Apparently, there are some in the US Army who believe that to be an American you must support “Army Values.” And if you oppose those “Army Values” you are a danger to the country.
Most Americans, in principle, can agree with this – especially since we think of Army values as freedom, democracy, liberty, justice, etc.
But what if the Army doesn’t support your values? Are you now an enemy of the Army? An enemy of America?
There’s something deeply disturbing and sinister about a recent e-mail sent to Army officers alerting them to keep an eye open for soldiers who might be members of such “domestic hate groups” as …
… Christian Action Network, the American Family Association and Family Research Council.
The e-mail came from Lt. Col. Jack Rich of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky who warned nearly three-dozen fellow officers that these groups do not “share our Army Values” and are “inconsistent with Army Values.”
Christian Action Network is on the list because of our work to expose radical Islam. Both the American Family Association and Family Research Council are listed because of their efforts to promote traditional marriage between a woman and a man.
Quite clearly, Lt. Col. Rich thinks Christian Action Network and other pro-family, conservative groups are anti-American, possibly even enemies of the state, because of their biblical beliefs.
Lt. Col. Rich asked his fellow officers to keep an eye open for any soldier who may be a member of these groups “starting with reception and integration” – a convoluted way of saying that soldiers allied with these groups should be closely monitored from the time they enter the Army to wherever they may go during their military service.
According to Mr. Rich, people who belong to what he calls “anti-gay groups,” “anti-immigrant groups,” “anti-Muslim groups” and “patriot movement groups” are considered members of “domestic hate groups.”
And his e-mail gets more bizarre as he tries to identify even more people and groups who do not represent “Army Values.”
For example, Lt. Col. Rich also claims that it’s against “Army Values” to be part of something he calls the “Sovereign Citizens Movement.”
This “movement,” according to this military commander, is composed of people who “believe that they get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore …” (Shouldn’t this include President Obama? Isn’t he ignoring, for instance, federal marijuana laws? And did he not refuse to enforce the federal DOMA law that forbids federal recognition of gay marriages?)
These so-called “Sovereigns” do not fight with guns, he says. “The weapon of choice for sovereign citizens is paper.”
That’s right. Paper.
People who are “Sovereigns” file paperwork against government agencies when they disagree with a law. Oh, the horror! Perhaps they’re simply following their First Amendment right of “petitioning for a government redress of grievances.”
But such paper work is scary, according to Lt. Colonel Rich.
“… when Sovereigns are angry with government officials, their revenge most often takes the form of ‘paper terrorism.’ ”
The ghoulish nightmare of “paper terrorism” should keep us all awake at night.
After devoting 18 paragraphs to define what a “Sovereign Citizens Movement” is, Lt. Col. Rich then makes this astonishing claim:
“It is impossible to know how many sovereigns there are in the U.S. today, in part because there is no central leadership and no organized group that members can join.”
Exactly how you can become a member of a group that does not exist and has no leaders is not explained. But they are a danger, nevertheless. A domestic hate group.
The point of Lt. Col. Rich’s e-mail is clear.
The Army has what he calls (with a capital V) “Values.” Groups that disagree with those “Values” are “domestic hate groups.” Soldiers who belong to those “hate groups” should be watched and carefully monitored throughout their military service.
The menacing nature of this e-mail is Lt. Col. Rich’s effort to define what it means to be an American. And it is outrageous.
Army Values are American Values, or so we would think. But to list our group as a “domestic hate group” that does not represent Army Values is to also say, in the same breath, that we are not American.
I don’t think it’s absurd for me to speculate that some in the U.S. Army are trying to define who in the United States is an enemy of America.
If Lt. Col. Rich’s e-mail was the only example, the only concern, perhaps we could categorize his e-mail as nothing more than a commander displaying left-wing lunacy.
But unfortunately, Lt. Col. Rich’s e-mail does not stand alone.
In early April, the Department of Defense came under heavy fire for allowing a U.S. Army instructor to present a slide show listing “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” as religious extremist groups.
The instruction, which was given to an Army Reserve unit in Pennsylvania, listed evangelical Christianity and Catholicism alongside such notable and well-documented extremist and terrorist groups as Al Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan and Hamas. (See the full presentation here.)
Is it mere coincidence that in Pennsylvania the Army Reserve is being told that evangelicals and Catholics are religious extremists – as extreme as Al Qaeda – and in Kentucky an Army officer says that Christian Action Network, American Family Association and the Family Research Council are “domestic hate groups.”
Earlier this year, the Air Force removed “God” from its logo, while the U.S. Military ordered soldiers to remove a cross and a steeple from a chapel in Afghanistan. Also this year, the Army ordered Catholic chaplains not to oppose the President’s policy on birth control measures.
It’s all against “Army Values,” you see.
A couple of years ago, and under the Obama Administration, veterans in Houston said the Department of Veterans Affairs was banning their prayers that used “God” or “Jesus” during funeral services at Houston National Cemetery.
Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) was probably stating the obvious when he told FOX News, “There is a war on religious belief in the military.”
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty has complained to congressional lawmakers that military chaplains are under attack if they oppose gay marriage.
“If you are supportive of same-sex marriage, you can speak boldly,” said Ron Crews, executive director of the chaplain organization. “But if you are opposed, you are silenced.”
It is important to see this danger in perspective.
The U.S. military is a guardian of America. They have commanders, soldiers, weapons and guns to protect American rights, liberties, freedoms and interests.
But is it also their goal to protect something called “Army Values?” If so, this could put the U.S. military at odds with certain religious entities, individuals and organizations – especially now that the military has adopted homosexuality into its core beliefs.
A lot has been written about whether our military has the legal right to attack American citizens, especially citizens living on American soil.
But U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder thinks this argument is already settled.
In a letter sent to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) in early March, Holder states:
“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.” (See article here.)
In the end, we do not have to search long or hard to determine whether military soldiers can fire upon U.S. citizens.
A simple reading of current enlistment oath for all soldiers is sufficient enough:
“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic (emphasis added) …”
Most can understand “foreign” enemies. But who are the “domestic” enemies?
In November 2012, the West Point Combating Terrorism Center published a study called, “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.”
Included in the list are the “violent far right” groups you might expect – the KKK, Skinheads and pro-Nazi groups. (No far left violent group is listed. No radical Islamic violent group is listed.)
But alongside the KKK and Skinheads, the West Point publication lists “The Christian Fundamentalist Movements” as dangerous violent groups.
The publication fails to mention a single Christian leader or organization by name. The lack of specifically identifying any names or organizations makes the accusation seem to include anyone associated with the “Christian Fundamentalist Movements.”
Even without being able to name a single Christian leader or organization that could possibly represent these so-called “violent” fundamentalists, West Point does not hesitate to explain why they are a danger.
They are a danger, according to the report, because they provide “a source of intellectual inspiration and moral justification for the violent activities and operations of ideologically related movements.”
In other words, preaching from the Bible (as a fundamentalist) identifies you as part of West Poin’t’ “violent far right” because your philosophy encourages violent actions by other groups.
In the end, who are the “domestic enemies” our soldiers are sworn to protect America against?
Let’s hope it’s not Christian ministries, evangelicals, Catholics or Christian fundamentalists that are now being listed by some in the U.S. Army as “religious extremists,” “domestic hate groups” and “violent far right” movements.
Martin Mawyer is the Founder and President of Christian Action Network, a non-profit public advocacy and education group based in Lynchburg, Virginia. He began his career as a freelance journalist and has authored several books, including “Silent Shame,” “The Pro-Family Contract With America,” “Pathways to Success,” and his most recent, “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.” He has produced a number of documentary films, including Homegrown Jihad, Islam Rising, Sacrificed Survivors and America’s Islamic Threat. Mawyer has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Larry King Live, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, NBC’s Today Show, Entertainment Tonight and Fox and Friends. His latest book, “Twilight in America,” co-authored by Patti A. Pierucci, details the activities of Islamic terrorist training camps scattered throughout the United States. It can be purchased at TwilightInAmerica.com or Amazon.com in book or Kindle version