June 28, 2021

Rank Hypocrisy: Top General Pushes Military CRT

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seemed to mock Republicans’ “anecdotal evidence” that the troops were unhappy with the training.

Ignoring the controversy over critical race theory didn’t go so well for the Left. So they tried denying it. That was a bust. Now, they’ve moved on to a new strategy: digging in and defending it — and, considering the latest clash over the military, that might be the worst idea of all.

When the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, came to testify on the latest defense budget, a handful of Republicans took the opportunity to put the country’s top general on the hot seat over the wildly unpopular move to teach CRT in the ranks — starting with America’s service academies. When conservatives pressed Milley on the complaints they’ve heard from cadets and others, Milley was openly strident. “I personally find it offensive that [anyone is] accusing the United States military… of being ‘woke’ or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there,” he told Waltz. Our service members need to be “open-minded and widely read,” especially, he argued, on issues like racism. “I want to understand white rage — and I’m white,” Milley insisted.

In a particularly testy moment, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seemed to mock Republicans’ “anecdotal evidence” that the troops were unhappy with the training. Look, Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) fired back, Republicans aren’t manufacturing this firestorm. “This isn’t something we’re raising. This came to me from cadets, from families, from soldiers with their alarm and their concern at how divisive this type of teaching is that is rooted in Marxism, that classifies people along class lines, an entire race of people as oppressor and oppressed.” Despite piles of reports to the contrary, Austin replied that the military “does not teach critical race theory.” “We are focused on extremist behaviors and not ideology,” he tried to claim, “not people’s thoughts, not people’s political orientation.”

That’s not what our service members are saying, Waltz insisted on “Washington Watch.” “The mainstream media wants to portray this as some kind of GOP culture war.” But we didn’t start it, he argued. Our brave men and women in the uniform are coming to members of Congress and sounding the alarm because they find these teachings, as we all do, “very, very divisive, bad for morale, and horrible for cohesion.” “And I can tell you from my 25 years in the Army as a Green Beret,” Waltz said, “I cannot imagine something more destructive. When I came in, we were told: shave your head, wear the same uniform, and you now bleed Army green. The only thing that matters in terms of skin color is camouflage. And I could tell you for sure, terrorists and the Chinese bullets on the battlefield when you’re in that foxhole could care less about all of these things.”

What people need to realize, Waltz warned, is that these aren’t just history classes. “These aren’t things of a bygone era that we want our cadets to understand… [T]his is activist indoctrination that’s going on right now — as we speak — that teaches our future military leaders that our Constitution and our foundational institutions in this country, our court system, our political system is bad, it’s evil, misogynist, and colonialist.” And if you listen to the theory’s top gurus, these are things that need to be “resisted and opposed and torn down.” Now, it’s one thing to teach that to a kid at U.C. Berkeley, Waltz argued, but it’s quite another to teach it to our troops who will one day have their finger on the trigger.

Of course, Milley tried to deflect all of that by saying he’s read Karl Marx and Mao Tse Tung, and that doesn’t “make me a communist.” But the far-Left and the Biden administration don’t want people to study these philosophies as history. They want to put them into practice and divide our nation’s military based on skin color. They are politicizing the very core of our national defense — which should be focused on fighting and winning wars. Instead, every one of these toxic classes is taking away from their time to shoot, train, drill, and learn to defeat our adversaries. So there’s a legitimate threat to every American when our military is so universally distracted and divided.

And the irony is, this is the same General Milley who tried to distance himself from the White House under Donald Trump. When Milley publicly apologized for standing outside of St. John’s Church with the former president, he said he shouldn’t have appeared in uniform with Trump because it was “too political.” Well, what does he think this is? Critical race theory is just about the most political issue there is. If Milley truly cared about being “neutral,” then he would stand up and fight this woke administration trying to radically remake our military. Because, as far as FRC’s Lt. General Jerry Boykin is concerned, our entire fighting force is at a tipping point.

“I have never been more concerned about our military,” he told me on Thursday’s “Washington Watch.” “I thought it was bad in the Obama years, but let me tell you, this is awful.” He can’t believe all of these leaders who came up through the Army and Marine Corps are suddenly jumping ship on the warfighting focus. “I respect General Milley for his years of service,” Boykin said. “I really do. But I saw what he did with Congressman Waltz as being more theater. I didn’t see any seriousness. Look, I spent 36 and a half years in the military. I didn’t see white rage. I saw very little racism [at all] in the military. And keep in mind — I came in in 1970, so we were still coming out of the 60s race wars.”

Fortunately, there are still people on the inside (and outside) willing to fight for decency, free speech, religious liberty, and the other proud traditions of our fighting force. Just this week, Army Chaplain Andrew Calvert, who was under investigation for posting his objections to opening up the military to transgenderism, was fully reinstated. Thanks to help from our friends at First Liberty Institute, the Army “agreed not to issue a formal reprimand… [clearing] the way for Chaplain Calvert’s record to be cleared.” As General Boykin points out, most of the cases where groups like FRC and First Liberty get involved do end successfully. “[First Liberty calls] us as soon as they get a case… And we always follow through with rallying support for these people, getting members of Congress fired up about it, and getting petitions out that we have people sign. And we’ve had very good success working with First Liberty Institute in having the initial judgments against our Christian service members reversed.”

But the culture of the military should never be hostile to faith in the first place. These are men and women who are willingly laying down their lives for the freedoms this administration is denying them. That has to stop. And getting rid of this noxious crusade for critical race theory would be a good place to start.

Originally published here.

Left Tries a Veteran Move on Abortion Pills

In a House where Republicans are in the slimmest of minorities, conservatives are accomplishing a lot more than the media’s giving them credit for. Some of the victories are moral ones, standing up against bad bills — or trying to change them behind the scenes in conversations that will never make a bit of news. But last week, what might have been a blip on the media’s screen became a full-scale public debate — all because FRC blew the whistle.

It’s a piece of legislation that passed last year without a peep of opposition: the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act. At the time, most Republicans didn’t know that the proposal would have forced taxpayers to fund abortifacients. This time around, in 2021, our legislative team wasn’t fooled. When the text of the bill came out, the Democrats banked on it being uncontroversial. And maybe it would have been if the alarm weren’t sounded that the Veterans Administration was going to force Americans to pay for drugs that might end an innocent life.

Expecting no opposition, the Left tried to fast-track the bill, rushing it through on what’s called suspension — where there’d be very little debate. Together with Freshman Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), FRC started raising the issue in Republican offices, explaining that the legislation would offer pills like Plan B and ella to our female veterans — drugs that, by the FDA’s own admission, can and do end pregnancies.

Suddenly, other pro-life members started engaging — stopping the bill in its tracks. So many Republicans got involved that a debate started raging on the House floor. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) called FRC out by name, blaming us for slamming on the brakes. “Last week, this bill was defeated on suspension calendar, when the Family Research Council mobilized efforts with my colleagues in the Freedom Caucus who suggested that the bill pushed a ‘harmful ideology.’”

Undeterred, Democrats brought it up again — only this time through the regular process. FRC threatened to score the bill and began educating Members about what the Left was trying to do. Rep Chip Roy (R-Texas) started tweeting about the bill, urging his colleagues to get educated about what the legislation would actually do. “Momentarily, even as Republicans are rightly pounding the lectern about protecting the Hyde Amendment and stopping taxpayer funding for abortions, some will inexplicably vote in favor of taxpayer funding for Plan B through the VA. It’s unconscionable on the merits — and politically even more absurd — to hide behind the fact Obamacare set the terms for funding potential abortifacients in the name of birth control. I oppose it,” he insisted, “as should all those who champion the pro-life cause.”

By the end of Thursday, H.R. 239 — which would had almost unanimous support in 2020 — lost the backing of a whopping 188 Republicans. Newspapers like the Hill were amazed at how many members peeled off the bill, leaving “only 26 Republicans voting with all Democrats in support.” Because of the pro-life commitment in the House, a proposal that would have normally passed with a yawn became a focal point of contention — helping to expose the Left’s plan to slip its extreme abortion agenda into almost every piece of legislation. The bill may have passed, but more Republicans will be on guard for these sneak attacks in the future.

That same day, Thursday, conservatives also put the Democrats on their toes over a bill that would have pushed the envelope on gender politics. The LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act passed the House by a vote of 252 to 176, a margin which almost certainly would have been greater if real conservatives like Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) hadn’t stood up to the Left’s attempts to pass radical legislation under procedures usually reserved for “noncontroversial” bills. As FRC pointed out before the vote, this bill redefines “sex” to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” and ignores the biological realities of men and women. This type of transgender activism will lead to the diminishment of programs like the Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership that helps women entrepreneurs and is undermined by men who want to identify as women. While the 33 Republicans who voted for this is 33 too many, there are still a number who are willing to stand up to the Left, and we salute them.

Not every loss is a defeat. We should all be grateful for the growing number of proud pro-life, pro-family conservatives representing our values every day. They don’t always win, but they’re laying the groundwork for a day when the unborn will.

Originally published here.

The Separation of Church and Hate

The gentleman doth protest too much. On Facebook Thursday, California Representative Jared Huffman (D) doubled down on his suggestion that the Catholic church should lose its tax-exempt status if U.S. bishops withhold communion from pro-abortion politicians. He stated in part:

“I’ve been getting the most colorful feedback from anti-abortion activists all over the country ever since I tweeted earlier this week that when churches engage in overt political activity … that church may put its tax-exempt status at risk. Pointing it out doesn’t mean I want to dictate how priests practice their religion; it means I want them to respect the separation of church and state…. But sending an army of angry online goons to threaten and attack me, as some of the Bishops and anti-abortion zealots like Tony Perkins have done this week, calls into question more than their tax status. I didn’t know devout Christians behaved this way, with foul, hateful language and threats of physical violence…”

I addressed Huffman’s suggestion on Tuesday in this Update and on “Washington Watch.” Read the article. Listen to the interview. Draw your own conclusions. Huffman thinks I sent “an army of angry online goons to threaten and attack” him. For my part, I can’t identify the slightest shred of evidence to suggest that I sent anyone after him, that I endorsed threats or hateful language, or that I have an online goon squad at my command.

Let me be clear that violence and threats of violence should have no place in America’s political process. If Rep. Huffman has received threatening messages, I hope that he reports them to the proper authorities, and that they will hold the offending parties responsible.

However, claiming victimization is not a valid rebuttal to rational argumentation. For instance, I said, “what about the separation of church and state? This looks like the government getting into the church’s business.” Most religious freedom controversies (e.g. Jack Phillips, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Hobby Lobby, Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia) regard whether people of faith may live their daily lives according to their religious beliefs. But for the government to dictate to the Catholic church how to conduct communion is to reach its long arm right up the aisle on Sunday morning and close an icy fist around the very heart of religious observance. Not to mention that avoiding entanglement between the church and the state is one of the motives behind church tax-exempt status in the first place. Huffman protests he doesn’t “want to dictate how priests practice their religion,” but if communion is “overt political activity,” then what is left for religion?

I also said, “If you’re going to proclaim a faith it needs to mean something. The Catholics… have a right to say ‘this is what we believe in. If you don’t believe it and act accordingly, you’re not a part of us.’” Clearly distinguishing those in Christ from those apart is a hard but essential truth; how can anyone be saved until they know they are lost? And the First Amendment protects the right of churches to make those distinctions. Non-Christians are often offended by this distinction — which Jesus himself taught, by the way.

But while Christians insist on the same exclusivity as Jesus, we are filled with love, not hate. That’s how I know any “foul, hateful language” directed towards Rep. Huffman over his tweets certainly didn’t come from “devout Christians.” We stand firm on our convictions. We persuade as many as will come to believe in Christ. And we work for the good of society, including protection for the most vulnerable, the unborn.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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