We can debate the entire hate group label and how it gets applied and how right /wrong/indifferent we may be with it, but what needs to be emphasized here is the military has decided the AFA is a hate group and with this declaration they are obliged to notify their service members. This is nothing new and when I served from 1973-1993 we were briefed on several occasions regarding certain political activist groups (YAF, SDS, etc.) religious groups and other groups.
One must understand the military is not a democratic society and as a member of the military, while you are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, you don't enjoy some of the same freedoms, particularly freedom of speech, as those you are protecting. For obvious reasons, the military classifies these groups and orders service members to not have any dealings, involvement, support for or demonstration against these groups.
Back in the 70's and into the early 80's it was fairly commonplace in the Navy when a ship went into overhaul in a government-contracted civilian shipyard that KKK symbols and swastikas began showing up spray painted at random places throughout the ship. While everyone knew it was done by the shipyard workers and it was done simply to raise tensions among the crew, we still had to address each and every occurrence.
Local military bases identify those organizations within their immediate geographic area and issue the appropriate warnings and orders. The idea is pretty simple- if it was an organization advocating the annihilation of all red-heads, you just happened to be a red-head and you saw your immediate supervisor or commanding officer participating in their rallies, just how safe do you feel?
The quote, "Because it appears the Obama administration is separating the military from the American people – and planting seeds of doubt about Christians and some of our nation’s most prominent Christian ministries." is so completely out of line and inaccurate it's almost comical. The White House, regardless of which political party may be occupying the place, has nothing to do with these types of notifications. The military is separate from the American people. We are trained to simply protect and defend based upon the orders we are issued. I could not care any less about the religious affiliation, sexual orientation or political opinion of the guy serving/fighting/taking a bullet next to me nor do I care any of the same about the guy trying to kill me. All of that goes by the wayside the minute the poo hits the fan, because if you're not able to ignore it, you may hesitate and it'll cost you your life or one of your buddies.
It was the during the Nixon Administration the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was considered off-limits to the military, the Johnson Administration called out the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and it was again brought up during the Ford Administration. Hell, Westboro Baptist has had plans in the works to picket former President George H. W. Bush's (Bush 1) funeral for years, further demonstrating that political affiliations mean little to these groups. For Fix News to simply try to rearrange the story to fit their anti-Obama agenda is simply off-target and takes advantage of everyone and anyone who has no clue how the military operates, including the person who's byline appears on this story.