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Sun Dec 29, 2013, 08:15 AM

The Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Politics of The Knights of Columbus


The Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Politics of The Knights of Columbus
by Bill Berkowitz | December 27, 2013 - 10:06am

While Pope Francis is getting most of the media attention related to all things Catholic, a Catholic lay organization that has been around for more than 130 years is starting to be the object of some well-deserved scrutiny. The Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic lay organization in the world. It is well known for its charitable work. There's a good chance that somewhere in America on just about any weekend, the Knights of Columbus is holding an event to raise money to help the poor, feed the hungry, provide disaster relief, and support families in need. Its bake sales and pancake suppers are events that many communities eagerly look forward to and support wholeheartedly. Unbeknownst to many cookie or pancake enthusiasts, however, is the reality that a portion of the money – read that, millions of dollars -- raised by the Knights is being poured into anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage campaigns.

That is a side of the Knight of Columbus that is rarely reported on. According to a new report by Catholics for Choice, "The order has pushed a conservative agenda ranging from the highly specific—a complaint against highschoolers reading Catcher in the Rye—to systemic opposition to reproductive choice and marriage equality through sizable donations to programs run by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other conservative organizations."

The Knights of Columbus: Crusaders for Discrimination pointed out that the organization "uses its manpower and money to push for legislation that does not match the beliefs of many Catholics or the
 will of the electorate. The Knights continue to wage a decades-long battle against abortion legislation, but what stands out now is the scale of its political expenditures—more than $10 million since 2004—and this does not include funds from the thousands of local fraternity councils and assemblies. The Knights' funding of anti-same-sex marriage campaigns goes towards a cause that is rejected by most Catholics—polling data reflects a stronger support for same-sex marriage among Catholics than any other Christian faith group, or the American population as a whole."

Between 2004-2012, the Knights of Columbus -- a fraternal benefit society which is a 501(c)(8) tax-exempt not-for-profit entity -- funded a who's who of the American right, with donations going to such anti-choice and anti-gay organizations as the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the National Organization for Marriage, the Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund, Americans United for Life, the Federalist Society, the Susan B. Anthony List, the Human Life Foundation. (According to the IRS, "political activity is not considered a fraternal activity," but fraternal orders "may engage in some political activities, including intervention in political campaigns on behalf of, or in opposition to, candidates for public office, without jeopardizing its exempt status."

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Reply The Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Politics of The Knights of Columbus (Original post)
unhappycamper Dec 2013 OP
NCLefty Jan 2014 #1
DemocraticWing Jan 2014 #2

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 11:47 PM

1. Weird. "Fraternal societies" are usually so accepting of us...

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Response to NCLefty (Reply #1)

Thu Jan 2, 2014, 06:33 AM

2. Why do grownups need frats anyway?

Knights of Columbus may sound like a religious organization, but they're nothing but a group of supposedly grownup men getting drunk and acting like frat boys.

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