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Military declares American Family Association a hate group

Timothy Kincaid

October 15th, 2013

It seems that the military is advising soldiers not to get involved with hate groups, including the American Family Association and the Family Research Counsel. (Fox)

Several dozen U.S. 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.

Which, of course, is nonsense. The designation for hate group is clearly outlined by the Southern Poverty Law Center and it requires far more than advocating for traditional family values, whatever that means. Here’s a small part of their page on AFA.

The AFA has been extremely vocal over the years in its opposition to LGBT rights, marriage equality and allowing gay men and lesbians to serve in the military. The group’s arguments are filled with claims that equate homosexuality with pedophilia and argue that there’s a “homosexual agenda” afoot that is set to bring about the downfall of American (and ultimately, Western) civilization. In one October 2004 article, the AFA Journal suggested that gay influences are leading to a “grotesque culture” that will include “quick encounters in the middle school boys’ restroom.”

For years, until 2010, the AFA had a section on its website that supposedly exposed “The Homosexual Agenda.” There, a reader could find articles and other AFA publications that claimed LGBT people were trying to force the acceptance of homosexuality on children through sex education programs in schools; condemned companies like Disney for supporting LGBT rights and programming; and, also until 2010, featured a particularly noxious booklet the AFA had published in 1994. That booklet, Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths, included the bogus research of thoroughly discredited psychologist Paul Cameron as a source. One of the publication’s authors, Richard Howe, used Cameron’s “research” to claim that LGBT people don’t live as long as heterosexuals, that they’re more promiscuous and that the “disgusting details of the homosexual lifestyle explain why so many diseases are present in the homosexual community.” Another claim was that “[p]rominent homosexual leaders and publications have voiced support for pedophilia, incest, sadomasochism, and even bestiality.”

It’s tough getting a “hate group” designation. Very few groups which disagree with marriage equality, gay rights, or the morality of homosexuality make the list. In fact, of the 1,007 hate groups they monitor, only a couple dozen are anti-gay hate groups.

Needless to say, the fact that the Military is now calling the AFA a hate group is sending them into a tizzy.

The soldier said he was “completely taken back by this blatant attack not only on the AFA but Christians and our beliefs.” The soldier said a chaplain interrupted the training and repeatedly challenged the instructor’s assertion that AFA is a hate group, but the instructor refused to back down.

Later in the briefing, the soldiers were reportedly told that they could face punishment for participating in organizations that are considered hate groups.

The American Family Association has received numerous accounts of military installations using a list compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center which wrongfully identifies and defames AFA.

This mischaracterization of AFA is reprehensible and inexcusable. AFA has many military members who support our ministry and know these accusations are false and misleading.

But, of course, they are not so upset that they will consider stopping their lying, defaming, demonizing, and generally being raging aholes.



October 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sorry. I’m missing something. What is the course of events you’re reporting? In what context are the soldiers getting briefings and instruction?

Timothy Kincaid
October 15th, 2013 | LINK

Sorry, Soren. It helps if I include the link and put quotes where they’re supposed to be.

Richard Rush
October 15th, 2013 | LINK

If AFA is not a hate group, then what would a hate group look like?

October 15th, 2013 | LINK

It would be prudent to note that we only have the AFA’s word for it (according to the Fox article) that the military is basing its “hate group” designation on the SPLC’s. It could well be that the military decided on the label of its own accord.

(There’s a widespread misconception that the SPLC is some kind of government agency tasked with legally designating “hate groups.” Which is false – it’s a nonprofit organization, and the US government has no say in what labels any private organization chooses to classify other organizations under.)

October 15th, 2013 | LINK

Correction – on second read, “the military” is inaccurate. A couple of instructors called the AFA a hate group, and military brass claimed they “did not reflect official Army policy.”

In other words, there’s no official censure of the AFA. They’re just shocked that a couple of people in the military would share the opinions of nearly everyone else who’s heard their hateful rhetoric.

October 16th, 2013 | LINK

@Kincaid: Thank you. Perfectly clear now.

October 16th, 2013 | LINK

It’s also pure nonsense that the AFA is a “ministry”.

October 16th, 2013 | LINK

So…. an organization that is devoted to, on demonstrably false pretenses, defaming LGBT people is upset that they are being “defamed” (factually, I might add), by SPLC?

I love the smell of irony in the morning.

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