Marine Reservist Warns Against Classifying Christians As Extremists In House Hearing
“If you serve in the military, you pledge an oath to the U.S. Constitution and to the laws of this country. If you disagree with that Constitution and you disagree with the laws of this country so strongly that you no longer think our government is legitimate, then you have no business serving in the U.S. military and you should get out now,” Adam Smith (D-WA), Chairman, House Armed Services Committee, Opening Statement, March 24, 2021, hearing on Extremism in the Military.
Rep. Smith’s statements sound good on the surface. But, beware the evil that lurks beneath. The hearing featured a slide used in the Department of Defense training manual identifying Evangelical Christians and Catholics as “religious extremists” alongside actual extremists such as the Ku Klux Klan, Al-Qaeda, and Hamas, according to an officer in the Marine Corps Reserves, Michael Berry. Berry is also general counsel to the First Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas, that obtained the slide. Although Berry serves as a reservist, his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee was given as a civilian.
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Mark Tapscott at The Epoch Times reported the story.
“First Liberty also obtained a screenshot of an unclassified slide from a U.S. Army training manual. The slide is entitled ‘Religious Extremism’ and it purports to identify religious extremists,” Michael Berry told the House Armed Services Committee, during a hearing on March 24 titled “Extremism in the Military.”
Berry is general counsel to the First Liberty Institute (FLI), a Plano, Texas-based public interest law firm that specializes in First Amendment and religious freedom cases. Berry is also an officer in the Marine Corps Reserves, although he presented his testimony in his capacity as a civilian.
“Included among those listed are al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Ku Klux Klan as groups that use or advocate violence to accomplish their objectives and are therefore rightly classified as extremists,” Berry told the committee.
“But also included are Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism, who most assuredly do not advocate violence. Surely, the fact that Evangelical Christians and Catholics hold fast to millennia-old views on marriage and human sexuality does not make them extremists who are unfit to serve.
“At a time of turmoil and instability, during which our nation faces many external threats, [this] message is inappropriate and offensive to our service members and those they defend.”
The training manual that Berry referred to is used in Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s recently ordered “stand-down” to identify and root out extremists in the U.S. military. Austin’s order came in the wake of the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, in which some of the participants were military veterans.
Austin said, in a DOD video explaining his reasons for the stand-down that all military members in each of the branches are required to view, that “there is not a single doubt in my mind that you take seriously your oath to the Constitution and that you serve this country with honor and dignity and character.”
Even so, according to Austin in the video, the stand-down is needed because of “extremism and extremist ideology, views, and conduct that runs counter to everything that we believe in.”
Austin claimed in the video that the presence of extremist views “is not new to our country and, sadly, it’s not new to our military.” He didn’t provide in the video any examples of such individuals.
The training materials used in Austin’s stand-down and presented by Berry during the hearing purported to present credible descriptions of extremist ideologies, conduct, reasoning, and identifying characteristics.
Despite the lack of credible data about this reported “extremism” in the military and the lack of what was considered “impermissible expression of views and action on behalf of those views” carried by witnesses and some members of the committee, the committee wasted time on discussing the remote possibility. According to Rep. Mike Roger (R-AL), extremism was a factor in the separation of nine US Army soldiers in 2020 and 17 Marines since 2018.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the panel’s top Republican, told the hearing at the outset that “it is important to point out that we lack any concrete evidence that violent extremism is as rife in the military as some commentators claim.”
Rogers said “extremism was a factor” in the separation of only nine soldiers from the U.S. Army in 2020, and he noted that “since 2018, 17 Marines have been separated for extremism, gang or separatist activities.”
“That’s 17 out of 200,000. While I agree that this number ought to be zero, this is far from the largest military justice issue facing our armed services,” Rogers said.
Indeed, there are more prevalent issues facing the armed services.
The committee heard from only two other witnesses, Audrey Kurth Cronin, an American University professor of international security, and Lecia Brooks, chief of staff for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a liberal advocacy group often criticized by conservatives for defining “extremism” so broadly as to include conventional political groups that clearly are not.
The newest Republican member of the committee, Rep. Pat Fallon of Texas, pointed out that “recently the Washington Post, the New York Times, Politico, NPR, and the New Yorker magazine, just to name a few, skewered the SPLC for, among other things, corruption, harassment, racism, and a widening credibility gap.”
Cronin claimed during the hearing that 37 of those arrested connected to the January 6, 2021 incident at the Capitol building were either US military veterans or reservists. As Rep. Fallon pointed out to Cronin, ” There are 18 million U.S. military veterans. Thirty-four were rioters. This means that 17,999,966 of us were not. That’s one out of 529,000.” Committee Chair Smith was quick to reject Fallon’s comments as “logically absurd” because those veterans arrested on January 6th do not “represent the full scope of the problem.” Smith went on to claim, “We don’t know how large a problem this is. That’s why we’re having this hearing.”
Remember what Smith stated at the beginning of the hearing? Let’s look at what he said versus what he actually means.
“If you serve in the military, you pledge an oath to the U.S. Constitution and to the laws of this country.”
Military service members pledge to defend the US Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic. An enemy of the US Constitution is anyone, foreign or domestic, who goes against that Constitution in order to change or alter the form of government it establishes, commits treason against the Constitution – aiding and abetting foreign enemies and levying war against the united States, and those who violate the Constitution by enacting unconstitutional legislation. The only laws the military pledges an oath to uphold are the Constitution and laws in harmony with the Constitution, not every legislation passed by Congress nor every executive order issued by the executive or every court decision handed down. So, on one count, Smith is correct.
Smith forgets that he took the same oath to uphold the Constitution and enforce laws made in accordance with the Constitution.
“If you disagree with that Constitution and you disagree with the laws of this country so strongly that you no longer think our government is legitimate, then you have no business serving in the U.S. military and you should get out now.”
First of all, one has to understand what Smith means when he says, “you no longer think our government is legitimate”. The government created by the Constitution is the legitimate government. Currently, what is functioning in Washington, DC, claiming to be government is illegitimate because of the continued violations of the Constitution, the massive criminal operation occurring out of the Capital, and the corruption of every elected official, appointed official, and federal employee. There are laws that every individual in the military and the US should disagree – those are the unconstitutional laws passed by the legislative branch, executive orders pretending to be legislation, and court decisions being passed off to the public as “law” when all the above are usurpations.
Second, how can this government be declared “legitimate” when that government has ceased to function according to the Constitution, does not serve the public by following the Constitution, seeks to inflict ever more tyranny upon the public through attempting to eradicate God-given individual unalienable rights, and legislates to enrich corporations while pilfering the fruits of the labor of the people? Moreover, a legitimate government would not uphold blatant, rampant, widespread, overt voter fraud, election manipulation and election interference. A legitimate government in the united States is a constitutional republic, which is being subverted and undermined by every elected official, federal employee, and appointed official in Washington, DC.
So, Smith thinks anyone serving in the military who disagrees with the Constitution and the laws of this country so strongly thinking this government is no longer legitimate should get out now because they have no business being there. What Smith actually means is, “If you disagree with those of us in government and the laws we make so strongly you no longer think you can support us in this government, you have no business being in the US military and should get out now.”
If the statement issued by Smith were applied to him and everyone in both chambers of Congress, the executive, the judiciary, appointed officials and federal employees, none of those individuals should be in government and should get out now. None agrees with the Constitution nor any laws passed in accordance with it. None agrees to the form of government established by the Constitution and work feverishly to change that form of government, meaning they do not consider the constitutional republic form of government legitimate.
So who are the true extremists?
The Epoch Times concluded:
Cronin told the committee in response to a question from Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) that recruitment efforts by extremist groups targeting active and retired military individuals “is indeed becoming an increasing problem.”
Asked by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for his view on the use of lists of prohibited organizations, Berry said: “They can be dangerous. Labeling evangelical Christians and Catholics as ‘extremists’ is opening Pandora’s box.”
Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) expressed concern that a DOD effort against extremism will play into the hands of Chinese Communist Party efforts to damage the U.S.’s image overseas.
“There is an active propaganda campaign being prosecuted by the Chinese Communist Party right now attempting to portray our country as an evil racist hellscape with no authority to lecture them on human rights. I worry that we may be playing into our adversary’s hands, and I do worry it will undermine our ability to fight and win wars in the future,” Waltz said.
Smith concluded the hearing by saying “there are demagogues on both sides” and that he “is very concerned about over-reactions.”
“If we are targeting people and shutting them off from jobs and everything for something they said 20 years ago. There’s no reference point, no structure to that and it becomes just this excuse to shove your point of view down somebody’s throat,” he said.
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The burning question in all of this is “what is considered ‘extreme’?” If evangelical Christians and Catholics are “extremists”, would it not suffice to say that atheists, sodomites, lesbians, transgenders, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Islam, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, animists, transhumanists, pagans, Satanists, Wiccans, anarchists, gangs, cabals, and secular humanists are “extremists” as well? Those who hold to the Bible, the Constitution and laws made in accordance with both are not those who are “extremists”, but those who are on the straight and narrow. Any ideology, view, or opinion outside of that is what is extreme.
Now, the next question is “are extremist views unlawful?” According to the Constitution for the united States of America, First Amendment, the people have the God-given right to freely speak. The freedom to speak includes speech that you may not like, find offensive, disagree with strongly, or differs from your point of view. Some people may not agree with the idea that murderers, rapists, and child molesters, deserve a dirt nap and consider that “extreme”; however, it is what God has determined as punishment for those sins. Some people view communism/socialism/Marxism/fascism as better forms of government, which are extreme forms of oppressive government, and believe they have the “right” or authority to place everyone under either of those forms of government. That’s a viewpoint that could be considered “extreme”. Others believe in no form of government, not even God’s laws, thinking men should be able to do whatever they want. A “free for all” society sounds “extreme”. In other words, extremism is in the eye of the beholder. And when those beholding see the people adhering to the “Supreme law” and the Constitution, the beholders tend to see lawfulness as extreme. Those who adhere to God’s laws and the Constitution are far from extreme. On the contrary, they are on the straight and narrow using the Bible and the Constitution as measuring devices that should be laid against our society to determine its lawfulness. It is falling outside those laws that are extreme.
It’s clear, regardless of whether you are in the military or not, the current “illegitimate” government is targeting Christians. Christians in the military have to be purged in order for the current occupants of the seats of “government” to engage in tyranny, despotism, and persecution of the American public (all lawless actions) using those in the military to do their bidding. Occupiers of the seats of “government” want those they consider “beneath” them to engage in “government worship”, idolatry, seeing anything and anyone practicing anything else as “extremists”. Don’t look to your favorite politicians or political party to intervene or stop the madness. They are all on the “crazy train”.
Article posted with permission from Sons of Liberty Media