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Obama calls Christian evangelicals #1 “extremists”?

This article refers primarily to events from 2012 and 2013. It is included here for reference.

If you listened to InfoWars, WorldNetDaily, Fox News Radio, The Blaze, The Washington Times, the Free Republic or a host of other conservative-oriented news sources, you might think so.

Wake up you fool. nobama hates our Military and Christians, but he loves morons like you that believe his every word.

– Terry Ford
– Comment at Google+ (November 2013)

If you don’t frequent those sources, you may not have heard about it.

What actually happened was the the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks hate groups in the US, provided a training presentation on extremism  for use in National Guard, presented in Pennsylvania in 2012. In that presentation, a list of religious groups (see page 24), including Catholics, Christian evangelicals, Muslim extremists and the Ku Klux Klan, indicating that some members of those groups are extreme. The text that goes with the list says:

Extremism is a complex phenomenon; it is defined as beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, or strategies of a character far removed from the “ordinary.” Because “ordinary” is subjective, no religious group would label itself extreme or its doctrine “extremism.” However, religious extremism is not limited to any single religion, ethnic group, or region of the world; every religion has some followers that believe that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only “right way” and that all others are practicing their faith the “wrong way,” seeing and believing that their faith/religion superior to all others.

In December 2013, a coalition of religious leaders wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense complaining about religious discrimination in the military, including this SPLC presentation, and apparently the conservative media finally got the story.

Some conservative commentators have objected to listing the Klan as a “religious group” but at least historically the Klan was associated with Protestantism. Today the Klan is so fractured that I don’t what they believe.

The best web coverage of the issue I found came from the Christian News Service, which is a good source of information on topics with a religious link.

The SPLC seems to this writer to get a little extreme sometimes too; however, in the presentation in question, they are specific in listing 25 hate groups (page 32 in the presentation) in Pennsylvania, including 3 labeled Catholic.

The Defense Department is reviewing the materials.

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27 Responses to Obama calls Christian evangelicals #1 “extremists”?

  1. avatar
    RanTalbott April 27, 2014 at 3:02 am #

    The FBI recently dissociated itself from the SPLC (it had been using some of their “hate group tracking” on its website) because of a realization that much of what they put out is simply conspiracy-nut crap.

    I happen to be personally acquainted with one of the people they’ve been libelling for years, and I wouldn’t trust the date stamps on their reports, much less the contents. It’s riddled with the same sort of guilt-by-fourth-hand-association nonsense you find in the paranoid babblings of birfers, Birchers, and other conspiracy theorists.

    It’s a shame, really: they were amazingly brave and dedicated in taking on (and playing a major role in taking down) the Klan, But, instead of resting on their well-deserved laurels, they went into the business of manufacturing bogeymen and selling fear.

  2. avatar
    The European April 27, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    Read this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Servetus

    and this

    https://archive.org/details/VonDenJudenUndIhrenLuegen

    to know more about two of the most prominent Protestants.

    About the Holy Inquisition, Sharia Law and “frumb” Jews you know already.

    In the end every religion that has the “only true faith” leads to extremism.

    I prefer to seek the truth in my noodle-soup.

    Ra men

  3. avatar
    CarlOrcas April 27, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    RanTalbott: The FBI recently dissociated itself from the SPLC (it had been using some of their “hate group tracking” on its website) because of a realization that much of what they put out is simply conspiracy-nut crap.

    That’s not exactly accurate. The FBI says it works with the SPLC and other groups in its public outreach efforts to deal with hate crimes:

    The FBI has forged partnerships nationally and locally with many civil rights organizations to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems. These groups include such organizations as the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, the National Organization for Women, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Disability Rights Network.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/hate_crimes/overview

    Here’s a piece with some perspective and additional information from MediaMatters:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/03/27/no-the-fbi-hasnt-ditched-the-southern-poverty-l/198645

  4. avatar
    RanTalbott April 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    CarlOrcas: That’s not exactly accurate

    You’re right: I should’ve used a word like “distanced” to more-accurately reflect that they’ve withdrawn their implicit endorsement of the SPLC’s “findings”. “Dissociated” suggests that they’ve told the security guards to bar them from the premises, or somesuch.

    However, the MediaMatters “perspective” has nothing to do with the character assassination I’m personally familiar with, and I stand by my characterization of it.

  5. avatar
    CarlOrcas April 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    RanTalbott: You’re right: I should’ve used a word like “distanced” to more-accurately reflect that they’ve withdrawn their implicit endorsement of the SPLC’s “findings”. “Dissociated” suggests that they’ve told the security guards to bar them from the premises, or somesuch.

    The Anti-defamation League was also removed from that list while remaining elsewhere on the FBI site. Do you think the FBI was also distancing itself from the ADL’s “findings”?

  6. avatar
    RanTalbott April 27, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Do you think the FBI was also distancing itself from the ADL’s “findings”?

    Beats me: I’ve occasionally seen statements from them that appeared to be in “conspiracy theorist” territory, but I don’t have even a small fraction of the data I’d need to hazard a guess as to whether those were representative of what they do.

  7. avatar
    jd reed April 28, 2014 at 12:04 am #

    European, saying that a religion that asserts itself as the one true faith is extreme is a tricky proposition logically. To evangelical Christians, removing the exclusivity claim by Jesus that “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but by me” would be to strip the faith of is very essence.
    For relating to people of other beliefs, I don’t know of anyone who put it better than James Madison:
    “Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the religion we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.” — Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785, paragraph 4.

  8. avatar
    The European April 28, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    jd reed:
    European, saying that a religion that asserts itself as the one true faith is extreme is a tricky proposition logically. To evangelical Christians, removing the exclusivity claim by Jesus that “I am the way, thetruth and the life. No one comes to the father but by me” would be to strip the faith of is very essence.
    For relating to people of other beliefs, I don’t know of anyonewho put it better than James Madison:
    “Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the religion we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to thosewhose minds have not yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.” — Memorial and Remonstrance, 1785, paragraph 4.

    jd reed, I do not say that the “exclusivity” belief of most religions is extreme – au contraire – it is the norm not only for the Christian belief.

    What I say is that this belief leeds to extremism – in behaviour towards the non- believers.

    Don´t you find it extreme that orthodox jews shut down public transport on sabbat ?
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2012/apr/06/sabbath-buses-israel

    Don´t you find it extreme that Christians try to hinder people to marry ? (I guess no link needed there)

    Don´t you find it extreme that women have to cover their heads in Saudi-Arabia ?

    My conclusion: when people who believe that their faith is the only true one get the power to impose their belief on nonbelievers – they do it.

    I call that extremism.

    You not ??

  9. avatar
    The European April 28, 2014 at 1:59 am #

    jd reed,

    i forgot to mention the most crazy – in my mind even criminal – religious extremism:

    the fight of Christians, especially the Roman Catholics – against condoms.

  10. avatar
    The European April 28, 2014 at 5:36 am #

    jd reed, a last remark to your quote of James Madison:

    He says how it should be, I showed the reality of the behaviour of the true believers. What counts more, philosophy or reality ?

  11. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 28, 2014 at 8:02 am #

    Without presenting an argument, I would just say that I don’t think that the exclusivity claim is essential. (Wrong topic for the blog.)

    jd reed: removing the exclusivity claim by Jesus that “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but by me” would be to strip the faith of is very essence.

  12. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) April 28, 2014 at 8:32 am #

    The European: i forgot to mention the most crazy – in my mind even criminal – religious extremism:

    the fight of Christians, especially the Roman Catholics – against condoms

    Which is just a symptom of the underlying issue, the fight against sex as something to enjoy (which again is a symptom of the fight against anything that brings “pleasure” because the only thing that guaranteed absolute power to the church was the time when people thought life was miserable and their only escape would be to “find God” for the promise of a happy afterlife).
    The scare of unwanted pregnancies and (sometimes lethal) STD’s is their best line of defense, and condoms stand in that way.

  13. avatar
    The European April 28, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Without presenting an argument, I would just say that I don’t think that the exclusivity claim is essential. (Wrong topic for the blog.)

    Doc, not on topic but not wrong – birthers are so boring these days and this religious topic is may be the most important question for a healthy together-living of people of different faiths or no faith at all.

    So one try (essential Luthers approach) from an agnostic:

    God is almighty. He (she/it) can give grace to whomever he (she/it) wants. No one else decides. God can make the decision completely freely and consequently not dependent on anything the poor soul before him has done or not.

    Pope Francis may share this approach
    http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/pope_francis_2.html

    And finally back on topic !

    “Two Witnesses Declare (Anti-)Pope Francis as the False Prophet and Barack Obama as the Antichrist Incarnate!”

    http://beforeitsnews.com/prophecy/2014/01/two-witnesses-declare-anti-pope-francis-as-the-false-prophet-and-barack-obama-as-the-antichrist-incarnate-2457610.html

    (beforeitsnews – Mrs. Taitz´ preferred source)
    .

  14. avatar
    Bonsall Obot April 28, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    The European:

    “Two Witnesses Declare (Anti-)Pope Francis as the False Prophet and Barack Obama as the Antichrist Incarnate!”

    Well, if they have two witnesses, it’s all legal, so suck it, Obots!

  15. avatar
    Sef April 28, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    The European:
    jd reed,

    i forgot to mention the most crazy – in my mind even criminal – religious extremism:

    the fight of Christians, especially the Roman Catholics – against condoms.

    “Sold for prevention of disease only.”

  16. avatar
    jd reed April 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    European, you make good points. Guarding against people who believe in the truth of their faith to the point of trying to enact into law even the minor tenets is a never-ending battle. I think Madison would agree.

  17. avatar
    The European April 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    So let us fight together – for the freedom of faith and the freedom from faith.

    Your
    European

  18. avatar
    Jed May 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    OBAMA AVOIDS BIBLE VERSES !

    Here are some Bible verses that Pres. Obama avoids:
    Proverbs 19:10 (NIV): “It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury – how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!”
    Also Proverbs 30:22 (NIV) which says that the earth cannot bear up under “a servant who becomes king.”
    And Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 (KJV) advises: “let thy words be few…a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.”
    Although Obama is not descended from slaves, he may feel that he’s destined to become a black-slavery avenger.
    Or maybe an enslaver of all free citizens!

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 1, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    In America, every child, white or black, can grow up to be an idiot.

    Jed: Although Obama is not descended from slaves, he may feel that he’s destined to become a black-slavery avenger.

  20. avatar
    Northland10 May 1, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    In America, every child, white or black, can grow up to be an idiot.

    Jed is achieving his full potential.

  21. avatar
    Lupin May 2, 2014 at 5:48 am #

    Jed: Although Obama is not descended from slaves, he may feel that he’s destined to become a black-slavery avenger.

    I think you mean Django?

    Quentin Tarentino’s movies are not an adequate prism to decipher today’s political environment.

  22. avatar
    Lupin May 2, 2014 at 5:52 am #

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”

    (Matthew 7:15-16a)

    It’s almost as if Matthew had met Kommander Zullo.

  23. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG May 2, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Lupin: I think you mean Django?

    Quentin Tarentino’s movies are not an adequate prism to decipher today’s political environment.

    Most movies aren’t.
    The most ridiculous thing I’ve read in the last couple of weeks was how some birther thought that Hydra, as it was portrayed in Captain America 2, was an allegory for the Obama administration. I looked at their post, the way same I look at someone who actually enjoys the taste of candy corn.

  24. avatar
    The European May 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    This Jed is the worst racist we have seen here …..

  25. avatar
    dunstvangeet May 2, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    Jed, here are some other bible verses that I think you should do, please tell me what you’re going to do about it…

    Matthew 19:24 – Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

    Matthew 19:21 – Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    Now, a computer is a possession. Please tell me when you’ve sold your computer, gave the money to the poor, and then entered the priesthood.

    *eyeshift*

  26. avatar
    Sef May 2, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: Most movies aren’t.
    The most ridiculous thing I’ve read in the last couple of weeks was how some birther thought that Hydra, as it was portrayed in Captain America 2, was an allegory for the Obama administration. I looked at their post, the way same I look at someone who actually enjoys the taste of candy corn.

    While reading the Harry Potter books in the previous decade It was very easy for me to find an equivalence between Lord Voldemort and VP Cheney.

  27. avatar
    Keith May 2, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: Most movies aren’t.
    The most ridiculous thing I’ve read in the last couple of weeks was how some birther thought that Hydra, as it was portrayed in Captain America 2, was an allegory for the Obama administration. I looked at their post, the way same I look at someone who actually enjoys the taste of candy corn.

    Whaddya got against candy corn? I like candy corn. Especially the stuff that is available in Australia.

    When you buy brand new candy corn in Australia it is already properly pre-aged to taste just like the Halloween haul from two years ago that you stuffed under the bed and forgot about. Absolutely perfect! You folks up north don’t know what you’re missing!