Here’s some good news: the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, sent an Army-wide memorandum ordering a halt to all briefings classifying Christian groups as domestic hate groups.
The Oct. 18. order came a few days after Fox News reported that a large number of active duty and reserve troops were instructed that a Christian group called the American Family Association is an extremist hate group which poses a threat to America.
McHugh was reacting to the Fox report as well as pressure from Congress.
“This most recent mislabeling of a Christian organization reflects what appears to be a troubling trend of religious intolerance in the military,” wrote Rep. Doug Lamborn in a letter signed by four other members of Congress.
McHugh’s memo laid out a plan to standardize future instruction to troops concerning hate groups.
“[M]edia accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information or material that is inaccurate, objectionable, and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy,” McHugh’s memo stated. “For example, in two recent high-profile cases, Army instructors found information on the website of a particular special interest group that identified certain groups as ‘extremist’ in nature, and presented that information as part of their instruction.”
McHugh noted that “the groups identified in the instruction were not ‘extremist’ organizations” as that term is actually defined by the Army.
For now, McHugh ordered, Army leaders are “to cease all briefings, command presentations, or training on the subject of extremist organizations and activities, pending promulgation” of a uniform instruction and training program.
Both Fox News and the Family Research Council assert that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is responsible for providing Army instructors with the information which they foisted on American soldiers.
As Fox News notes, the Army’s Equal Opportunity Advisor Student Guide highlights the SPLC. Troops at Fort Hood were recently advised that donations to evangelical Christian groups or Tea Party groups could lead to penalties. Also, in May, Fox says, an Army Reserve training memo called evangelical Christians and Catholics as religious extremists.
In an example of supreme irony, a man named Floyd Lee Corkins used an SPLC map to find the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington, DC. He walked into the lobby of the headquarters in August 2012 in an attempt to “to kill as many people as possible” and then “smother Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces” because he disagrees with the conservative organization about gay marriage. Corkins shot a security guard. The guard then disarmed him. (RELATED: Family Research Council shooter pleads guilty)