"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 in a statement posted on HRC's Website. "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."
Standing alone, Knox's attack on the pope would have been an outrage. But it was only the latest of Knox's anti-Catholic diatribes posted by HRC.
In December, the church declined to support a U.N. resolution calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality because the resolution also equated all sexual orientations, a provision the church believed could be used to pressure nations into legalizing same-sex marriage.
Knox accused the church in this instance of signaling that violence against homosexuals was acceptable.
"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," he wrote.
He called the church's position an "immoral stance in the name of religion."
In 2007, when a Catholic bishop in Wyoming decided a lesbian couple promoting same-sex marriage should not receive communion, Knox accused the church of "insulting" Jesus.
"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 an HRC statement. He added that the HRC was grieving "over this act of spiritual and emotional violence perpetrated against" the lesbian couple.
On March 17, the same day he attacked the pope for "hurting people in the name of Jesus," Knox told the Bay Area Reporter that in supporting California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, the Knights of Columbus had "'followed discredited leaders,' including bishops and Pope Benedict XVI."
Three weeks later, on April 6, President Obama named Knox to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
That day, Knox told Fred Lucas of CNSNews.com that he "absolutely" stood by his comments to the Bay Area Reporter. On April 15, White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Lucas the White House would not comment on Knox's comments to the Bay Area Reporter.
Is virulent anti-Catholicism no bar to serving in the administration of President Barack Obama? It appears so.