The Obama administration’s Department of Defense was caught training U.S. troops that Catholics, orthodox Jews, and evangelical Christians are to be considered “religious extremists,” even equating the major religions representing more than half of Americans with truly violent groups such as al-Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan, and Hamas. After the explosive revelations hit the headlines, outrage promptly ensued. Now, critics are calling for an immediate public apology to the soldiers exposed to the hateful propaganda, as well as to the Christian and Jewish communities targeted in the presentation.
The latest scandal to hit the Obama administration and its handling of the military surrounds a so-called “Equal Opportunity” training course presented to U.S. Army Reserve forces in Pennsylvania. During the presentation, troops were subjected to a slideshow that included a segment on what was dubbed “religious extremism.” At the top of the list — the very first item — was “evangelical Christianity” in the United States. Also included were “ultra-Orthodox” Jews, Catholicism, fundamentalist Mormons, and “Islamophobia.”
Between evangelical Christians and orthodox Jews was the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamo-socialist group ruling over Egypt that Obama is supplying with advanced military weaponry including fighter jets and tanks — not to mention billions more in aid. Along with the Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, the Nation of Islam, a Filipino Islamist group, and Hamas were listed, along with Sunni Muslims in general. The U.S. government claims to be at war with some of the Islamist groups, while others are openly receiving American taxpayer dollars, weapons, and training from the administration.
The KKK, identified as a U.S. “Christian” group, was also featured on the list along with other white-supremacist movements. An Indian Hindu organization, some American militias, and the Jewish Defense League were included on the slide as well. "Extremism is a complex phenomenon," the presentation says under the slide identifying Christians as religious extremists alongside al-Qaeda, defining it as views that are outside of the “ordinary.”
The presenter also apparently defined extremism as anyone who believes that their own religion is the correct one — including, of course, anyone who accepts the words of Jesus Christ as they are recorded in the Bible. “Every religion has some followers that believe that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only 'right way' and that all others are practicing their faith the 'wrong way,' seeing and believing that their faith/religion superior to all others," claim the notes under the slide.
Religious people were outraged. Catholics, unsurprisingly, recoiled in horror, with the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services issuing a strongly worded statement. “The archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist,” the AMS said, with multiple reports noting that Catholics make up about a fourth of the armed services. “The archdiocese calls upon the Department of Defense to review these materials and to ensure that taxpayer funds are never again used to present blatantly anti-religious material to the men and women in uniform.”
The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center, a largely discredited outfit founded by a man that even fellow leftists describe as a con-artist, denied being responsible for the deeply controversial content in the presentation. However, the presenter later claimed to have obtained the information from the SPLC. Indeed, even the very first page of the presentation, dubbed "Extremism & Extremist Organizations," cites the radical group as its source.
"The number of hate groups, extremists and anti-govt organizations in the U.S. has continued to grow over the past three years, according to reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” reads the opening segment of the scandalous presentation, which sparked outrage from Christians nationwide and garnered international media attention. “They increased to 1,018 in 2011, up from 1,002 in 2010 and 602 in 2000."
The presentation also claimed that the surge in “extremism” was due to the president’s skin color — another discredited talking point parroted by the SPLC and its dupes. For perspective, consider that among the SPLC’s “surge” in supposedly “extremist” groups are organizations such as the Granny Warriors, headed by a concerned 74-year-old patriotic grandmother with congestive heart failure.
Critics of the military training presentation blasted its reliance on the SPLC. Last year, the controversial group’s wild propaganda was even cited by a deranged shooter who attempted to slaughter innocent people at the Family Research Council, which was dubbed a “hate group” by the SPLC for supporting the traditional definition of marriage. However, even as the establishment press has slowly started exposing the SPLC’s shady antics and absurd fear-mongering, the radical group has also been exposed working closely with the Justice Department and other government agencies.
“Why is there such dependence upon the work of the SPLC to determine hate groups and extremist groups?” wondered Executive Director Ron Crews with the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, one of the many groups that spoke out after the latest scandal erupted. “It 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.”
Crews, a retired colonel, also slammed the presentation itself, as well as its characterization of billions of people around the world as religious extremists. “We find this offensive to have Evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church to be listed among known terrorist groups,” he was quoted as saying. “It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of wrongheaded characterization…. 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.”
Incredibly, the training scheme also claimed that “extremists” — presumably, based on the presentation, including Christians — were not welcome in the armed forces. "Extremist Organizations' goals are inconsistent with the Army's goals, beliefs and values with regard to equal opportunity," states the material, which was filled with factual, spelling, and grammatical mistakes. “The Army realizes individuals do not set aside their prejudices, biases, and perceptions in favor of the Army’s values immediately upon joining the Army, however, it is vital that all Soldiers and Civilians are educated on Army Policy and what is expected of them while serving either in our ranks, or in support of our Soldiers.”
The presentation appears to conflict with American values in other ways as well. "American soldiers are supposed to be defenders of democracy," the training program claimed. The United States and every state, according to the U.S. Constitution that all military officers take an oath to uphold, are supposed to be governed by a republican form of government based on the rule of law — not the whims of a majority. Indeed, the Founding Fathers of America wrote extensively on why democracy was not a desirable system.
In the wake of the scandal hitting the headlines, the Army promptly distanced itself from the effort to paint Christians as extremists. “After receiving a single complaint following the presentation, this person deleted the slide, and it was never again shown,” Army spokesman George Wright said in a widely quoted statement, adding that the view of Christians as extremists did not reflect official government policy or doctrine. “This person apologized for any offense it may have caused, and we consider the matter closed.”
While the Army says that demonizing Christians in front of its troops is not official policy, the Obama administration has been hard at work on what many critics view as a “war” on Christianity and religion within society and especially the military. In 2011, authorities even tried to adopt a policy stopping visitors from bringing Bibles to wounded U.S. troops at military hospitals, sparking a public outcry that eventually forced them to back down.
At the same time, the U.S. government has been caught on multiple occasions attempting to portray returning veterans as potential terrorists even as it seeks to disarm them using various pretexts. Also potential terrorist threats, according to official documents published by multiple federal agencies, are pro-life activists, supporters of individual liberty and the Constitution, opponents of illegal immigration, gun rights activists, constitutionalists, Ron Paul supporters, critics of genetic engineering — virtually anyone, actually.
“I see it as the government’s complete abandonment of the ideals and principles given to us by our Founders that is a threat to our national security,” noted Pastor Roger Anghis, president of The Damascus Project aimed at getting Christians more involved in politics. “They have become the threat to our freedoms and rights and we must recognize this and use our election process to correct the problems that we ourselves have created by not paying attention to who we put into office. The choice is ours.”
The federal demonization of Christians, conservatives, and libertarians, meanwhile, has even percolated down to the state and local level. Last year, for example, the Justice Department was caught teaching police that popular political bumpers stickers supporting the Bill of Rights or national sovereignty could be potential indicators of domestic terrorism. Just last week it emerged that law enforcement in Colorado was being taught that organizations and individuals who take the Bible literally may present a danger to police officers.
“Among those groups, [Colorado State Patrol Trooper and future Homeland Security functionary Joe] Kluczynski had listed, were those who believe America was founded on godly principles, Christians who take the Bible literally, and ‘fundamentalists’,” wrote Prowers County Undersheriff Ron Trowbridge, who attended the “training” session and became alarmed. “Kluczynski did not explain what he meant by ‘fundamentalists’ but from the context it was clear he was referring again to those who took the Bible literally or ‘too seriously.’” Participants were also asked if they would seize firearms, Trowbridge reported.
Meanwhile, at the federal level, the Obama administration has recently been conducting military “urban warfare drills” complete with black helicopters firing blanks out of machine guns over major U.S. cities. Law enforcement was recently caught ordering targets of children and pregnant women, also fueling suspicions. The Department of Homeland Security has been under fire for months after contracting to purchase billions of bullets while deploying armored personnel carriers and other “weapons of war” for use on American streets.
Apparently, however, at least according to the administration, concern about the developments — what Obama calls his “fundamental transformation” of America — constitutes “extremism” and should be carefully monitored, if not yet criminalized. For critics of the direction the nation is heading in, though, it is time for Congress to investigate and stop the extremist policies coming from the executive branch itself.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at
Christian Massacres: A Result of U.S. Foreign Policy