Knights of Columbus Funding Anti-Gay Workshops for Bishops

January 26, 2014

Nicole Sotelo

For decades, the Knights of Columbus have supported a host of charitable causes, funding everything from social services to the Church’s educational mission. Yet, Nicole Sotelo, a columnist for The National Catholic Reporter, writes about a new, darker side of these charitable donations, as the Knights redefine charity to include anti-LGBT political efforts.

Sotelo reports that $1.4 million listed under ‘charitable contributions’ was really spent sending bishops to medical ethics workshops sponsored by the conservative National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC). These workshops have happened regularly since the 1980s, and have recently added an anti-LGBT emphasis which Sotelo details further:

“For example, last year’s workshop featured the conservative psychologist and activist Thomas Finn, who presented on ‘Same-Sex Parenting Studies.’ He is known for disputing mainstream research, telling lawmakers, and now bishops, that children who grow up with same-gender parents are ‘vulnerable to risks such as increased presence of sexually transmitted disease, violence, substance abuse, mental health problems, etcetera.’

“At the 2011 workshop, bishops heard from Brian Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBT political organization that works against marriage equality. He spoke to the bishops not about medical ethics, but about ‘Same Sex “Marriage” ‘ (the quotes around ‘marriage’ are his).

“The same year, bishops heard a presentation on ‘Same-Sex Attraction and Gender Identity’ by Richard Fitzgibbons, who runs a conservative counseling center. Fitzgibbons has written extensively on his belief that people who identify as gay or transgender can be cured through counseling, something that the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have both rejected.”

The National Catholic Bioethics Center also publishes resources and articles which target LGBT legislation and spread false information about LGBT people. Sotelo is clear that the consequences from misinformed bishops are far wider than a few ignorant prelates:

“While mainstream scientists would disagree with the journal, bishops who believe the NCBC information may go on to make harmful diocesan policies and advocate in legislatures against those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Harmful actions by the bishops have included advocating against fair housing, resisting equal employment opportunities, and preventing standard health care treatment.

“The fact that these “workshops for bishops” and supplementary resources are actually thinly veiled conservative political coachings shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Knights of Columbus vice president for public policy sits on the board of the NCBC, which runs the workshops and resource distribution. Additionally, a large majority of the NCBC’s board of directors reads like a who’s who directory of bishops known for their political work against LGBT equality…

“While the ‘workshops for bishops’ originally focused on the U.S. hierarchy, now the gathering includes bishops from countries such as Canada, Mexico and the Philippines, places where the Knights have membership. Today, the gathering is considered one of the largest regular gatherings of bishops outside of their episcopal conferences.”

Previously, the Knights of Columbus were called out for financing and directing Catholic efforts against marriage equality during the 2012 election cycle. A report by the Equally Blessed coalition found that the Knights spent at least $6.5 million between 2005 and 2012 opposing LGBT legal equality. This effort by the Knights was voted on of the worst Catholic LGBT stories for 2012 by Bondings 2.0 readers.

Sotelo has previously highlighted that ‘family life’ funding exceeded ‘community project’ funding, and used questionable categories in their accounting for what constitutes charity. These latest revelations have Sotelo concluding:

“I am grateful the Knights are interested in educating bishops about medical ethics, but these classes appear less about education and more about politics. Plus, the fact that the Knights’ leadership is using its charitable contributions for politically oriented workshops instead of charity, as their supporters are led to believe, seems anything but ethical.

“The Knights of Columbus leadership themselves could benefit from an ethics workshop, one that focuses on the difference between politics and charity.”

Many Knights of Columbus should be commended for their service to the Church and to the world, but the financing of misinformation about LGBT people and supporting political efforts against their equality is a most damaging indictment of the national organization. As others have written previously, this political work damages the respected tradition of the Knights who cared for those in poverty and on the margins.

There are Knights who are part of the LGBT commmunity themselves, either by being a sexual minority or having family members and close friends of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Instead of funding efforts against people, the Knights should be more transparent and fund efforts which support economically poor people.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


New Jersey Initiates Marriage Equality, But Battle for Permanence Begins

October 7, 2013

New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage leaders at a press conference

Anti-marriage equality organizations have formed the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage as LGBT advocates seek to legalize equal marriage rights. Once again, Catholics are on center stage as the debate over marriage equality intensifies in that state from both judicial and legislative angles.

The Coalition includes a handful of conservative organizations, as well as the Knights of Columbus State Council, the New Jersey Catholic Conference, and the National Organization for Marriage which has close Catholic ties. On Top Magazine reports Coalition members are already unleashing anti-gay remarks, with a Knights leader comparing marriage equality to polygamy and incest, as others have done in the past. As for alternatives, the Coalition echoes Governor Chris Christie in calling for a state referendum on the issue.

The anti-marriage equality effort is in response to a  judge’s September 27th court order that New Jersey issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples beginning October 21. Judge Mary Jacobson claimed same-gender couples would be denied equal protection under the law if the state continued with merely civil unions, as they would be unable to receive federal benefits in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decisions in June.

Governor Chris Christie, a Catholic, has appealed the ruling to the state’s Supreme Court. With 2016 presidential aspirations, Christie has attempted to welcome LGBT rights in a broader sense and continue opposing marriage that would appeal to both moderates and Republicans respectively.

Judge Jacobson’s court order comes as the legislative side heats up as well. NJ.com reports on reactions from pro-equality leaders who continue working on passing a marriage law, even as legal battles remain:

“Advocacy groups and Democratic state officials reacted quickly, cheering Jacobson’s decision and urging Christie to let it stand unchallenged. And vowing to fight it if Christie did appeal…

“We have been saying it for months and it stands true today: through litigation or legislation, we will win the dignity of marriage this year,” said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality. “We just won the first round through litigation and we will continue to fight until we guarantee marriage for all New Jersey couples.”

“Udi Ofer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, said a coalition of groups pushing for gay marriage would also keep pressing state lawmakers for an override of Christie’s gay-marriage veto last year. The Democratic-controlled Legislature is nearly a dozen votes shy of being able to overturn the veto.”

Nearly 40% of New Jersey’s population identifies as Catholic, meaning the voice of Catholics will matter in speaking out to legislators and voting in a referendum, if one emerges. New Jersey also offers a prime moment for the Catholic hierarchy, Knights of Columbus, and those anti-equality lay people to heed Pope Francis’ new words and stop obsessing over marriage when true injustices abound.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry


The Worst of 2012 in Catholic LGBT News

December 30, 2012

thumbs downAs the year 2012 winds to a close, it’s time to review the news of the Catholic LGBT world of the past 12 months. In today’s post, we will look at the  stories of the worst happenings of the past year, and in tomorrow’s post, we will look at the best stories.  Bondings 2.0 asked you for your feedback on what the worst and best news stories of the past year were, so the ranking of these stories is based on your responses.  The percentage following each story is the percentage of people who chose this item as one of their top five. Thank you to all 311 of you who participated.

The Top Ten

1. The Parliament in Uganda, a pre-dominantly Catholic nation, re-introduces a bill to make the death penalty a possible sentence for lesbian and gay people.  16.34%

2. The Vatican censures the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for, among other things, their support of LGBT issues and New Ways Ministry. 15.69%

3. Pope Benedict opens the year by stating that new models of family are a threat to “human dignity and the future of humanity.” 14.05%

4. The Knights of Columbus have contributed $6.5 million to oppose marriage equality over the past seven years, according to an Equally Blessed report. 12.09%

5. A Catholic lesbian woman in Maryland is denied communion at her mother’s funeral Mass. 10.13% 

6. The Vatican censures Sister Margaret Farley, a theologian who has supported the moral goodness of gay and lesbian relationships. 6.86%  

7. U.S. bishops attempt to make religious liberty an issue as a way to defeat marriage equality initiatives. 6.54%

8. Minnesota teen is denied confirmation for supporting marriage equality. 4.9%

9 & 10. TIE:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The Catholic University of America again denies a request for recognition of a gay-straight alliance on campus. 2.29%                               Several Catholic church employees are fired because of their support of marriage equality. 2.29%

Other items:

In several cases, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development withdraws funding from organizations which support LGBT equality. 1.96% 

Catholic theologian Tina Beattie is disinvited from a fellowship appointment at the University of San Diego because of her support of marriage equality. 1.63%  

The U.S. Catholic bishops investigate the Girl Scouts of America for connections to liberal causes, including LGBT equality. 1.63%  

Minnesota’s Archbishop John Nienstedt instructs his priests not to speak publicly in support of marriage equality. 1.63%

A Catholic high school in Indianapolis refuses to call a female-to-male transgender student by his male name. 0.98%

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Catholic Mom Takes on U.S. Bishops

December 10, 2012

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has launched an on-line advocacy campaign directed to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, asking church leaders to back away from their expensive campaign against marriage equality.

James Servino (center) poses with siblings and his mother, Barbara Servino (second from right).

James Servino (center) poses with siblings and his mother, Barbara Servino (second from right).

James Servino of HRC launched the campaign, which features a letter to Cardinal Dolan written by his mother, Barbara Servino.  He explains the campaign’s origin:

“My mother is amazing. She’s had my back from the second I came out to her – and long before that.

“When she heard that the leaders of our Roman Catholic Church had spent $2 million on anti-gay marriage ballot campaigns in this election, she wrote a letter to the top Catholic bishop in the U.S., sticking up for people like me. I think it’s a message he desperately needs to hear.”

You can join the campaign by adding your signature to Mrs. Servino’s letter, which reads:

To: His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York

Your Eminence,

I’ve been going to Catholic mass almost every week since I was a little girl. My aunts and uncles are nuns and priests. My husband was a member of the Knights of Columbus. We raised our kids in our parish community and sent them to Catholic schools. Catholicism is more than just a belief for me — it’s a deep seed of my identity.

And it has always taught me that God made us all, and loves us all the same. The same way I try to love all my kids. That’s why, when my incredible son told me he was gay, it didn’t change my love for him one bit.

He’s always my child.

That’s why I was outraged to learn that the leadership of our Church just spent $2 million on anti-gay marriage ballot campaigns. Think of all the positive things that $2 million could have accomplished. Think of the hungry fed, the sick comforted, the homeless sheltered. Instead you chose to use parishioners’ donations like mine to divide and discriminate.

Catholicism teaches us to love one another — not to attack our sons and daughters for simply wanting to make lifelong commitments and start families. You won’t have to ever marry a same-sex couple, but it makes no sense to deny them the right to be married under the law. And your parishioners aren’t going to stand for it much longer.

I think it’s time we all got on the right side of history. I hope you do, too.

Sincerely,
Barbara Servino

The deadline for the letter is this week, so sign it soon!

Another recent HRC blog post, from Anne Underwood, founder of Catholics for Marriage Equality, makes the case for why Catholics are supporting this cause.  Entitled “Pro-Equality and Roman Catholic Is Not an Oxymoron,” the essay explains why marriage equality is a Catholic issue:

I am pro-equality because I am a Catholic committed to freedom and fairness for all God’s people. The majority of U.S. Catholics — anywhere from 53% – 73%, according to 2012 polls — are like me.

Most people recognize that marriage equality could not have prevailed in ME, MD, MN and WA this fall if a majority of Catholics hadn’t voted for justice over their hierarchy’s preference for dogma. Over $2 million for dogma notwithstanding, Catholic faithful were not persuaded that their consciences were “improperly formed.” . . .

Vatican II confirmed Jesus’ teaching — it is the people of God, not their rulers, who represent the Kindom of God. We Catholics in the pews, the voting booths, at our lesbian and gay family and friends’ weddings – we are the Church. We are speaking proudly and increasingly loudly as Church.”

Though we’ve had our recent four-state success, there are still many more states to go before equality is the law of the land, and Catholics will play a decisive role in many of those struggles.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 

 

 

 

 


Petition Asks Knights of Columbus to End Work Against Marriage Equality

November 24, 2012

Catholics United, a religious political organization, delivered a petition with 7,500 signatures to the headquarters of the Knights of Columbus, asking the fraternal organization to stop funding activities to oppose marriage equality.

According to the New Haven Register, two members of Catholics United delivered the signed petition to the  Knights’ New Haven offices just two days before Thanksgiving, noting that the Knights are out of step with mainstream Catholicism:

“The Knights of Columbus has done a lot of wonderful things over the years, but many Catholics across the country believe the Knights of Columbus has just become a wing of the Republican Party,” said Patrick Carolan, 58, of Stratford [Connecticut]. . . .

” ‘While they’re spending money to defeat gay marriage, well, that’s money that could be helping people around the world,’ Carolan said.”

The article contains a video interview with Mr. Carolan and Traugott Lawler of Hamden, a 75-year-old retired English professor from Yale University, as they delivered the petition.

The news article cited the report released earlier this year by Equally Blessed which detailed the Knights’ massive spending on marriage equality opposition over the past several years:

“The Knights have contributed at least $6.25 million to anti-gay marriage initiatives since 2005, federal income tax and campaign documents show. According to a report by the group Equally Blessed, the Knights gave $600,000 during the 2012 election cycle.”

Equally Blessed is a coalition of four Catholic organizations–Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministry–which work for justice and equality for LGBT people in church and society.

An Associated Press story noted a statement by the head of Catholics United, the organization which collected the signatures on the petition:

” ‘As a young Catholic, I want my church to focus on serving the marginalized, not fighting for far-right political issues,’ said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Catholic Coalition Celebrates Marriage Equality Electoral Victories

November 8, 2012

Equally Blessed, the coalition of four Catholic organizations which work for justice and equality for LGBT people has issued a statement on Election Day’s four marriage equality victories and the re-election of President Barack Obama.  Here’s the statement in its entirety:

“Like millions of other faithful Catholics, we watched with mounting excitement last night as election returns poured in from the four states in which marriage equality was on the ballot. By this morning we knew that Catholic voters and politicians had helped, in the words of the great abolitionist Theodore Parker, to bend the arc of history toward justice.

“In Maine, Maryland and Washington, faithful Catholics ignored the high-pressure tactics of their bishops and helped make marriage equality a reality. In Minnesota their votes were indispensable in defeating an amendment that would have made marriage equality unconstitutional.

“We congratulate Vice President Joe Biden, a faithful Catholic whose support for marriage equality helped persuade President Barack Obama to embrace our cause. We thank Governors Martin O’Malley of Maryland and Christine Gregoire of Washington, both Catholics, for leading the movement toward marriage equality in their states. We are also grateful to the many Catholic legislators who risked their political careers and the opprobrium of their bishops to vote as their consciences dictated on this important issue.

“Mostly, however, we want to share in a moment of prayerful joy with all the Catholic lay people who considered the teachings of their church, the promptings of their hearts and the leadings of the Holy Spirit and then helped make history.

“We hope that the rising Catholic tide of support for marriage equality will one day carry along our bishops as well. Their intransigence in refusing even to speak with groups that represent gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender Catholics and their families is becoming increasingly untenable. Their penchant for threatening Catholics who follow their own consciences in the voting booth is both theologically suspect and obviously ineffective. The millions of dollars that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus spent attempting to crush the hopes of LGBT Catholics and their families could have been better spent to achieve more Christian ends. And their ongoing relationship with the National Organization for Marriage, even after its deliberate attempts to divide the electorate on racial grounds, is a scandal for which they have yet to answer.

“Despite loud and frequent warnings from their bishops, Catholics voted yesterday for President Barack Obama, and their votes were critical in passing marriage equality into law. The results of the election point to a crisis of credibility. Catholics are tired of watching their church’s leaders ride into the cultural wars in the ranks of the political right. It is time the bishops begin working with the People of God to heal the wounds in the Body of Christ.”

Equally Blessed is comprised of Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, New Ways Ministry.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 


Maine Catholics Urge Others to Vote Their Consciences on Marriage Equality Referendum

October 30, 2012

As we come into the final week before Election Day, Catholics in Maine are becoming more public about their support for the state’s referendum to legalize marriage equality, while the Catholic bishop there is becoming more vocal about his opposition.

Catholics for Marriage Equality, the state’s organization of Catholic in favor of the referendum, took out quarter-page ads in three Maine newspapers this past Sunday urging people to vote for marriage equality.  100 Catholics across the state put their names to the ad to show their support.

In a Boston Globe news story, Anne Underwood, the lead organizer of Catholics for Marriage Equality, explained the background for the ad statement:

Anne Underwood

‘‘ ‘The premise is we support marriage for same-sex couples because it’s a matter of conscience,’’ said Underwood, an attorney from Topsham. ‘’And Catholics have an obligation to form their own consciences, especially on political issues and issues of morality.’ ’’

(You can view a video clip of an interview with Underwood by clicking here.)

The same news story quotes former governor of Maine, John Baldacci, a Catholic who is a strong supporter of marriage equality:

‘‘While we’re tremendously respectful, we also recognize that God gave us the ability of free choice and to be able to follow our hearts. When we see people who want to make a lifelong commitment to each other, that’s something we should be praising and supporting.’’

Baldacci recently hosted two spaghetti dinners to raise awareness for the marriage equality referendum.

Meanwhile, the state’s Bishop Richard Malone, the state’s Catholic ordinary who is governing the diocese from his new diocese in Buffalo, New York, issued a statement that any Catholic who votes for marriage equality is opposing Catholic doctrine.  He stated, in part:

Bishop Richard Malone

‘‘A Catholic whose conscience has been properly formed by scripture and church teachings cannot justify a vote for a candidate or referendum question that opposes the teachings of the church. The definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, open to the birth of children, is a matter of established Catholic doctrine.’’

In response to the bishop’s statement, a Catholics for Marriage Equality spokesperson encouraged Catholics to vote as their conscience directs them:

“ ‘Emotionally, I have to say I’m disappointed and embarrassed a little bit that he would put out a statement like this,’ Frank O’Hara of Catholics for Marriage Equality said Thursday in a telephone interview. ‘In some respect, I think the bishop is overstepping the bounds of church teaching by telling Catholics how we should vote on an issue.’ ”

“O’Hara, 62, of Hallowell said he and other Catholics who support same-sex marriage will be voting their consciences on Election Day.

“’The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “man must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience,’” O’Hara said in a statement issued late Thursday afternoon by Catholics for Marriage Equality. ‘Bishops cannot ask Catholics to vote against their consciences. No council has ever given them the authority to dictate obedience in matters of politics and civil government.’

“O’Hara agreed with Malone that Catholics for Marriage Equality does not speak for the Catholic church or every Catholic in Maine.

“ ‘We do, however, speak for an important group of Catholics, all of whom are part of the universal church,’ he said. ‘In this perspective, the bishop does not speak for all Catholics either, at least insofar as politics and government are concerned.’ “

In a related item, the Knights of Columbus have recently donated $100,000 to the campaign in Maine opposed to the marriage equality referendum, according to a news story in the Kennebec Journal. 

--Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


Human Rights Campaign Report Details Catholic Funding to Oppose Marriage Equality

October 19, 2012

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national LGBT equality political group, has released a report detailing the significant contributions that Catholics groups have been making to anti-marriage equality efforts in four states where marriage rights are on the ballot this fall:  Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State.

According to LBGTQNation.com,

“The HRC report finds that the Church has spent at least $1.1 million as part of its broader effort to deny gay and lesbian couples committed couples the right to marry.

“In addition, a close ally of the Church and past co-conspirator, the National Organization for Marriage, has spent nearly $1.4 million on the four ballot measures. In the aggregate, the Church and NOM are the single largest funders of discrimination, responsible for funding nearly 60 percent of all anti-equality efforts in Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington.”

According to the HuffingtonPost.com, the HRC’s leader identifies the Catholic Churchas the top donor opposing marriage equality among religious institutions:

“ ‘The Catholic Church hierarchy has positioned itself as the leading religious organization funding discrimination against LGBT people,’ said HRC President Chad Griffin, in a press release that highlighted recent polling from the Public Religion Research Institute, which found that a majority of Catholics support same-sex marriage.

“ ‘Perhaps most disturbing is the number of local parishes redirecting the hard-earned dollars of its members in the name of discrimination,’ Griffin said. ‘The Church hierarchy owes the laity an explanation as to why they are spending this much money on discrimination, and at what cost to other crucial Church programs.’ ”

The HRC report was released on the same day that another report detailing major contributions against marriage equality efforts from the Knights of Columbus.  This second report was commissioned by Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic organizations which work for equality and justice for LGBT people in church and society.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a news article which focuses on the amounts spent in Minnesota where a proposed constitutional ban against marriage equality is on the ballot this fall:

“From the $3,000 sent by Catholics in Baton Rouge, La., to the $500 from the Diocese of Austin, Texas, more than two dozen dioceses and archdioceses have dug deep for the local effort. The largest contributions came from closer to home, with the dioceses of Crookston, St. Cloud and Winona putting up $50,000 apiece.

“The Knights of Columbus, the nation’s largest Catholic fraternal organization, has contributed more than $130,000 to Minnesota’s effort.

“The money is all flowing to the Minnesota Catholic Conference Marriage Defense Fund, a political organization that has contributed more than half of the $1.2 million raised by the pro-amendment Minnesota for Marriage. Reports filed recently with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board detail the contributions to Minnesota from across the country.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry



Knights of Columbus Donating $$$ and Time to Minnesota Marriage Ban

October 15, 2012

The Knights of Columbus have donated substantial amounts of money and volunteer time towards the passage of Minnesota’s constitutional ban against marriage equality, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

According to the news story by Baird Helgeson:

“The state branch of the Knights has spent months raising money, staffing phone banks and leading seminars urging people to vote for the measure. The Minnesota Knights of Columbus are following a battle-tested formula used in several other states that passed marriage amendments. The local chapters quietly provide fundraising and crucial organizational infrastructure while the national organization pumps millions of dollars into major groups masterminding the effort to block laws around the country allowing same-sex marriage. . . .

“In the last four years, the group has given at least $3.6 million to groups leading marriage fights across the country. Now the group is trying to make its mark in Minnesota, and has directly given more than $130,000 to the fight.

“The Minnesota chapters so far have given at least $31,000 to pro-amendment groups. The national headquarters has given another $100,000.”

The Minnesota State Catholic Conference says it is no secret that the Knights have long been part of their strategy to pass the marriage ban amendment:

” ‘They are part of the grass-roots team, there’s no doubt about that,’ said Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, which is working to pass the measure. ‘We are grateful for the support of the Knights of Columbus.’

“The Knights were involved in the Minnesota marriage issue long before Republicans in the Legislature succeeded in getting the measure on the ballot.

“In 2010, the group created DVDs that carried an anti-gay marriage message from the Twin Cities archdiocese to 400,000 Catholic households — a move that angered many Catholics more supportive of same-sex marriage.”

A number of Minnesota Catholics are upset with the Knights’ involvement in politics:

” ‘I don’t think it is at all clear to the congregations,’ said Greg Seivert, a lifelong Catholic from Mendota Heights. When he was growing up, Seivert said, the Knights ‘were a charitable group that did the work of charity and mercy. This strikes me as a very different role. I would be very leery of contributing in any sort of way with their involvement in this political brouhaha.’ “

Figures about the  donations that the Knights have made to various causes show that working against marriage equality is one of their priorities:

“[The Knights] spent $850,000 for wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs for survivors of the Haiti earthquake; it gave money for playgrounds in Europe and for programs that promote peace in the Middle East and Africa. In Stamford, Conn., the Knights bought more than 1,000 turkeys for people in need. In Washington, D.C., the group gave $100,000 to promote programs to better include disabled people in the Catholic Church’s ministry.

“That same year, the group gave at least $700,000 to marriage-related efforts.

“The year before, the Knights gave more than $1 million to the National Organization for Marriage, a driving force behind marriage-related measures across the country.

“In 2008, it gave more than $1.4 million to the group backing California’s Proposition 8, which successfully added a same-sex marriage ban to that state’s constitution.

” ‘They are definitely a force and have been very helpful,’ said Frank Schubert, who ran the Proposition 8 campaign and now is running Minnesota for Marriage, the lead group pushing the marriage amendment.”

The article also points out that national organizations which support marriage equality have also been keeping their eyes on the Knights’ involvement:

“Sharon Groves, director of the Human Rights Campaign’s religious and faith program, said the group’s secrecy is most troubling. The myriad entities shuffling money around to marriage-related groups makes tracking the group’s contributions nearly impossible, she said.

” ‘The Knights are really an organization pulling the wool over the eyes of many Catholics,’ Groves said. ‘They do a lot of important work, but people are being sold a bill of goods, thinking that all this work is helping the needy when really it is going toward some pretty sinister stuff.’ “

Such revelations about the Knights’ involvement against marriage equality is not new, but what is new is how widespread and deep their involvement is.  Bondings 2.0 has carried previous stories about the Knights’ work.  They can be accessed by clicking on the titles below my signature.

The real question is how rank and file Knights will respond when they learn that the money they have been raising has been going to this type of work, and not to charitable organizations.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Related Posts

December 10, 2011: The Minnesota DVDs

February 6, 2012: Following the Knights of Columbus Money Trail

April 5, 2012: Just Say “No” to NOM

August 2, 2012: Knights’ Work Against Marriage Equality Tarnishes Their Catholic Tradition

 

 

 


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