Although concerned Americans have long spoken out against the federal government’s perceived hostility toward traditional Christians, the latest chapter in that ongoing saga is causing Republicans nationwide to sound the alarm.
In a letter addressed to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, 20 Republican attorneys general from states across the country are demanding answers about a controversial report that sought to connect “radical traditionalist Catholics” with violent domestic terrorism.
Using evidence gathered from largely leftist entities, the intelligence memo claims that “potential ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists’” are active within the faith.
Although the FBI has since retracted the memo on the grounds that it does not rise to the “exacting standards” that the bureau holds for itself, that was not enough to assuage critics.
For their part, the group of GOP attorneys general denounced the “bigotry” on display by the FBI.
“We are the chief legal officers of our respective States charged not only with enforcing the law but also with securing the civil rights of our citizens,” they wrote. “Therefore, the FBI must immediately and unequivocally order agency personnel not to target Americans based on their religious beliefs and practices.”
Attributing extremist motives to a group “because of the language in which they pray or because of the beliefs to which they subscribe is unacceptable, unconstitutional, and deeply un-American” the attorneys general added.
Their letter went on to vow that they would continue using “appropriate means to protect the rights of our constituents as guaranteed by our Constitution.”
I cannot believe the FBI had an internal memo calling Catholic Virginians "violent extremists" because of their religious views.
This rhetoric from the government is wrong and un-American, and I demand answers!https://t.co/AwDvp2DXss
— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) February 10, 2023
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, similarly denounced the FBI’s anti-Catholic rhetoric in a statement that sarcastically referenced the Democratic Party’s assurances.
“A leaked FBI report revealed that the Bureau’s Richmond, Virginia Division was investigating the threat of ‘white supremacy’ among Catholics,” he tweeted. “How could that be? Democrats tell us the government isn’t weaponized against the First Amendment!”
The letter sent to Wray and Garland cited the crackdown on Muslim houses of worship in post-9/11 America as evidence that the “FBI has been down this road before,” noting that the bureau “disavowed this ignominious practice in 2008, and revised its internal guidelines in 2010 and 2013 to prevent its operatives from callously disregarding the religious liberty of American citizens.”