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

100 Days In, Trump’s Chipping Away At Religious Freedom

Tomorrow is President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in office. Although he campaigned on his 100-day “Contract with the American Voter,” he no longer seems enthusiastic about the milestone. Perhaps that’s because he is facing criticism for failing to achieve any major legislative victories. One thing he has accomplished: He has caused real harm to religious freedom and has made promises to do even more.

Latest D.C. Voucher Study: Program Doesn’t Improve Students’ Academic Achievement

The Department of Education just released a new study of the Washington, D.C., school voucher program. And the findings confirm what we’ve known for years: The program doesn’t improve students’ academic achievement. In fact, it has resulted in statistically significant negative impacts on student test scores.

The Military Maneuvers Its Way Toward More Respect For Religious Diversity

My late father was drafted into the Army at the tail end of World War II. With action in Europe and the Pacific winding down, he was shipped to the emerging hotspot of Korea. He once told me a story about how chaplains on the transport ship would announce religious services: Catholics were told to go to one side of the boat and Protestants to the other.

“What about the soldiers who were neither?” I asked.

My dad shrugged. “I guess nobody thought about them.”

San Antonio Mayor Blames Poverty On People ‘Not Being In A Relationship With Their Creator’

San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Ivy Taylor recently shared some disturbing views – blaming systematic poverty on people’s lack of religiosity. 

At an April 3 mayoral candidate forum, Megan Legacy, the director of SA Christian Resource Center, asked Taylor “What do you see as the deepest, systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio?”

‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ Attorney Clarence Darrow Continues To Face Opposition In Dayton, Tenn.

One Tennessee woman has all but thrown down a gauntlet and demanded a duel in opposition to a proposed statue of Clarence Darrow, the attorney who defended teacher John T. Scopes when he taught evolution in a Dayton public school.

Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis is creating the statue, which is scheduled to be dedicated in July at the Rhea County Courthouse – the site of the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”

AU And Allies: Michigan Funeral Home Can’t Use Religion To Justify Discrimination Against Transgender Employee

Aimee Stephens worked for six years at a Detroit funeral home. Then, she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to live publicly as a woman, which would include dressing consistent with her gender identity.

Two weeks later, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired her. Why? The funeral-home owner said Aimee’s behavior contradicted his religious beliefs.

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Nearly 20 years ago, Betsy DeVos and her husband were the primary funders of an effort to strip the Michigan Constitution’s no-aid clause – the provision that ensures the government doesn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, including private religious schools. Their goal: remove the constitutional barrier to implementation of a private school voucher program.

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Yesterday, Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stood before her colleagues and offered an invocation. At first, it appeared to be just like any other day in the statehouse, where the House always opens its session with a prayer. But then Rep. Mark Finchem stood up, alleged that the prayer violated House rules and asked to give a substitute prayer. Finchem’s objection: Salman is an atheist and her prayer did not speak to what he understood to be a higher power.

Pages

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

100 Days In, Trump’s Chipping Away At Religious Freedom

Tomorrow is President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in office. Although he campaigned on his 100-day “Contract with the American Voter,” he no longer seems enthusiastic about the milestone. Perhaps that’s because he is facing criticism for failing to achieve any major legislative victories. One thing he has accomplished: He has caused real harm to religious freedom and has made promises to do even more.

Latest D.C. Voucher Study: Program Doesn’t Improve Students’ Academic Achievement

The Department of Education just released a new study of the Washington, D.C., school voucher program. And the findings confirm what we’ve known for years: The program doesn’t improve students’ academic achievement. In fact, it has resulted in statistically significant negative impacts on student test scores.

The Military Maneuvers Its Way Toward More Respect For Religious Diversity

My late father was drafted into the Army at the tail end of World War II. With action in Europe and the Pacific winding down, he was shipped to the emerging hotspot of Korea. He once told me a story about how chaplains on the transport ship would announce religious services: Catholics were told to go to one side of the boat and Protestants to the other.

“What about the soldiers who were neither?” I asked.

My dad shrugged. “I guess nobody thought about them.”

San Antonio Mayor Blames Poverty On People ‘Not Being In A Relationship With Their Creator’

San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Ivy Taylor recently shared some disturbing views – blaming systematic poverty on people’s lack of religiosity. 

At an April 3 mayoral candidate forum, Megan Legacy, the director of SA Christian Resource Center, asked Taylor “What do you see as the deepest, systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio?”

‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ Attorney Clarence Darrow Continues To Face Opposition In Dayton, Tenn.

One Tennessee woman has all but thrown down a gauntlet and demanded a duel in opposition to a proposed statue of Clarence Darrow, the attorney who defended teacher John T. Scopes when he taught evolution in a Dayton public school.

Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis is creating the statue, which is scheduled to be dedicated in July at the Rhea County Courthouse – the site of the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”

AU And Allies: Michigan Funeral Home Can’t Use Religion To Justify Discrimination Against Transgender Employee

Aimee Stephens worked for six years at a Detroit funeral home. Then, she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to live publicly as a woman, which would include dressing consistent with her gender identity.

Two weeks later, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired her. Why? The funeral-home owner said Aimee’s behavior contradicted his religious beliefs.

A Broad Ruling In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer Could Pave The Way For Private School Voucher Programs

Nearly 20 years ago, Betsy DeVos and her husband were the primary funders of an effort to strip the Michigan Constitution’s no-aid clause – the provision that ensures the government doesn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, including private religious schools. Their goal: remove the constitutional barrier to implementation of a private school voucher program.

Fighting For Religious Freedom In Arizona With An Invocation

Yesterday, Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stood before her colleagues and offered an invocation. At first, it appeared to be just like any other day in the statehouse, where the House always opens its session with a prayer. But then Rep. Mark Finchem stood up, alleged that the prayer violated House rules and asked to give a substitute prayer. Finchem’s objection: Salman is an atheist and her prayer did not speak to what he understood to be a higher power.

Pages

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

100 Days In, Trump’s Chipping Away At Religious Freedom

Tomorrow is President Donald J. Trump’s 100th day in office. Although he campaigned on his 100-day “Contract with the American Voter,” he no longer seems enthusiastic about the milestone. Perhaps that’s because he is facing criticism for failing to achieve any major legislative victories. One thing he has accomplished: He has caused real harm to religious freedom and has made promises to do even more.

Latest D.C. Voucher Study: Program Doesn’t Improve Students’ Academic Achievement

The Department of Education just released a new study of the Washington, D.C., school voucher program. And the findings confirm what we’ve known for years: The program doesn’t improve students’ academic achievement. In fact, it has resulted in statistically significant negative impacts on student test scores.

The Military Maneuvers Its Way Toward More Respect For Religious Diversity

My late father was drafted into the Army at the tail end of World War II. With action in Europe and the Pacific winding down, he was shipped to the emerging hotspot of Korea. He once told me a story about how chaplains on the transport ship would announce religious services: Catholics were told to go to one side of the boat and Protestants to the other.

“What about the soldiers who were neither?” I asked.

My dad shrugged. “I guess nobody thought about them.”

San Antonio Mayor Blames Poverty On People ‘Not Being In A Relationship With Their Creator’

San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Ivy Taylor recently shared some disturbing views – blaming systematic poverty on people’s lack of religiosity. 

At an April 3 mayoral candidate forum, Megan Legacy, the director of SA Christian Resource Center, asked Taylor “What do you see as the deepest, systemic causes of generational poverty in San Antonio?”

‘Scopes Monkey Trial’ Attorney Clarence Darrow Continues To Face Opposition In Dayton, Tenn.

One Tennessee woman has all but thrown down a gauntlet and demanded a duel in opposition to a proposed statue of Clarence Darrow, the attorney who defended teacher John T. Scopes when he taught evolution in a Dayton public school.

Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis is creating the statue, which is scheduled to be dedicated in July at the Rhea County Courthouse – the site of the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”

AU And Allies: Michigan Funeral Home Can’t Use Religion To Justify Discrimination Against Transgender Employee

Aimee Stephens worked for six years at a Detroit funeral home. Then, she came out as transgender and announced that she would begin to live publicly as a woman, which would include dressing consistent with her gender identity.

Two weeks later, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired her. Why? The funeral-home owner said Aimee’s behavior contradicted his religious beliefs.

A Broad Ruling In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer Could Pave The Way For Private School Voucher Programs

Nearly 20 years ago, Betsy DeVos and her husband were the primary funders of an effort to strip the Michigan Constitution’s no-aid clause – the provision that ensures the government doesn’t funnel taxpayer dollars to religious institutions, including private religious schools. Their goal: remove the constitutional barrier to implementation of a private school voucher program.

Fighting For Religious Freedom In Arizona With An Invocation

Yesterday, Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stood before her colleagues and offered an invocation. At first, it appeared to be just like any other day in the statehouse, where the House always opens its session with a prayer. But then Rep. Mark Finchem stood up, alleged that the prayer violated House rules and asked to give a substitute prayer. Finchem’s objection: Salman is an atheist and her prayer did not speak to what he understood to be a higher power.

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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