(LifeSiteNews) — Virginia lawmakers have criticized a recently leaked memo from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which detailed plans to monitor traditional Catholics in the state as “extremists.”
“This whistleblower report exposes disturbing and disappointing politicization of our nation’s premier law enforcement agency,” Virginia Republican Del. Dave LaRock told LifeSiteNews via email. “Under the Biden administration, we have already seen the FBI being weaponized, at the request of the National School Boards Association, against the rights of public school parents in Loudoun County, VA and elsewhere.”
“Now, based on a questionable report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which itself has a disturbing history of discrimination and other improper behavior, the FBI is dangerously close to violating the freedom of religion, which has been protected in Virginia since the earliest days of our nation.”
LaRock added that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom “formed the precedent for the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States” and is still enacted in the Code of Virginia.
“The FBI office in Virginia should immediately rescind this document and apologize for this egregious attempt to smear religious organizations in the Commonwealth,” the legislator concluded.
Similarly, former Virginia delegate Bob Marshall criticized the memo, pointing out via email that “intimidation tactics by secret police were widespread against Christians under Communist regimes.” Now in 2023, he observed, the Richmond FBI office “has issued a report calling traditional Catholics extremists capable of terrorism.”
Marshall believes that this was not a rookie error.
“It’s hard to believe that such a politically radical report maligning many millions of traditional and conservative Catholics could be even written for internal Bureau circulation without a ‘wink and nod’ from FBI higher-ups,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“It appears that Catholics who disagree with the Biden administration over real marriage, promoting the violent and painful destruction of living babies waiting to be born, threatening public schools into pushing young children to question whether they are a boy or a girl, or to change biological sex with surgery or powerful drugs behind their parents’ backs, makes such Catholics enemies of the state in need of surveillance.”
Marshall also pointed out that “so far, neither President Joe Biden nor Virginia’s Senator Tim Kaine, both of whom identify as Catholics, has condemned the report.”
“We know about the FBI report only because a brave FBI whistleblower gave it to former FBI agent, Kyle Seraphin, who released the report to the press,” the former legislator continued. “Hopefully, other courageous, patriotic FBI agents will be bolstered by our prayers to come forward should similar efforts be needed to further protect citizens.”
Marshall encouraged Americans to contact their respective representatives and senators to “urge a thorough investigation of the process and personnel who produced this anti-Catholic report” and “urge that the FBI’s appropriations bill be amended in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, prohibiting the use of any funds for anti-Catholic activities or ‘reports’ in the future.”
The document, which came from the agency’s Richmond, Virginia office, was released on February 8 by a former FBI agent turned whistleblower. As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the memo showed plans to increasingly target “radical traditionalist Catholics” during the next two years, comparing Catholics who attend the Latin Mass to “white nationalists.”
Although the document has since been retracted with the federal agency stating that it “does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI” to depict traditional Catholicism as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism,” the memo is still receiving backlash and inspiring calls for accountability among religious and political leaders.
Last week, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin called for “full transparency” from the FBI regarding its creation of the document. Similarly, Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares led a group of state attorneys general in submitting a joint letter to the agency demanding answers about the memo.
Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond also slammed the document, saying that he was “alarmed” by its contents and that it “should be troubling and offensive to all communities of faith, as well as all Americans.”
“A preference for traditional forms of worship and holding closely to the Church’s teachings on marriage, family, human sexuality, and the dignity of the human person does not equate with extremism,” he said.