Earlier this week, more than 120 retired military generals and admirals released an open letter endorsing the Big Lie that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election. Among them was a name that jumped out at us here at Americans United: William G. Boykin.

Americans United has been following Boykin’s checkered career for years. It has been one embarrassment after another.

Consider the following highlights (or lowlights, if you will):

October 2003: Americans United urges then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to fire Boykin for his pattern of delivering incendiary speeches in uniform attacking Islam. In one case, he boasted about his capture of an Islamic militant, remarking, “Well, you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol.” Speaking before a church in Oregon, Boykin declared that he was leading a “spiritual battle” against Satan. He told the congregation that Islamic extremists hate America “because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian.” Boykin received a mild rebuke for the comments.  

September 2011: Boykin, now retired from the military, appears on a right-wing radio show and calls for banning the construction of mosques in America, a scheme that would blatantly violate the First Amendment’s promise of religious freedom. “No mosques in America,” Boykin said. He opined incorrectly that Islam isn’t protected by the U.S. Constitution because it “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.”

November 2013: Now working for the Christian nationalist group Family Research Council (FRC), Boykin implies that top military officials are so disgusted with President Barack Obama that they considered assassinating him. “People I’ve spoken to would like to see the military ‘fulfill their constitutional duty and take out the president,’” Boykin told a right-wing site. “Our Constitution puts a civilian in charge of the military and as a result, a coup would not be constitutional. You’re not going to see a coup in the military.”

May 2014: The Washington Post reports that Boykin received a “scathing reprimand” after a criminal investigation determined that he had released classified information in his 2008 memoir Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom. A memo signed by Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, who at the time was the Army’s vice chief of staff and is now Biden’s Secretary of Defense, accused Boykin of “unprofessional behavior” that “reflects poorly on your character.”

“As a former senior leader of the United States Army, you are expected to set and exemplify the highest professional and ethical standards,” read the reprimand. “Your decision to disregard legal advice and allow Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom to be published without seeking classification review reflects a gross lack of judgment.” Boykin’s actions were called “prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces.”

(For more on Boykin’s extremist views, see this round-up by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

An organization with any sense would keep a guy like this at arm’s length. At the FRC, Boykin is an executive vice president and regularly lauded as a hero. He’s not – the man is a religious extremist and a traitor to American values. Boykin’s endorsement of the 2020 stolen election conspiracy confirms what we’ve always suspected: Boykin and the FRC have no respect for bedrock American principles. They're willing to trash democracy, the right to vote and free elections. The will of the people means nothing to them. They favor overturning a democratic election and putting a man in power who clearly lost. This is totalitarianism.

Boykin, FRC and all of the Christian nationalists who agree with them must be monitored closely as they’ve made it abundantly clear that they are intent on tearing down the very foundations of this nation.

We can’t say we weren’t warned.