The organization was founded by the Reverend Donald E. Wildmon in 1977 as the National Federation for Decency before changing its name in 1988, and has many umbrella groups that were formed that have different functions and reach different needs. Although they regularly prune their list of supports to only include active members, they still have over 2.5 million names. During their last campaign to stop the Hate crimes legislation, 365,000 of their supporters responded by contacting their Congressmen - a very high rate of response for organizations based upon values or political themes.
The radio ministry of AFA is American Family Radio.
The American Family Association has initiated several boycotts on many corporations for various reasons, including companies' marketing of pornographic magazines, support of homosexuality, and more recently, the rejection of Christmas. Companies the organization has boycotted include 7-eleven, Abercombie & Fitch, American Airlines, American Girl, Blockbuster Video, Burger King, Calvin Klein, Carl's Jr, Clorox, Ford, Hallmark Cards, Kmart, Kraft, Mary Kay, Microsoft, Movie Gallery, MTV, Nutrisystem, Old Navy, Pepsi, Sears Roebuck, S. C. Johnson, Target Corporation, and Walt Disney.
The American Family Association sponsored a boycott of McDonalds in mid 2008 for their choice to actively support gay marriage. That boycott ended on October 9 of the same year when McDonald's agreed to take a neutral position and avoid political controversies. A longer boycott against Ford ended in 2008 when the company took a neutral position on gay rights as well.
The AFA had boycotted PepsiCo. A statement on boycottpepsico.com reads "AFA asked Pepsi to remain neutral in the culture war, but the company refused — choosing to support the homosexual activists." Pepsico is a highly visible supporter of the gay community. AFA has since withdrawn the boycott after they determined that $500,000. donated in 2008 to homosexual activist organizations Human Rights Campaign and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) did not take place again in 2009. Over 500,000 people signed the Boycott PepsiCo Pledge.
In 2010, rejecting several requests by AFA to remain neutral in the culture war, The Home Depot has chosen to sponsor and participate in numerous gay pride parades and festivals. Home Depot became a "festival" vendor, conducted a Kid's Craft Workshops for children in the midst of loud and boisterous gay activities. The AFA asks the public to contact Home Depot to show opposition to their gay agenda and to boycott all Home Depot stores. According to BoycottTheHomeDepot.com, the company has shown;
- Children being encouraged to visit gay sex websites.
- Employees using company property to push gay marriage.
- The Home Depot employees riding and marching in homosexual parades.