Homosexual activists have mounted a petition drive—right on the White House website—urging the Obama administration to “officially recognize the Roman Catholic Church as a hate group” for its position on homosexuality.

The Obama Administration has promised a formal response to any petitions on the site which obtain at least 25,000 signatures in thirty days.

The anti-Catholic petition says:

In his annual Christmas address to the College of Cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI, the global leader of the Roman Catholic Church, 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. Pope Benedict said that gay people starting families are threatening to society, and that gay parents objectify and take away the dignity of children. The Pope also implied that gay families are sub-human, as they are not dignified in the eyes of God.

Upon these remarks, the Roman Catholic Church fits the definition of a hate group as defined by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

This particular petition may be somewhat of an embarrassment to the leading homosexual activist groups. Ten days into its thirty-day petition period, it had obtained only 1,713 signatures.

However, the fact that such a petition was even mounted in the first place—and then allowed to remain on the White House website—illustrates the slippery slope of applying the defamatory label of “hate” to those who disapprove of homosexual conduct and resist the pro-homosexual political agenda.

It is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a left-wing activist group, which has pushed the “hate group” label for organizations that oppose homosexuality. The SPLC “hate group” label is nothing more than the personal opinion (and convenient fundraising tool) of a private organization. Yet liberals have tried to impute to this designation a quasi-official status (describing Family Research Council, for example, as a “certified” hate group).

Now, you have some homosexual activists who have been sufficiently confused by this that they are asking the President of the United States to “officially” do something that the government has no “official” power to do. (It can be argued that the petition violates the website’s terms of service and should be removed, since they forbid “petitions that do not address the current or potential actions or policies of the federal government.”) The government punishes hate crimes, but those are defined on the basis of actual acts of violence. The fact that some people do not understand the difference between a pro-family group, a “hate group,” and a “hate crime” illustrates that our slippery slope warnings prior to the passage of the federal “hate crimes” (or “thought crimes”) bill are coming true.

In addition, the SPLC has insisted that they will not name an organization a “hate group” merely for being theologically opposed to homosexuality, but only for allegations of “lying” or “demonizing” homosexuals. But these petitioners did not get the memo, as they are clearly attacking the Catholic Church for its theological views alone. Again, it proves that any group which holds to traditional sexual ethics—no matter how reasoned and compassionate they are—is vulnerable to attacks from the homosexual movement.

Ironically, tarring individuals or groups with the “hate” label has the effect of generating hatred toward those so labeled—real hatred which, in the case of the August 15, 2012 shooting here at FRC’s Washington headquarters, led to real violence. Homosexuals have sometimes also been victims of violence, but the solution is not to promote retaliation against groups that clearly oppose violence, likeFRC and the Catholic Church.

Oh, and one more thing—the Pope’s address to the Cardinals did not actually make any explicit reference to homosexuality at all (although his defense of traditional marriage was clear). I note that the petitioners to the White House also made no mention of the Pope’s extensive citing of a French publication—by the Jewish chief rabbi of France. Do they want Judaism declared a “hate group” as well?

Here are the sections of the papal address dealing with family issues:

The great joy with which families from all over the world congregated in Milan indicates that, despite all impressions to the contrary, the family is still strong and vibrant today. But there is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the western world. It was noticeable that the Synod repeatedly emphasized the significance, for the transmission of the faith, of the family as the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence. This is something we learn by living it with others and suffering it with others. So it became clear that the question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself – about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human. The challenges involved are manifold. First of all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his “I” ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.

The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.