Don Wildmon was a United Methodist minister who created organizations headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, to wage a culture war against television networks, porn producers and retailers. Her goal was wholesome television entertainment, the elimination of the exploitation of women in pornography, and the freedom to exercise her free speech rights through her ministry.
His work led him to begin building a Christian radio network. I had the privilege of volunteering, along with my three youngest children, at one of their telethon fundraisers. We arrived in Tupelo early one morning to take up our shift at one of three or four dozen telephones in a large hall of volunteers and radio personalities. I spoke with listeners; truckers on the road, stay-at-home moms and businessmen in their offices. They called to pledge their support for the operation and growth of the ministry. American Family Radio began to grow.
Radio stations were set up in large markets in concentric circles around Tupelo. He had two major obstacles, money and the Federal Communication Commission. Slowly he was able to get some money. The FCC, at every turn, seemed to be looking for ways to thwart its efforts through the process controlled by this federal agency – the issuance and enforcement of broadcast licenses. They chose who could and could not have them, market by market.
More recently, the AFA opposed President Biden’s nomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC. Sohn’s nomination was withdrawn, in part because of her hardline views which led her to call for outlets like Fox News and American Family Radio to be eliminated.
This begs the question: are federal agencies being used as weapons to control, manipulate, intimidate, and eliminate individuals and their organizations? It would seem so.
The Obama administration in 2015 proposed that the US Environmental Protection Agency create the rules to implement its Clean Power Plan (CPP). The EPA has complied, designing the BESR, or “Better Emissions Reduction System.” The BESR essentially mandated a “generational shift” whereby so-called “experts” chose the fuel to power power plants in the United States. To put it bluntly, the Obama administration attempted to use the EPA to grant the federal government dictatorial power over the fuel used for electricity generation.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court of the United States intervened and temporarily stopped this totalitarian movement. SCOTUS later, at the end of his last term, rendered his decision in West Virginia v. EPA. Their decision, in this most important case, ended the Clean Power Plan.
Hopefully, the implications of this decision extend beyond the EPA and power generation.
Our federal government does not have to decide who can or cannot broadcast on the public airwaves. Nor do they have to decide which fuels can be used to generate electricity. The constitution severely limits the scope and authority of the federal government. It is obvious that the current justices of the Supreme Court of the United States understand this. They should be applauded for their work and the results of West Virginia v. EPA. We can only hope that they will build on this success in the next term.