The Pentagon said Tuesday the information displayed in a recent Army briefing that called two well-known Christian ministries “domestic hate groups” was not from official sources and “does not reflect Army doctrine,” according to Fox News.
The briefing identified the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA). The groups were wrongly highlighted during a briefing for active duty military and reservists at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. The meeting included a slide presentation on organizations the Army considers dangerous. AFA and FRC were listed alongside the Klan and Neo Nazis.
One soldier in the briefing said he felt he could not let the incident pass, so he contacted Todd Starnes, host of Fox News & Commentary.
“I had to show Americans what our soldiers are now being taught,” he told Starnes.
The soldier said at one point the instructor told the class they could be penalized for supporting AFA.
The source of the allegations is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The group publishes a list of what it calls hate groups and their locations. When Floyd Lee Corkins walked into FRC a year ago and shot the security guard there, he later told police he had relied on the SPLC map to find the addresses of groups to target.
Mike Berry, an attorney with Liberty Institute, said his group is investigating what happened.
“We’re in the process of conducting a thorough investigation,” he said, “and once we get all the facts and have figured out just exactly what happened, we will take appropriate legal action.”
Berry says the incident may be just the tip of a much bigger iceberg in the military system.
“Whether it’s coming from the highest levels of the Pentagon,” he said, “or whether this is simply the isolated act of one soldier, either way, this is a serious problem for the Army.”