The Battle for Decency Is Never Over
Ministry Takes on Attacks Against Truth and Decency Wherever They Arise
The times may change, but not Jesus’s call to be salt and light to our communities and culture.
Since 1999, the American Decency Association (ADA) has been fighting for truth and decency – God’s holy standard.
A Christian para-church organization, ADA was spun off from the American Family Association’s Michigan affiliate whose first director, Bill Johnson, has been fighting pornography and other destructive cultural trends since the 1980s.
ADA hosts a daily radio commentary called “A Decency Minute” heard nationally on American Family Radio, has a staff of five and operates a website americandecency.org regularly updated by Bill’s son Chris.
“The attacks on truth, decency, holiness, and righteousness have taken on different forms throughout the years,” Mr. Johnson says. “Yet, they remain the same—an attack on Jesus, His Church, and all people as image-bearers of God.”
Over the years, the ADA has worked with other pro-family groups to expose and protest public attacks on decency, such as Abercrombie and Fitch’s pornographic catalog and shock jock Howard Stern’s radio show.
“Where the Battle Is Hottest”
In fact, ADA was instrumental in the successful fight to get Abercrombie to drop its sex-laced content and to force Stern off the broadcast spectrum and into pay radio.
“We diligently keep our eyes and ears open to the issues of our day, that we might take an active role in being salt and light where corruption and darkness would creep in,” Bill says. “Wherever God’s holy standard is being attacked, we want to be active in that battle. Martin Luther warned, ‘Though we be active in the battle, if we are not fighting where the battle is the hottest, we are traitors to the cause.’”
As such, ADA has found itself in the hottest cultural battles, from pornography to LGBTQ activism to threats against religious liberty and more recently to threats against American freedom from Islamic stealth activism.
“We have stood (and still stand) against indecency, bringing salt, light, and truth to the darkness and brokenness which is prevalent in the lives of those who are caught up in such lifestyles,” Mr. Johnson says. “In all these areas, we present Jesus, the Healer, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of lives and souls. He alone can heal, save, and restore wholeness to a broken world, nation, culture, home, and life.”
Bill has been interviewed on many radio and television outlets including CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. He taught hearing-impaired people for 18 years, earned a Master’s degree in education, and then left teaching when he felt a calling to ministry.
He recalls being motivated to change his life after hearing Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson speak about the addictive nature of pornography, something with which Bill himself “had issues” before achieving victory through Christ.
His healing really began after he attended Michigan State, and “met a gal who came out of a Christian family and we started going to church. It convicted me.” That gal, Jan VanSloten, is now his wife of 49 years. Together they have four children and eight grandchildren.
Early History and Victories
American Decency started in 1985 as a volunteer organization called Citizens Against Pornography, founded by Jim Schultz, a former pilot with Gerber Baby Food in Fremont, MI. At the time, Gerber employed four airplane pilots.
Mr. Schultz, who had lived in large cities like Detroit, was outraged when the sins of the city – easily available porn – came to his small rural community of Fremont, Michigan in Newaygo County, which had a population of 33,000.
Bill Johnson, 39 at the time, served as a church liaison to the newly forming anti-pornography group. Within a couple of months, he sensed a call from God and was chosen to become president of the fledgling organization, which eventually grew into an affiliate of the American Family Association.
As a teacher in the public schools, Johnson used his summer time off in 1985 and ‘86 to encourage local convenience stores, gas stations and food stores to discontinue selling porn. Bill also urged the county prosecutor to enforce obscenity laws.
In 1986, a Fremont Times Indicator headline read, “Prosecutor and distributor agree to keep 141 [pornography magazine] titles out of stores.”
In 2000, ADA received the Salt and Light Award from Dr. D. James Kennedy and the Center for Reclaiming America for ADA’s efforts against radio indecency, particularly the Howard Stern Radio Show.
Alerting the Public to Security Threats
In recent years, ADA has hosted a variety of national experts such as the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney to inform, exhort, encourage, and stir the American public regarding domestic security threats and destructive cultural trends.
One of them is the “interfaith movement.” This is “not simply ‘dialogue’ between two different religions,” Mr. Johnson says. “It’s a growing and troubling trend in which Christian institutions and churches are compromising the exclusivity of Christ as the only means of salvation, placing cooperation with those of the Muslim faith above non-negotiable Christian doctrine.”
ADA has exposed the promotion of the Interfaith Dialogue Movement by media outlets, Christian colleges, and entities such as the Kauffman Interfaith Institute on the campus of Grand Valley State University.
“We watch, we warn, and we wait on the Lord,” Bill says.
A writer for Timothy Partners, Ltd. He is a regular weekly columnist for The Washington Times and Townhall.com and is frequently published by AmericanThinker.com, DailyCaller.com, OneNewsNow.com, and others. His latest book is “A Strong Constitution: What Would America Look Like If We Followed the Law” (D. James Kennedy Ministries, 2018).