The Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, the founder of Mississippi-based American Family Association, was inducted into the National Religious Broadcasters Hall of Fame during the annual NRB convention held in Orlando, Florida.
Wildmon, 79, received the 2017 NRB Hall of Fame Award at Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention, held earlier this week.
"When I started American Family Association 40 years ago, I had no idea how far God would lead this ministry," said Wildmon in a statement released by AFA, a pro-family advocacy organization. "It's been an honor to work toward restoring Christian values in our culture. I'm deeply humbled by this recognition and grateful to the culture warriors who fight on."
In the same statement, NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson said, "I am thankful for the tireless efforts of Don Wildmon and American Family Association. It can, at times, be difficult to stand up for what is right, but Don and AFA have done so these past four decades as part of their commitment to protect families across the nation – thereby protecting the very building block of our society. Their impact has been broadly felt."
The NRB award is presented to "an individual NRB member for invaluable contribution to the field of Christian communications, exhibition of the highest standards and evidence of faithfulness in Christ."
Wildmon started American Family Radio in 1991, and it later expanded to nearly 200 radio stations.
Wildmon, an ordained United Methodist minister, launched AFA in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency, which fought against vulgar content in television and other media.
In a 1989 interview with the Time magazine, Wildmon said he finds "the excessive, gratuitous sex, violence, profanity, the negative stereotyping of Christians" in television programming objectionable. "
"I could probably count on one hand, or certainly two hands, the number of programs in which a Christian depicted in a modern-day setting is shown in a positive manner. They're usually depicted as con men, rip-off artists, adulterers, murderers, rapists, thieves, liars. A person who is wearing a cross, carrying a Bible or standing behind a pulpit is usually mentally deranged, at best incompetent," he explained.
Talking about the portrayal of gratuitous sex and violence in media, he added, "The networks are in a game of exploitation. And when you exploit, you always have to go one degree further and one degree further. The people who are responsible call themselves the creative community. From time to time they do have something that's creative. But it's less work and a lot easier to exploit than to create."