US Army admits the labeling was wrong, but officials with AFA rightly remain concerned
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
October 18, 2013
JACKSON, Miss. — Although the U.S. Army has admitted it was wrong to label the American Family Association a “hate group” during a briefing at Camp Shelby earlier this month, leaders of the AFA and other conservative groups remain concerned about the military’s targeting of Christian organizations.
“This whole matter deeply concerns me because the Christian Action League is an affiliate of the American Family Association. To call them a ‘hate group’ is nothing less than libelous,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, the league’s executive director. “You might as well be calling the Christian Action League a ‘hate group;’ it’s nothing but an egregious falsehood.”
According to AFA President Tim Wildmon, Army spokesman Roy A. Rolan Sr. said soldiers who attended the briefing will be notified that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” label is in error. Not only was the AFA listed alongside groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis, it was falsely linked with Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, which is known for its hatred of homosexuals.
Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis at AFA, said the association is calling on the military to strip all of its training materials of any reference to it as a hate group, and that if it does not, there is a possibility of legal action. He said the military obviously shouldn’t be relying on the SPLC for information.
Liberty Institute attorney Jeff Mateer told the media his organization is investigating to find out who authorized the training materials and where they have been used.
“Of course, we know that it’s occurring at a couple of bases. It may be more, and we really want to get to the bottom of it,” he said.
According to media reports, soldiers who questioned the information during the training were assured it was accurate and were told that they could get into trouble if they contributed to the listed groups.
Beyond the blatant mislabeling issue, Wildmon raised the question of why the military is training personnel about domestic organizations rather than focusing on defending the nation from foreign enemies..
“The FBI, Homeland Security — those agencies are the ones with the jurisdiction on what happens inside our country,” he said. “So, it’s kind of troubling to think that the U.S. Army is focusing on groups like the American Family Association.”
The event is the latest in a string of recent incidents revealing what appears to be a growing anti-Christian culture in some branches of the military.
“This is nothing new, however, this kind of attack on Christians has been going on for centuries — from Nero in Rome accusing Christians of burning the city to factions within today’s Armed Forces now maligning a godly Christian organization,” Dr. Creech said.
“The Bible refers to the Devil as ‘the Accuser of our brethren.’ That same passage of Scripture in Revelation 12:10 says the Evil One accuses believers before God day and night. But we can even take some encouragement from this turn of events. You see, when Satan cannot openly oppose, he imitates. He comes as an ‘angel of light.’ And when he cannot succeed through imitation, he accuses. He points his finger at us and erroneously accuses us of shortcomings, false motives, and evil intent.”
“That’s what’s happening here,” he added. “Still, I think we can take hope in this because it’s an indication the forces of darkness are desperate in their opposition to what AFA and other Christians are doing for Christ’s sake.”
The Family Research Council, a longtime target of the SPLC, has posted an online petition for those who wish to speak out against the U.S. military labeling groups like AFA and FRC as domestic hate groups. The letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel can by clicking here.