Tim Wildmon, leader of one of the most intensely anti-LGBTQ Christian right groups in the U.S., the American Family Association, is joining Donald Trump’s Faith Advisory Council.
The AFA announced Monday that Wildmon, the organization’s president and the son of its founder, Donald Wildmon, has been named to the council. There he will join such prominent homophobes and transphobes as Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress, Gary Bauer, and Ralph Reed.
The AFA, based in Tupelo, Miss., is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a progressive watchdog organization, as a hate group because of the dangerous information it spreads about LGBTQ people. It considers homosexuality a sin, as many religions do, but it seeks to infuse public policy with that belief.
“In the past three decades, LGBTQ activists have demanded the embrace of homosexuality by society and the church,” reads a recent AFA “Action Alert” to its supporters. “This LGBTQ demand for ‘equality’ has gone viral, and its stormtroopers take no prisoners.”
It has also demonized transgender people by suggesting that allowing trans people to use the restrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity will put women and children in danger. Target has been a frequent subject of its ire because of the company’s inclusive policy on this score. The AFA has tried to backtrack by claiming it’s not painting trans people as predators but instead is worried that people will pretend to be trans to take advantage of such policies, but that is beyond disingenuous, as indicated by the AFA’s statements about trans people.
An AFA offshoot, One Million Moms, has taken stands against even the smallest bit of positive LGBTQ representation in the media. Usually, studios, advertisers, and other media producers have not given in to One Million Moms’ pressure. Most recently, the group campaigned against the Hallmark Channel when it aired ads for a wedding planner, Zola, that featured a lesbian couple. Hallmark initially pulled the ads but now has pledged to reinstate them if Zola still wishes to advertise.
The AFA has also been enraged by Chick-fil-A’s recent announcement that it would no longer donate to anti-LGBTQ groups. “For all practical purposes, it looks like they have caved to the LGBTQ activists and their illegitimate complaints,” said another recent “Action Alert.”
Perhaps most damning of all is the presence of commentator Bryan Fischer at the AFA. Fischer, who hosts a radio show for the AFA and blogs on its website, has said that Adolf Hitler’s most savage enforcers were gay soldiers (ignoring the fact that Hitler’s regime sent gays to concentration camps); that gays and Mormons may be plotting together to legalize polygamy; that “flaming homosexuals” will storm Christian bookstores and demand jobs if antigay discrimination is banned nationwide; that the Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act was a bigger legal travesty than the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; and that if schools are teaching LGBTQ history, they should include the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The AFA has sought to downplay Fischer’s role at the organization, in 2015 stripping him of his title of director of issues analysis, but he remains very much a presence at the organization.
The Faith Advisory Council “is made up of key leaders who support and help guide the president’s faith-based initiatives, give insight on policy important to evangelicals and, most importantly, pray for the president,” according to an AFA press release.
“Yes, he is a flawed man, but still, he is not embarrassed to be seen with or stand with ‘the evangelicals,’ as he calls us,” Tim Wildmon said of Trump in the release. “One of the reasons President Trump has taken unrelenting, incoming fire from the liberal elites — even before he was sworn in — is precisely because he is not ashamed of the Bible, the Constitution, the family and the free enterprise system.” And obviously not ashamed of associating with one of the most homophobic and transphobic groups in the nation.