Defense Secretary Hagel Questioned Re: Treatment of Christians in Military on Heels of Email Labeling AFA ‘Domestic Hate Group’
American Family Association, Conservative Groups and Legislators Expect Apology from U.S. Army
On the heels of an email sent out by Army officer, Lt. Col. Jack Rich to subordinates that
labeled the American Family Association(www.afa.net) and the Family Research Council as “domestic hate
groups,” and which warned those in the military to monitor soldiers
who might be supportive of the organizations largely because of their
opposition to homosexual marriage, Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel was questioned about his department’s attitude toward Christianity and
religious freedom in the military during testimony last Thursday on Capitol
Hill during a House Armed Services Committee hearing,
At least a dozen members of Congress have demanded that the
Army apologize for the labeling. Tim Wildmon,
president of the American Family Association said, “We get labeled by watchdog
groups every day just because we stand for the very freedoms which
our U.S. military defends. For Christians and Christian organizations to be criticized by the U.S. Army is
reprehensible. We have always worked to support the military, urging
Americans to encourage, uphold and honor our troops. This is a slap in the face
to all Christians. Our soldiers, who defend our constitutional freedoms,
have been disgraced by the very government they serve. They deserve an
apology as does every Christian ally organization.”
Army spokesman George Wright from the Pentagon called the email
an “isolated” incident that does not reflect the U.S. Army’s position on
Christianity however, this is just the most recent occurrence within the U.S.
military to come to light in several weeks.
Christianity and Catholicism have listed alongside al Qaida, Hamas, and the Ku
Klux Klan as examples of “extremism.”
Wright states, “The notion that the Army is taking an
anti-religion or anti-Christian stance is contrary to any of our policies,
doctrines and regulations. Any belief that the Army is out to label religious
groups in a negative manner is without warrant.”
Not everyone agrees with Wright, however. Ron Crews is
the executive director of the Chaplain’s Alliance, and he told FOX News that
his organization hears regularly from military personnel who are struggling
with issues of religious suppression in the military.
Some of the examples of this suppression are:
An order issued that commanders
can no longer inform their command of approved programs in the chaplain’s
A report that an Air Force patch logo was
removed because it referenced “God,” and another that the Department of the
Navy was prohibiting Bibles from being used in Walter Reed hospital.
He also inquired about a training program where evangelical
Christians, Catholics and Mormons were listed in the same category of
religious extremism as al-Qaida.
Forbes also asked why service members were allowed to march in uniform in a San Diego
gay pride parade, a political event.
Forbes ended his questioning during the hearing by saying, “I
just can’t understand why the department is issuing orders prohibiting people
in the chain of command from talking about chaplain’s programs supporting
faith, but they’re not prohibiting people in the chain of command from making
anti-faith statements and doing anti-faith training?”
Hagel stated that he would obtain more information about
these incidences and that “…this should not be happening.”
For more information on American Family
Association, visit www.afa.net.
To interview a representative from American Family
Association, contact Deborah Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org,
215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.
American Family Association (AFA) a non-profit 501(c3)
organization was founded in 1977 by Donald E. Wildmon, who was pastoring First
United Methodist Church in Southaven, Mississippi, at the time. Since 1977, AFA has been on the
frontlines of America’s culture war. The original name of the ministry was
National Federation for Decency but was changed to American Family Association
(AFA) in 1988.
Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective
pro-family organizations in the country with over two million online supporters
and approximately 180,000 paid subscribers to the AFA Journal,
the ministry's monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200
radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio (AFR)
banner. Other divisions of AFA include OneNewsNow.com,
an online news provider that is syndicated around the world. AFA maintains
activist web sites such asOneMillionMoms.com and OneMillionDads.com that
rally Christian activists to contact companies asking them to drop their
advertising from objectionable TV shows. AFA web sites average over 40 million
hits and five million visitors each month. AFA uses all these means to
communicate an outspoken, resolute, Christian voice throughout America.