AFA TAKES THE NEXT LOGICAL, HATEFUL STEP…. Last week, some Fox News personalities suggested there should be “special screenings” of American Muslims serving in the U.S. military. It was only a matter of time, then, before conservatives called for a flat-out ban.

Enter the poorly-named American Family Association.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the AFA, it’s something of a third-tier religious right outfit, which tends to make money promoting efforts to combat the “War on Christmas.” The group’s usual m.o. is to call for a boycott of just about anything or anyone who falls short of its “pro-family” standards. (My personal favorite: the time the AFA went after Wal-Mart for promoting “Brokeback Mountain” DVDs.)

The group has never shown a particular interest in military matters, except for the time it demanded that the Pentagon prohibit servicemen and women living on military bases from purchasing Playboy and Penthouse. Now, however, in light of the Fort Hood shootings, the AFA has published a piece taking a strong interest in who does and doesn’t wear the uniform. From an AFA-published piece:

It it [sic] is time, I suggest, to stop the practice of allowing Muslims to serve in the U.S. military. The reason is simple: the more devout a Muslim is, the more of a threat he is to national security. Devout Muslims, who accept the teachings of the Prophet as divinely inspired, believe it is their duty to kill infidels. […]

Of course, most U.S. Muslims don’t shoot up their fellow soldiers. Fine. As soon as Muslims give us a foolproof way to identify their jihadis from their moderates, we’ll go back to allowing them to serve. You tell us who the ones are that we have to worry about, prove you’re right, and Muslims can once again serve. Until that day comes, we simply cannot afford the risk. You invent a jihadi-detector that works every time it’s used, and we’ll welcome you back with open arms.

This is not Islamophobia, it is Islamo-realism.

Actually, it is idiotic. And ignorant. And bigoted.

Nearly every gunman involved in tragedies like the one last week is a man. Are we going to prohibit men from military service until there’s a madman-detector that works every time it’s used?

I don’t expect the AFA to understand, but when Muslim Americans serve in the military, it strengthens the military. Actively discriminating against millions of law-abiding, patriotic citizens based on nothing but know-nothing hatred, would do nothing but undermine our national security interests.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.