Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) sent a bipartisan letter this week, along with 41 other House Members, to the Secretary of the Army John McHugh asking the Army to rescind material from an Army Reserve Training brief that labels Catholics, evangelical Christians, Sunni Muslims, and some Jews as religious extremists.
The text of the letter follows:
April 16, 2013
Honorable John M. McHugh
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101
Dear Secretary McHugh,
We were deeply concerned to learn of an Army Reserve training brief that lists Catholics, evangelical Christians, Sunni Muslims and some Jews in a "religious extremism" category along with groups like Al Qaeda, Hamas and the KKK. This is astonishing and offensive and we urge you to immediately rescind this briefing.
Religious extremism is a very serious topic, but equating these major world religions with violent extremist groups is simply not acceptable. As you know, the Army is a microcosm of our country and is filled with faithful and peace-loving Catholics, Jews, Muslims and evangelical Christians who are proudly serving our country. This briefing reveals an anti-religion bias rather than a rational approach to religious extremism.
While initial reporting has portrayed this as an isolated incident, we would appreciate a full accounting of this briefing to include who received this briefing, the specific information sources on which the briefing was based, and what the Army is doing to ensure that this sort of offensive briefing is not given again.
Our nation needs to have an honest conversation about religious extremism and what we can do to avoid religious violence. However, labeling these major world religions as extremists is wrong and hurtful. We call on you to rescind this briefing and set the record straight on the Army's view on these faith groups by providing a balanced briefing on religious extremism.