Progressive Faith Group to MSNBC: Stop Hosting Tony Perkins

A progressive religious group on Tuesday delivered to MSNBC 20,000 signatures from people who want the cable news channel to stop inviting Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins to serve as a guest commentator on its programs.

Faithful America began the petition drive about a month ago. The group describes itself as “an online community of tens of thousands of citizens motivated by faith to take action on the pressing moral issues of our time,” including poverty, human rights and “hate speech and misinformation in the media pertaining to people of faith.”

Perkins is an anti-gay hardliner who has said that pedophilia is “a homosexual problem.” In 2010, the SPLC designated the FRC a hate group due to its long history of spreading false propaganda about LGBT people.

Faithful America Director Michael Sherrard told Hatewatch that Perkins’ habit of lying about gays is at the crux of his group’s opposition to his appearances on MSNBC. “A hate group that uses defamatory lies to demonize gay and lesbian Americans is not an appropriate representative for the faith community,” he said.

Lies like the one Perkins told while debating Hatewatch editor Mark Potok on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” in November 2010. Chiding the SPLC for what he claimed was a failure to do its research about LGBT people, Perkins claimed on the show that “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a danger to children.”

The “research” he referred to was done by the American College of Pediatricians, a tiny group of doctors who in 2002 broke away from the American Academy of Pediatrics (the 60,000-member professional association to which most American pediatricians belong), because the latter supported LGBT parental rights.

The American College of Pediatricians, believed to have about 200 members, explicitly demands as a condition of membership that would-be joiners “hold true to the group’s core beliefs … [including] that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.”

It is Perkins’ parroting of exactly this type of language that has earned Faithful America’s wrath. In a Jan. 12 blog post calling on MSNBC to stop inviting him to comment, Faithful America wrote, “Just as racist rhetoric has no place in the media, people who tell lies about our LGBT neighbors should not be baptized as credible Christian messengers. … MSNBC should continue its move to improve its contributor rolls by keeping FRC off its shows.”