Twenty attorneys general condemned the FBI report linking Catholicism to violent extremism.
Prosecutors in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia decided to send a 7-page letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray addressed their concerns about the report:
The document focused on traditional Catholics, especially Virginia Catholics. However, according to the prosecutors, the document ultimately referred to the religion as a whole, which they consider unacceptable. Therefore, they called on the government agency to take action against a possible attack by agency personnel on citizens on religious grounds:
The FBI must immediately and unequivocally order agency personnel not to target Americans based on their religious beliefs and practices. We also demand that the FBI produce publicly all materials relating to the memorandum and its production.
In the letter, the attorneys stressed that the report went against one of the basic rights on which the country was founded: freedom of worship. Furthermore, they claimed that "some of our first states were founded as safe havens for religious dissenters."
That is why, they explained, they strongly disagreed with the document that UncoverDC leaked from the FBI and claimed that the Federal Bureau was "treating Catholics as potential terrorists because of their beliefs."
Bishops also against the FBI report
They were not the only ones. Once the government agency's document was leaked, several bishops expressed their position against it. One of them was Timothy Dolan, Cardinal of New York and president of religious liberty for the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. In statements reported by Just the News, he was very critical of the report published by the FBI:
Let me first be clear: anyone who espouses racism or promotes violence is rejecting Catholic teaching on the inherent dignity of each and every person.
In addition, he agreed with statements given days earlier by Bishop Barry Knestout from the Diocese of Richmond. In his statement, the bishop said he was very concerned about what had been published in the document and thanked the 20 attorneys general for their support in sending the letter expressing their concern:
The leaked document should be troubling and offensive to all communities of faith, as well as all Americans. I am grateful for the Virginia Attorney General and 19 attorneys general who have called upon the government to publicly release all materials related to the production of this memo. If evidence of extremism exists, it should be rooted out, but not at the expense of religious freedom. 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.