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 say; they’re simply doing the work of God. But the SPLC doesn’t arbitrarily identify groups as hateful. The SPLC’s listing for the AFA makes sadly clear that the AFA very much hates homosexuality, hates “the homosexual agenda,” and is doing everything in its 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 any Christian feels uncomfortable with that, he or she 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 for the AFA being labeled a hate group, 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 spewing its message. But it’s time to stop pretending that message is one of anything but hatred.
Image Photoshopped by me.
Dan is the Executive Editor of the Unfundamentalist blog. He is a writer, graphic designer and IT specialist. He lives in Montana, is married and lives with two cats.