Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Obama Adviser Stands by Assertion That Pope Benedict XVI Is 'Hurting People in the Name of Jesus'

Wednesday, February 03, 2010
By Karen Schuberg

( – Harry Knox, who serves on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is standing by a statement he made last March that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus.”

When asked on Tuesday whether he still holds that view that the pope "is hurting people in the name of Jesus," Knox said, “I do.” (See video below.)

In addition to advising President Obama on the government's Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership programs, Knox is the director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a homosexual activist group.

At the National Press Club on Tuesday, asked Knox, “You put out a statement saying Pope Benedict XVI was—quote—‘hurting people in the name of Jesus’ because he did not support promoting the use of condoms as a means to control the spread of HIV. And I was wondering, do you still believe the pope’s position on condoms is ‘hurting people in the name of Jesus’?”

Knox answered, “I—I do.”

In a follow-up question, asked Knox: “So, even in light of—Edward Green, a Harvard researcher in AIDS prevention said the pope was correct in that condom use aggravates HIV, the spread of it, in Africa. So, in light of that statement, do you still hold to that position?

Knox answered, “He is simply incorrect in his assertion. All the other evidence of science shows otherwise.”

On March 17, 2009, Pope Benedict flew to Africa to visit Cameroon and Angola. During the flight, he answered several questions from reporters, including one concerning AIDS in Africa: Given that the Catholic Church’s position in fighting AIDS “is often considered unrealistic and ineffective,” would the pope “address this theme during the journey?”

Pope Benedict gave a lengthy response, detailing many of the Church’s humanitarian efforts to help people with AIDS in Africa. “I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is,” he said. “If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help [by responsible behavior], the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it.”

In response to the pope’s remarks, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a statement. It quoted Harry Knox as follows: “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.”

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

Senior Harvard AIDS Prevention Researcher Edward Green, who describes himself as a liberal, says that science backs the pope’s message.


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