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Faith leaders to MSNBC: Take hate group off the air | VIDEO

NEW YORK -- Earlier this week, nationally prominent Christian leader The Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, along with clergy from New York City, called on MSNBC to stop inviting Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (FRC), to appear on their programming. FRC has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for using dishonest, incendiary rhetoric about gay and lesbian Americans.

A video compilation of some of Tony Perkins’ appearances on MSNBC, examples of his most extreme claims, and footage of this week’s petition delivery is below:

Perkins has appeared on MSNBC more often this year than on any other cable news network.

“We’d like other Christian voices to be consulted, not those affiliated with a hate group,” said Robinson, who delivered the invocation at President Obama's inaugural ceremonies and is the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion. “We are asking MSNBC to stop showcasing this hate group and their vile language. We all know that if you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to believe it.”

After rallying in front of MSNBC’s headquarters in Rockefeller Square, the religious delegation delivered 20,000 petition signatures to MSNBC staff from members of the national network Faithful America, reminding the network that the hateful views of Perkins and the Family Research Council are out of step with most Christians. Faithful America condemned MSNBC’s decision to warmly welcome Perkins onto their shows without mentioning FRC’s status as a hate group.

“It’s inexcusable that an organization that falsely accuses gays and lesbians of child molestation has any place in our media debates, much less a high-profile platform at a network like MSNBC,” said Michael Sherrard, head of Faithful America. “It’s past time for MSNBC to start representing the views of progressive people of faith and stop legitimizing hateful, dishonest claims from the Religious Right.”

Faithful America’s petition reads:

The Family Research Council is a hate group, and journalists ought to treat it as such. MSNBC must stop inviting Family Research Council spokespeople on the air to represent the views of Christians and other people of faith.

Rev. Michael Ellick, Minister of Judson Memorial Church in New York, NY, and a leader in the Occupy Wall Street movement said, “If MSNBC continues to have this on the air, they’re discrediting themselves, discrediting their viewers, and discrediting the Christian faith.”

Other faith leaders at the event spoke about the implications of providing a high-profile platform to bigoted voices.

“Our concern is this—when one voice is portrayed to be the voice of Christianity and that voice is a voice of hatred and gay-bashing and discrimination, what that does is give the culture permission, ‘God blessed’ permission to bash and malign gay people,” said Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York, NY.

Faithful America plans to ramp up its pressure on MSNBC with a targeted ad campaign beginning next week.

For more information about Faithful America, an online community of over 132,000 people of faith taking action on pressing moral issues of social justice and the common good click HERE.