In a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing, Attorney General Merrick Garland strongly refuted accusations that the Justice Department exhibited bias against Catholic Americans.
These claims emerged after a memo from the Richmond FBI leaked earlier this year. The memo, which was quickly retracted after becoming public, insinuated that “radical traditionalist” Catholics could pose a threat due to their potential ties with “far-right white nationalist movements.”
During the hearing, Rep. Jeff Van Drew challenged Garland on the implications of the memo, bluntly asking, “Do you agree that traditional Catholics are violent extremists?” To which Garland, evidently agitated, replied, “The idea that someone with my family background would discriminate against any religion is so outrageous, so absurd.”
Garland, who is of Jewish descent, has previously spoken about his family’s history, highlighting their escape from religious persecution in Europe. With evident emotion, he mentioned how his grandmother managed to flee religious persecution before the outbreak of World War I, but tragically, two of her siblings who remained behind lost their lives during the Holocaust.
Rep. Van Drew persisted, pressing Garland on the FBI’s involvement in monitoring Catholic congregations. In response, Garland emphasized that both he and FBI Director Christopher Wray were “appalled by that memo.” The Attorney General clarified that he doesn’t consider Catholics to be extremists, but he remained uncertain about any disciplinary actions taken against those responsible for the memo’s creation or circulation.
Pray for an end to religious persecution!