LGBT group slams Army nominee's comments on 'crushing evil'

LGBT group slams Army nominee's comments on 'crushing evil'
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A leading LGBT advocacy group is circulating an audio clip of Army Secretary nominee Mark Green citing a Bible verse that he says calls on the government to “crush evil” when explaining his opposition to transgender bathroom rights and Syrian refugees.

Glaad released the clip, from a June radio appearance, as part of a campaign by LGBT groups fighting Green’s nomination to be the top civilian leader of the Army.

“The Trump administration must have been desperate to fill this post because Mark Green’s anti-LGBTQ remarks should disqualify anyone seeking to be in charge of the United States Army, which includes many out and proud soldiers,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of Glaad, said in a statement. “Our nation is strongest when we are together — and calling transgender people ‘evil’ does just the opposite.”

Green, currently a Tennessee state senator, had a 20-year Army career that included being the emergency physician during the operation that captured former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in 2003. He was the first person to interrogate Hussein following the capture.

If confirmed as Army secretary, Green would succeed Eric Fanning, the first openly gay service secretary.

The Human Rights Campaign previously circulated video of Green making anti-LGBT comments during a speech last year to the Chattanooga Tea Party. It also held a conference call alongside the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) about the groups' opposition to Green.

The transcript circulated by Glaad on Thursday is from a June 3 interview with online radio show "The Hotwash with CJ and Alex".

In the clip, Green said he has two reasons to oppose then-federal rules allowing transgender children to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. The first is states’ rights, and the second is to protect women from men he thinks would take advantage of the rules. Both are common arguments among those who oppose the rules.

In continuing to explain his opposition, Green cited Romans 13, which calls on Christians to listen to the government. Green added that his reasoning also applies to Syrian refugees.

"And as far as the religious argument goes, and this applies to the issue of Syrian refugees as well — there’s a big fuss about whether or not that we should sue the federal government over having to take refugees from Syria into the state of Tennessee," he said. "I believe we should sue the federal government in that case because Romans 13 is pretty doggone clear. This is the passage where it tells people to submit to the authorities — meaning, basically if you’re in the government, you should do what the government tells you to do. You know, don’t speed, all that kind of stuff. Obey the laws is basically what the passage says. But what it goes on to say is that because the government exists for two purposes. 

“The government exists to honor those people who live honorably, who do good things, to reward people who behave well and to crush evil,” he continued. “So that means as a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded and the people who do wrong are crushed. Evil is crushed.

“And so I’m going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I’m going to protect our state against potential infiltration of the Syrian ISIS people from the refugee program. And whoever wants to stand up and take me on that, I’m ready to fight.”

In response to the clip, AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack said President Trump should withdraw Green’s nomination.

"Mark Green's comments are outrageous and beyond the pale," she said in a statement. "Our transgender soldiers serve our nation proudly, with integrity and honor. Green clearly has no business leading the men and women of the United States Army, and his appalling attacks against LGBT people are in direct conflict with the core values of the Army. President Trump should immediately withdraw his nomination of Mark Green as secretary of the Army."