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Source: (consider it) Thread: Knights of Columbus is Overly Politicized
Fish and Bread
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Link:

https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/knights-columbus-financial-forms-show-wealth-influence

Excerpt:

quote:
There is, however, another side to that wealth, and if McGivney were to look in on the Knights tax filings today, he would understand that his organization and its leaders have become powerful and influential in ways unimaginable in 1882. For more than a decade and a half, under the leadership of a former political operative, the Knights of Columbus has increasingly used its enormous wealth to influence the direction of the church, underwriting think tanks and news outlets while gaining entrée to some of the highest levels of decision-making in the church.

Its capacity for funding has given the Knights of Columbus an inordinately loud voice, potentially drowning out that of others, and no other lay group can match the Knights' ability to leave its mark on the church. Some worry that such influence can actually distort the church's ecclesiology, its structure and its governance.

The Knights of Columbus was once a nice fraternal organization for Roman Catholics in the United States, ala the Free Masons for non-Catholics or the Elks Club or the Lions Club for people in general regardless of religious affiliation. They'd get together and play pool, drink beers, pray, and participate in charitable endeavors.

Over the last couple decades, it's become an right-wing advocacy group, and people should know that their donations are going to assist in the Republican Party's messaging and to try to push the Church in the direction of the Republican Party through strategic donations and spending on non-Church items and on the Church directly in areas that they think will favor Republicans, as well as in their internal messaging.

Carl Anderson, the current Grand Knight, has at times right near elections used member funds to take out newspaper ads calling out people like Joe Biden as "Bad Catholics" (Not an exact quote). I've never seen them do that to a Republican. Where were the newspaper ads against Mike Pence? They didn't place them.

Anyway, this isn't a new thing for me, I've been aware of this for many years now, but this is a new article/investigation (Linked to above) that is important for people interested in the Knights to read IMO, so it's worth raising the topic again. The article delves into the specifics of some of this and analyses where their money goes.

I have several extended family members who are current, former, or deceased Knights of Columbus. I understand the good work the Knights do and the way they can be a positive force in people's lives and in their communities when they are not being hijacked to forward a political agenda.

My advice to Knights who are members at a chapter associated with their local parish (Not all parishes have Knights chapters, because not all parishes have enough people interested in this type of thing to start them) would be to:

1. Communicate your displeasure through channels to the national organization and tell them that you are considering doing the things in the next step and why you are displeased (It's hard to send a message if no one knows what you're trying to say- they may think they aren't being Republican enough for you, or that you got sick of shooting pool or whatever the guys at the local chapter do. They need to know it's specifically because of their use of member funds to back right-wing causes).

2. If you are a big donor, consider cutting back to the bare minimum required to stay a member, and, again, make sure everyone in the local and national chapter knows why. Writing letters via postal mail is usually good for this sort of thing- for whatever reason, emails and phone calls are more likely to be disregarded, I don't know why, but that's what activists have noticed. Of course, if you're not going to write a letter (To be honest, I don't anymore myself, it's 2017), verbal conversations and emails are better than nothing.

3. If you have like-minded people in your local chapter of the Knights who also don't want to be associated with this, consider quitting en-mass and immediately reforming as something that does exactly the same things in the same way, but is no longer part of the national organization and no longer kicks funds up the ladder to these guys. Think about becoming the Knights of St. Oscar Cardinal Romero or something (Christopher Columbus is a horrible person to name anything after anyway. We know a lot of things about him now that we didn't know when this organization was founded. But the Knights of Columbus name is trademarked so, if you disaffiliate, you'll probably need a new name anyway.). You can actually use the money you save from what you'd normally kick up to regional and/or national bodies to do more at the local level charity wise.

There may be property issues involved with this approach, so if you own a meeting space (I know of at least one Knights chapter with a bar restaurant, game room, and space for wedding receptions and the like) or whatever, make sure you can take the meeting space with you before leaving and that it won't somehow default to the national group- you may need some legal help to look into this, but maybe one of your members is a lawyer. Legalities might make the difference between whether it is wiser to formally take a vote and try to say your are taking your existing local chapter out of the group but keeping it in intact as an independent body, or just all quitting and forming an identical group (Mainly having to do with properties and insurance- if you guys really don't have anything and are just meeting in the parish basement, then you can probably just quit and re-form your club- same place, same time, same local agenda- technically a different thing, but only technically. The property and insurance and money stuff is where a lawyer might be helpful, though, and where how the old organization is dissolved or severed from the national one will matter.).

4. If your parish priest is progressive or a liberal, consider asking him to stop advertising any activities from the Knights of Columbus in the bulletin or during mass announcements, and even to consider banning their meetings from parish property if they use it. This is unlikely to work (As in I don't think many priests standing up to a powerful local Knights of Columbus chapter that way), but it can be tried.

5. If you choose to stay within the Knights, I would start and continue to beat the drum for Carl Anderson's resignation, to be replaced by someone who will take the group in a less political direction and restore the sense of mission it used to have in the old days without the new political overtones and spending.

6. One might want to look into secular or non-denominational fraternal organizations in their area and see if they would be a better fit for them under these circumstances.

[ 29. May 2017, 16:52: Message edited by: Fish and Bread ]

Posts: 5 | Registered: May 2017  |  IP: Logged
Stetson
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So, this is part of some internet campaign you're running? A google on some of your phrases turned up...

quote:
Knights of Columbus is Overly Politicized | Christian Forums


https://www.christianforums.com/.../knights-of-columbus-is-overl...


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Link: Knights of Columbus' financial forms show wealth, influence Excerpt: There ... the United States, ala the Free Masons for non-Catholics or the Elks Club or the Lions Club for people in general regardless of religious affiliation. They'd get together and play pool, drink beers, pray, and participate in charitable endeavors.

The link goes to a defunct page.

Anyway, as far as I know, the KOC have been involved in political activity for some time now. I seem to recall reading stuff(and not just on wiki) about them taking sides in the fights between church and state in Mexico, early 20th Century, for example.

[ 29. May 2017, 17:30: Message edited by: Stetson ]

Posts: 6402 | From: back and forth between bible belts | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fish and Bread
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# 18788

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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
So, this is part of some internet campaign you're running? A google on some of your phrases turned up...

quote:
Knights of Columbus is Overly Politicized | Christian Forums

The link goes to a defunct page.
CF (The forum you linked to) deleted my post (Which is why it's a defunct page). That and a lot of other issues have led me to abandon the site for now (Basically, they muzzle progressives even on "liberal" sub-forums, we can't be openly supportive of gay marriage- to the point where we had a distraught lesbian woman who stopped by and posts suggesting that maybe her finding her new wife was part of God's plan were deleted, we apparently now can't criticize the Knights of Columbus, etc. but there's more to it than that). Something like (Basically identical with) the post that started this thread was deleted there from *the Liberal Catholic* sub-forum. Someone recommended Ship of Fools to me as a place where I might be a better fit.

So, I thought a good first post would be to post the thing that CF deleted and see if the moderators here are alright with it staying up. If they are, the site is probably worth giving a chance. If they aren't, and the thread is deleted, I know it's no better than where I left and I won't need to waste my time. [Smile]

However, when I first posted it on CF, I posted it because I thought it provided some information and would provoke an interesting discussion. The same may hold true here. It's not *just* a test thread. [Smile]

It's not part of a campaign or whatever, though. It was intended to be one post on one forum, and since it was deleted there, I suppose it still is. [Smile] It's just now just one post on this forum instead of one post on that forum.

quote:
Anyway, as far as I know, the KOC have been involved in political activity for some time now. I seem to recall reading stuff(and not just on wiki) about them taking sides in the fights between church and state in Mexico, early 20th Century, for example. [/qb]
In the United States, I remember them being somewhat anti-communist during the Cold War, but, aside from that, they really didn't seem like a political organization. Just some Catholics who liked to get to together to pray, do some charitable work, get away from their wives for a few hours, drink some beer, shoot some pool, and so on and so forth. Sort of a Free Mason or Lion's Club type fraternal lodge with an added religious component.

My grandfather was a Knight, and a Democrat (Although I think the latter may have changed in the final decades of his life). When one of my uncles started dating my aunt at a young age, my grandfather immediately sort of shanghaied him into joining the Knights to help form his character (I guess), and he stayed in it for decades, at one point leading his local chapter.

The way the article details the Knights contributing strategically to political causes and even to the Church itself (But in a staggered way to specifically support right-wing bishops and shrines and the like) is not something I remember from growing up, or the stories from before when I grew up. When Carl Anderson, the current grandknight, ran an expensive newspaper ad against Joe Biden, a Catholic, with member funds, late in a campaign season when Biden was on the Presidential ticket as VP, I was shocked. I don't think a lot of Knights realize where their money is going.

I intrinsically see the *concept* of the Knights as a good thing. I just think they've really lost their way and become a bad thing in practice at the national level. Carl Anderson ought to resign or be voted out, and some apolitical leadership installed.

I couldn't ever see joining the Knights while this kind of stuff is going on.

One thing someone (Who I won't name because I think it was a private conversation) who was otherwise conservative told me is that even he or she was uncomfortable with the Knights to some degree because he or she didn't think the Knights reflected the entirety of Catholic teaching- that they were focusing on a few issues where he views the Church as agreeing with the Republican Party and totally ignoring issues where the Church disagrees with the Republican Party, essentially presenting a warped unbalanced view of the faith. That is a little bit different from my objection to them getting so political in the first place, but I agree that if they felt they had to get political, they should have been more balanced.

There are enough big money pressure groups from the right in this country. Conservatives didn't have to stage a takeover of an organization that had a charitable bent and gave men a place to hang out with friends, and turn it into a right-wing front group.

I'm sure at the local level, it's still what it was in many places, but part of the dues and donations being paid are now going to support people with political agendas like stripping away people's healthcare and such. It's even trying to change the RCC from within. I disagree with what they are doing from a political perspective (i.e. I'm a Democrat), but also that they are strongly engaging in that sphere at all.

[ 29. May 2017, 18:23: Message edited by: Fish and Bread ]

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Fish and Bread
Apprentice
# 18788

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The article linked to in the original post, by the way, is from the United States's oldest independent Roman Catholic newspaper. It felt this was important and newsworthy and something Catholics should know.

The place that I came from wanted to muzzle it, even though it was from a very reputable Catholic source posted to a Catholic sub-forum. They said it was "flaming" the Knights. I'm hoping this place is a bit less restrictive.

I promise I'll post on other topics, too. [Smile] I have a couple of things that might fit in with the forum above this one ("Heaven"?).

[ 29. May 2017, 18:27: Message edited by: Fish and Bread ]

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Barnabas62
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Fish and Bread

Welcome to Ship of Fools. I'm one of the Hosts of Purgatory, sharing the duties of moderation with our Admin.

Here is a link which will help you to familiarise yourself with Board Culture. And from that link, you can find two further links. Firstly to the general guidelines for posting here, and secondly to the specific guidelines for Purgatory.

A couple of points for you to note from our 10 Commandments. Firstly, your posts do look like an attempt to elicit specific support, encouraging actions directed at another organisation. That is campaigning and is specifically excluded under Commandment 8. Secondly, Purgatory is a forum for serious discussion and opening posts in a thread are to encourage discussion, not action against any outside body.

As a small organisation, privately funded by Shipmates, we also have to take care to avoid been sued (see Commandment 7) since we don't have resources to defend ourselves. In this particular case, it's clear that your comments on that organisations website weren't acceptable to them. We can't be sure why, but we will have a look at the acceptability of the content under our Commandment 7.

Meanwhile, I am closing this thread while Hosts and Admin have a chat about content.

We appreciate that new Shipmates take time to find their feet, so meanwhile I suggest you have a look around, familiarise yourself with Board Culture and posting guidelines.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host

--------------------
Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Posts: 20926 | From: Norfolk UK | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Barnabas62
Host
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After discussion with other Hosts and Admin we've decided to give the thread a chance, though we will keep an eye on the Commandment 7 risks and we expect all Shipmates to do the same.

There is one other condition associated with this reopening. We don't import board wars re other online websites. So please desist in discussion of the editorial policies and decisions of any websites related to the Knights of Columbus.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host

--------------------
Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

Posts: 20926 | From: Norfolk UK | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged


 
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