Founded in 1977 by Donald Ellis Wildmon, who is an ordained United Methodist minister, author, and former radio host, the American Family Association (AFA) is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes fundamentalist Christian values. It opposes same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion.
According to their about page “The American Family Association believes that God has communicated absolute truth to mankind, and that all people are subject to the authority of God’s Word at all times. Therefore AFA believes that a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families, in accordance with the vision of our founding documents; and that personal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest agent of biblical change in any culture.”
The AFA is considered an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Funded by / Ownership
The American Family Association is a nonprofit Public charity 501(c)(3). In fiscal year 2018 the AFA received approximately 18 million dollars in donations. While AFA does publish their 990 forms, they do not disclose donors on the website. The AFA lacks transparency in their funding.
Analysis / Bias
In review, the sole purpose of this organization and website is to promote Protestant Fundamentalism. The information published on this website is always in favor of the Christian Right and denigrates the left harshly. There is often frequent use of loaded emotional language such as in this anti-LGBTQ article: I Will Say What the Political Leaders Cannot Say About Pete Buttigieg. Interestingly, what he says he admits is extreme bigotry, but that does not stop him: “It is certainly politically incorrect to say this. In fact, in the eyes of many, what I’m about to say is a classic example of extreme religious bigotry. But I will say it nonetheless. Choosing an out and proud “married” gay man to run for president, let alone become president, would contribute to the further degeneration and moral confusion of our society along with further attacks on our most fundamental rights.” This story exemplifies typical content on this website.
This source has also made several claims that have been considered hate, such as this “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.”
Several organizations and sources have claimed AFA as a hate group:
- Yes, the American Family Association is Still a Hate Group – Human Rights Campaign
- A conservative hate group’s leader misrepresents its relationship to Chick-fil-A – LGBTQ Nation
- Inside the AFA: How One ‘Hate Group’ Is Fighting the ‘Gay Agenda’ – Jackson Free Press
- AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION – SPLC
The AFA responded to the Southern Poverty Law Center with this: SPLC Is the Most Dangerous Hate Group in America.
A factual search also reveals several failed fact checks.
- “We know how to stop AIDS: persuade men not to have sex with men.” – Pants on Fire
- WalMart Puts Christian Employees on ‘Watch List’? – Probably False
- Says Target installed urinals in a women’s bathroom to “accommodate the ones who have giblets.” – Pants on Fire
- “By the word religion in the First Amendment, the founders meant Christianity.” – Pants on Fire
Overall, we rate the American Family Association Questionable based on extreme right positions, promotion of propaganda and conspiracies toward LGBTQ, poor sourcing, a lack of funding transparency, multiple failed fact checks and several third party sites labeling them as a hate group. (D. Van Zandt 1/13/2017) Updated (2/14/2020)