The White House spokesman has said that President Obama is “comfortable” with the makeup of his faith-based advisory council despite protests alleging anti-Catholic bigotry from one appointee who characterized Pope Benedict as a “discredited leader” and called the Knights of Columbus “foot soldiers” in an “army of oppression.”
Harry Knox, the controversial appointee, is a former licensed minister of the United Methodist Church and a leader with the homosexual activist group Human Rights Council.
Before being appointed to the president’s advisory council on faith-based partnerships, Knox had attacked Pope Benedict and some Catholic bishops as "discredited leaders" because of their opposition to same-sex "marriage."
Knox was also critical of Pope Benedict’s comments on condoms and AIDS in Africa. Writing on the Human Rights Campaign’s web site, Knox claimed the Pope’s statement was a “blatant falsehood” which was “morally reprehensible to spread.” He also suggested the Pope was further harming “the marginalized and the downtrodden.”
Though granting that the Knights of Columbus had done good works, he nevertheless has characterized its members as "foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression" because of the Catholic charitable fraternity’s support for the successful California ballot measure Proposition 8.
Proposition 8 restored the definition of marriage to being between a man and a woman.
A group of twenty Catholic and conservative leaders wrote a letter to President Obama protesting Knox’s appointment, characterizing him as "a virulent anti-Catholic bigot.” Lamenting what they said was the president’s “failure to act,” they called for Knox’s removal from the council.
CNSNews.com on Tuesday asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if President Obama disagreed with Knox’s characterization of the Pope and if the president would take any action regarding requests for Knox’s removal.
“I haven’t seen that letter, but the president is comfortable with the makeup of his faith advisory council,” Gibbs said.
This marked the White House’s first response to the Knox controversy, CNSNews.com reports.
Knox responded to the letter protesting his appointment in statements to the news site Newsmax. Professing his love for the Catholic Church and his Catholic “brothers and sisters,” he said he has “tremendous” respect for the Catholic Church and “all the good that it does.”
“I do think that we have a real disagreement about the role of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, both in the role of the church and in the role of public service,” he added.