Wednesday, November 25, 2020

#2410: Tim Wildmon

The American Family Association (AFA) is a fundamentalist hate group founded by Donald Wildmon in 1977 with headquarters in Tupelo, Mississippi. Its mission is to make homosexuality illegal, along with abortion, religions other than Christianity, and possibly even women’s voting rights, and it has established itself as a significant religious right hub that wields a scary amount of influence, running some 200 radio stations and Internet TV channels with millions of online supporters. To get an idea of where they stand, just remember that the AFA employs Bryan Fischer


Don’s spawn, Tim Wildmon, is currently the group’s president. Prior to inheriting the position, Wildmon jr. ran AFA’s “news” division, OneNewsNow, a green-ink style conspiracy theory and fake news outlet distinguishable from other conspiracy websites mostly by its Taliban-style fundamentalist filter (sample headlines: “Illegal alien children to spread infectious diseases”, “Global warming hoax”, “Homosexual rights trump foreign policy in Obama White House”).


Anti-gay efforts

What we reject is the idea that you can take homosexuality, which in the Bible is defined as a sin … it’s unnatural, it’s immoral, it’s unhealthy, and laud it and call it wonderful and say this is the same as heterosexuality. It is not … We know this is a destructive lifestyle and behavior …”

-Tim Wildmon, to Sandy Rios


Wildmon has a long record of anti-gay antics and anti-gay propaganda. Not only ishomosexual behavior […] immoral, unhealthy and unnatural,” but there is also an evil, poorly hidden homosexual agenda at play – Wildmon is for instance opposed for instance to high school gay/straight alliances because “[w]e view these clubs as an advancement of the homosexual cause.” When a federal judge struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2010, Wildmon called the ruling “tyrannical, abusive and utterly unconstitutional” (bear in mind that for Wildmon, like other fundie wingnuts, all words with negative connotations just means “I don’t like it” and can be used interchangeably – otherwise it would be impossible to make sense of what they say) and said that it was “extremely problematic that Judge Walker is a practicing homosexual himself … His situation is no different than a judge who owns a porn studio being asked to rule on an anti-pornography statute.”


As you’d expect, Wildmon was none too happy about the DOMA decision in 2013: “this is America shaking its fist at God almighty,” said Wildmon, wondering (rhetorically) if opponents of gay marriage will soon be “hauled off to jail” and warning that persecution” is imminent. Nor was he particularly happy with the 2019 Equality Act, which to Wildmonhas nothing to do with equality, but everything to do with punishing Christians’ religious liberty.”


No fan of Hollywood (or entertainment in general), Wildmon has called Hollywood “a 24/7 promotion machine for GLBTQ.” In general, pro-gay groups “basically promote their cause all day, every day in the entertainment industry, in academia, in fashion, in the corporate world and in national politics. And now we can add sports.” The only solution, as Wildmon sees it, is to “get more Christians to wake up and fight back or we will lose our country.”


Fortunately, Wildmon has a well-developed gaydar, and claims to be able to easily recognize gay men: “They have these effeminate, a lot of them, actions. They walk like a girl, a lot of them. … [I]t makes you wonder, how did that develop, where does that come from?


Persecution and Paranoia

Yes, Wildmon is being persecuted: people disagree with him, they sometimes criticize him when he does something stupid, they have different religious views than he does, and sometimes politicians make decisions he disagrees with – all behaviors and phenomena that constitute abusive tyranny and would be banned if the Constitution, as Wildmon interprets it, were upheld. Not only are they persecuting him, though; Christians in general – and Jesus – are being persecuted everywhere:


-       President Obama, for instance, exhibitedan anti-Christian, overt anti-Christian hostility” through actions and words Wildmon disagreed with.

-       Efforts to prevent human-influenced climate change, too, are, according to Wildmon, “anti-Christian” as well as “anti-capitalist, anti-American”.

-       The Human Rights Campaign apparently “declared war on Christians” with an ad campaign calling for tolerance (the campaign is trying “to change the minds of individuals regarding the nature of homosexuality”, which is borderline terrorism.)

-       And then there is BeyoncĂ©, whose very existence seems to be an anti-Christian plot.


In general, persecution is bound to happen insofar as secular progressives areprogressing toward anarchy … or communism” and “hate the Judeo-Christian worldview; in essence, they won’t tell you this necessarily, but they hate the god of the Bible ” and seek to rebel against him Him. As Wildmon sees it, “secular progressives are out to find the Christians and purge them from our societyandwill not be satisfied until they close down every Christian church in America and any organization that does not bow their knee to homosexuality.” (Unsurprisingly, Wildmon identifies being Christian not only with being opposed to marriage equality, but with being outspokenly anti-gay.)


In particular, of course, the “Gay Gestapo” is “using the law to punitively enforce their political and social agenda,” and is basically implementing a version of the Jim Crow laws and asking Christians to “move to the back of the bus.” The very fact that gay people are allowed to kiss “mouth to mouth” on TV is a clear example of such persecution and a tyrannical attempt to abusively force heterosexuals into the closet. (No, the notion that he, Tim Wildmon, may not be speaking for “straight America” in general doesn’t even cross his mind.


Of course, people who disagree with Wildmon are not only anti-Christian, but anti-American. The Supreme Court is one example: “We have anti-American, ACLU-types in four positions on the Supreme Court.” Indeed, these types are all over the judicial system; in 2012 Wildmon predicted that if Obama was given a second term, he would rely on them to make it illegal to criticize homosexuality; “I guarantee you it will,” said Wildmon, whose predictive abilities are significantly worse than chance.


Like many wingnuts, Wildmon was convinced that Obama, throughout his presidency, was planning to destroy the economy in order to createsome kind of national emergency or something” that would allow him to take absolute power; Obama wants tosee the economy collapse on purpose.” And as Wildmon sees it, there are so many Christians in the Republican party that they would have impeached even a Republican president who had committed as much “lawlessness and lying” as Obama did. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 provided at least some respite, both from lying and from the persecution of Christians. Indeed, according to Wildmon the US “avoided catastrophe” by electing Trump because Clinton was prepared to use the power of the federal government to “criminalize” Christianity. She would apparently also put conservatives in “reeducation camps. In 2018 Wildmon and David Barton agreed that Trump deserved a grade of “A” for his presidency thus far, and in 2019, Wildmon was appointed to Trump’s Faith Advisory Council.


A nice illustration of how Wildmon’s mind works: In the course of a few minutes he and fellow AFA representatives went from decrying the “thought police” for criticizing gospel singer Kim Burrell when she gave a sermon in which she railed against the “perverted homosexual spirit”, claiming that they treated her (criticism = persecution, remember) like “an illegitimate human being” who should not be allowed to appear in the public square – to promptly attacking organizers of a Christian conference for allowing LGBT-friendly country star Carrie Underwood to perform, which they decried because “Carrie Underwood is openly embracing of homosexual marriage and the homosexual lifestyle,” saying that Underwood had no business performing at this Christian conference “because she’s completely wrong on this LGBT issue.”


War on Christmas

The AFA is heavily engaged in the ferocious war on Christmas that is going on entirely in their own paranoid minds. According to Wildmon, the non-existent “war” is just a precursor to the (equally imaginary) persecution of Christians.



Under Wildmon’s leadership, the AFA has spearheaded a number of boycotts of companies that don’t unconditionally support their agenda, in particular companies that treat gay people with respect. The group has targeted, among others:


-       Home Depot

-       McDonald’s

-       Hallmark Cards (for selling same-sex wedding cards)

-       J.C. Penney (for featuring Ellen DeGeneres in commercials)

-       Campbell’s Soup

-       Walt Disney Co., which sinfully extended benefits to employees’ same-sex partners (Wildmon seems to have been content with expressing disappointment and gnashing of teeth when Exxon did the same. At present, there is even a risk that kids might see homosexual couples at Disneyworld, to Wildmon’s shock and horror.


Wildmon and other religions

The AFA was a major proponent of the conspiracy theory that Obama was secretly a Muslim; Wildmon’s official position was, at least for a while, thatI have no idea if he is or not. I just know that many of his statements and actions have been extremely positive and sympathetic toward Islam.” But it was entirely plausible, according to Wildmon, that Obama was a Muslim, because he “grew up in it over there in Indonesia or somewhere” (he didn’t really, but never mind).


Part of the problem with Islam, according to Wildmon, is its inherent commitment to violence. Noting that several verses in the Quran command Muslims to kill non-Muslims, Wildmon used it as a contrast to Christianity: “There’s nothing like that in the Bible, that tells the Christian to go out and decapitate the infidel,” said Wildmon, who has apparently never read the Bible. Moreover, because all terrorists are Muslim (it’s only terrorism if it’s Islamic), he finds himself “skeptical” of all Muslims. He has also of course declared that secular humanism, which he identifies with progressive politics (“politically, it’s called progressivism”), is satanic, and when a Hindu chaplain offered an invocation before California State Senate, Wildmon was rather nonplussed, because one thing is what you do in private, but “when it comes to our civil government … it’s always been the recognition of the God of the Bible. Every religion is not equal. That’s my belief. That’s logic.” No, Tim, that’s not logic. That you think it is, is telling, however.



Not happy with measures taken to limit the spread of Covid-19, Wildmon and the AFA warned state and federal governments to “not let the coronavirus turn America into China,” claiming that restrictions on public gatherings “trample religious liberty underfoot.”


There is a good Tim Wildmon resource here.


Tim’s son Walker Wildmon seems to be following in his father’s footsteps; one to watch, in other words.


Diagnosis: One of the very leaders of the religious right, Tim Wildmon is a hateful, bigoted and – yes – evil conspiracy theorist and religious fundamentalist. And by criticizing him for that, you are persecuting him, whereas bans on others from behaving in ways that don’t please him is protecting his religious freedom. Dangerous.

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