John Boehner goes through the stages of sad because of mean old Harry KnoxThis is so typical. Let’s get out our Right Wing Smear paint-by-numbers kit and see if this one fits:

1. Find honest statement by liberal.

2. Twist the meaning of the statement.

3. Repurpose the statement to make it look like an attack. Bonus points if you can add dogwhistles!

4. Raise a bunch of whining hell over nothing and try to draw blood. Bonus points for directly misquoting the liberal!

Yep, this fits! John Boehner, Brent Bozell, and some other minor figures are having a public sad over the fact that Harry Knox correctly stated that the Pope is hurting people in the name of Jesus by actively working against honest sex and contraception education in sub-Saharan Africa, and is thus contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS on that continent:

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) has joined Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) and a coalition of Catholic leaders today in an open letter to the White House demanding that President Obama fire Harry Knox, an appointed member of the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This week Knox once again boldly and shamelessly showcased his hatred for the Catholic faith, its teachings and leader by reaffirming his belief that the Pope “is hurting people in the name of Jesus” by not promoting the use of condoms as a means to control the spread of HIV. As first reported by the Media Research Center’ CNS News who documented the attack with video footage, Knox reaffirmed the charge he made against the Pope in March of 2009 by declaring “I do” when directly asked by CNS News if he still stood behind those words.

Oh. Well, since we know for a fact that condoms work, and since we know for a fact that, in the name of religious dogma, the Pope actively discourages true education in sub-Saharan Africa, in favor of a prudish obsession with an unrealistic goal of abstinence, then how is Harry Knox’s statement wrong? Knox, by the way, made those comments during the American Prayer Hour press conference on Tuesday. (Read about it here if you missed it.) You have to read the open letter they sent to President Obama to see steps 2 through 4 in action. Here it is, in its entirety:

Dear Mr. President,

The self-proclaimed anti-Catholic bigot you appointed to head up faith-based partnerships has reiterated his deep seeded prejudice against the Pope and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and your failure to remove him from office speaks volumes about how much you really value respect for diversity and religious differences.

We first warned you in a May 2009 letter that Knox’ long and tainted history of bashing the leader of our faith stood in direct opposition to the community he was tasked with building.

But you never responded. You never acknowledged that his appointment to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships stood in sharp contrast with the Council’ mission to “bring everyone together — from both the secular and faith-based communities.”

In fact, you never even acknowledged that Knox’ comments were the least bit offensive, even when we gave you the benefit of the doubt that perhaps you were unaware of Knox’ prejudices before appointing him.

Now that Mr. Knox has again offended millions of Catholic Americans — standing behind his brazen assertion that the Pope “is hurting people in the name of Jesus” — we can only interpret your continued silence and complicity with his grave offense as wholehearted support for this bigot and his words of hatred.

We are now forced to demand the firing of Harry Knox. It is the only remaining action you can take to dissuade faithful Catholics that your Council is not a sham and that your “commitment to diversity” is an absolute mockery.


John Boehner
House Republican Leader
Member of Congress

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter
Member of Congress

L. Brent Bozell, III
Founder and President
Media Research Center

Alfred S. Regnery
The American Spectator

Richard Viguerie
American Target Advertising

Thomas Peters
American Papist Blog

Dr. Kevin Roberts
Executive Director
Catholic Families for America

Larry Cirignano
Faithful Catholic Citizens

O…kay. First of all, where is Bill Donohue on that list? Is old Bill being shut out from the Catholic foot-stomping and panty-wadding for some reason? Secondly, though, Harry Knox never SAID that he’s a “self-proclaimed bigot,” so Boehner and Bozell and Regnery and little Tommy Peters are lying. This is step two in the smear. Harry Knox said what you see quoted above, that the Pope is hurting people in the name of Jesus by stubbornly and petulantly refusing to acknowledge the weight of the scientific consensus that condoms work quite well, thank you, and that abstinence-only, religion-based messages do NOT. So these little men are twisting that quote into an attack on all Catholics, which is simply offensive to Catholics with brains, for it implies that every Catholic is as stupid as they are. Newsflash, children: There are millions of Catholics who simply don’t give a damn about the Pope’s proclamations on contraception, because they’re grown-ups, and they know that condoms work. Sometimes, they even use them! So I take Boehner and Bozell’s letter as an attack on ALL rational Catholics, and I’d like to know when Boehner is going to apologize for calling them stupid.

The latter part of the letter is obviously step four in the smear kit. Harry Knox is a good man who does really good work. If John Boehner can’t see that, then maybe he’s been huffing a little too much of his tanning mist.