The American Family Association Why We Fight Pornography

by Dr. Donald E. Wildmon, CEO, American Family Association, Inc.

The American Family Association, Inc. (AFA) is an organization for people who are tired of cursing the darkness and are ready to light a candle. I founded AFA in 1977 to stand for the Biblical ethic of decency and for traditional family values, focusing primarily on the influence of the media – including pornography – on our society. AFA believes that the entertainment industry, through its various products, has undermined the Judeo-Christian values on which America was founded and which keep a society and its families strong and healthy.

I still see our main role today as I did in the beginning as a ministry that informs the public at large of the seriousness of certain problems in America. I think the primary thing we’ve done is to provide information for people who were not knowledgeable. The most frequent comment we get back is, "I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know how to do anything about it. AFA has given me the information."

The information in this section was prepared by American Family Association to provide assistance to individuals, churches and local organizations to help them oppose the cancer of pornography that is eating at the moral fabric of our society. It contains some suggestions and answers. It is not complete, but a guide dedicated to those individuals who have taken a stand in their local communities against this moral cancer, pornography. Our society is indebted to them. May their numbers increase. The suggestions and guidelines put forth have come from years of experience. But as with all such information, it must be applied with imagination and creativity.

We can win the war against pornography, but it will not be easy. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar a year business, thus it has many powerful allies. Many of them are in positions of great influence. But the greatest ally which pornography has is the silence of the Christian community.

However, this is a battle we simply cannot afford to lose. One is wrong to think that the battle against pornography is simply a struggle against dirty words and dirty pictures. It is not. It is a struggle for the very soul of man.

There is a great spiritual war being waged. An intentional effort is being made to change the very foundation on which Western civilization is built, to replace the Christian concept of man with a secular and humanist concept. It is a philosophy of life that seeks to remove the influence of Christians and Christianity from our society. Pornography is not the disease, but merely a visible symptom; it springs from a moral cancer in our society, and it will lead us to destruction if we don’t stop it.

The silence and apathy of the Christian community toward pornography must end. We simply must become educated and involved in this struggle. We must speak out. Our society has suffered too much already because of our silence.

Let me illustrate this by a favorite parable of mine called, "By Permission of the Local Church". Local churches have a lot of influence. Let me prove my point in making that statement. In the parable that follows, I borrow the "open by permission..." concept from the late Francis A. Schaeffer:

Recently, while visiting a building where abortions were performed, I saw a sign on the front door which read: "Open by permission of the local churches in this community."

I walked down the street and passed an "adult" theater, then, I passed by a local video outlet where porn movies were rented. On the front door of both stores was a sign which read: "Open by permission of the local churches in this community."

On down the road I came upon one of the favorite hangouts of the youth. There they could get beer, alcohol and drugs. I was amazed when I looked on the door of that hangout and saw the sign: "Open by permission of the local churches in this community."

When I walked into a store and saw all the pornographic magazines being sold in that store, I noticed a sign on the magazine rack which read: "These magazines are sold by the permission of the local churches in this community."

I turned on my television and was amazed at the violence, the vulgarity, the profanity, the sheer filth flowing into the room via that television set. Then a message trailed across the screen: "Open by permission of the local churches in this community."

One of my children brought home this notice from the school system: "This is to inform you that effective immediately the school system will begin distributing condoms to students. We will not notify parents when we do this as that would violate the rights of the students. We also are instituting a program to introduce our students to homosexuality. We feel that we must not be judgmental toward the lifestyle of others. Your child will not have the choice of opting out of the classes in which we present a non-judgmental view of homosexuality. To allow the child to miss these classes would only perpetuate bigotry by those who do not accept the homosexual lifestyle." Printed in small letters at the bottom of the notice were these words: "These programs made possible by permission of the local churches in this community."

I picked up my newspaper one morning and read that my city council had passed a law making it illegal for anyone to refuse to rent an apartment to homosexuals and unmarried individuals who live together, to refuse to hire or fire anyone because he is homosexual, or to discriminate against anyone because of his "sexual preference" lifestyle. One of the members of the council said the new law was passed "by permission of the local churches in this community."

When I asked my pastor how the churches got all of this influence, he said it was really quite simple. "We gained our influence by withdrawing. Because we give our permission, those who would oppose us have agreed to ignore us. We give our permission to the situations you mentioned so that the church can deal with more important matters," my pastor told me.

"What are these more important matters the local churches now deal with?" I asked.

"Oh, matters such as when to have fellowship supper at the church, who will bring which dishes of food. Matters such as the color of carpet in the sanctuary, the kind of lock which needs to go on the back door, who will serve as ushers next month, where and when the women’s group will meet, organizing a softball team for our youth, how to raise the money our denomination expects us to give to keep their programs going," the pastor said. "By dealing with these more important matters and avoiding the issues where some in the community might disagree with us, we are able to keep our influence. Those around us have given us permission to exist if we keep our activities confined to the church building or denominational structure," my pastor said.

"We have an unspoken agreement with abortionists, the pornographers, those who provide filth and violence on television, the rap music which calls for rape and the killing of police, and the promotion of homosexuality. The agreement is with all those who seek to remove the Christian influence from our society. Very simply it is this, you don’t bother us and we won’t bother you," my pastor said.

I asked my pastor about such things as racism, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and gambling. He said that those were "social" problems which government should deal with and nearly everyone agreed. Plus, he said, from time to time the very top levels of the various denominations will issue a statement concerning those matters, usually calling on government to do more. That, also, leaves the church free to work on those more important matters, he said.

So you see, the local church really does have a lot of influence. The next time you see any of the situations I mentioned in your community, just remember that they exist "by permission of the local churches" which refuse to get involved. Perhaps this is what Jesus foresaw when He said: "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. 

Unless the Christian community becomes educated and involved quickly, involvement in a few years will be meaningless. We will have already lost the war.

Pessimistic? No, realistic.

Weep for our children and grandchildren if we fail. It is going to take all of us doing what we can to eliminate this cancer from our society.

I only hope that this information helps those who care to become involved. It is going to take all of us doing what we can to eliminate this cancer from our society.