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Annual Revenue: 
$19,600,741.00
Tupelo, MS

Founded by the Rev. Donald Wildmon and originally called the National Federation for Decency, the American Family Association originally worked to clean up salacious TV broadcasts. When that effort failed, the group moved on to opposing gay rights and women's rights and advocating for fundamentalist instruction (such as creationism) in public schools. It frequently calls for boycotts of companies that are deemed "gay-friendly." The AFA is also known for its claims that there is a "war on Christmas."

The American Family Association (AFA) was formed in 1977 under the name National Federation for Decency. The goal of its founder, the Rev. Donald Wildmon, was ambitious: clean up smut on television. Wildmon vowed to use boycotts to bring advertisers to their knees.

The original plan did not work out as well as Wildmon had hoped. Years went by, and risqué TV programs continued to proliferate. The rise of cable brought movies and shows featuring sexual themes right into American living rooms. Wildmon shifted gears, changing the name of the organization and adopting a host of Religious Right boilerplate issues, such as promoting religion in public schools, pushing the display of religious signs and symbols in government buildings and opposing gay rights.

Wildmon still promotes boycotts, but their effectiveness is disputed. A long-running Wildmon-sponsored boycott of the Disney Corporation didn’t affect the company’s bottom line. Wildmon claimed success for a boycott of Ford Motors, but auto analysts said the company’s drop in sales was due to other factors.

Most recently, Wildmon has called for a boycott of Hallmark, the greeting card company, which has been marketing a line of cards for same-sex marriages, and of fast-food giant McDonald’s, which Wildmon scored for joining the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Wildmon was instrumental in forming the Arlington Group, a coalition of Religious Right organizations that meet regularly in a Washington, D.C., suburb to plot strategy. (Unlike the Coalition for National Policy – see below – the Arlington Group does not contain secular conservative organizations and sticks to “culture war” issues.)

Wildmon, a United Methodist minister, does daily radio broadcasts over American Family Radio to more than 200 stations and distributes a daily round-up of right-wing news called OneNewsNow. He has also flirted with anti-Semitism, suggesting that Jews control the entertainment industry. The AFA’s journal has also reprinted articles from The Spotlight, an anti-Semitic newspaper. In 2006, Wildmon said evangelicals may stop supporting Israel if Jewish leaders don’t stop criticizing the Religious Right.

Now in poor health, Wildmon has been turning operation of the group over to his son Tim.

Wildmon Quote: “Anti-prayer/Anti-Christian groups – like the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State – have teamed up with liberal judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and are stripping away our religious freedom.” (Fund-raising letter, Fall 2000)

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Pages

Most Recent Blog Posts
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Fla. Legislators Push To Turn Public Schools Into Mission Fields

Another year, another attempt to encourage proselytizing in public-school classrooms.

Last Thursday, the Florida Senate passed SB 436 by a vote of 23-13, almost entirely along party lines. A revised version in the House – HB 303 – will likely receive a floor vote in the House this week. Then the two chambers will duel it out over the two versions, or better yet, pass neither.

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Every few years, someone in the far-right fundamentalist Christian community puts forth the argument that modern American culture has become so nasty and hostile to “traditional” Christians that it’s time to withdraw.

They don’t plan to go to a forgotten island somewhere. Rather, they would create a kind of community in internal exile. As much as possible, they’d form parallel structures, such as fundamentalist-oriented educational institutions and media channels, and tend to their own gardens.

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Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a trio of cases that will decide whether religiously affiliated hospital systems must comply with federal pension protections. The large health systems don’t want to; they argue they should get a narrow exemption to the law carved out for houses of worship. But these health systems, with nearly 100,000 employees, are not churches.

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As we’ve written before, Gorsuch’s history as a federal appeals court judge indicates that he does not support true religious freedom. His performance during the hearings did nothing to allay our concerns.

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The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the tax code that prohibits all non-profit organizations, including houses of worship, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. This provision has been protecting the integrity of our tax-exempt charities, houses of worship and our elections for more than 60 years.

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The confirmation hearing for federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, got under way yesterday, with some senators mentioning religious freedom during their opening remarks.

Gorsuch will start taking questions today, and the issue is likely to resurface again. It will be interesting to hear what Gorsuch has to say. In AU’s view, some of his opinions on religious freedom are troubling, and that’s why we’re opposed to his nomination.

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Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee starts on Monday. The first day will be taken up by statements from committee members and Gorsuch himself. On Tuesday, Gorsuch will start answering questions.

Pages

Most Recent Blog Posts
All the most recent posts from AU's Wall of Separation Blog & The Protect Thy Neighbor Blog

Fla. Legislators Push To Turn Public Schools Into Mission Fields

Another year, another attempt to encourage proselytizing in public-school classrooms.

Last Thursday, the Florida Senate passed SB 436 by a vote of 23-13, almost entirely along party lines. A revised version in the House – HB 303 – will likely receive a floor vote in the House this week. Then the two chambers will duel it out over the two versions, or better yet, pass neither.

It’s Time For The Religious Right To Embrace The ‘Mind-Your-Own-Business’ Option

Every few years, someone in the far-right fundamentalist Christian community puts forth the argument that modern American culture has become so nasty and hostile to “traditional” Christians that it’s time to withdraw.

They don’t plan to go to a forgotten island somewhere. Rather, they would create a kind of community in internal exile. As much as possible, they’d form parallel structures, such as fundamentalist-oriented educational institutions and media channels, and tend to their own gardens.

Should Religiously Affiliated Hospitals Be Allowed To Ignore A Federal Law That Protects Employee Pensions?

Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a trio of cases that will decide whether religiously affiliated hospital systems must comply with federal pension protections. The large health systems don’t want to; they argue they should get a narrow exemption to the law carved out for houses of worship. But these health systems, with nearly 100,000 employees, are not churches.

Gorsuch Confirmation Hearings Don’t Allay AU’s Concerns

Yesterday concluded the four-day Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for President Donald J. Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

As we’ve written before, Gorsuch’s history as a federal appeals court judge indicates that he does not support true religious freedom. His performance during the hearings did nothing to allay our concerns.

Americans United And Its Allies File Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Muslim Ban 2.0

Today, Americans United filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald J. Trump’s latest attempt at a Muslim ban. The suit seeks justice for Muslim Yemeni parents who were granted asylum in the United States and are now unable to get U.S. visas for two of their young children still stranded overseas and facing the danger of returning to war-torn Yemen.

A Vast Majority Of Americans, Including White Evangelicals And Republicans, Believe Houses Of Worship Shouldn’t Endorse Political Candidates

The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the tax code that prohibits all non-profit organizations, including houses of worship, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. This provision has been protecting the integrity of our tax-exempt charities, houses of worship and our elections for more than 60 years.

New Poll Shows Majority Of Americans Oppose Discrimination In The Name Of Religion

The confirmation hearing for federal Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, got under way yesterday, with some senators mentioning religious freedom during their opening remarks.

Gorsuch will start taking questions today, and the issue is likely to resurface again. It will be interesting to hear what Gorsuch has to say. In AU’s view, some of his opinions on religious freedom are troubling, and that’s why we’re opposed to his nomination.

Neil Gorsuch Is The Wrong Choice For A Seat On The Supreme Court

You probably haven’t read much lately about Neil Gorsuch, the federal appeals court judge President Donald J. Trump has nominated to the Supreme Court – but that’s about to change.

Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee starts on Monday. The first day will be taken up by statements from committee members and Gorsuch himself. On Tuesday, Gorsuch will start answering questions.

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Press Releases
Church & State
November 2011 Church & State

Born-Again Bigotry

Religious Right Tries To Impose Religious Test

May 2011 Church & State

Religious Freedom

No Matter What The Religious Right Says, It’s For Everyone

December 2010 Church & State

Christmas Cranks

Religious Right Continues Phony ‘War’ Claims

April 2010 Church & State

Strange Bedfellows

Can The Mad Hatters Of The Religious Right Get An Invitation To The Tea Party?

May 2001 Church & State

Donald Wildmon

Donald Wildmon: Watching Too Much TV?

May 2001 Church & State

In Don We Trust?

How Mississippi Preacher Donald Wildmon Is Using The National Motto To Batter The Church-State Wall