A recent training at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, intended for new military members, identified the Alaska Family Council as a hate group.
The public affairs office has since apologized to the Alaska Family Council after the group’s President Jim Minnery sent a notice out to his membership and supporters, alerting them to the training class and objecting to the classification. Minnery runs a Christian-based organization that has been around since 2006.
In the training, the trainers used a list of hate groups provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Alaska Family Council was listed by SPLC along with other groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam, and white nationalist clubs.
“We extend our deepest apologies to the Alaska Family Council members. We have addressed the issue and will ensure the Alaska Family Council is not referred to as a hate group during this training,” the apology stated. It was not signed with a name, but was from the Public Affairs Office.
“We have also removed—and will not include in future briefings—an infographic produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center that was included in the EO (equal opportunity) training slide deck,” the public affairs office wrote.
“Although we routinely disclosed that in displaying the infographic we did not endorse its findings as reflective of the Federal Government’s position on hate groups, we have concluded its inclusion in the briefing is not essential for understanding prohibitions on participation in dissident and protest activities stipulated in Department of Defense Directive 1325.6 and Air Force Instruction 51-903,” the note concluded.
Minnery was perplexed about the apology when reached on Saturday. “What about Eieilson and Fort Wainwright?” he asked. “How many other military units are training people with the SPLC list? This is not about me or Alaska Family Council, but that they made a purposeful decision to malign a massive number of people in the country and in our state state who are deeply supportive of nonviolent groups like Alaska Family Council. We’re anything but a hate group, so it’s scary to think about the huge number of people in the military who might be exposed to this training.”
Among groups included in the SPLC list of hate groups is Family Research Council, a group that is similar to Alaska Family Council. Both groups focus on family, abortion, religious liberty, and advising the public about LGBTQ+ evangelism.
In 2015, SPLC published a feature that targeted Alaska Family Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom over the issue of gender-assigned public restrooms, which AFC was active in defending in various formats, including ballot initiatives.
Family Research Council was targeted in 2012 by a man who had seen the group’s name on the SPLC hate group list, decided he disagreed with their politics, and came into the group’s Washington, D.C office shooting, hitting the building manager in the arm.
The shooter, Floyd Corkins, received a 25-year sentence in 2013 after pleading guilty.
It’s no small matter to be targeted by the SPLC, Minnery said, referring to the shooting inspired by the list. But he is especially concerned when the U.S. Military is accepting the SPLC’s list as gospel.
“This is not right, and I don’t feel we’ve heard the end of this, because it may be going on all across the country,” he said.