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Tim Wildmon and the AFA Caught Bearing False Witness Again

American Family Association President Tim Wildmon got caught bearing false witness last summer. To make a political point, Wildmon wrote of Barack Obama in 2001 that “in that same radio interview he bemoaned the fact that the Warren Supreme Court ‘never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth.'” This is a false accusation. The radio interview in question actually contains three passages (including the very one Tim Wildmon quoted out of context) in which the young Barack Obama articulated the opposite position — that it would have been wrong for the Warren Supreme Court to enter into issues of wealth redistribution. I wrote AFA President Wildmon six months ago, pointing out the falseness of his accusation and asking him to publicly correct it. He has not done so.

Now Tim Wildmon’s back at it, bearing false witness again. On November 19 2010, Wildmon sent an e-mail blast in which he railed at the outrage of the “anti-Christmas” Dick’s Sporting Goods, which he said didn’t contain the word “Christmas” in its store or on its website:

Tim Wildmon's Letter of November 19, 2010 about Dick's Sporting Goods

Wildmon’s claims were not true: a check of the Dick’s Sporting Goods website right after Wildmon sent his e-mail to the AFA list showed 479 pages on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website containing the word Christmas.

There’s more. In his zeal to find enemies of Christmas and raise money for his group, Tim Wildmon’s November 2010 message declared that “no retailer in the nation has appeared to go out of its way to snub “Christmas” more than Dick’s…. AFA has tried repeatedly to meet with Dick’s Sporting Goods. Unfortunately, they have chosen to ignore our calls and registered letters addressed to company president Joseph Schmidt.”

In a letter I received in today’s mail, however, Tim Wildmon tells a completely different story:

Here’s one more way your AFA is working to keep the name of Christ from disappearing from our public life. For several years Dick’s Sporting Goods, a national retail chain, did not use ‘Christmas’ in its advertising. We wrote the company about that, but they did not respond. Last summer we once again contacted Dick’s about their upcoming Christmas advertising. A company executive assured us that changes were being made. he also apologized for not responding earlier. I’m happy to report that when their ads hit in November, they used “Christmas” and even changed the “Holiday Shop” on their Web site to the “Christmas Shop.” Thank you, Dick’s Sporting Goods.

These two messages from Tim Wildmon, both of them used in conjunction with fundraising appeals, cannot both be true. Was Tim Wildmon bearing false witness in November, or is he lying now? I can’t tell you which declaration of Wildmon’s is a lie, but I can tell you that for an organization purporting to defend the Ten Commandments, its President is breaking one of them with remarkable regularity.

Tim Wildmon letter as fundamentalist American Family Association President, received on January 4 2011

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