Soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood say they
were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party
were a threat to the nation and that any soldier donating to those
groups would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code
of Military Justice.

A soldier who attended the Oct. 17th briefing told me the counter-
intelligence agent in charge of the meeting spent nearly a half hour
discussing how evangelical Christians and groups like the American
Family Association were “tearing the country apart.”

Michael Berry, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, is advising the
soldier and has launched an investigation into the incident.
“On this very military base that was the site of mass
murder carried out by a radicalized Muslim soldier, it is
astonishing that it is evangelical groups that are being
identified as a ‘threat.’”
- Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president
The American public should be outraged that the U.S. Army is
teaching our troops that evangelical Christians and Tea Party
members are enemies of America, and that they can be punished for
supporting or participating in those groups,” said Berry, a former
Marine Corps JAG officer.

“These statements about evangelicals being domestic enemies are a
serious charge.”

The soldier told me he fears reprisals and asked not to be identified.
He said there was a blanket statement that donating to any groups
that were considered a threat to the military and government was
punishable under military regulations.

“My first concern was if I was going to be in trouble going to church,”
the evangelical Christian soldier told me. “Can I tithe? Can I donate
to Christian charities? What if I donate to a politician who is a part of
the Tea Party movement?”

Another soldier who attended the briefing alerted the Chaplain
Alliance for Religious Liberty. That individual’s recollections of the
briefing matched the soldier who reached out to me.

“I was very shocked and couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” the
soldier said. “I felt like my religious liberties, that I risk my life and
sacrifice time away from family to fight for, were being taken away.”

And while a large portion of the briefing dealt with the threat
evangelicals and the Tea Party pose to the nation, barely a word was
said about Islamic extremism, the soldier said.

“Our community is still healing from the act of terrorism brought on
by Nidal Hasan – who really is a terrorist,” the soldier said. “This is a
slap in the face. “The military is supposed to defend freedom and to
classify the vast majority of the military that claim to be Christian as
terrorists is sick.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, tells me the
Pentagon is pushing anti-Christian propaganda.

“On the very base that was the site of mass murder carried out by a
radicalized Muslim soldier, it is astonishing that it is evangelical
groups that are being identified as a ‘threat,’” he said. “Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel must immediately intervene to stop this march
against the rights and freedom of our soldiers.”

The soldier said they were also told that the pro-life movement is
another example of “radicalization.”

“They said that evangelical Christians protesting abortions are the
mobilization stage and that leads to the bombing of abortion clinics,”
he said, recalling the discussion.

An Army spokesman at the Pentagon tells me they do not maintain or
publish a list of organizations considered extremist.

“None of these slides [shown at the briefing] were produced by the
Army, but by soldiers who included information found during an
Internet search,” the spokesman said.
He said commanders and other leaders were cautioned that they
should not use “lists of extremists, hate groups, radical factions or the
like compiled by any outside non-governmental groups or
organizations for briefings, command presentations, or as a short cut
to determining if a group or activity is considered to be extremist.”

Meanwhile, the public affairs office at Fort Hood is denying the
soldiers' allegations.

“The allegations you are asking about were brought to the attention of
the Fort Hood leadership immediately and a (sic) inquiry is occurring,”
read a statement from Tom Rheinlander, the public affairs director at
Fort Hood. “At this time, initial information gathered about the training
and what you claim occurred is not substantiated by unit leadership
and soldiers present at this training venue.”

I sent the public affairs officer additional questions about the specific
content of the briefing but he declined to respond.

But this is not the first time an Army briefing has labeled evangelicals
as extremists. Last April an Army Reserve briefing classified
Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism as “religious extremism.”

In a letter to Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Secretary of the Army John
McHugh said the briefing in April was an isolated incident and the
material used was not sanctioned by the Army.
McHugh said it was a “misguided attempt to explain that extremism is
not limited to a single religion.”

Two weeks ago, several dozen active duty troops at Camp Shelby in
Mississippi, were told the American Family Association, a well-
respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate
group because it advocates for traditional family values.

Again, the military called it an isolated incident with a trainer using
material that was not sanctioned by the military.

That explanation is wearing thin with American Christians.

“How much longer can the Army claim no knowledge or responsibility
for these things?” Berry asked.

“These repeated incidents show either that this training was directed
from Army leadership at the Pentagon, or else the Army has a real
discipline and leadership problem on its hands because a bunch of
rogue soldiers are teaching this nonsense.”

The most recent allegations at Fort Hood have drawn sharp rebuke
from religious liberty groups around the nation.

“Why is the Army engaged in these anti-Christian training propaganda
briefings?” asked Perkins, himself a veteran of the Marine Corps. “The
only explanation is that this is a deliberate effort of the Obama
administration to intimidate and separate soldiers from Christian
groups that they support and that support them.”

Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance, called the
military’s behavior dishonorable.

“Far from mere ‘isolated incidents,’ as the Army has dismissed
previous occurrences, this latest incident demonstrates a pattern and
practice of Army briefings identifying mainstream religions, such as
Evangelical Christianity, Judaism, and Catholicism, as examples of
‘religious extremism’ similar to Al Qaeda, Hamas and the Ku Klux Klan,”
he told me.

Perkins said it’s time for the Pentagon to “ensure that instructors carry
out their role to train our troops to defend our freedom, and not push
anti-Christian propaganda.”

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds
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