“Mike was, I think, unprepared for what came to Indiana as a result of this,” said Perkins in an interview for C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program.

The RFRA law, which mirrors both a federal law and laws in about 20 other states, passed the state legislature in Indiana and was signed by Pence, a Republican, last week. Opponents have claimed the law gives individuals and businesses the right to discriminate against gays and lesbians, and as the issue has gained national attention, several corporate leaders have called on Indiana to repeal the law.

Perkins, a leading voice among social conservatives, says the media have mischaracterized the law, but he added that conservative leaders should offer “forceful” defenses of RFRA and religious freedom in general.

“A lot of it comes down to the leadership, quite frankly, as to whether or not they’re going to be forceful in standing in defense of religious freedom,” Perkins said.