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.
While casting millions of faithful American Christians and Jews as “extremists,” the slide on page 25 has a glaring omission that is surely tied to the Obama administration’s handling of one of the worst terrorist attacks against US military and civilian personnel on US soil.
Notice who is not included on the list: Maj. Nidal Hasan. On Nov. 5, 2009, US Army psychiatrist Hasan went on a rampage at Fort Hood, Texas. He killed 13 people including a pregnant soldier, and wounded 32 others. Despite the fact that Hasan shouted “Allahu ackbar!” while gunning his victims down, and his prior contact and communications with Islamist preacher and terror exhorter Anwar al-Awlaki, the Pentagon officially lists Hasan’s massacre as “workplace violence.” It is denying Purple Hearts to the wounded survivors.
The slide presentation appears to have been delivered to a unit or units in Pennsylvania; pages 32 and 33 specifically list groups in Pennsylvania without listing groups in other states. Page 32 cites research by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which renders its information suspect since the SPLC has taken to listing any group that opposes same-sex marriage as a “hate group.” The SPLC’s map of such “hate groups” helped inspire a pistol attack on the Family Research Council’s headquarters in Washington, DC. The SPLC has therefore itself inspired a “hate crime,” yet the US Army presentation on extremism cites the SPLC’s research.
The overall message of the briefing is that Billy Graham and Archbishop Timothy Dolan may be more “extreme” than a Muslim terrorist who killed more than a dozen Americans working and serving at Fort Hood. Its origins and the extent to which it has been used needs to be investigated, and its authors called to account for their terrible scholarship and obvious bias against millions of peaceful American Christians.