For the second year in a row, scheduled speakers for the Legatus National Summit decided against addressing the group after campaigns by gay-rights groups who claim the Catholic business group is “homophobic.”
Last year comedian Bob Newhart caved to pressure. This year, Fox News personality Bret Baeir, actor Gary Sinise, and Molson Coors board chairman Peter Coors all withdrew from the event.
A spokesman for Fox explained that Baeir withdrew “due to the controversy surrounding some editorial stances in the organization’s magazine.” Coor and Sinise cited similar reasons.
The pro-gay group GLAAD has pressured speakers to withdraw from Legatus events because its magazine has described homosexuality as a disorder that can be cured.
Baier spoke out, saying such language “does not seem to line up with the loving, accepting Church that I know.”
GLAAD gloated over their victory, releasing a statement on their website: “The conservative Catholic organization (and magazine) Legatus is finding that its extreme and alienating anti-LGBT rhetoric is harming its reputation and ability to retain mainstream speakers,” GLAAD said on its website. “Sinise, Baier, and Coors are all conservative, but once made aware of the extreme views of the organization, decided that they didn’t want their mainstream credibility harmed by association with the organization. You can see the distancing in each of their statements.”
Legatus, a faith-based organization for business leaders and their spouses, has as its mission the integration of “the three key areas of a Catholic business leader’s life — faith, family and business.” Founded by Domino’s pizza magnate Tom Monaghan, the group is faithful to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, including on life and family issues.
In a statement, Legatus said, “while the Church has and always will teach about the morality of certain behaviors, these teachings are always to be understood in the context of the value of and respect for every human person.” It noted that “Church teachings on same-sex attractions are not intended to marginalize the individuals who experience them,” but “on the contrary, the Church wants to reach out to these individuals – as well as all who will enter into dialogue about its teachings – and help them to understand why the Church teaches what it does.”
The Legatus statement concluded, “LGBT groups should not feel threatened by our organization, whose mission is to study, live, and spread our faith according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. At its core, this issue is about the freedom of Legatus members – in fact all Catholics, and by extension people of any religion – to have the freedom to exercise their religious beliefs, which includes the ability to gather together and discuss their faith.”