US Army Reserve Presentation Calls Catholics, Evangelicals 'Extremists,' Conflates Militias with Drug Gangs

The Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services is raising questions about an official US Army Reserve Equal Opportunity presentation on "Extremism and Extremist Organizations." Have a look at page 10 of the 33 page briefing.

The slide is about "neo-Nazi" and other militia groups. The photo in the corner, though, is a photo of members of MS-13, a notorious and violent gang engaged in the cross-border drug and human smuggling trade. The best that can be said about a photo of a gang accompanying material about militias, which tend to be insular and seldom engage in international drug operations, is that it's evidence of very sloppy scholarship.

But this particular presentation gets worse. Have a look at its loose definition of "supremacist" on page 7.

By that definition, every American who adheres to the Constitution, and every Christian who takes Jesus' words literally that He is "the way, the truth and the life," is a "supremacist." In fact, the definition is so loose that it ends up meaning nothing at all. If you believe any one thing is superior to all others -- "Whitesnake is the best band ever!" -- you're a "supremacist."

The US Army Reserve presentation on supremacy and extremism paints a vast number of American Christians and Jews as "religious extremists" on page 24.

The text accompanying this slide says that "Extremism is a complex phenomenon; it is defined as beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions or strategies of a character far removed from the 'ordinary.'"

According to Pew Research, Christians make up 78.4% of the US. Evangelical Christians make up 26.3% of the US population. Catholics number 23.9%. Defining either as "far removed from 'ordinary'" seems to be out of the ordinary itself.