President Obama won the White House with the majority support of nominal Roman Catholics. According to polls, 54 percent of Catholics voted for Obama, and half supported his speaking at Notre Dame. There, Obama called for understanding in the culture wars, pleading, “Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction, but surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.”
The president’s Catholic supporters supported his words, which are belied by his decision to appoint as a faith advisor a firebrand homosexual rights activist, a bigot who has repeatedly denounced the Pope and Christians of all denominations who believe in traditional moral values or “heteronormative” fatherhood (including the Apostle Paul), and who has spent years herding clergy into leftist political coalitions with the aim of silencing other clergy.
On April 6, President Obama named Harry Knox to the Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Knox is director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual advocacy group that is also a member of the Soros-funded America Votes organization.
A defrocked Methodist minister, Knox is now a member of the far-Left United Church of Christ, as is Obama’s mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Both genuflect at the altar of identity politics and send any who dare disagree with them to the rhetorical stake.
After the Knights of Columbus supported California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment codifying the traditional definition of marriage, Knox told a Bay Area gay newspaper that, while the K of C do good work, “in this particular case, they were foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression.” Knox continued that this army of oppression – which apparently includes most Californians, the vast majority of Americans, and Barack Obama – is fronted by “discredited leaders,” like the Council of Catholic Bishops and Pope Benedict XVI.
Knox accused the pontiff of “hurting people in the name of Jesus,” because His Holiness told a reporter condoms alone cannot stop the epidemic of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Whatever one’s beliefs about birth control, he is hardly alone in cautioning that “safe sex” is not a panacea, nor did he address the medical implications of condom use. As a moral leader, he called for a “humanization of sexuality” and solidarity with those suffering from the disease. Knox twisted this statement to make B16 into a scientific dunce, insulting a “pope who literally today said condoms don’t help in control of AIDS.” He later insisted the pope is “doing a great deal more harm than good.”
At other times, he has accused the Pope of condoning the murder of homosexuals around the world. Knox objected last December when the Vatican, which does not have a vote in the UN, opposed a French measure to “decriminalize homosexuality” – not on the grounds that homosexuals should be imprisoned, but that the resolution’s wording would pressure all governments to legalize gay marriage. “States which do not recognize same-sex unions as ‘matrimony’ will be pilloried and made an object of pressure,” explained Archbishop Celestino Migliore. The Holy See was joined by 142 of the world body’s 192 member-states.
Knox labeled the Pope’s view an “immoral stance in the name of religion.” He added: “By refusing to sign a basic statement opposing inhumane treatment of LGBT people, the Vatican is sending a message that violence and human rights abuses against LGBT people are acceptable.”
In fact, the Vatican’s most authoritative doctrinal document, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, decrees homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” (#2358.) A commission appointed by the late Pope John Paul II oversaw the content of the 1992 revised catechism. The president of that commission was none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
For statements such as these, former Speaker of the House and recent convert to Catholicism Newt Gingrich called Knox “an anti-religious, left-wing zealot.” When asked for a response, current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed she was not informed of Knox’s statements. (Insert drum roll.)
However, it is not merely Roman Catholics Knox hates in the name of tolerance. When President-elect Obama tapped evangelical Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, to deliver a prayer at his inauguration, Knox blogged on The Huffington Post, “We don’t feel hopeful anticipation of a new day in our country, and we don’t feel optimism. We feel betrayed.” During an appearance on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Knox called the megachurch fence-mender “the worst possible choice the president could have made. This is a divisive choice.” Stating the Gay Left maintained a friendship with Obama, he continued, “good friends don’t insult each other unremarked…you have really slapped us…this very symbolic, early decision has sent the exact wrong message.” He then urged the incoming president to pass hate crimes legislation that included gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered.
The leftist activist’s problems do not end with clergy. He believes the Epistle to the Romans “is not true,” because the Apostle Paul was…a WASP homophobe! He claimed, redundantly, “The straight man, the heterosexual man who got the privilege of writing the book, the educated, rich, heterosexual man, Paul, who got to write the book, didn’t think it [homosexuality] was natural because for him it must not have been.” (Brilliant exegesis, that.) In another venue, he encouraged reimagining fatherhood “in ways that are not dismissive of the tremendous gifts of single mothers; not to sort of hold a heteronormative view of fatherhood up as the only model.”
With his access to the president, Harry plans to back up his words with muscle, cutting off all “faith based initiative” funds going to politically incorrect ministries. Upon being selected, he vowed to “support the president in living up to his promise that government has no place in funding bigotry against any group of people.”
Knox and President Obama share one vital connection, aside from UCC membership and neither being a Scriptural scholar: both were community organizers. Knox helped pastors frame sermons around gay talking points, and CNSNews.com reports, “He also helped create a network of 22 ‘progressive state clergy coalitions’ around the country.”
This effort paid off earlier this month, as Knox’s footsoldiers rallied at the Capitol May 4-5 in the “2009 Clergy Call for Justice and Equality,” which called for the passage of Hate Crimes legislation. FrontPage Magazine columnist Mark D. Tooley described the scene in these pages: “Rabbi Steven Jacobs of Temple Kol Tikvah in Los Angeles warned against an apparent new social disease, ‘transphobia,’ which is ‘the fear of gender variance in society.’ The rabbi lamented: ‘Gender rigidity impacts all of us, even if we are not transgender. That belief that there are only two ways to be human leads to violence and oppression.’” (Emphasis added.) That is, those who believe people are born male or female are burgeoning Hitlers.
The group urged Congress to pass pending Hate Crimes legislation. Dubious as the concept is, the bill in question punishes crimes based not merely on race and sex, but also sexual orientation, sexual identity, and it could be interpreted to include such deviant fetishes as pedophilia. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-FL, admitted as much on the House floor, saying, “this bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice, and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – or all of these philias and fetishes and isms that were put forward – need not live in fear because of who they are.” (Emphasis added.) Among those “fetishes and isms” Hastings mentioned just moments earlier were “apotemnophilia, asphyxophilia, autogynephilia, coprophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism, frotteurism, gerontosexuality, incest, kleptophilia, klismaphilia, necrophilia, partialism, pedophilia, sexual masochism, sexual sadism, telephone scatalogia, toucherism, transgenderism, transsexual, transvestite, transvestic fetishism, urophilia, voyeurism, or zoophilia.”
This concerns clergy about a potential chilling effect the bill would have on their freedom of speech. If the government classifies crimes based on hate, sermons calling any of the aforementioned activities sinful might be considered “hate speech” and a potential incitement to violence. Traditional clergy fear they could be censored, fined, or imprisoned for teaching the moral standards of their faith.
It seems the appointment of an anti-religious bigot like Harry Knox and his attendant Hate Crimes agenda is another facet of Obama and the Left’s all-encompassing desire to squash dissent. The president and his allies are intent to silence the Right, whether by means of the Fairness Doctrine, or banning dissenting voices from the environmental debate, wishing for their opponents’ untimely and painful deaths, or now silencing the other side of the culture wars through legal intimidation. Only by quelling their political opposition can they remake the nation into a Euro-socialist state.
This article originally appeared as an unsigned editorial on Wednesday, May 20, 2009, on FrontPage Magazine. This author wrote it alone at the request of Peter Collier.