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Secretary Hagel Asked to Review DOD Connections to Southern Poverty Law Center

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Family Research Council (FRC) and 15 other organizations announced today the submission of a letter
to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel requesting that the Department of Defense (DOD) go further in its review of current training materials and take steps to ensure that future training materials "do not rely on information from organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) or any others that engage in groundless and highly pejorative mischaracterizations of long-standing ministries and organizations for their own political purposes."

The request comes after several training incidents in which Army instructors may have relied on anti-Christian materials produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that was linked to domestic terrorism in federal court in February, 2013. On October 24, Army Secretary John McHugh issued an order to "cease all briefings ... on the subject of extremist organizations or activities." The letter described the hate labeling of Christian evangelical groups as "inaccurate, objectionable, and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy." On December 5, the FBI issued a statement to CNS News declining to endorse the SPLC as a source but inexplicably continues to link to the SPLC on its Hate Crimes webpage.

Lt. General Jerry Boykin (retired), Family Research Council's executive vice president, made the following comments:
"In recent months, Army instructors have begun relying on the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-Christian group linked to domestic terrorism, as a source for its briefings. While we are encouraged that the Army Secretary has issued an order ceasing such briefings, we remain concerned that individual installation briefings may continue to draw upon SPLC materials.

"We are asking Secretary Hagel to issue clear guidance to the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute and instructing installations to stop relying on SPLC and other non-governmental sources as approved resources for equal opportunity training or other purposes.

"We will continue to monitor this situation and remain in contact with the Department of Defense to ensure that instructors carry out their role to train our troops to defend our freedom, and not push the Southern Poverty Law Center's anti-Christian agenda," concluded Boykin.