Army (Doesn’t) Classify American Family Association as a Hate Group, World Net Daily Is Not Happy

Posted: October 17, 2013 in military, politics, religion
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It was the fake news story that no one bothered to check.

On October 15, WND put up an article to FOX “news” under the headline, “Army Defines Christian Ministry as ‘Hate Group.’” The subject line says it all, though the article contained the eyebrow-raising (for anyone who knows about the AFA) line, “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.” On WND, it got 18 ratings (4.44/5 stars) and 71 mostly outraged comments, including “JimmyScruton” claiming, “Obama was born in Hell.”

On October 16, WND’s Bob Unruh wrote, “Obama’s War on Christians: AFA Called ‘Hate Group.’” There are numerous quotes from Bryan Fisher, AFA loud-mouth bigoted spokesman. To quote a few paragraphs from WND:

Now, a report by Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio reveals U.S. Army soldiers at a Mississippi base were being instructed that the American Family Association is a “hate group.”

Responding to the report, AFA places the blame at the top of the military food chain.

Brian Fischer, the AFA’s director of issues analysis, told WND the government’s hostility is rooted entirely in the groups’ opposition to same-sex marriage and open homosexuality in the military. AFA also asserts that the Obama administration is using the list of “hate groups” compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a radical leftist group.

“If our military wasn’t headed by a commander in chief who is hostile to Christian faith, these allegations would be laughed off every military base in the world,” he said.

Fischer said the act of linking the organization to hate simply because it adheres to biblical teachings about homosexuality is unjustified.

“The truth is that AFA doesn’t hate anyone. We love everybody. We love homosexuals enough to tell them the truth about the moral, spiritual and physical dangers of homosexual conduct,” he wrote in a commentary on the exploding controversy.

“Our first commander in chief, George Washington, was flatly opposed to the normalization of homosexuality in the military, dismissing two soldiers who were caught in the act. And his language was quite strong. Referring to the ‘attempt to commit sodomy,’ Washington expressed ‘abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes.’”

The article goes on with more “evidence” that the Christian minority is being oppressed. The article got 16 ratings (4.50/5 average), and it has garnered 61 comments including a top-rated one by “2soon2b4got10” who wrote in part, “Christianity has been outlawed. But all Muslim prisoners have a Koran and a prayer rug bought and paid for by the us [sic], the American taxpayers.”

And then, October 17, WND wrote, “Army Retreats in Fight with American Family Association.” To quote:

As WND reported Tuesday, a soldier at a Mississippi base presented evidence to media that an Army presenter at a briefing identified AFA as a “hate group,” because of its stance on homosexuality and marriage, according Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes. Army spokesman George Wright confessed the information was “acquired from an Internet search.”

Wright said the information about AFA “did not come from official Army sources, nor was it approved by senior Army leaders, senior equal opportunity counselors or judge-advocate personnel.”

Despite the article being incredibly long, in typical WND style, there is very little else about this particular subject.

So, while we’re on it, let’s take a few moments to review some of what the American Family Association does and stands for. We can start by pointing out that the AFA had their radio host, Sandy Rios, at the “Values Voter Summit” that was held over the past week. To quote from Right Wing Watch:

The former Concerned Women for America president is now a radio talk show host on American Family Radio, the network led by the American Family Association. Like other AFA hosts, she promotes right-wing conspiracy theories, including claims that Obama was not born in America and is actually from Kenya, resettled thousands of Palestinian refugees in the US and exempted Muslim-Americans from Obamacare. Rios will be a good fit for the anti-gay conference as she:

  • Compared same-sex couples to the relationships kidnapper Ariel Castro had with his captives.
  • Warned the “homosexual takeover” of the military will jeopardize the effectiveness of the military.

Besides Sandy Rios, it’s perhaps Bryan Fisher who’s the loudest voice coming out of the American Family Association. Among other things, he has claimed:

And those are all just since September of this year. A month and a half.

We can also look at Todd Starnes, the FOX reporter who originally posted the story. Again, quoting from Right Wing Watch:

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:

  • Said that defeats for anti-gay activists are a sign of “the end of days.”

So, with these in mind, how would you classify the American Family Association? In my personal opinion, “hate group” sounds about right.

Edited to Add (October 26, 2013): WND is still going for this story, this time with another FOX news piece they headlined, “Army: Christians, Tea Party ‘Radical’ Threat.”

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