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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin Demands 'Accountability' After FBI Memo on 'Radical-Traditional Catholic Ideology'

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) is calling for accountability after the FBI bureau in Richmond sent out a now-public internal memo seemingly calling some Catholics “violent extremists.”

Youngkin was surprised by the memo on “radical-traditional Catholic ideology,” which cited the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-leaning legal advocacy organization. In a statement shared with CBN’s Faithwire, the governor’s spokesperson, Macaulay Porter, said Youngkin is demanding “full transparency and accountability” from top FBI brass.

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“Religious freedom is a foundational tenet of our great nation, and the governor was stunned by the news reports on the FBI memo,” said Porter. “While he is encouraged that the FBI removed the document, he believes there must be full transparency and accountability from FBI leadership as part of the review under way.”

It should be noted the FBI announced it was rescinding the Richmond-based memo after whistleblower Kyle Seraphin published it on Feb. 8. The bureau’s national office said the memo “does not meet the exacting standards of the FBI” and vowed to “conduct a review of the basis for the document.”

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent his own letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Feb. 10, according to WRIC-TV.

In a press release, Miyares said, “Virginia is the birthplace of religious freedom and has a long history of protecting the inalienable right to live your faith free from government interference or intimidation. Virginians should not and will not be labeled ‘violent extremists’ by their government because of how they worship, or because of their beliefs.”

The FBI Richmond field office suggested in the memo in question there are Catholics who are “radical-traditionalists” and could be “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists”

Concern over the memo, first issued in January, is spreading, with House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) demanding answers from Wray, Fox News reported.

“In this document, the FBI purported to distinguish what it called ‘traditional Catholics’ from the disfavored RTC [radical-traditionalist Catholic] adherents, who the FBI characterized as embracing ‘anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and white supremacist ideology,'” wrote Jordan.

The lawmaker went on to assert the memo attempts to “separate and categorize Catholic Americans based on theological distinctions,” adding the document underscores “the political nature of [the FBI’s] actions.”

Jordan said the memo relies on “biased and partisan sources, including the Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC], Salon, and The Atlantic, to support its assessment,” noting the SPLC “identifies the broad term ‘Christian identity’ as a hate group — a term that could arguably encompass millions of Americans with sincerely held religious beliefs.” 

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“The fact that the FBI would blindly accept and regurgitate the SPLC’s spin is highly concerning and undercuts the FBI’s assertion that it is unbiased and politically neutral,” he said.

***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

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About The Author

Tré Goins-Phillips Headshot

Tré Goins-Phillips serves as a host and content creator for CBN News. He hosts the weekly “Faith vs. Culture” show and co-hosts “Quick Start,” a news podcast released every weekday morning. Born and raised in Virginia, Tré now lives along the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he has built his career, often traveling to meet and interview fascinating cultural influencers and entertainers. After working with brands like TheBlaze and Independent Journal Review, Tré began his career at CBN News in 2018 and has a particular passion for bridging the chasm between the secular world and the church