The American Family Association describes itself as “front-line troops in the culture wars” while actively “promoting the centrality of God in American life” and “promoting the Christian ethic of decency” as part of its campaigns to protect “traditional family values.” The group has organized around a variety of issues since its founding in 1977 including television, the separation of church and state, pornography, “the homosexual agenda,” premarital sex, legal abortion, the National Endowment for the Arts, gambling, unfiltered internet access in libraries, and the removal of school-sponsored religious worship from public schools. The group has made extensive use of boycotts against television shows (Ellen, Cheers, NYPD Blue, and more) and businesses that promote and profit from what it deems “indecency.” Some of the more notable targets have included Ford Motor Company and American Airlines for their policy of providing domestic partner benefits, K-Mart for selling music with parental advisory stickers, Disney for its “attack on American families” through its annual “Gay Day” celebration and domestic partner benefits, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In recent years, the group has boycotted Movie Gallery for renting pornography (charging that the chain is putting its employees at risk for STDs and assaults from gay people), removing “glossy garbage” magazines from supermarket shelves that are packed with “lascivious cover photos and salacious headlines,” and placing the official motto of the United States “In God We Trust” on the wall of every classroom in the United States. The group’s boycotts and organizing efforts are aggressively promoted through its “AFA Report” radio show that airs on some 1,200 radio stations across the United States, its broadcast ministry American Family Radio (AFR) that owns 200 stations in 27 states, videos, websites, and media appearances.
- In April of 2007, Gary Glenn of the AFA led a one man protest against the play “Angels in America” outside of its showing at Saginaw Valley State University (source).
Michigan People Connected with the American Family Association
- The Director of the Michigan affiliate of the American Family Association, Gary Glenn, has received considerable attention in recent years for his attacks on gays and lesbians. Glenn has opposed anti-discrimination policies of several Michigan cities by asserting that if passed, public bathrooms and showers would become co-ed. After the legislation passed in several towns, Glenn organized petitions to overturn the legislation, asserting that gays and lesbians pose a “public health hazard.” He has further criticized homosexuality stating in a 2001 press release that “Under homosexual activists’ political agenda, our children would face a future in which traditional marriage and families have been legally devalued, while state government — despite the severe threat it poses to personal and public health — not only legally endorses but uses our tax dollars to subsidize deadly homosexual behavior.” Glenn also has expressed satisfaction when gay men are arrested having sex in public and further stated that according to his “files,” “in almost every case… public school employees” are involved in such acts. As recently as 2004, Glenn argued that “homosexual activity among men remains the single biggest cause of AIDS infection” despite numerous studies to the contrary. Glenn organized in favor of filters in libraries, arguing that with pornography on the Internet, libraries are “the most dangerous place for a child today.