Major Christian Right Figure Hospitalized

The founder of a major Christian right group is hospitalized and in critical condition, his family said.

American Family Association founder the Rev. Don Wildmon, 71, was diagnosed with meningitis this past weekend, his son and AFA President Tim Wildmon said, according to The Associated Press. The younger Wildmon said on Monday that his father's condition has improved over the last 24 hours.

"Meningitis is a very serious disease, and the Wildmon family, as well as the AFA family, appreciate your continued prayers and expressions of concern," Tim Wildmon said in an e-mailed statement.

Meningitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

Wildmon founded the conservative, pro-family group American Family Association in 1977 in Tupelo, Miss. The original name of the group was National Federation for Decency and its activities included battling against sexual content and violence on television and in magazines. As a result of its boycott campaigns, several large convenience and drugstore chains removed Playboy, Penthouse and other adult magazines from their shelves.

The organization has also campaigned against Disneyland/Walt Disney World for giving benefits to the live-in partners of gay employees, Blockbuster for carrying NC-17 rated videos, and PepsiCo for promoting the homosexual agenda.

The group changed its name to AFA in 1988.

Prior to founding AFA, Wildmon served in the U.S. Army and was pastor of First United Methodist Church in Southaven, Miss.

Today, AFA is one of the largest pro-family organizations in the country. It produces a monthly magazine, an online news site, and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the nation under the name of American Family Radio (AFR).

The group remains engaged in cultural war issues and promotes activism on topics such as traditional marriage and family, sanctity of human life, and media integrity.