The US military has begun investigations into a series of three photographs that purport to show a soldier raising a rainbow flag, signifying gay pride, allegedly at a base in Afghanistan.

The images were originally found on the wall of a Facebook group called “Wipeout Homophobia.” A woman named Nicole Jodice is behind the posting, dated March 24, underneath which a caption read: “Hubbie in Afghanistan raising a gay pride flag.”

Predictably, while gay rights activists have responded positively to the posting, conservatives in the US have expressed outrage.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, an anti-gay, anti-choice group, wrote in a statement: “There, in the dusty desert of war, an Army outpost saluted the colours of the homosexual lobby by flying a rainbow flag in place of Old Glory.” He was also quick to blame President Obama, accusing him of violating religious freedom.

Meanwhile, the notoriously conservative-leaning Fox News reports that the International Security Assistance Force is investigating “the incident,” but added that they were unsure as to the who, why and where of it, and the authenticity of the photograph. Yet, Ms Jodice has written in a follow-up note on Facebook that the picture is genuine, and thanked people for their support.

Ironically, Mr Perkins compared the flying of the rainbow flag, which since 1978 has come to stand for the gay pride movement, to the accidental burning of the Koran earlier this year. “What price will we pay because some want to use the military to show their gay pride?” he asked. When the burnings did happen, all Mr Perkins could manage was to say that it did not “hold a torch” to what was happening to “faith in America.”

In responding to Mr Perkin’s statement, the New Civil Rights Movement retorted by saying that to him, everything was an attack on Christianity. “The mere fact that there are homosexuals in the military, now serving their country openly, is an affront to Perkins’ sense of religious entitlement.”