The American Family Association (AFA) is in a tizzy because the U.S. Army listed them as a hate group in a training presentation. The Army identified the AFA as a hate group based on information from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Of course the AFA thinks that designation is false and slanderous — they’re simply standing up for “traditional” Christian values, they’re simply doing the work of God. But the SPLC doesn’t arbitrarily identify groups as hateful; it has very good reasons for doing so. After reading the SPLC’s listing for the AFA, that identification will seem sadly appropriate. The simple fact of the matter is that the AFA hates homosexuality, hates “the homosexual agenda” and is doing everything in their power to limit the rights of homosexuals.
The AFA doesn’t want to be lumped in with white nationalists, black separatists, racist skinheads or neo-Confederates. But the substance of their message differs little from many of those groups. The reasons those groups are widely reviled are precisely the same reasons the AFA and the FRC are identified as hate groups. And if Christians feel uncomfortable with that, they should pay heed to that feeling of discomfort — or even better, pay heed to the feelings of others. It’s easy to lash out and blame the SPLC, the Army and the liberal media, but the words and actions of the AFA speak for themselves.
It’s time for Christians to own up to the hate that’s being perpetuated in their name. The AFA needs to realize that “standing up” for supposedly “Christian” values — when those values are in reality nothing of the sort — has consequences. The AFA has every right to continue to spew their message, but it’s time to stop pretending it’s not a message of hate.