MSNBC this week rejected an ad critical of Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council and a frequent guest on the network, according to the group that produced the ad.
According to its website, Faithful America (the group that produced the ad) is “an online community of tens of thousands of citizens motivated by faith to take action on the pressing moral issues of our time” that works to “counter hate speech and misinformation in the media pertaining to people of faith.”
From a press release issued by Faithful America:
Amid a growing outcry from Christian leaders to take Family Research Council President Tony Perkins off the air, MSNBC yesterday rejected an ad exposing his and [Family Research Council’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, most recently last week on Hardball with Chris Matthews.
According to a press release, 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 his group’s “long history of dishonest, hateful rhetoric.”
The group also produced an ad criticizing Perkins but MSNBC rejected the ad. According to a press release, “a representative from MSNBC wrote, ‘Thank you for providing the ad and substantiation (.pdf). 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.’”
The Family Research Council, which calls itself the leading voice “for faith, family and freedom in the halls of power,” is a conservative organization that lobbies Congress and defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman. It also believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the individual and society at large.
The Florida Independent’s Ashley Lopez reported in February that Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Allen West have been invited to attend this year’s Values Voters Summit — one of the biggest conservative and religious right summits in the country. The event will take place less than two months before the presidential election and is held by the Family Research Council’s political action committee.
According to Open Secrets, the Family Research Council PAC has given elected officials, including many of Florida’s Republican members of Congress, at least $64,000 in contributions during the 2012 election cycle. The group has contributed $11,000 to GOP Senators in 2012.
Faithful America’s Michael Sherrard tells The Florida Independent that Perkins was on MSNBC just yesterday, and that his group continues “to be deeply concerned that MSNBC uses Perkins as an appropriate spokesperson for the faith community.”
“Why is it inappropriate for [MSNBC] to run an ad to let their viewers know about Perkins long record of hateful and vile statements about gays and lesbians?” Sherrard adds.
The Faithful America ad shows Perkins comparing “homosexual behavior” to pedophilia and calling homosexuals “vile.”(Watch the ad in full, below.)
In an article entitled, “Censoring the ex-homosexual message,” Peter Sprigg, a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council refuted what he called “a widespread myth – that people are born gay.” Sprigg wrote that the American Psychological Association “has admitted, [N]o findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.”
According to the American Psychological Association, there is no “consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation.” The APA has noted, however, that “the widespread prejudice, discrimination, and violence to which lesbians and gay men are often subjected are significant mental health concerns” and that “research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology.”
Below, the Faithful America ad.