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Time for local members of Congress to speak up in support of Knights of Columbus

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington Jan 8, day 18 of the partial government shutdown. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

By Thomas D. Green
Knights of Columbus

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial reported that Sens. Kamala Harris (D-California) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) viciously attacked a judicial nominee appointed to a federal district court in Nebraska.

Sens. Harris and Hirono said the nominee should be disqualified from sitting on that court because he is a member of the Knights of Columbus which Sen. Hirono said holds “a number of extreme positions” particularly on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Sen. Harris also criticized the Knights for being an “all-male society” and its leader Carl Anderson because of anti-abortion statements he has made. The WSJ editorial also quotes Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California) criticizing a female Notre Dame law professor who had been nominated to a seat on a federal appeals court, saying “the dogma lives loudly within you and that’s of concern.”

By condemning the Knights as holding extreme positions and by denigrating the moral teachings of the Catholic church, these three senators were attempting to ban members of the Knights from holding public office. And their questions show they wanted to establish a religious test for public office holders, in contravention of constitutional guarantees.

While we are grateful for the efforts of Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) in securing an unanimously passed senate resolution saying it would be “unconstitutional” to consider membership in the Knights of Columbus a disqualifying criterion for public office, there was no debate and no recognition of a pattern of behavior.

The members of the Coffee Run Council of the Knights of Columbus in Hockessin want to inform the members of our congressional delegation and our fellow citizens of our unequivocal support of the moral teachings of the Catholic church, including those on abortion and marriage.

Simultaneously, we wish to express our condemnation of the recently enacted New York law allowing an abortion of a baby up until the time of birth (which Delaware also allows) and not requiring medical treatment for babies born alive after a botched abortion. The enactment of the New York law and the consideration of similar legislation in other states amounts to the legalization of infanticide.

All members of the Knights throughout the United States have recently received a letter from Carl Anderson, the leader of the Knights, reminding our members of the U.S. constitution’s prohibition of a religious test as a requirement for those who seek public office and the constitution’s guarantee of the free exercise of religion by all citizens of this country.

On behalf of our more than 200 members of the Knights of Columbus Coffee Run Council at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Hockessin, and mindful of the thousands of other Knights and thousands more Catholics of Delaware who are your constituents, we respectfully request that our state’s governor and members of U.S. Congress and Senate, condemn these vicious unwarranted attacks on the members of the Knights of Columbus and upon the moral teachings of the Catholic church, especially regarding abortion and marriage in your Democratic caucus and on the floor of the House and Senate and in the governance of the state of Delaware.

(Thomas D. Green is grand knight of the Knights of Columbus Coffee Run Council #6768).