“Dear Brother Carl,” begins the letter sent to Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus. “You failed us by not terminating the two Knights that enabled the N.Y. gay-marriage bill to become law…. I cannot in good faith belong to any organization that will not publicly defend our Catholic beliefs against the gay marriage movement. The gay-marriage bill [passed] by the Catholic governor of New York was made into law by two N.Y. swing vote senators that are both … Knights. Consider this my resignation.”
The letter was sent by my friend Dennis, a 4th Degree Knight from Western Pennsylvania, who is not happy—and has a right to be upset.
What Dennis is referring to is the recent action by two New York State Senators, Joe Addabbo and David Carlucci, who cast crucial votes to pass so-called “gay marriage” in New York. The vote was 33 to 29. Had these two men voted against the bill, it would not have passed. Both men indeed are members of the Knights of Columbus.
In response, some Catholics are demanding that the Knights expel the two senators. As Dennis told me, he fears that a failure by the Knights to stand firm against a crystal-clear issue like “gay marriage,” which is a blatant violation of long-time Church teaching, is akin to the failure by Catholics to stand firm against abortion before Roe v. Wade became the law of the land in 1973. And Dennis certainly has a point.
What is the policy of the Knights on matters like this? What should be the response? Should there be discipline for members that hold very influential public positions that can literally change the laws of the land and culture? These are members with more than a mere personal opinion; their actions have significant public consequences. Should they not be held to a higher standard?
These are tough, uncomfortable questions, but they must be dealt with.
For the Knights of Columbus, this is not an issue that will be going away anytime soon.
For Catholic Exchange.com and Ave Maria Radio, I’m Paul Kengor.