Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes criticized an email from a U.S. Army officer condemning anti-gay hate speech, suggesting that the email was a sign of "the end of days" and warning his audience that "your military is being turned against you."
In an April 9 article for Fox News Radio, Starnes reported that an email from Lt. Col. Jack Rich instructed subordinates to be on the lookout for behaviors that are "inconsistent with Army Values," including showing support for a number of "hate groups" operating in the U.S.
The email included a list of anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council (FRC) and American Family Association (AFA), stating:
The religious right in America has employed a variety of strategies in its efforts to beat back the increasingly confident gay rights movement. One of those has been defamation. Many of its leaders have engaged in the crudest type of name-calling, describing LGBT people as "perverts" with "filthy habits" who seek to snatch the children of straight parents and "convert" them to gay sex. They have disseminated disparaging "facts" about gays that are simply untrue assertions that are remarkably reminiscent of the way white intellectuals and scientists once wrote about the "bestial" black man and his supposedly threatening sexuality.
Rich's depiction of the hate speech stemming from the anti-gay movement is entirely accurate. Both FRC and AFA have been listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to their long histories of defaming LGBT people, including peddling the myth allowing for openly gay soldiers would cause a spike in sexual assaults and HIV infections in the military.
Starnes - who acts as Fox News' resident mouthpiece for anti-gay hate groups - chose to depict the email as an assault on Christianity, interviewing several employees of FRC who, not surprisingly, condemned the email:
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Fox News he was disturbed by the contents of the email.
"It's very disturbing to see where the Obama Administration is taking the military and using it as a laboratory for social experimentation -- and also as an instrument to fundamentally change the culture," he said. "The message is very clear - if you are a Christian who believes in the Bible, who believes in transcendent truth, there is no place for you in the military."
The headline for Starnes' piece also incorrectly described FRC and AFA as "Christian Ministries," ignoring both groups' work in authoring anti-gay propaganda and lobbying for extreme anti-gay policy initiatives:
On April 9, Starnes previewed his report on the Bill and Joel show, warning listeners that "your military is being turned against you":
He went on to suggest that the "persecution" of Christians was evidence of the arrival of "the end of days":
Rich's email is hardly a sign that the world is about to end. It makes sense for Army officials to keep an eye on soldiers who might be peddling inflammatory hate speech - including anti-gay propaganda - within their ranks. Groups like FRC and AFA are some of the country's largest producers of that kind of hate speech.
The fact that Starnes views such a simple measure as a sign that the military has "turned against" people like him says more about his anti-gay views than the alleged intolerance of the military towards Christians.