Amid a growing outcry from progressive Christian leaders to take Family Research Council President Tony Perkins off the air, MSNBC has rejected an ad exposing his and FRC’s extensive record of hate speech against gay and lesbian Americans.
Perkins has appeared on MSNBC 23 times since his organization was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, most recently last week on “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”
“Clearly MSNBC doesn’t want its viewers to know the truth about one of their frequent guests. If network executives consider Tony Perkins’ false and hateful rhetoric about gays and lesbians inappropriate for an ad, then he shouldn’t have any place on their programming,” said Michael Sherrard, head of Faithful America, a progressive faith advocacy organization, which produced the ad.
A representative from MSNBC wrote, “Thank you for providing the ad and substantiation. Our policy states that we have sole discretion to accept or reject an ad based on its appropriateness. In this instance we are rejecting the ad.”
Faithful America delivered 20,000 petition signatures to MSNBC headquarters in New York last month demanding that the network stop inviting Perkins on the air because of FRC’s “long history of dishonest, hateful rhetoric.”
“The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,” according to the SPLC, which designated the FRC a hate group in November 2010
Faithful America claims that “MSNBC continually offers a friendly venue to Perkins without informing their viewers of FRC’s status as a hate group or including any rebuttal from progressive religious leaders.”
Perkins has appeared on MSNBC more often this year than on any other cable news network.
Last month, Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, who delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inaugural ceremonies and is the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, led a clergy delegation in delivering more than 20,000 petition signatures to MSNBC studios demanding that the network “stop inviting Family Research Council spokespeople on the air to represent the views of Christians and other people of faith.”