It’s unlikely that the actor Gary Sinise, Fox News anchor Bret Baier, and beer magnate Pete Coors had no idea that Legatus, an association of observant Catholic business leaders, adheres to Catholic moral teaching when they agreed to speak at an upcoming Legatus Summit.
Gary Sinise is a convert who told the Knights of Columbus at a 2014 Orlando conference that “the Church has been a rock for me and my family in some of our darkest and most difficult times.” An award-winning actor and director, Sinise is probably best known for his portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the movie "Forrest Gump."
Bret Baier, born and educated Catholic, fell away for a time but returned to the Church after his son was born with congenital heart defects.
Peter Coors is a member of the Legatus’ Denver chapter and his philanthropic projects have included outreach to non-practicing Catholic millennials.
Yet all three pulled out of the engagement, evidently pressured by a highly effective tactic of intimidation.
Sinise, whose talk would have promoted his Gary Sinise Foundation to serve veterans, worried in a public statement that his work would disrupted by “controversy.” Fox News requested Baier’s cancellation.
And Pete Coors’ protestation that he “was previously unaware of the controversy surrounding that organization’s position on LGBT issues” is particularly interesting considering that the Coors Company suffered a gay-bar boycott of its products until a 2005 merger with Molson when it began to “cultivate a more gay-friendly image.”[i]
This is the era of the New McCarthyism…only its targets aren’t the presumed socialists or their sympathizers of the 1950s but people who hold Church teaching in the matter of homosexual behavior.
Actor Bob Newhart canceled his speaking engagement at the 2013 Legatus Summit after the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) began to complain about it and Faithful America, a Soros-funded project of Faith in Public Life (FPL), threatened a petition against him.
Faithful America also organized an online petition that requested Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco cancel speaking at the June 2014 march for traditional marriage in Washington, DC. Imagine that. A Catholic bishop who believes “marriage” denotes a covenant between a man and a woman.
Legatus executive director John Hunt has responded to the targeting of his organization in a statement that says: “Legatus embraces all that the Catholic Church teaches – nothing more, nothing less. Of course, at the core of all that the Church teaches is Christ’s unconditional love for every man and woman. 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.
Church teachings on same-sex attractions are not intended to marginalize the individuals who experience them. 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.”
[i] Trudy Ring, “Business, Entertainment Notables Pull Out of Antigay Group's Event: Corporate executive Peter Coors joins actor Gary Sinise and Fox News anchor Bret Baier in withdrawing from conservative Catholic group Legatus's summit,” Advocate.com, 1-14-15. In 1977 lesbian/gay businesses joined an AFL-CIO boycott of Coors, citing Coors’ history of support for attacks on gay rights.
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