Don’t donate to the tea party or to evangelical Christian groups — that was the message soldiers at a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood said they received from a counter-intelligence agent who headed up the meeting.
If you do, you could face punishment — that was the other half of the message, as reported by Fox News.
The briefing was Oct. 17, and about a half-hour of it was devoted to discussion about how perceived radical groups — like tea party organizations and the Christian-based American Family Association — were “tearing the country apart,” one unnamed soldier said, to Fox News.
Among the remarks the agent allegedly made: Military members who donate to these groups would be subject to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the soldier reported.
Liberty Institute has stepped in to investigate. Michael Berry, one of the nonprofit’s attorneys, said he has been advising the soldier about his options — but that in the meanwhile, he said the American public should be on guard.
“The American public should be outraged that the U.S. Army is teaching our troops that evangelical Christians and tea party members are enemies of America and that they can be punished for supporting or participating in those groups,” Mr. Berry said, in Fox News. “These statements about evangelicals being domestic enemies are a serious charge.”
COVERAGE: Tea Party Voices
The solider said he was worried about getting in trouble for speaking of the incident to the press. But he also wondered how that advisement would play out.
The soldier said, Fox News reported: “Can I tithe? Can I donate to Christian charities? What if I donate to a politician who is a part of the tea party movement?”
Another soldier in attendance at the meeting confirmed the threat of punishment was made, Fox News reported. But the Army officials at Fort Hood said in a Breitbart.com report that the soldiers’ claims weren’t true.