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On March 17, 2009 two weeks before his appointment to President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships,Harry Knox published a statement on the Human Rights Campaign Web site in reaction to Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks concerning condoms and AIDS in Africa. The statement partly reads: “The Pope’s statement that condoms don’t help control the spread of HIV, but rather condoms increase infection rates, is hurting people in the name of Jesus. …The pope’s rejection of scientifically proven prevention methods is forcing Catholics in Africa to choose between their faith and the health of their entire community. Jesus was about helping the marginalized and downtrodden, not harming them further.”

Agree or disagree with the Pope’s stance on condoms, that statement was justifiably offensive to Catholics. Especially when you consider that Papal Infallibility is a basic tenet of Catholicism.

It was surprising that someone who had such harsh views about the leader of a major world religion would be appointed to the President’s religious advisory council.

Eleven months later Knox was asked the same question. One would think that almost a year in the political White House world would make him a bit more tolerant.

NOPE! When asked by CNS News on Tuesday whether he still holds that view that the pope “is hurting people in the name of Jesus,” Knox said, “I do.”

At the National Press Club on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Knox, “You put out a statement saying Pope Benedict XVI was—quote—‘hurting people in the name of Jesus’ because he did not support promoting the use of condoms as a means to control the spread of HIV.  And I was wondering, do you still believe the pope’s position on condoms is ‘hurting people in the name of Jesus’?”


Knox answered, “I—I do.”


In a follow-up question, CNSNews.com asked Knox:  “So, even in light of—Edward Green, a Harvard researcher in AIDS prevention said the pope was correct in that condom use aggravates HIV, the spread of it, in Africa.  So, in light of that statement, do you still hold to that position?


Knox answered, “He is simply incorrect in his assertion.  All the other evidence of science shows otherwise.”


On March 17, 2009, Pope Benedict flew to Africa to visit Cameroon and Angola. During the flight, he answered several questions from reporters, including one concerning AIDS in Africa: Given that the Catholic Church’s position in fighting AIDS “is often considered unrealistic and ineffective,” would the pope “address this theme during the journey?”


Pope Benedict gave a lengthy response, detailing many of the Church’s humanitarian efforts to help people with AIDS in Africa. “I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is,” he said. “If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help [by responsible behavior], the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it.”

This is not about using condoms or not using condoms, this is about a member of the the Obama administration trashing a religious view that differs from theirs. Why does someone with lack of tolerance of other faiths serve on a panel which has as one of its functions, Inter-religious Cooperation? This guy has GOT to go.

A transcript of the exchange between CNSNews.com and Harry Knox follows below:

CNSNews.com:  “You put out a statement saying Pope Benedict XVI was, quote, ‘hurting people in the name of Jesus’ because he did not support promoting the use of condoms as a means to control the spread of HIV.  And I was wondering, do you still believe the pope’s position on condoms is ‘hurting people in the name of Jesus’?”


Knox:  “I—I do.”


CNSNews.com:  “All right.  So, even in light of—Edward Green, a Harvard researcher in AIDS Prevention said the pope was correct in that condom use aggravates HIV, the spread of it, in Africa.  So, in light of that statement, do you still hold to that position?”


Knox:  “He is simply incorrect in his assertion.  All the other evidence of science shows otherwise.” (Listen to audio clip below.)

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