While briefing an Army Reserve unit in Pennsylvania, an instructor said that Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism were examples of religious extremism, equating followers with the KKK, al Qaeda and Hamas, Fox News’ Todd Starnes reported Friday.
A picture of the slide posted at the UK Daily Mail shows that ultra-orthodox Jews and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were also placed on the list along with the Nation of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The slide also called “Islamophobia” a form of religious extremism.
Another slide posted by the Daily Mail tells soldiers they are prohibited from participating in any activities, including meetings or rallies, with these groups, meaning that some Christian soldiers would not be allowed to attend church and Catholics would be banned from attending mass.
“We find this offensive to have Evangelical Christians and the Catholic Church to be listed among known terrorist groups,” Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told Fox News.
According to Army spokesman George Wright, the slide was not produced by the Army and is an “isolated incident not condoned by the Dept. of the Army.”
“This slide was not produced by the Army and certainly does not reflect our policy or doctrine,” he told Fox News. “It was produced by an individual without anyone in the chain of command’s knowledge or permission.”
According to Fox, a soldier who attended the briefing was offended by the slide and asked for copies of the presentation, which he forwarded to the Chaplain’s Alliance.
“He considers himself an evangelical Christian and did not appreciate being classified with terrorists,” Crews said. “There was a pervasive attitude in the presentation that anything associated with religion is an extremist.”
The Archdiocese for the Military Services also responded sharply to the slide.
“The Archdiocese is astounded that Catholics were listed alongside groups that are, by their very mission and nature, violent and extremist,” the Archdiocese told Fox News in a statement.
“They want the Dept. of Defense to ‘ensure that taxpayer funds are never again used to present blatantly anti-religious material to the men and women in uniform,’” Starnes wrote.
According to Wright, the presenter was not a subject matter expert, something that was spelled out in the notes. He also told Fox that the information came from an Internet search that included information from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Why is there such dependence upon the work of the SPLC to determine hate groups and extremist groups,” Crews told Fox. “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.”
But the SPLC denied being the source of the information.
Mark Potok, a spokesman for the SPLC, told Fox News they did not provide a list about religious extremism to the military
“It’s emphatically – 100 percent false,” he said.
According to Potok, the SPLC has never labeled Evangelical Christianity or Catholicism as extremist groups. The organization has, however, labeled a number of conservative Christian organizations “hate groups” over their opposition to the homosexual agenda.
In February, Floyd Lee Corkins II said he used the SPLC’s “hate map” to locate the offices of the Family Research Council before his attack on the organization.
Crews said the military needs to correct the “gross distortions presented in the briefing” and consult with chaplains on matters involving religion.
“Those soldiers who were presented this material – they need to have a new briefing with corrected materials,” he said. “They need to undo the damage that was done.”
According to Wright, the presenter deleted the slide and apologized.
“We consider the matter closed,” he said. – Examiner.com