20 States Condemn FBI Memo Targeting Pro-Life Catholics

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 21, 2023   |   9:56AM   |   Washington, DC

State attorneys general of 20 states have written a seven-page letter of complaint addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray about a recent memo targeting pro-life Catholics.

As LifeNews.com has reported, he FBI Richmond bureau issued a recent memo on “radical-traditional Catholic ideology” that cited the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center. The FBI memo urged agents to probe the supposed nexus between “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” and “radical-traditional Catholics,” citing the SPLC and including a list of SPLC-designated “hate groups” for agents to target.

The federal agency quickly retracted the memo after massive criticism, but pro-life groups and pro-life elected officials wan an investigation and accountability.

Missouri Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey and 19 other attorneys general have now issued a letter of condemnation.

“As Attorney General, I will protect the Constitution, which includes the basic right to religious liberty enshrined in the First Amendment,” said Attorney General Bailey. “We already knew that President Biden was launching an attack on the First Amendment rights of Americans, as evidenced by our landmark free speech case Missouri v. Biden, but now it’s clear that he’ll weaponize unelected federal bureaucrats to go after any American who doesn’t worship the ‘right way.’ The First Amendment includes both the right to free speech and religious liberty for a reason, and my office will use any tool necessary to defend the rights of all Missourians to worship as they please.”

The memorandum distinguishes between what the FBI deems acceptable and unacceptable Catholic beliefs and practices. The memorandum suggests that there are “radical traditionalists” who could be “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.”

Click here to sign up for pro-life news alerts from LifeNews.com

The letter states the FBI memo “identifies ‘radical-traditionalist Catholics’ as a potential ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.’ … Among those beliefs which distinguish the bad Catholics from the good ones are a preference for ‘the Traditional Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II teachings,’ and adherence to traditional Catholic teachings on sex and marriage (which the memorandum describes as ‘anti-LGBTQ’).”

Bailey said the FBI action was another attack on the First Amendment by Joe Biden, who is supposedly a practicing Catholic.

Bailey and the other attorneys general assert that the FBI memorandum “even appears to accuse the Supreme Court and the Governor of Virginia of ‘[c]atalyzing’ the bad Catholics through ‘legislation or judicial decisions in areas such as abortion rights, immigration, affirmative action, and LGBTQ protections,’ singling out the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and Governor Youngkin’s support for sensible abortion regulations as examples.”

In the letter, General Bailey and the other states demand that the FBI and DOJ “desist from investigating and surveilling Americans who have done nothing more than exercise their natural and constitutional right to practice their religion in a manner of their choosing” and asked that the FBI “reveal to the American public the extent to which they have engaged in such activities.”

“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,” the attorneys general continues. “The FBI must immediately and unequivocally order agency personnel not to target Americans based on their religious beliefs and practices.”

The attorneys general request a full explanation of the document’s origins, documents related to its implementation, information regarding how this document has already affected Virginia’s Catholic population, and information on whether the FBI has begun infiltrating houses of worship in conflict with the FBI’s internal guidelines.

Joining Bailey were AGs from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The full letter can be read by clicking here.