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, but that didn’t happen. he repeated his statement prompting House Minority Leader Boehner to send the President a letter calling for Knox to lose his position in the Obama White House. The White House has not responded to Boehner, not even to explain his position.
Boehner said at a Feb. 3 press briefing that he believes Knox is an “anti-Catholic bigot” who should not be a presidential adviser. “He should resign. And I have agreed to sign a letter [calling for that],” said Boehner. “We can’t have in the White House an anti-Catholic bigot, and that’s what this gentleman appears to be.”
…Last May, 22 prominent Catholics wrote to President Obama asking him to remove Knox from the advisory council because of his anti-Catholic comments. One of the signatories of that letter was House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). Separately, House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) was the first to issue a statement calling for Knox to resign from the council.
On Feb. 2 of this year, CNSNews.com asked Knox, during an event at the National Press Club, if he still stands by his assertion that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus” because of his position on condoms. Knox said, “I do.”
CNSNews.com asked Boehner about the matter on Feb. 3. That is when Boehner said he believed Knox was an “anti-Catholic bigot” and renewed his call for Knox to resign.
On Monday, CNSNews.com asked White House spokesman Robert Gibbs about Boehner’s call for Knox to resign because of his anti-Catholic remarks.
“I don’t–not surprisingly, I do not have anything on that,” Gibbs said. “I’d be happy to have one of these guys take a look at it.”
CNSNews.com followed up immediately on Monday with an e-mail to Shin Inouye, the White House spokesman on issues regarding the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships initiative, asking for a response to Boehner’s call for Knox to resign, whether the White House disagreed with Knox’s anti-papal comment, and if the White House still supported Knox’s appointment to the council.
Last June, when CNSNews.com asked Gibbs about the letter from 22 Catholics asking for Knox’s removal from the council. Gibbs then said that the White House was “comfortable” with all the members of the council.
“I haven’t seen that letter, but the president is comfortable with the makeup of his faith advisory council,” Gibbs said.
This nothing more than another example of the Hubris of this administration. It is disgusting to appoint a hater of one of this country’s major religions to his religious advisory committee, it is even more disgusting to refuse to address the concerns of members of that religious community. If he appoints a Catholic hater today, he could appoint a Baptist or Jew hater tomorrow.