Legatus, the international organization of Catholic CEOs, has completed the roster of speakers for its 2015 Annual Summit, scheduled for January 29-31 in Naples, Florida, after three notable speakers backed out under pressure from homosexual activists.
Replacing the speakers who decided not to appear are three well-known conservative leaders:
- Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and former Fox News talk show host considered by many to be a possible contender in the next presidential election;
- Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM); and
- Harry Kraemer, executive partner with Madison Dearborn, a private equity firm based in Chicago, and also a Clinical Professor of Strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois. Kraemer is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Baxter International Inc.
Originally the announced speakers for this year’s Summit included actor Gary Sinise, Fox News anchor Bret Baier, and beer mogul Pete Coors. All three cancelled their planned appearances under pressure from the LGBT lobby.
Austin Ruse, writing in The Daily Caller, captured the essence of the controversy:
One of the scheduled speakers at the Legatus conference is former male super model Paul Darrow who left the gay way of life, converted to the Catholic Church and now counts himself among that rapidly growing cohort of “ex-gays.” There is no redder flag to the LGBTs than ex-gays since the gay way is complete, final, irreversible, and irresistible.
Darrow is a member of a Catholic group called Courage that helps those with unwanted same-sex desire to live according to Church teaching on sexual ethics. Such practices and views are seen by powerful LGBT groups as unacceptable and even hateful and must be stamped out.
So, Ruse explained, the LGBT website Pink News reported on Monday, January 12, that Sinise was going to appear at the conference. The following day Jeremy Hooper, writing in the homosexual blog Good As You, carried the story.
Within hours Sinise pulled out, followed quickly by Baier. Pete Coors, of brewing fame, pulled out, too.
Gary Sinise, whose planned talk was about his faith and his work with wounded veterans, said in a statement to Good As You:
“For me, faith has been a catalyst for my mission to honor the men and women who serve in our nation’s military. When I accepted the invitation to speak at the Legatus conference on Veterans issues and share my story, I was unaware of the controversy surrounding some of the participants, and their views on personal matters. I don’t want my mission–which is designed to be unifying–to be disrupted by these, or any controversies, and therefore have decided to withdraw.”
A Fox News spokesperson released a similar statement regarding Bret Baier to TVNewser. The statement, which was published by Mediaite, said:
“Bret Baier has withdrawn his participation as a speaker at the upcoming Legatus Summit due to the controversy surrounding some editorial stances in the organization’s magazine. Bret accepted the invitation to speak about his book, his faith, and his son’s congenital heart disease. He was unaware of these articles or the controversy surrounding them.”
Speakers who are still scheduled to appear include His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA); Fr. Robert Sirico, founder of the Acton Institute; and stand-up comedian Tom Dreesen.
* * * * *I have a message for the Gay Lobby, that group of militant sexual deviants who seek to silence religious speech here in the United States of America:
Legatus is Catholic.
In a statement regarding the speaker cancellations, Legatus’ executive director John Hunt wrote:
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.
Hunt goes on to describe the conference and to explain that three scheduled speakers will not attend. He writes:
Each year Legatus hosts a National Summit at which the attendees enjoy engaging speakers, inspiring liturgies, and the camaraderie of their peers in the Catholic business community. This annual event is a critical component of the organization’s mission to assist its members as they study, live and spread the Catholic faith in their business, professional and personal lives.
Unfortunately, three of the scheduled speakers for the 2015 Summit have opted not to participate. A Fox News spokesperson has been quoted as saying that Bret Baier has withdrawn “due to the controversy surrounding some editorial stances in the organization’s magazine.” In addition, Peter Coors and Gary Sinise have also canceled, citing similar reasons.
We have great respect for Bret Baier, Peter Coors, and Gary Sinise and regret that our members will not have the opportunity to hear about all the good work they are doing.
As an organization, we try to assist our members in understanding the issues currently facing our society, and the Church’s teachings on these relevant matters. As a result, our members can grow in their understanding of their faith, which then benefits them in every area of their lives.
Lastly, Hunt speaks directly to concerns expressed by the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-sexual community:
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.
Since its founding in 1987, Legatus’ members have supported the Catholic Church–in prayer, with their financial gifts, and by defending its Magisterial teaching. Local chapters gather each month for Mass, prayer, fellowship and a talk which invites them to deeper faith and stronger witness in the marketplace.
But the event which members most look forward to each winter is the Annual Legatus Summit. The Summit promises great speakers, great liturgies, and great fellowship with like-minded people who are striving to follow Christ’s call.
Very best wishes to my friends at this great Catholic organization. May the 2015 Summit be an opportunity for renewed friendships and for spiritual and personal growth.