The Story: “Military Training Document: Anti-Christian SPLC a Trusted Source to Define ‘Extremism'” by Ken Klukowski at Breitbart.com.
Fox News’s Todd Starnes reported Wednesday on a Ft. Hood briefing where reportedly soldiers were told that evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters are a threat to the United States and are “tearing the nation apart.” Soldiers were reportedly told that they could be charged with committing a military crime if they supported or donated to such organizations.
Ft. Hood denies these allegations, but a separate source claiming to have been present during the briefing asserts the original account is true.
Ironically, in the place where an Islamic radical—Maj. Nidal Hassan—committed an act of terrorism that murdered fourteen Americans, including the unborn child of one of the female victims—a presentation on terrorism singled out Bible-believing Christians and supporters of the Constitution as serious threats to this nation. Islamic terrorism was barely mentioned.
Why it Matters: This is not the first, second, or even third time we have seen reports of military officers using the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a source to teach soldiers how to identify extremist groups in the country, blaming Christian organizations for any discord in our country. The problems – and hence why this matters – with this training is multiple.
First, consider the source. The SPLC came to notoriety by documenting the nefarious, immoral work of the Ku Klux Klan. Over the years, however, in their zest to identify hate groups like the KKK, the SPLC began lumping in groups that hold to an orthodox understanding of gender and marriage. That led to at least one troubled young man storming into the headquarters of the Family Research Council intent on shooting the workers therein, smearing their dead faces with Chick-fil-a sandwiches.
Second, note the audience. Soldiers are being trained to identify potential threats to national security. Thus, our military – our volunteer force of brave men and women assembled for the protection of our homes, bodies, and liberties – is instructing the rank and file that rather mainstream Christians are potential enemies to our national security. I’m no military expert, but I think I know what armies in past centuries have done to threats to national security and it isn’t pretty.
Third, note the shift. This training is supposedly designed to assist mid-level officers in developing esprit du corps as to religion in our pluralistic military force. As another story has reported, that has meant a shift from religious liberty to “religious respect.” What’s the difference between religious respect and religious liberty? Respect suggests limitations on another; religious liberty suggests total freedom. The former means that there are areas of religious speech and behavior that is disrespectful and, therefore, morally wrong. The latter suggests that there is a Truth to be identified and discovered and all are encouraged to discuss, debate, and discover that Truth.
Be careful not to dismiss these stories as “fringe” examples of the suppression of religious liberty. As the fringe burns you will soon find yourself closer to the fire.
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