Needless to say, Don Wildmon’s comments were not well received. But that should be no surprise. Prophets are never well received — not even by believers. People have always desired “pillow prophets” who would deliver soothing words. They have despised true prophets who expose their sins and call them to repentance.
Wildmon has been viciously attacked throughout his career:
- An NBC executive branded his ministry boycotts as “the first step toward a police state.”29
- A CBS vice president called his efforts “the greatest frontal assault on intellectual freedom this country has ever faced.”30
- An executive with Warner Brothers studios called him a “Crypto Snake Handler.”31
- Playboy magazine dubbed him “A Religious Dingbat.”32
- The president of CBS called him “The Ayatollah of the Religious Right.”33
- The chairman of Rite Aid drug stores characterized him as a “Rabble Rouser.”34
- The Southern Poverty Law Center designated his ministry as a “hate group.”35
He has been most commonly written off as a “redneck, country preacher.”36 This characterization was in response to his Southern, small town heritage and accent. But this ignores the fact that he is a man who is well educated, having earned a Bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College and a Master’s degree from Emory University’s Chandler School of Theology.37
A Personal Experience
I have first hand knowledge of how Wildmon has been viewed by his opponents. In 1987 he launched a protest movement against Holiday Inn because they started supplying porno movies to their rooms. I joined the protest by writing to the company to express my dismay with their new policy.
Normally, corporations respond to such messages with a carefully crafted public relations letter that is designed to put the company in the best possible light. But to my surprise, I received a personal letter from one of Holiday Inn’s vice presidents, and he unloaded on me in a very emotional manner.
He said I “obviously” was one of Don Wildmon’s supporters. He wondered how a person like me, “with Dr. in front of his name,” could be a supporter of a “country bumpkin” like Wildmon. He concluded his letter by saying that he and all his colleagues just could not figure out how a “hick-from-the-sticks” like Wildmon could garner so much support.
I wrote back and explained it was all due to a person called the Holy Spirit.
The Worst Critics
Secular critics were not the ones that bothered Wildmon the most. Rather, what really disturbed him were the critical messages he received from pastors. He told me personally about this one time, but he also wrote rather frequently about it in his opinion column that appeared in each issue of the AFA Journal.
Wildmon experienced disappointment with pastors from the very beginning. When he first came up with the idea of turning off TV for a week, he thought it would be easy to get thousands involved by appealing to pastors to rally their congregations. But his appeals, even within his own denomination, were met with stony silence. This prompted him to start talking about 300,000 silent pulpits in America:38
Today, 4,000 innocent precious lives of unborn babies were snuffed out… And 300,000 pulpits are silent… The networks make a mockery of Christians, the Christian faith and Christian values with nearly every show they air. Greed, materialism, violence, sexual immorality are standard fare. Program after program, movie after movie contains anti-Christian episodes and plots. News articles condescendingly refer to the “fundamentalists, right-wing Christians.” Those who speak out for the sacredness of life are branded as extremists. And 300,000 pulpits are silent.
What important matters are being dealt with in our churches? The church bulletin says there will be a meeting to plan the church-wide supper. We are raising money for a new floor cover in the kitchen. (The old one doesn’t match the new stove and refrigerator — we must deal with important things first.) The sermon subject last Sunday was “How To Have a Positive Attitude.” And best of all — we are organizing a softball team.
Needless to say, these negative portrayals of apathetic pastors did not endear Wildmon to them. As his exposure level continued to rise in the press, many pastors began to send him critical messages. A typical one would read: “You are just spinning your wheels. Things have gotten much worse since you started speaking out. You are not winning.” Wildmon’s response was one that I loved: “God didn’t call me to win. He called me to stand. We will not win until Jesus returns.”39
Regarding his secular critics and their characterization of him as a “country bumpkin,” Wildmon has responded by pointing out that the reason that image has been applied to him is “because that’s the way we [Christian leaders] are portrayed on television.”40 With regard to the condemnations he has received from secular spokesmen, Wildmon has said, “I praise God for it! I consider their condemnations to be a high honor. It means I’m doing my job right.”41
In the fourth and last segment of this series on the prophetic voice of Donald Wildmon, we’ll look at the impact of Don’s ministry today.
References are available under the original posting of this article on the Lamb & Lion Ministries website at christinprophecy.org.