthodox Jews.
“We believe the soldiers who attended this briefing should receive another class with the corrected material and the instructor should present a public apology. Evangelical Christians, Catholics and Orthodox Jews should be given an apology for having their faith called into question as extremists similar to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“We don’t want this briefing to multiply. If it is truly an isolated incident then it should be stopped right now and the instructors should be warned not to teach this material again.”