Catholic social conservative groups are
asking President Obama to fire a gay member of his Advisory Council
on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The groups allege that
openly gay Harry Knox, director of the religion and faith
program at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights
advocate, is a “virulent anti-Catholic bigot.”
Among the signatories to a letter
addressed to Obama are Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic
League, Chuck Donovan, executive vice president of Family Research
Council, Phyllis Schlafly, founder and president of Eagle Forum and
Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.
The groups say Knox is the “hate-filled
antithesis” of the Faith Council's objectives.
“Knox is a virulent anti-Catholic
bigot, and has made numerous vile and dishonest attacks against the
Church and the Holy Father,” the letter says. “He has no
business on any Council having to do with faith or religion.”
Backers of the campaign provided U.S.
News and World Report Journalist Dan Gilgoff with a
list of Knox's alleged offensives. The group's primary
objections appear to revolve around Knox's support of the gay and
lesbian community, including his defense of a Cheyenne, Wyoming
lesbian couple who in 2007 were barred from receiving communion, his
criticism of the Vatican's rejection of an United Nations resolution
calling for the universal decriminalization of being gay, and his
disagreement with Pope Benedict on the efficacy of condoms in
controlling AIDS infections.
Knox, a former pastor of a United
Methodist Church in Georgia, has also criticized the Knights of
Columbus for supporting an anti-gay marriage initiative that
California voters approved in November (Proposition 8).
Human Rights Campaign Spokesman Brad
Luna told Gilgoff: “Harry Knox is one of the most loving, generous
souls whose faith and commitment to religious diversity is
unparalleled. These critics are engaging in divisive political games
that at the end of the day do nothing to reduce abortions, foster
healthy families, and promote responsible fatherhood, issues Harry
cares deeply about.”
The Faith Council is composed of 25
prominent religious figures and includes two anti-gay leaders: Joel
Hunter, who once headed the Christian Coalition, the most widely
recognized anti-gay and anti-abortion group in the nation, and Rev.
Jim Wallis, president and chief executive of Sojourners, a
Washington-based evangelical magazine, who is a vocal opponent of
abortion and gay marriage.