Organization Trends

Department of Defense Purges SPLC Information from its Training Material

The Department of Defense (DOD) has recently removed all its material related to extremist groups that came from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The DOD infamously used the discredited SPLC’s data, which led it compare Catholic and Protestant Christians to al Qaeda, as examples of religious extremism. CRC has extensively covered the left-wing bent of the SPLC that has prompted it to include mainstream, conservative nonprofits with legitimate hate groups with histories of violence.

The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained an email from the Department of Justice in which Brian J. Field, assistant U.S. attorney for the DOD Civil Division, confirmed that the DOD Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity has removed “any and all references to the SPLC in training materials used by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI).”

The DOD founded the DEOMI in 1971 (then called the Defense Race Relations Institute) after an inter-service task force examined the causes and potential cures of racial turbulence within the military. Today, the institute provides race relations education to the members of the Armed Forces.

Under the Obama administration, DEOMI officers used SPLC data to identify high-profile Christian ministries as domestic hate groups at briefings. In the spring of 2013, a United States Army Reserve presentation included a slide, which lectured the servicemen and women that “religious extremism is not limited to any single religion, ethnic group, or region of the world.” Another slide, drawing on the SPLC’s definition of “hate,” included Evangelical Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, Catholicism, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the same category with al Qaeda, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, and the Ku Klux Klan.

In 2013, a controversial 637-page DEOMI manual, used as a textbook during a three month course taught at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, stated:

Simply put, a healthy, white, heterosexual, Christian male receives many unearned advantages of social privilege, whereas a black, homosexual, atheist female in poor health receives many unearned disadvantages of social privilege.

Military personnel were taught that statements like “This is a land of equal opportunity” were simply “tactics of denial” that some white people use; and that “unfair economic advantages and disadvantages created long ago by institutions for whites, males, Christians, etc.” are the drivers of socioeconomic privilege today.

“In one incongruous section after another,” wrote Noel S. Williams in the American Thinker, “the manual condemns white privilege as though the infamous preacher Jeremiah Wright were the author.”

An Equal Opportunity officer, who provided Fox News columnist Todd Starnes with a copy of the manual, insisted he remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. The officer strongly objected to the DEOMI’s reliance on the SPLC for information on extremist groups, saying, “I’m participating in teaching things that are not true.”

The manual’s revelation created a public backlash, which caused the DOD to conduct a review of the DEOMI’s training materials in December 2013, and subsequently remove the SPLC’s “hate groups” information. The DOD did, however, continue to use the SPLC’s data as a resource.

Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs at the American Family Association, one of the groups targeted by the SPLC, called the DoD’s response a “spit in the eye to millions of Americans,” adding,

After being warned that the Southern Poverty Law Center lies, distorts and fabricates its findings, the decision by the Department of Defense to continue to use the materials of the SPLC, whose dangerous sport is to castigate Christian citizens, is beneath contempt.

The SPLC has long included numerous mainstream conservative groups with violent hate groups because of statements these conservative organizations have made in defense of traditional marriage. CRC president Scott Walter recently told Fox News in an interview, “It’s an outrageous lie that some mainstream Christian group is a threat in terms of violence and racism.”

The DoD’s discarding of all SPLC-related materials, even as a source for diversity training, is a welcome step for millions of Americans who express religious beliefs of which the left-wing organization disapproves.

Watch Prager-U’s video on how the Southern Poverty Law Center—which was created to combat hate groups—became a hate group itself here: