Christian Action Network (CAN) was founded in 1990 by Martin Mawyer. Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, the group is a public advocacy and education organization based on biblical principles, values, traditions and American ideals. Its primary goals are to protect America’s religious and moral heritage through educational efforts.
CAN accomplishes its education work through direct-mail campaigns aimed at impacting public policy, along with public speaking engagements, documentary films, radio and TV interviews, books, and alliances with other organizations to impact change.
Prior to founding Christian Action Network, Mawyer was Editor-in-Chief of the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority Report, and author of Silent Shame: The Alarming Rise of Child Sexual Abuse. In 1990 Mawyer formed his own public advocacy group, often continuing to work with Falwell on joint projects and public campaigns. He has since authored three additional books, including his latest work: Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.
CAN has approximately 150,000 supporters, many of them regular donors to his organization. The group is incorporated as a 501(c) (3) organization, donations to which gifts are tax deductible. As required by law, CAN is operated by a Board of Directors. It has a full-time staff with several independent employees who work on behalf of CAN.
Starting in the 1990s, CAN has been involved in a number of public policy issues. Throughout the 1990s CAN advocated for defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), a taxpayer-funded federal endowment that has used public money to support controversial art projects, including the highly controversial “Piss Christ” (a crucifix suspended in a jar of urine), a flag desecration exhibit, a film entitled “Cowboy Jesus” that offended many Christians. Other taxpayer-funded projects that CAN opposed were homo-erotic art projects and controversial “performance” art that included blood-letting and sadomasochistic sexual acts. Following years of lobbying on the issue, and after addressing members of Congress in hearings, CAN helped persuade lawmakers to reduce the NEA’s funding in 1996 by nearly half, from approximately $180 million to $99.5 million.
CAN’s next important issue was lobbying against homosexual marriage, and what CAN called “the infiltration of the gay agenda in American culture.” CAN supported the original Defense of Marriage Act passed during the Clinton Administration, but has opposed state initiatives that have legalized gay marriage, maintaining that the state has no legal interest or right to license the marriage of homosexual couples. In 1994, CAN began to focus its attention on Disney World’s association with what is known as “Gay Days” at the Orlando, Florida, theme park. Although Gay Days are not officially sponsored by Disney World, CAN criticized the Disney Corp. for allowing them to occur during regular visitor hours while families are visiting, also criticizing Disney for being motivated by profit. Gay Days are usually held during the beginning of June; all gay visitors are encouraged to wear red shirts to identify themselves, and parties are held throughout the week at Disney World and in local resorts.CAN released a short documentary that was featured on The O’Reilly Factor, in which the group’s undercover footage of Gay Days revealed drug use, simulated gay sex and nudity.
CAN also lobbied against public funds being used to support what it called “anti-American” activities at the United Nations. Specifically, CAN opposed the U.N.’s deployment of American troops as U.N. peacekeepers, opposed the U.N. allowing known terrorist nations to have voting rights, opposed the U.N.’s global warming treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol, opposed the U.N.’s International Criminal Court, and opposed the U.N.’s environmental and population control policies. CAN claims that its lobbying efforts helped pave the way for stricter oversight in Congress over the use of taxpayer dollars going to the U.N., and helped expose financial abuses within the U.N.
In the 2000s CAN began to focus on the issue of Islamic Sharia law, and what CAN terms “its encroachment in American society.” CAN released a film entitled, “Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around U.S.” in 2009. The film detailed the existence of terrorist training camps scattered throughout the United States, owned by a group known as Muslims of the Americas, which law enforcement has connected to a terrorist group known as Jammat Al Fuqra.The leader of Al Fuqra, Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani, was briefly detained in 2002 in Pakistan on suspicion of being involved in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl was later found decapitated and dismembered.
In its film, CAN produced secretly obtained footage showing Gilani giving instructions to his followers in how to kill people. The footage, which appears to have been partly filmed overseas, also shows Gilani’s followers practicing martial arts, bombings and knifings. CAN also obtained footage of another film in which a group of black American women, dressed in military garb, are training for guerilla combat. CAN has confirmed that the terrorist training film was made at the Al Fuqra camp located in Hancock, New York, known as Holy Islamberg.
In 2010, CAN released another documentary called “Islam Rising: Geert Wilders Warning to the West.” The film is about Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders’ attempts to stop the advance of Sharia law in the Netherlands. The film describes Wilders’ political battles, and includes Wilders’ own documentary film entitled “Fitna.”
In late 2010, CAN debuted a film on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, also known as Park 51, entitled, “Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mega-Mosque.” The film was shown on tour throughout the United States, and then shown in September 2011 on Capitol Hill with Rep. Allen West of Florida sponsoring the event. It was also shown in 2011 throughout New York City. The documentary includes interviews of survivors and family members of the 9-11 attacks who oppose the construction of the Ground Zero Mosque.
Current issues that CAN is working on include a soon-to-be released film on school textbooks that contain a bias toward Islam and against Christianity. The group has also been researching another film on Sharia law in Europe, and how it will impact the United States.
CAN is also involved in a joint effort with several other organizations, including the Voice of the Martyrs ministry and the British-Pakistani Christian Association, to help free Christian Pakistani Asia Bibi from prison. Bibi has been awaiting execution for blasphemy against Islam, and would be the first person ever formally executed on a blasphemy charge.