The Knights of Columbus are too Catholic.
That’s the charge issued by ThinkProgress, the liberal political blog of the leftist Center for American Progress. A December 22 column applauds the Knights for their contributions to “purely altruistic” causes such as the Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity, but scolds them for their support of Catholic principles.
Columnist Josh Israel decried the Knights’ mission, explaining that:
“…millions of their charitable dollars have funded a very socially conservative ideological agenda: opposing abortion, LGBT rights, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and pornography, while supporting public funding for religious organizations.”
And what are the projects which the Knights of Columbus have supported, and which are so offensive to ThinkProgress? According to their report:
More than $1 million of that went to support “Crisis Pregnancy Centers,” a network of facilities that dissuade women from choosing to terminate their pregnancies…. Between local chapters and the national organization, the Knights’ “Ultrasound Initiative” have provided more than $14 million worth of ultrasound machines to local “pro-life pregnancy care centers,” based on the belief that “a free ultrasound exam often helps an abortion minded woman to decide to choose life for herself and her child.”
For several decades, that charity has also included work to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Each year, the organization reaffirms, by resolution, its “deep and historic commitment to oppose any governmental action or policy that promotes abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, euthanasia, assisted suicide, or other offenses against life.”
They have also worked to defeat a successful stem-cell research amendment in Michigan ($100,000), to pass an unsuccessful proposal to ban public funding of abortion in Florida ($100,000), and to oppose a defeated a Massachusetts initiative to allow physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients ($450,000).
Knights spokesman Joseph Cullen insisted that the Knights’ charitable support extends beyond those causes to a wide range of projects. According to Cullen:
“We are motivated by the values of our faith, and if sometimes those values are seen by some as having political implications, it does not make the values themselves political. Any attempt to make the case that we unduly focus only on certain issues, or that those are the only issues with certain social or political implications, would be both disingenuous and dishonest.”
A quick check of the organization’s website supports that claim. The Knights have distributed coats to children on Black Friday; built new homes for persecuted religious minorities in Iraq; produced a documentary about hope and healing in the midst of the horrific aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. In all, the Knights of Columbus last year donated $170 million and 70 million hours of service to worthwhile goals.
ThinkProgress doesn’t like the fact that some of those goals are unabashedly Catholic? Oh, well.
Thank you to the Knights of Columbus for their commitment to life, to religious liberty, and to their principles of charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism.