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

AU Urges New Jersey Supreme Court To Prevent Morris County Tax Dollars From Funding Houses Of Worship

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Since 2012, Morris County has distributed more than $4.5 million in tax revenue to a dozen active churches through an historical preservation program. These grants are in direct conflict with the Religious Aid Clause in New Jersey’s state constitution, which proclaims that no resident can be compelled to pay taxes for “building or repairing any church or churches, place or places of worship.”

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When Australian evangelist and creationist Ken Ham decided he wanted to open Ark Encounter, a theme park centered on a rendition of Noah’s Ark in northern Kentucky, he was quick to point out that the facility would be a for-profit enterprise.

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The Trump Administration Had A Busy Week of Cozying Up To Religious Right Leaders

President Donald J. Trump had quite a week as more scandals involving Russia, his family and his campaign unfolded. But that didn’t stop him from finding time to talk to Religious Right leaders and do a news interview with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network. All the while, his administration and friends in Congress were taking steps to implement the campaign promises he made to allow churches to endorse candidates and to allow religious freedom laws to be used to discriminate.

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Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cripple the IRS’ ability to enforce the Johnson Amendment – the law that ensures tax-exempt nonprofits, including houses of worship, cannot endorse or oppose candidates.

AU Supports Mississippians Challenging Discriminatory HB 1523, A So-called “Religious Freedom” Law

Because our laws should be a shield used to protect religious freedom and not a sword used to harm others, Americans United has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Mississippians challenging the state’s discriminatory House Bill 1523.

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Tomorrow, the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee will vote on a bill that could cripple enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. Americans United has joined with 108 other organizations to urge the committee to strip the troubling provision.

Pages

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

AU Urges New Jersey Supreme Court To Prevent Morris County Tax Dollars From Funding Houses Of Worship

Americans United this week urged the New Jersey Supreme Court to stop Morris County officials from awarding taxpayer-funded grants to houses of worship.

Since 2012, Morris County has distributed more than $4.5 million in tax revenue to a dozen active churches through an historical preservation program. These grants are in direct conflict with the Religious Aid Clause in New Jersey’s state constitution, which proclaims that no resident can be compelled to pay taxes for “building or repairing any church or churches, place or places of worship.”

The Texas Legislature Is Meeting For A Special Session And Has A Second Chance To Pass Bad Legislation

The Texas legislature’s regular session ended just weeks ago, but lawmakers are already back in Austin for a special session. Governor Greg Abbott (R) was forced to call the special session after the state legislature failed to adopt must-pass legislation during the regulation session: in a dramatic stand-off, the Senate had refused to pass key bills as retaliation for the House refusing to pass legislation that would discriminate against transgender people.

The U.S. Supreme Court Has Rejected Trump’s Cruel ‘Grandma Ban,’ But Refugees Remain In Limbo

The U.S. Supreme Court offered a mixed bag of good and bad news Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

The good news: The high court left in place a federal court’s decision last week that the U.S. must grant entry to grandparents and other extended family members from the six Muslim-majority countries targeted in Trump’s ban. That lifts the so-called “grandma ban” and will prevent the cruel separation of many Muslim families.

After Raking In Various Government Subsidies For His ‘Ark Park,’ Ken Ham Refuses To Pay A Modest Safety Tax

When Australian evangelist and creationist Ken Ham decided he wanted to open Ark Encounter, a theme park centered on a rendition of Noah’s Ark in northern Kentucky, he was quick to point out that the facility would be a for-profit enterprise.

Two New Trump Administration Attorneys Have Worked To Undermine Women’s Health Care

As new federal regulations reportedly are imminent that would gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that most health insurance plans cover contraceptives, two Trump administration attorneys who fought for employers to be able to cite religious beliefs as justification to deny women access to vital health care have been in the news recently.

The Trump Administration Had A Busy Week of Cozying Up To Religious Right Leaders

President Donald J. Trump had quite a week as more scandals involving Russia, his family and his campaign unfolded. But that didn’t stop him from finding time to talk to Religious Right leaders and do a news interview with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network. All the while, his administration and friends in Congress were taking steps to implement the campaign promises he made to allow churches to endorse candidates and to allow religious freedom laws to be used to discriminate.

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AU Supports Mississippians Challenging Discriminatory HB 1523, A So-called “Religious Freedom” Law

Because our laws should be a shield used to protect religious freedom and not a sword used to harm others, Americans United has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Mississippians challenging the state’s discriminatory House Bill 1523.

Congress Should Not Undermine The Johnson Amendment

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee will vote on a bill that could cripple enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. Americans United has joined with 108 other organizations to urge the committee to strip the troubling provision.

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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

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Christmas Cranks

Religious Right Continues Phony ‘War’ Claims

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