White House Fails to Respond to Boehner’s Call for Resignation of Obama Adviser Who Says Pope is ‘Hurting People in the Name of Jesus’
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
By Fred Lucas, Staff Writer

Washington ( – The White House is not responding to questions about House Minority Leader John Boehner’s (R.-Ohio) renewed call for the resignation of Harry Knox, a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, who recently stood by his assertion that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus.”

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.”

Knox, director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s most prominent homosexual rights group, was named to President Obama’s advisory council last spring despite having made several anti-Catholic and anti-papal comments on behalf of the HRC.

On March 17, 2009, after the pope told reporters that he did not support condom use and did not believe they were effective in checking the spread of AIDS in Africa, Knox issued a written statement via the HRC attacking the pope for “hurting people in the name of Jesus” and spreading “blatant falsehoods.”

“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,” said Knox. “On a continent where millions of people are infected with HIV, it is morally reprehensible to spread such blatant falsehoods. 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.”

Two weeks after Knox made this statement, Obama named him to his faith-based advisory council.

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, 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.” 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, 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.” 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.

By 4 p.m. on Tuesday–and after two follow-up phone calls from–Inouye had not responded.

Last June, when 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.

In 2007, Knox accused the Catholic Church of committing an act that was”immoral and insulting to Jesus” when the diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo., declined communion to a lesbian couple that had been married in Canada and was working to promote same-sex marriage in Wyoming.

“In this holy Lenten season, it is immoral and insulting to Jesus to use the body and blood of Christ the reconciler as a weapon to silence free speech and demean the love of a committed, legally married couple,” Knox said in a statement put out by the HRC. “The Human Rights Campaign grieves with the couple, Leah Vader and Lynn Huskinson, over this act of spiritual and emotional violence perpetrated against them.”

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tmbttd (1 hour ago)Bigot!?! The entire administration is living, breathing, stinking bigotry. Never in my 67 years have I read, seen, heard such WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) as there is with this current batch of so-called leaders. Isn’t bigotry taught as a required course in law school?

just (1 hour ago)I guess it’s OK because it’s just catholics. So what if the Pope is absolutely correct, condoms fail and creat a false sense of security thereby spreading sexually transmitted disease.

eRtwngr (1 hour ago)Not only was the Pope advocating for a morally justified means to fight the disease, he also has science on his side. As Edward Green, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote recently in the Washington Post: “In 2003, Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen of the University of California conducted a condom effectiveness study for the United Nations’ AIDS program and found no evidence of condoms working as a primary HIV-prevention measure in Africa. UNAIDS quietly disowned the study.” Read the rest at

bestoftheleft (2 hours ago)I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that a “letter from 22 Catholics asking for Knox’s removal” from a Presidential Advisory Panel didn’t work. I mean, that’s 22 whole Catholics right there! If it were six or seven, that’d be different, but 22!! Of course, there’s also the part where condoms are proven to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and anyone (religious figure or not) who says they either don’t help or actually increase the rate of infection is spreading a blatant and potentially deadly falsehood. One could argue that that person would, through their statements, be hurting people, especially if that person was a well respected member of a community of some sort. Perhaps a representative of the church. Perhaps a man who is meant to be g*d’s representative on earth. A man who does everything in the name of Jesus. A man who then, by logical deduction, told a disease ravaged continent not to take simple steps to protect themselves from infection in the name of Jesus. Shocked, I am.

liberty76 (2 hours ago)That’s fine. Don’t respond. Don’t listen to the people. We’ll see you all in November!

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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