State employees in Connecticut could be denied the opportunity to contribute to a qualified charity after the state comptroller became personally offended by the group's biblical stance on marriage.
In a November 30 letter to American Family Association president Tim Wildmon, comptroller Kevin Lembo notes what he calls AFA's "so-called attempts to protect family values." Those include holding to a biblical stance on marriage and several boycotts of companies like Target that champion values contrary to scripture. Lembo writes that those actions are extremely troubling to him as a "married," "gay" man.
Lembo is threatening to kick AFA out of the Connecticut State Employees' Campaign for Charitable Giving (CSEC), even though the Mississippi-based group qualifies as a charity under Connecticut's rules.
Abraham Hamilton III is general counsel and public policy analyst for AFA.
"What's being foisted upon the American Family Association is the latest iteration of If you don't adhere to the nouveaux orthodoxy of the day – which is the sexual deviancy agenda – then you must be castigated and expelled from public life," he tells OneNewsNow.
American Family Association applied for qualified charity status through a group called Neighbor to Nation, which confirmed to OneNewsNow that the pro-family group meets every standard that Connecticut demands of its charities.
In his letter to Wildmon, Lembo states:
"The AFA's statements and mission not only appear to discriminate against the LGBTQ communities ... but it remains unclear what actual charitable services the AFA provides that qualifies it to participate in the CSEC. I am, therefore, initiating an investigation to determine whether AFA is in compliance with the requirements of the CSEC."
Hamilton calls the threat from Lembo an abuse of power. "Because of his personal objections to the American Family Association's stance on issues like marriage and the Target boycott, then he sees fit to threaten us with his governmental position," he states.
Hamilton says the attack by the comptroller of Connecticut is the latest in what he says is a broader war on people of faith.
"This issue ... really brings into focus why a lot of people supported Donald Trump as opposed to Hillary Clinton," says the policy analyst. "People feared the federal government – more specifically the IRS or the Department of Justice – being used as means of cultural and societal intimidation."
Direct attack ... abuse of power
In an Action Alert to its supporters, AFA calls Lembo's letter "nothing more than an attack on AFA for standing strong for biblical principles." The pro-family group also points out that while the state comptroller suggests AFA may be violating his state's anti-discrimination prohibitions, "the letter never cites any state or federal laws of which AFA might be in violation."
AFA is urging its supporters to contact Lembo and urge him to retract his letter and to "apologize for using the authority of the comptroller's office for a personal grudge."
UPDATE: Comptroller reports office swamped with emails
From 2000-2015, Connecticut employees contributed a total of $124 to AFA through the CSEC program.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
Information about the AFA Action Alert was added after this story was originally posted.