Tony Perkins Worries Gun Background Checks Mean 'Watch List' for Evangelicals

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, recently spoke on his radio show about President Barack Obama's approval of proposed background checks on commercial gun purchases, saying that he worries background checks could produce a "watch list" that would prevent evangelicals and Catholics from purchasing firearms.

In the Wednesday airing of his "Washington Watch" broadcast, Perkins affirmed that although his conservative nonprofit organization is more concerned with family policy, he also believes that "it's a family issue to be able to protect your family."

"I can't imagine living in a house without a gun," Perkins said.

"This idea of background checks is very concerning given the fact that … the United States military has been increasingly showing hostility toward evangelicals and Catholics as being somehow threats to national security and people that need to be watched," he continued.

"Well, what does that have to do with gun control?" he questioned. "Well, what happens if all a sudden you are identified as an evangelical, Bible-believing fundamentalist and the government decides you've got to be put on a watch list?"

"Part of the provisions of this background check is kind of a system where if a caution comes up when they put your name in, you don't get a chance to buy a gun," Perkins went on.

"I'm never for big government ... I'm absolutely opposed to this administration doing anything that would even come close to tampering with and restraining our constitution rights."

Perkins' reference to the U.S. Army's "increasing hostility" toward evangelicals and Catholics relates to a U.S. Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief from last year which described "evangelical Christianity" and "Catholicism" as examples of "religious extremism."

The training brief reportedly listed "evangelical Christianity" as being an example of religious extremism along with al-Qaida and the Ku Klux Klan, and described extremism as the result of some followers believing "that their beliefs, customs and traditions are the only 'right way' and that all others are practicing their faith the 'wrong way,' seeing and believing that their faith/religion superior to all others."

Army spokesman George Wright told Fox News in response to the controversy that the training brief was an isolated incident not condoned by the Department of the Army and not reflective of the Army's policy.

In the Wednesday airing of his show, Perkins also referenced the Wednesday compromise reached by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa), which would extend background checks on nearly all gun purchases.

The proposed plan for background checks limits the loopholes for gun purchases that can be attained through Internet and gun show sales.

Although President Obama said he would like some parts of the deal to be stronger, he approved it and suggested Congress act soon to create legislation for universal background checks.

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