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Heard in the Hall

"I am a 4th degree member from Holy Family Parish Council, Inverness, Illinois. Thanks for taking a strong, alternative position."

SK Mark McPherrin, Inverness IL


"War and abortion together embrace the approved use of violence. We must abandon the mentality that leads to both, before we can get rid of either. Jesus calls us to put away the sword in both cases.

The Catholic faith warns against a culture where the lives of the troublesome Iraqis, and the too often unwanted unborn, are sacrificed for reasons of self-interest. Together, all people of faith who believe in God’s nonviolent all–merciful love, are called to work and pray for a change of heart throughout our nation—to respect all life without exception. This election, vote your conscience, for the one you really believe will best choose life, in its completeness. Don’t trust party labels and single issue litmus tests. Vote for the president most likely to help lead us in the direction of our true common good."

[This letter was shared by the author after being published in part in Michigan Catholic, the Detroit Diocesan newspaper. He added, "May I respectfully suggest that your group consider changing its name to something like, Knights for a Full Gospel Respect for Life," and worried about the partisanship initiatied by the actions of the KofC leadership that had necessitated formation of a group like ours.]

Michael McCarthy, Port Huron MI


I am a K of C in Davenport, Iowa council #532 and I support Obama/Biden completely! We need him to rescue this country from the excessess of Bush and the Republicans. McCain would be a continuation of Bush policy which has pratically ruined this country."

Ken Willis, Eldridge IA


"The American Catholic Bishops recent document, Faithful Citizenship, helps me understand I can vote for Senator Barack Obama with a clear conscience if I do not favor abortion. This is the actual wording in the document: "A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil such as abortion or racism if the voter's intent is to support that position."

I will vote for Senator Obama, with deep pain. I believe abortion is the greatest desecration of human life perpetrated on society and more particularly on women. But I believe with all my heart that the leadership and attitudes of an Obama-Biden White House will embrace ALL Americans with a welcoming, respectful spirit as we all work together for reconciliation and embrace the challenges of a divided country and world with hope and humility."

John Wright, Jr., Birmingham AL


"Thanks very much for taking a stand for justice and speaking out on behalf of those who disagree with Mr. Anderson's point of view. As a Catholic, a Christian and a Knight, Mr. Anderson does not speak for me. I firmly believe we are called to a much more fuller and richer view of respect for life. Whether it is war, abortion, health care of the many other ills effecting our country and the world we must take a truly Christ centered approach and insist on respect for all life. John McCain has shown by his words and actions that his respect for life is qualified. Jesus showed no partiality in his love and respect for all and I firmly believe we are called to live out that message. With respect,"

George Broyles, Claremont CA

photo by Elizabeth Stuebben

"I agree with Douglas Kmiec and Nicholas Cafardi, both of whom have endorsed Barack Obama. Mr. Kmiec is a fomer official in the Reagan White House who worked on briefs seeking to overturn Roe v. Wade, and Mr. Cafardi is a civil and canon lawyer and former dean at Duquesne University Law School in Pittsburgh. They both emphasize it is wrong to conclude from Catholic teaching that Catholics cannot vote for Obama because he is pro-choice. They both also point out that overturning Roe v. Wade will not end abortion, but will merely turn the question back to the states.

During the Clinton Administration, the U.S. abortion rate declined nearly 30 percent without enacting any legal prohibitions on abortion.Under President Bush, the decline stagnated. To end abortion, we must get at the fundamental causes of women's decisions to have them. Studies consistently show that when women and families have health care, jobs, education, and other essential supports they are less likely to have an abortion. In fact, more than three out of four women who obtain an abortion say that economic factors were a primary reason for doing so."

Joseph Humsey, Woodbury MN


I am a Knight who has benefited a great deal from that association, in that they sponsored a benefit for my son which raised over $50,000 for his medical bills.

I am reading Obama's The Audacity of Hope, and I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to know, before voting, the thoughtful approach he has taken to all of the issues, but especially abortion.

As a Vietnam vet and the father of a Navy pilot, I had a predisposition toward Senator McCain. I'm what they used to call a 'Cahill Democrat' in New Jersey. I heard McCain speak on a day when USA Today had a front page story on the treatment of our wounded soldiers at Fort Sill. McCain ignored the story and told us what great care our wounded were receiving. Two days later, USA Today reported that the social worker who had helped the GIs had been forced out of his job. The President spoke of the great care the wounded were receiving and ignored both stories. I'm for Obama!"

Walter Sandell, Haddon Heights NJ


"I am a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 14026 of SS Felicitas & Perpetua Parish in San Marino, California and support your efforts to educate the Catholic community and others that our proud organization is not to be manipulated by Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson to promote his personal conservative public policy agenda that leans heavily towards supporting Republican party positions. The Catholic Church's teaching on social justice states very clearly that the faithful should side with the poor. Your position statement displayed on the website is right on!

As a graduate of Catholic schools my values led me to public service. I have served as an elected City Council member, city administrative official for local government, and as a public school teacher. I was approached by local Knight leadership to join the council affiliated with my children's school and decided to join so that I could direct my community service in communion with members of my faith. At no time did I surrender my voice to Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson to leverage my membership into a highly partisan political agenda that I believe supports policy positions against life, i.e. Iraq war, policies against univeral health care, and economic and social policies directed against the poor and immigrants. Our faith is "Catholic" meaning universal, and to support policies that are less tolerant of the poor and immigrants is truly contrary to church teachings.

I take special exception to a letter I received from Mr. Anderson on Knights of Columbus letterhead asking me to support propositions funded by noted "right wing" organizations and leaders, but I will take up Mr. Anderson's suggestion to work with members of my council to support a culture of life i.e. the end of the Iraq war, universal health care, and economic policies that give people a fair wage to support their families. The informed and enlightened Catholic education that I have received by religious and lay persons has strengthened my resolve to support your efforts.

Keep up the great work and please keep me informed and count me in if there are planned activities. Yours in Christ a brother Knight,"

Raul Pardo, San Marino CA


"Thank you so much for starting this website! I have been a Knight for 5 years and felt out of step since Mr. Anderson's support of all things Republican. I have been opposed to the way the country has been heading the last 8 years and have voted my conscience and not in lockstep with some of my fellow Catholics. I tried to tell them that I was for Kerry due to the many life issues we should embrace, not only abortion, but almost came to blows in front of the altar in our church, St.PiusX in Cedar Rapids, Ia., due to my vocal support of John Kerry 4 years ago. There are abortion zealots who cannot or will not see that the Republicans are just using the abortion issue to get elected and re-elected and turning a blind eye to the many other life issues that Christians stand for. Thank you,"

Bob Pinchotti, Cedar Rapids IA

"Dear Knights for Obama: I recently received an award for my years of membership in the Knights of Columbus. I am also a staunch supporter of Sen. Obama and a proud Democrat. Imagine my surprise when I read Grand Knight Andersons' "open letters" to Sen. Biden, a good Catholic and Sen. Obama's running mate, which purported to chastise Sen. Biden for his pro-choice views and which purported to represent my views as a member of the Knights of Columbus. As a good Catholic, and a good Knight, I pray regularly for the end of all violations of the right to life including abortion, unjustified wars such as the War in Iraq, the death penalty, euthanasia, genocide, poverty, and human rights violations.

In 1928, Alfred E. Smith was the first Catholic to run for the presidency, and he was offered to us by the Democratic Party. Our only Catholic president, President John F. Kennedy, was also a Democrat as was John Kerry four years ago. Now, we have Catholic Joe Biden as the Democratic Party's nominee for Vice-President. How many Catholic candidates has the Republican Party nominated? None.

The reason the Democratic Party has offered so many Catholics is because the Democratic Party is the party which represents families, promotes the needs of children, and promotes the interests of working men and women. These are the same values shared by the Catholic Church. During the past eight years under President Bush, we've seen no efforts to end Roe v. Wade, an unjust and immoral war, no efforts to end the death penalty, no efforts to end the genocide in Darfur, and a corporate dismantling of our economy.

Sen. McCain no more cares about the abortion issue than he does the effects of his history of votes in favor of deregulating the savings and loan and mortgage industries. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has represented the interests of ordinary people, their families, and their children throughout his career. I know less about Grand Knight Anderson than I do about Sen. Biden and, thus, I have no basis for determining that Grand Knight Anderson is qualified to make any statement, whatsoever, critical of Sen. Biden and I certainly would not characterize his flippant remarks as representing my views or the views of my family."

Steven J. Kokensparger Esq., Columbus OH


"Since the Reagan years, KCs have revealed a pattern of partisan involvement and statements that is predominantly Republican. Reagan, G. W. Bush, current G. Bush have been prominently protrayed in KC literature and conventions. This pattern, if not illegal, is not true to the original ideals of Fr. McGivney. Yes, in the past 15 years, KC has donated millions in support of hurricane and tsunami victims, continue to support the Special Olympics, and fighting developmental diseases. But, KC runs the risk today of undermining these efforts by polarizing statements (e.g. recent Anderson letter) that appear to be overly partisan.

Would strongly suggest that the KC organization needs to return to its orginal roots to support Catholics across the whole range of consistent life issues and the needs of the poor, the immigrant, and the marginalized. Given the finances of today, a growing number of folks in society need access to health care (at a reasonable cost); immigrants need a way to become citizens; Catholics need to support those who have or will lose jobs, need retraining, need job placement. KC can not afford to focus on a single issue at the cost of millions of Catholic Americans who are and will suffer throught these times of economic depression. It is time to refocus its efforts on the lower and middle class and not jeopardize its status because of a single issue or party support. We need to use our reason and prudent judgment with open hearts and minds to guide us in the future."

Bill deHaas, Dallas TX


"I am a life member of the Knights of Columbus and I do not share Mr. Anderson's views. I resent the fact that he states he is speaking on behalf of 1.28 million members because he is not speaking for me.... I am against killing of any kind including the war in Iraq which he seems to believe is Ok since he makes no mention of it."

John Koback CPA, Silver Spring MD


"As a member of the Knights of Columbus, I want to make it clear that Carl Anderson does not speak for me. For 125 years, the Knights have stood for solidarity and for aiding those in need. These statements, transparently promoting the McCain candidacy and by extension all the moral failures of the Bush years, do not reflect our Catholic tradition. Instead they risk making the Knights a tool of political partisanship at a time when the Knights can, and should, be focusing on the Church's greatest gift to our country, the rich tradition of Catholic Social teaching."

Thomas P. O'Neill III, former Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts


"As a Knight, I am proud to support Senator Biden, whose record reflects the best of Catholic Social Teaching. Like all Americans, Catholics are facing economic turmoil, concerns about health care, and worries regarding the environment and global warming. Catholics are concerned about keeping their homes, feeding their families, and affording their transportation needs. Senator Biden has reflected his Catholic values throughout his career in a way that Catholics understand, by helping those in need, working for peace, and advancing practical strategies to reduce the prevalence of abortion."

Rev John Montag, S.J.


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Thursday, January 18, 2018

An Open Letter to Carl Anderson

October 27, 2008

Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson:

I write to you today as a fellow Catholic layman and as a fellow attorney on a subject that has been a major topic of concern for many members of the Knights of Columbus.

Your Open Letter of September 19, 2008 to Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, and your publication of newspaper advertisements critical of Senator Biden, causes much concern about your understanding of (1) some basic concepts of Catholic moral theology, (2) the law concerning restrictions on political activity by tax-exempt organizations, and (3) the morality of the expenditure of an organization’s money on political causes contrary to the beliefs of many members of the organization.

First, then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) pointed out the error of the “single-issue” voting you appear to advocate in 2004. At that time some American bishops sought the help of the Vatican in their campaign against John Kerry and other Catholic office-holders who did not actively seek to overthrow the law set out in Roe v. Wade, as desired by the bishops. The future Pope Benedict XVI, an acknowledged expert on Catholic moral theology, did not agree with the anti-Kerry bishops, and pointed out that: “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.” I do not understand why you continue to disregard the Pope’s advice.

Second, with regard to the expenditure of K of C funds on political attacks on Joseph Biden, and through him Barack Obama, you should be familiar with the provision in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides that tax-exempt organizations cannot “intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign in behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.” In addition to breaking the law, such actions can jeopardize the tax-exempt status of our organization.

Third, the statement in the closing paragraph of your letter of September 19, that you are speaking “On behalf of 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families,” is obviously incorrect. Your letter and the advertisements were clearly intended to stem the number of Catholics, including some Knights of Columbus, who intended to vote for Obama and his running mate, Joseph Biden. The use of money contributed by supporters of Barack Obama to the Knights of Columbus has been improperly used to oppose the election of Democratic candidates on November 4. As a member of a Republican White House staff not long ago, you know that the Republicans strongly oppose the use of Union money to support political candidates or causes which are opposed by Union members or employees in a closed Union shop.

The same principles should apply to the use of any organization’s money. We are not going to leave the Catholic Church or the Knights of Columbus because of political differences with the current leadership. We respectfully demand that you refrain from using the monetary contributions of thousands of members of the Knights of Columbus to oppose the election of candidates we support.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in greater detail.


John D. Crawford
PGK, Dussman Council #1279


Cost of the War in Iraq
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