Ministry as 'Domestic Hate Group'
FOX News Radio
Several dozen US Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.
The briefing was held at Camp Shelby in Mississippi and listed the AFA alongside domestic hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam.
A soldier who attended the briefing contacted [FOX News] sent a photograph of a slide show presentation that listed AFA as a domestic hate group. Under the AFA headline is a photograph of Westboro Baptist Church preacher Fred Phelps holding a sign reading "No special law for f***."
American Family Association has absolutely no affiliation with the controversial church group known for picketing the funerals of American service members.
"I had to show Americans what our soldiers are now being taught," said the soldier who asked not to be identified. "I couldn't just let this one pass."
The soldier said a chaplain interrupted the briefing and challenged the instructor's assertion that AFA is a hate group.
"The instructor said AFA could be considered a hate group because they don't like gays," the soldier told me. "The slide was talking about how AFA refers to gays as sinners and heathens and derogatory terms."
The soldier, who is an evangelical Christian, said the chaplain defended the Christian ministry.
"He kept asking the instructor, 'Are you sure about that, son? Are you sure about that?'" he said, recalling the back and forth.
Later in the briefing, the soldiers were reportedly told that they could face punishment for participating in organizations that are considered hate groups.
That considered, the soldier contacted me because he is a financial contributor to the AFA ministry.
"I donate to AFA as often as I can," he said. "Am I going to be punished? I listen to American Family Radio all day. If they hear it on my radio, will I be faced with a Uniformed Code of Military Justice charge?"
The soldier said he was "completely taken back by this blatant attack not only on the AFA but Christians and our beliefs."
It's not the first time the Army has accused conservative Christian groups of being domestic hate groups.
Earlier this year, it was exposed that Army briefings classified evangelical Christians and Catholics as examples of religious extremism.
Another briefing told officers to pay close attention to troops who supported groups like AFA and the Family Research Council.
One officer said the two Christian ministries did not "share our Army Values."
"When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values – don't just walk by – do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem," the officer wrote in an email to his subordinates.
At the time the military insisted those briefings were isolated incidents and did not reflect official Army policy.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 10/14/2013
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