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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘Tools of the Devil’: At FRC Conference Former Military Officials Denigrate LGBTQ Service Members

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panel of former military officials told religious-right activists at Family Research Council’s “Pray Vote Stand” conference on Oct. 7 that the United States military is threatened by “wokeism” and what the panel claimed are attacks on religious freedom. A retired admiral denounced critical race theory and the LGBTQ movement as “tools of the devil.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, FRC’s executive vice president, emceed the panel, which included retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral William Dean Lee; Michael Berry, a former Marine and current reservist who is now general counsel for the religious-right legal group First Liberty Institute; and retired Army Col. Joe Martin, who worked for Boykin at Fort Bragg.

Berry portrayed resistance to taking a COVID-19 vaccine as a question of religious liberty, claiming that he gets 60 to 80 messages per hour from service members opposed to the Department of Defense’s vaccine requirement. He said that service members are “telling me, ‘The military is forcing me to choose between my faith and serving my nation.’”

Berry said that he is willing to resist the vaccine mandate, saying, “This is the hill for me to die on.” He continued:

I love being a Marine. I love the Marine Corps. And for them to tell me you must choose between serving your God or serving your country, I say, “The oath doesn’t require me to do that. Neither does the Constitution. You’re the one that’s wrong, not me.”

Martin warned that the military lacks leaders who are competent in developing strategy, warning that he could not even get the Department of Defense to include in its dictionary the term “unrestricted warfare,” which he said describes the Chinese government’s strategy to defeat an enemy without firing a shot. Fentanyl coming into the United States from China is the equivalent of poisoning our wells and killing citizens, he said, but “no one’s talking about it.”

Boykin jumped in to compare “unrestricted warfare” by the Chinse government to LGBTQ activism and “the Marxist movement in America.” Here’s Boykin:

You made an interesting point. And let me just follow up on that. He talked about the treatise that was written by these two Chinese colonels—you can find this online folks, it’s called unrestricted warfare. And what they do is they tell us exactly how they’re going to take over America, how they’re going to defeat us, how they’re going to subjugate us.

The thing about it is, there’s two other groups that have done exactly the same thing. And we haven’t paid attention to them, either. One of them is called “After the Ball.” Anybody ever read it? “After the Ball.” It’s the LGBT community telling us how they’re gonna take over America. And the other one is called “The Naked Communist.” It’s by the Marxist movement in America, how they’re going to take over America. I challenge every one of you that are here and especially those of you who are watching us online to read those books. Because they tell you how they’re going to take over this country.

For the record, Boykin is not telling the truth about “The Naked Communist,” which was not written by “the Marxist movement” but by W. Cleon Skousen, a far right-wing conspiracy theorist.

Lee read a list of “new words they’ve invented under this umbrella of woke,” including “inclusivity,” “indigenous people,” “intersectionality,” “gaslighting,” “gender binary,” and “systemic oppression.” He complained that “all of these ideologies are encroaching upon the workforce in the U.S. military.” And he claimed that those ideas run counter to “the core values of honor and integrity” that are taught at bootcamp and the military academies, making things harder for military officers:

And now what’s happening is, as this tsunami breaks upon their heads, and they’re trying to hold up these core values, they’re in a battle against, as the bishop said before, it’s against Satan himself. Because all of these things that fall—I mean, you can name them: critical race theory, the LGBT movement—they’re all tools of the devil. And every single one of them is trying to divide us into identity groups. And that’s the last thing you want in your military armed forces is different teams when they ought to be all one team.

First Liberty Institute’s Berry claimed that the vaccine mandate, “woke ideology,” and “extremism training” are eroding confidence in the military. He claimed that he is speaking with members of the military who aren’t sure whether it is worth fighting the vaccine mandate because they aren’t sure they want to stay in “a military that no longer has our best interests and the country’s best interests.”

Boykin warned that if the 70 percent of military members he said identify as Christian begins to erode due to vaccine mandates and “wokeism,” there will be a “talent exodus” and the U.S. would “wind up with a mercenary military.”

“How do we fix this?” Boykin asked. The 2024 election could be a pivot point, Martin responded, while warning that President Joe Biden could get a second term or “it becomes President Harris, God forbid.”

When the crowd groaned, Boykin joked, “You were doing OK until right then.” Martin responded, “Sir, I went to the Special Forces schoolhouse, someone ran it. And they taught us you have to plan for the worst case. And this is what we as a nation have to plan for and prepare for, and what are we going to do? This is the absolute worst that could happen? What do we do to avoid that? And what do we do if it does happen?”

Lee said that it is important to “breed into our officers, our upcoming officers” the idea “that it is service above self” and that they should be willing to sacrifice their careers if necessary. “Stop fearing your next promotion and start being willing to throw your stars on the table on principle and doing the right thing, because first and foremost, our military services exist to win the nation’s wars, not to be a petri dish for social experimentation.”

Berry said that First Liberty institute will defend vaccine refusers facing the possibility of dishonorable discharges. “We are tired of Dunkirk; we’re ready for Normandy,” he said.

Boykin joined Berry in criticizing Army recruiting commercials, which Boykin called “the most disgusting thing that I’ve seen as I reflect on my military career.” Boykin did not get into specifics, but presumably he was talking about a set of commercials meant to recruit from an increasingly diverse pool of young people that conservative activists have criticized as “too woke.” Berry said that the Chinese government is banning television portrayals of men as non-masculine, adding, “I’m not advocating this, I’m just using it as an example.” Boykin also railed against the possibility of women being drafted.

Lee promoted “Irresistible Revolution,” a book self-published this year by Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier which portrays discussions of racism and extremism in the military as part of a plan for “Marxist conquest” and the replacement of the U.S. government with a “communist dictatorship.” After the book came out, Lohmeier was stripped of his command. Panelists also praised Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller, who publicly criticized military officials over the withdrawal from Afghanistan and who landed up in the brig after repeatedly calling for “revolution” on social media. At his court-martial scheduled tomorrow at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Scheller reportedly plans “to plead guilty to several charges and seek a discharge that allows him to keep some military benefits.”

 

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Christian Nationalist’ Declaration Is ‘Alarming’ Says Religious Liberty Executive

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Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia set off yet another controversy when, during a Saturday, July 23 interview conducted at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida, she proudly described herself as a “Christian nationalist” and urged the Republican Party to openly embrace an ideology of “Christian nationalism.” One of the people who is calling Greene out is Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) and the main organizer for Christians Against Christian Nationalism.

Greene told Taylor Hanson of the right-wing Next News Network, “We need to be the party of nationalism, and I’m a Christian. And I say it proudly: We should be Christian nationalists. When Republicans learn to represent most of the people that vote for them, then we will be the party that continues to grow without having to chase down certain identities or chase down certain segments of people.”

In an op-ed published by CNN’s website on July 28, Tyler lays out some reasons why she finds Greene’s “Christian nationalist” talk incredibly dangerous.

“For years, I have been closely tracking Christian nationalism and sounding the alarm about it,” Hanson explains. “Greene’s recent comments mark an alarming shift in the public conversation about Christian nationalism. Until recently, the public figures who most embrace Christian nationalism in their rhetoric and policies have either denied its existence or claimed that those of us who are calling it out are engaging in name-calling. But Greene is evidently reading from a different script now, explicitly embracing the identity as her own and urging others to join her.”

Tyler continues, “She is not alone in doing so. Greene’s embrace of Christian nationalism follows closely after troubling remarks from Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert: ‘The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church,’ she said at a church two days before her primary election and victory in late June. ‘I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.'”

Tyler describes Christian nationalism as “a political ideology and cultural framework that merges Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s promise of religious freedom.”

“Though not new, Christian nationalism has been exploited in recent years by politicians like former President Donald Trump to further an ‘us vs. them’ mentality and send a message that only Christians can be ‘real’ Americans,” Tyler observes. “Growing support for Christian nationalism comes at a time when the political ideology behind it poses increasingly urgent threats to American democracy and to religious freedom. Perhaps the most chilling example of Christian nationalism came on the most public of world stages, from some Trump supporters during the January 6 insurrection.”

On February 9, BJC published a disturbing report that details the role Christian nationalism played in the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

“I care about dismantling Christian nationalism both because I’m a practicing Christian and because I’m a patriotic American,” Tyler writes. “And no, those identities are not the same. As Christians, we can’t allow Greene, Boebert or Trump to distort our faith without a fight.”

Watch Greene’s July 23 interview with Next News Network below:

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Nikki Haley Hints at White House Run During Christian Conference Held by Pastor With ‘Record of Anti-Semitic Statements’

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Nikki Haley has been called “a moderate Republican who is likely to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.” While some disagree, calling her “an extremist on Israel, Iran, and human rights,” being painted as a moderate has been beneficial to her career.

As South Carolina’s governor she took her time before agreeing to have the Confederate flag removed from flying on a flagpole by the State Capitol, but ensured it had a place inside. She served as Donald Trump‘s U.S. Ambassador to the UN but at times ensured a perception of distance between them, like criticizing Russia when Trump refused.

And she promised that she would not run against Trump.

That promise appears to have had a limited shelf life.

Monday night, Haley headlined the Christians United for Israel Summit, a conference held by CUFI’s founder, John Hagee, a well-known far-right extremist evangelical pastor.

After her speech Haley took to Twitter to imply not only a White House run, but that she will be the next President.

READ MORE: ‘Calls for Pelosi to Become President’: Nikki Haley Again Mocked – This Time for Demanding Biden and Harris Resign

Attacking any potential Biden deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, a deal her former boss once exited, Haley tweeted: “And if this president signs any sort of deal, I’ll make you a promise… The next President will shred it – on her first day in office.”

That tweet catapulted her to “trending” on Twitter.

In recent years in opinion pages from CBS News to Religion News Service to Haaretz, Hagee has been blasted for antisemitic remarks.

READ MORE: ‘Republican Pinball Machine’ Nikki Haley Blasted for ‘Whitewashing’ Racism So She Can Ride Trump’s Coattails

He’s been called “a Muslim-hating, antisemitic, annexationist extremist,” who is “no friend of Israel.”

His Christians United for Israel summit, the same one Haley headlined, in 2008 was called “Rapture Ready” by The Nation’s Max Blumenthal, who warned of Hagee’s “long record of anti-Semitic statements.”

In 2019 Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb wrote: “Anyone who actually listens to CUFI’s leader, the Rev. John Hagee, will be horrified at the meeting’s toxic blend of anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and sexism.”

“Hagee and his more than 5 million followers believe that the establishment of Israel in 1948 and its subsequent military occupation and colonization of Palestinian and other Arab lands are the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and the necessary precursors to the return of Jesus Christ and the coming of the apocalypse.”

Indeed, Hagee has allegedly claimed Hitler was a descendent of “accursed, genocidally murderous half-breed Jews,” while blaming them for their own persecution – including for the Holocaust – while reportedly attacking Hitler as “a spiritual leader in the Catholic Church.”

Monday night, Haley praised Pastor Hagee, whose remarks have been so toxic Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 was forced to renounce Hagee’s endorsement.

READ MORE: Nikki Haley Tries to Stop National Outrage: It Was Other People Who Saw Confederate Flag as ‘Service, Sacrifice, Heritage’

Religion News Service in 2008 reported that “Hagee drew the ire of the nation’s largest Jewish movement for a 1990s sermon that reportedly suggested that God used Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust as part of a divine plan to have Jews return to Israel.”

CNN reported Hagee’s remarks that forced McCain to renounce his endorsement included saying, “God says in Jeremiah 16: ‘Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers. … Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them.’ That would be the Jews. … Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.”

Haley Monday night declared “America and Israel’s best days are yet to come!” as she thanked Pastor Hagee for inviting her to speak.

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Former Trump White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to Keynote Anti-LGBTQ Dominionist Event

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Kayleigh McEnany, a White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, is scheduled to speak Saturday at an event hosted by Ché Ahn, a California-based pastor and leader of the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation. “Reforming California: Taking a Stand for Life, Liberty & Family” will also feature dominionist Dutch Sheets.

McEnany’s appearance with Ahn and Sheets reflects to degree to which Pentecostal dominionists achieved unprecedented access to power during the Trump administration.

“A battle is raging for the soul of America,” declares a promotional video for the event, which repeats right-wing complaints about LGBTQ issues being taught in public schools.

NAR leaders seek to “transform” entire nations through spiritual revival and political activism to bring government policies into alignment with their biblical worldview. “Reforming California” is being sponsored by Revive California, one of the political organizations affiliated with Ahn’s Harvest International Ministry. In 2020, he launched 1RACE4LIFE, a group that asks people to pledge to vote for only anti-abortion and anti-maarriage-equality candidates. Revive California’s website includes a five-step vision that defines reformation this way: “Activate every believer to vote biblically, and learn how to run for local, state or national office.”

Ahn was an energetic supporter of Trump and the former president’s false claims to have won the 2020 presidential election. Before the election, Ahn described it as a crucial moment in the battle for the soul of America. On the eve of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters hoping to derail the peaceful transfer of power, Ahn spoke at a rally in D.C. where Christian nationalism and conspiracy theories mingled with threats of violence. Ahn told the crowd they would “change history,” adding, “I believe that this week we’re going to throw Jezebel out and Jehu’s gonna rise up, and we’re gonna rule and reign through President Trump and under the lordship of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Sheets, another NAR leader who has long taught that the church—the ekklesia—is meant to be a governing body legislating God’s will on Earth, was also a big Trump booster. In 2018, he and other NAR leaders gathered 1,300 prayer warriors at Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel to call on God to remove pro-choice Supreme Court justices and destroy Trump’s enemies. The following year, Sheets helped Trump aide Paula White launch the One Voice Prayer Movement, a thinly disguised campaign operation to maintain strong evangelical support for Trump.

In the weeks after the 2020 election, Sheets waged “spiritual warfare” against what he called a demonic plot to steal the election from Trump. During one prayer session he declared, “As Christ’s ekklesia on the Earth, we have been delegated his supreme authority to declare into the spiritual realm what is lawful and what is unlawful, forbidden and allowed. …  We decree the next four years of Donald John Trump’s presidency will see the fruit of God’s divine reset in America.”

Revive California’s advisory board includes other leaders associated with NAR and dominionist Pentecostalism. Among the advisory board members: Bill Johnson, the longtime leader of the controversial Northern California megachurch Bethel, which has international reach through its School of Supernatural Ministry and its music label; Shannon Grove, a California state Senator and the minority leader of state Senate; Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; religious right activists Jim Garlow and his wife Rosemary Garlow; Dran Reese, president of The Salt & Light Council, which encourages and equips conservative churches to get more involved in politics; Tony Kim, the U.S. director of Ahn’s Harvest International Ministry; and others.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission. 

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