The Rev. Franklin Graham has defended Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, calling him a "great American and a strong Christian" after CBS's "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer suggested that he has taken his stance on marriage "too far" and pointed out that the Southern Poverty Center has branded his organization an "anti-gay hate group."
"I know Tony. He's a great American and a strong Christian. Just because Christians take a stand aligned with what the Word of God says is true, that doesn't mean we are anti-gay. It means that we love people enough to warn them. God tells us in His Word that lying is sin, stealing is sin, murder is sin, adultery is sin, homosexuality is sin ... and 'the wages of sin is death,'" Graham said in a Facebook message on Monday.
He added that those who stand up for traditional marriage are often targets of "the liberal media's anti-Christian bias," but said that does not mean that they should stop speaking out.
The interview Graham refers to occurred at the end of April, when Schieffer tells Perkins that some groups had asked CBS to not even allow Perkins to appear because he "doesn't speak for Christians."
Schieffer then asked the conservative if he has "taken this too far," referring to FRC's stance against gay marriage.
Perkins, who was invited to speak about the Supreme Court taking up same-sex marriage cases that will decide whether the practice is legalized in every state in the U.S., thanked Schieffer for allowing him to come on the show regardless, and said that the Supreme Court should not be creating public policy.
"We stand with millennia of experience [that says] that the union between a man and a woman, the sacred union of marriage, is the cornerstone of society," Perkins added.
The Conservative Action Project sent a letter to CBS following the interview, claiming that it is "now clearer than ever before" that the "liberal media — including CBS ... will stop at nothing to use their power and the power of the government to silence, shame, punish and fine Americans who embrace traditional marriage and other politically incorrect truths."
It added: "CBS, and Bob Schieffer in particular, should apologize on 'Face the Nation' for using the SPLC to smear people of faith. If this does not happen, you will have made CBS and Bob Schieffer synonymous with the SPLC and the rabid anti-Christian bigotry that it represents."
The letter was signed by conservative leaders such as Brent Bozell, the president of the Media Research Center; former Attorney General Edwin Meese; Becky Norton Dunlop, chairman of the Conservative Action Project; Tim Wildmon, American Family Radio; Richard Bott Jr., Bott Radio Network; Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Institute; Penny Young Nance, Concerned Women for America; Jerry Johnson, National Religious Broadcasters; Stuart Epperson, Salem Communications; and Judge Paul Pressler, among others.
Conservatives have spoken out through a number of avenues about the need for the Supreme Court to allow states to continue deciding on their own whether to legalize gay marriage or not. A decision on the issue is expected sometime this summer.