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AFA founder Don Wildmon resigns as chairman

Associated Press Modified: March 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm •  Published: March 3, 2010

AFA also boycotted companies like Ford Motor Co. for offering benefits to domestic partners of gay employees. It also targeted Walt Disney Co., over same-sex benefits and claims that Disney promoted gay-related events and allowed violent and sex-filled content in movies made by its Miramax subsidiary.

In Mississippi, the group successfully pushed for legislation in 2001 to place "In God We Trust" posters in public schools.

Born in Dumas, Miss., in 1938, Wildmon earned degrees from Millsaps College and Emory College. He was ordained a minister in the United Methodist Church in 1964 and was pastor of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Tupelo, a church he helped found.

Wildmon said he clicked off the family television in the 1970s as a personal protest against what he saw as unbridled sex and violence invading his Mississippi home. He then asked his congregation to do the same, calling it a crusade against "the moral cancer that is invading our land."

Wildmon's group drew a mix of praise and criticism. The American Civil Liberties Union questioned the wisdom of seeking fights over free speech.

In a 1986 interview with the AP, Wildmon countered: "Who set the ACLU up as the guardian of free speech and who set CBS up as the people who tell us what the news is? Who elects them? Their reasoning is that since I am a Christian I can't try to influence society. Well, I have as much right to speak out on any issue."