American Family Association

The American Family Association (AFA) has been a long-time promoter of "traditional moral values" in the media, particularly television. AFA built its reputation on organizing boycotts against sponsors of TV shows with "anti-Christian" messages and ideas, or against companies it claims support the so-called "homosexual agenda" or marriage equality.

[Read the latest Right Wing Watch news on the American Family Association.]

American Family Association
P.O. Box 2440
Tupelo, Mississippi 38803
Website: www.afa.net

Chairman/Founder: The Rev. Donald Wildmon
Vice President: Tim Wildmon (son of Donald Wildmon)
Founded: 1977
Formerly known as: National Federation for Decency (Changed in 1988)
Membership: AFA claims over 500,000 members
Finances: $14,186,203 (2004)
Staff: About 100 employees and five full-time lawyers
Board of Directors: Donald Wildmon, Timothy Wildmon, Forrest Daniels, Rev. Curtis Petrey, Rev. Jack Williams, Rev. Burt Harper, Rev. Bobby Hankins, Dr. Gayle Alexander, Forest Sheffield, Rev. Tim Fortner (2004)
State chapters: State Directors in 12 states
Funding: From 1998 to 2003, the AFA received $90,000 from 6 grants contributed by the Bill and Berniece Grewcock Foundation
Publications: AFA Journal, published monthly, with a circulation of 180,000
Radio: AFA has its own 200-station network of radio stations across the United States
Media: AFA has produced videos entitled, "Excess Access," "It's Not Gay," and "Suffer the Children"
Affiliate groups: AFA Foundation,
Center for Law & Policy, American Family Radio, American Family News Network's OneNewsNow.com (formerly Agape Press), and AFA Action - the legislative action arm of the American Family Association
Affiliated Websites: ValuesVoters.com— a voter registration and education site; Center for Law & Policy Case Note (blog); OneMillionDads.com; OneMillionMoms.com; AFA Internet Filtering; NoGayMarriage.com; and BoycottFord.com among others

Principal Issues

  • The American Family Association (AFA) targets the media and entertainment industry's "attack" on "traditional family values."
  • Two of the main duties that AFA assigns to itself are "promoting the centrality of God in American life" and "promoting the Christian ethic of decency."
  • "Indecent" influences in American culture include: television, the separation of church and state, pornography, "the homosexual agenda," premarital sex, legal abortion, the National Endowment for the Arts, gambling, unfiltered internet access in libraries, and the removal of school-sponsored religious worship from public schools.

Activities

  • The American Family Association (AFA) produces a radio show, "AFA Report," a 30-minute feature available on about 1,200 local radio stations nationwide. AFA launched their broadcast ministry American Family Radio (AFR) in 1987. AFR has approximately 200 radio stations in 27 states across the country. According to American Family Radio, "AFR has built more stations in a shorter time than any other broadcaster in the history of broadcasting." The AFA built their small radio empire by applying for "noncommercial educational licenses." When the FCC refused to certain licenses, the AFA sued the FCC in federal court arguing that to deny religious groups noncommercial broadcasting licenses violates their First Amendment and Equal Protection rights.
  • AFA Action— the legislative action arm of the American Family Association— co-sponsored the 2006 Values Voter Summit with FRC Action, Focus on the Family Action, and Gary Bauer's Americans United to Preserve Marriage.
  • For over twenty years, one of AFA's primary activities has been the organization of boycotts against sponsors of TV shows with "anti-Christian" messages and ideas. A few of the hundreds of boycott targets on AFA's list have included "Saturday Night Live," "Roseanne," "Nightline," "NYPD Blue," "Ellen," and "Desperate Housewives."
  • A major target of AFA's had been Disney and its subsidiaries; "Disney's attack on America's families has become so blatant, so intentional, so obvious, that American Family Association has called for a boycott of all Disney products until such time as this activity ceases." AFA ended its boycott of Disney in 2005, citing the departure of Disney CEO Michael Eisner and its divestiture of Miramax films as rationale, but openly stating "AFA had moved on to other important issues, such as an increasingly activist judiciary and the push for same-sex marriage."
  • AFA has created two websites - OneMillionMoms.com and OneMillionDads.com to "help parents do something about the trash on TV." Both websites organize weekly on-line boycotts of offensive advertising or television shows.
  • The American Family Association (AFA) is alerting its members to companies who are supportive of GLBT employees and is asking "Christian consumers…to think twice before they patronize companies that support the homosexual agenda." AFA lists major corporations that have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation or that offer domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples, including Eastman Kodak, Citigroup, PepsiCo., American Airlines, Allstate Insurance, and the Coca-Cola Company. "One company losing five to ten percent of its sales will send a clear message to every company in America," offers Don Wildmon. AFA attacked Kraft Foods (owner of brand names Post, Oscar Meyer, and Maxwell House, among others) for the company's support of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.
  • Wal-Mart and its affiliate Sam's Club became an AFA boycott target because of the retailer's support for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
  • The American Family Association has called for a national boycott of the Ford Motor Company over the manufacturer's sponsorship of gay pride events and continued advertising in gay publications. AFA claims its boycott has played a major part in Ford's drop in sales.
  • Donald Wildmon has called for the shutdown of PBS and as a result of the AFA's campaign, many state legislatures reduced funding for public broadcasting. The AFA spearheaded the attack on the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the 1980's, using direct mail and extensive print advertising to distort the NEA's record of sponsorship of the arts.
  • The AFA participates in Pornography Awareness Week.

AFA Center for Law and Policy

  • In 1990, the American Family Association established the AFA Center for Law & Policy as a litigation and public policy arm of the organization.
  • The Center for Law & Policy (CLP) is staffed by six full-time attorneys with a network of more than 400 affiliate lawyers. The CLP states that they provide representation to Christians in courts throughout the country, and advise state and federal legislators on constitutional, political, and legal issues.
  • The CLP has been involved in several cases where they push for religious worship and symbols in public schools as well as the removal of curriculum that doesn't reflect "traditional family values."
  • AFA has spearheaded a campaign to have their "In God We Trust" posters posted in every classroom, in every school in the United States. In 2001, the Mississippi state legislature passed a law requiring that each public school classroom, auditorium and cafeteria display a "In God We Trust" poster. However, when the Mississippi state legislature did not provide any funding for the bill, AFA/CLP volunteered to be the coordinator for the project. AFA/CLP is responsible for organizing and distributing 32,000 free "In God We Trust" posters in public schools in the state of Mississippi.
  • AFA/CLP has encouraged other states to follow Mississippi's example, promising that anyone who may be afraid of a lawsuit would be defended by the AFA Center for Law & Policy for free. In 2001, AFA distributed 250,000 "In God We Trust" posters nationwide.
    CLP represented the anti-gay group "Take Back Maryland" when they were accused of falsifying signatures for a petition to reverse an anti-discrimination bill that protected gays and lesbians from bias discrimination in employment and housing.
  • AFA filed lawsuits attempting to ban the curriculum, "Impressions," from public school classrooms on the grounds that it "promotes the religion of witchcraft."
  • AFA sponsored a rally in support of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama who refused to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom.
  • AFA Center for Law & Policy (CLP) won a lawsuit on behalf of pro-life protesters in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, over protest signs confiscated and held by city officials.

AFA State Affiliates

  • Many of AFA's state chapters are very active on a state and local level. Gary Glenn of AFA Michigan has become a lightening rod in the state for controversy over civil rights protections for gays and lesbians. Glenn has opposed the anti-discrimination policies of several Michigan cities by asserting that if passed, public bathrooms and showers would become co-ed. After the legislation passed in several towns, Glenn organized petitions to overturn the legislation, asserting that gays and lesbians pose a "public health hazard." Glenn also has targeted a 4th grade environmental education course, alleging that the program is "anti-human" and promotes paganism.
  • The former California director for AFA was Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries and the Pro-Family Law Center. Lively is a long-time anti-gay activist who has written such books as The Pink Swastika which claims that "homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities." [From the The Pink Swastika preface.] Lively has also written 7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child and The Poisoned Stream: "Gay" Influence in Human History. Under his leadership, AFA California launched the "California Campaign to Take Back the Schools" to stop the "homosexualization of American public schools."

Quotes

"Now the Bush Administration is opening its arms to homosexual activists who have been working diligently to overthrow the traditional views of Western Civilization regarding human sexuality, marriage and family… AFA would never support the policies of a political party which embraced the homosexual movement. Period."— Don Wildmon, AFA Press Release, April 16, 2001

 

"We believe the national motto incorporates the foundational belief of our culture, and its words 'In God we trust' are a message our children need to see in school."— Don Wildmon, AFA Journal cover story, July 2001

"But the National PTA continued right along, increasingly becoming a tool to promote a left-wing philosophy instead of helping the children with their educational needs. The latest project for the National PTA is the promotion of the homosexual agenda…Stop the PTA from using your children to promote their left-wing political agenda."— Don Wildmon, AFA Journal, February 2001

"Over the years, AFA has consistently addressed the homosexual movement's obsession with infiltrating the public school system. Its eye-opening video 'It's Not Gay', which presents a heartbreaking look at the physical and emotional consequences of the homosexual lifestyle, has been the most popular video ever produced by AFA." ("Homosexuals push for control of schools," May 2001)

"Nothing disappointed the [American Family Association] more than Disney's enthusiastic embrace of [the homosexual] movement that rejects everything that is sacred to Christians about human sexuality, marriage and family." ("Why the Disney Boycott Shouldn't Go Away," April 2001)

On Christians in the public square: "Christians must be equally willing to take the heat, and to shrug off the rabid attacks of the media babblers who see Christians as the enemy."— News Editor Ed Vitagliano, AFA Journal, July 2005

"The church and this nation cry out for a revival of masculine Christianity, which is to say that we church leaders need to stop being such, for lack of a better word, sissies when it comes to social and political issues. We need to spend as much time confronting perpetrators as we do comforting victims. We need to do less fretting, and more fighting for righteousness. For every motherly, feminine ministry of the church such as a Crisis Pregnancy Center or ex-gay support group, we need a battle-hardened, take-it-to-the-enemy masculine ministry like Operation Rescue (questions of civil disobedience aside). For every God-hating radical in government, academia and media we need a bold, no-nonsense, truth-telling Christian counterpart: trained, equipped and endorsed by the local church."— Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika and former Director of AFA California (source)

"Under homosexual activists' political agenda, our children would face a future in which traditional marriage and families have been legally devalued, while state government— despite the severe threat it poses to personal and public health— not only legally endorses but uses our tax dollars to subsidize deadly homosexual behavior."— Gary Glenn, Director of AFA Michigan (Press Release, February 17, 2001)

Updated: November 2006