Some wonder whether the choice of Knox was simply a replay of the Warren-Robinson inauguration prayer situation. Then Warren was invited to pray; gays were upset so homosexual Bishop Robinson was invited to pray at another event. In this instance, Tony Dungy was invited to be a part of the council so then Knox was invited to head it up.
A representative of a national gay rights group who was appointed by President Obama to a White House advisory council this week once described Pope Benedict XVI and some Catholic bishops as "discredited leaders" because of their opposition to same-sex marriage.
Harry Knox, director of the religion and faith program at Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based gay rights group, lambasted the prelates in a gay newspaper last month for their support of Proposition 8, the successful November ballot measure that made same-sex marriage unconstitutional in California.
Knox told the Bay Area Reporter that the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic fraternal service organization, were "foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression" for their role in the campaign, saying the group "followed discredited leaders," including bishops and Pope Benedict.Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, an organization for gay Catholics, who has worked closely with Knox, called Knox a strong supporter of Catholicism who acknowledges the good works of the church.
"But I think he also represents a valid viewpoint in criticizing the Catholic bishops' efforts to sustain continual oppression in this country," she said, adding that they have been the primary financial backers of measures to block the human rights of gay couples. "The bishops have done a lot of damage to our communities, and [Knox's] presence in that circle brings a much needed voice."
Knox is among the 25-member advisory council that is part of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Some have accused Obama of appointing Knox to deflect criticism from liberal groups after he invited former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy to be part of the council. Dungy, an evangelical Christian, supported efforts in Indiana to ban same-sex marriage in 2007. He declined Obama's offer, citing scheduling conflicts.
However Bill Donahue, head of the Catholic League points the incongruity of the analogy if that was the case.
"The counter to Dungy is Harry Knox," Donahue said. "But you don't counter a man with traditional beliefs with an anti-Catholic bigot. It's not a moral equivalent."
What ever happened the President's faith based initiative will have no credit, if not negative credibility if there is such a thing, with millions of Americans.