Back in August, a number of bloggers, including myself, wrote about the US Army training programs that taught that many conservative and Christian organizations are hate groups and that their members were not welcome in the military. The Army based its hate group classification on the ultra-liberal hate group known as the Southern Pacific Law Center (SPLA). This radical left-wing group put out a list of organizations that they labeled as hate groups and the Army took that list and incorporated it into their training programs.
Among their list of hate groups is, Family Research Council, American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and Coral Ridge Ministries. There are indications that the shooting earlier this year at the Family Research Council was prompted by the organization being labeled as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Army ignored all of our blogs and continued to tell its soldiers that people like me belong to hate groups and should be targets in the event of any civil unrest. Our blogs by themselves did not carry enough impact to cause the Army to take any corrective action.
When Fox News reporter Todd Starnes did an exclusive news story on an Army briefing that recently took place at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Soldiers attending the briefing were told that the American Family Association was a domestic hate group.
As much as I hate to admit it, Starnes has a larger following than all of us bloggers combined. As a result of his broadcast of Camp Shelby, five members of Congress sent a letter to the Pentagon expressing their concerns and wanting to know what was going on. Their letter stated:
“This most recent mislabeling of a Christian organization reflects what appears to be a troubling trend of religious intolerance in the military. We are very troubled.”
The Army denied the claims made about the Camp Shelby briefing and the photographs taking during those briefings. However, four days after Starnes broadcast, John McHugh, Secretary of the Army issued a memorandum to Army brass stating:
“On several occasions over the past few months, media accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information or material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy.”
Col. David Patterson, Jr., a spokesman for the Army told Starnes:
“[McHugh] directed that Army leaders cease all briefings, command presentations or training on the subject of extremist organizations or activities until that program of instruction and training has been created and disseminated.”
Ron Crews, Executive Director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty responded to the news of the McHugh memorandum, saying:
“Men and women of faith – who have served the Army faithfully for centuries – have been likened to those who regularly threaten the peace and security of the United States. It is dishonorable for any U.S. military entity to allow this type of improper characterization.”
Even though the Army didn’t react until just after Todd Starnes made his broadcast, I would like to believe that us bloggers still played a role in bringing about the end to the Army’s labeling of Christian and conservative organizations as hate groups. The more voices that are heard, the more likely these types of changes will be made and I would like to use this example to encourage more of you to join in making your voices heard on other anti-Christian incidents.