U.S. Army Defines Christian Ministry as 'Domestic Hate Group'
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 Oct 15
Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values, Fox News reports. 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' Todd Starnes and sent him 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 laws for f***." American Family Association has 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 Starnes. "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. Later in the briefing, the soldiers were reportedly told that they could face punishment for participating in organizations that are considered hate groups. The soldier said he was "completely taken back by this blatant attack not only on the AFA but Christians and our beliefs."