(CNA/EWTN News) – An online petition asking the White House to designate the Catholic Church as a “hate group” for its views on marriage is drawing criticism for generating unjust animosity.
The petition reveals an “underlying agenda,” which is not simply to prevent violent crimes, but to “stigmatize any disapproval of homosexuality at all and essentially to silence us,” said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.
He explained to CNA on Jan. 3 that applying the “hate group” label to organizations that are morally opposed to redefining marriage is simply “name-calling designed to cut us out of the public debate.”
Initiated on Christmas Day, a petition on the White House website had collected 1,640 signatures by Jan. 3.
The petition – which is aiming for 25,000 signatures by Jan. 24 – argued that Pope Benedict XVI’s 2012 Christmas address to the College of Cardinals “demeaned and belittled homosexual people around the world.”
“Using hateful language and discriminatory remarks, the Pope painted a portrait in which gay people are second-class global citizens,” it charged.