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25 August 2008

The night the Knights went too far

Today, I am thoroughly embarrassed to say I am a member of the Knights of Columbus. Since 1997, I've been an official member of the organization-and some of my dearest friends are knights. But after news I read the other day, coupled with a letter written by the grand knight of the council to which I belong, I cannot sit by and allow the group to go unchecked as it so often does.

The letter I received this week noted all the good things the council was doing in the coming months. Since there's a lull in the summer, things start to pick up once September rolls around. This year was no different. But it wasn't about the things the council was doing that annoyed me to no end, it was the closing line that got to me most. And quite frankly, I couldn't blame the government for stripping the council of its tax-free status as a non-profit religious organization.

The letter concluded with an admonishment that no Catholic may support a candidate who supports marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman. It also said a Catholic could not support a candidate who supports stem-cell research and abortion rights. I'll focus on the first ideal.

"No Catholic may support a political candidate who supports anything but marriage between a man and a woman." These are the words. They were written by a grand knight, whose organization admonishes its members to refrain from bringing partisan politics into its chambers.

First, I'd say that although this isn't, per se, in the council chambers, there exists a clear violation of its own rules. Telling a member he cannot vote for a politician [clearly and obviously Barack Obama or any other Democrat for that matter] who supports non-traditional marriage constitutes hypocrisy of immense proportions.

What actually sickens me about what this man wrote is that it does not address some other serious issues facing people in this country.

For starters, I don't think it takes a person of great brilliance to realize that as "threatened" as some conservative people are by gay marriage, that marriage as it stands right now-heterosexual marriage-is beyond repair right now. In a most ironic twist, there are tons of full members of the K of C who are divorced, separated or living together with an unmarried significant other of the opposite gender.

Could you even imagine a member of the Knights sending out a letter to his constituency admonishing members who divorced? Who lived with his girlfriend out of wedlock? It wouldn't happen-it barely happens. And yet, these same people are afraid marriage between two women or two men is going to destroy the institution we know as marriage right now.

Sorry, folks. The greatest threat to marriage right now are married people. It's the people who see marriage as something more than just a couple who love each other, only to find they don't want to be married anymore, who damage marriage more than anyone or anything else.

Please-I beg anyone to tell me how two people who love each other and who just so happen to be of the same gender are doing anything to destroy the institution of marriage? Please tell me how a faith of believers that spends a year of marriage preparation with a priest who, in most cases, has never been married or who has never been in a committed relationship, can say marriage would be destroyed if two women or two men were permitted to marry?

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with the picture of a priest, who has no experience in committed relationships, telling a gay couple they can't get married because they'd destroy the institution as it is currently known?

Perhaps it's just me-but I cannot fathom the utter hypocrisy.

This is by no means an indictment on the priesthood. I respect and admire the priesthood of most [hardly all] Catholic priests. What I cannot accept is the church-or its members [in this case, the Knights]-telling anyone of the importance of keeping a broken institution as is. Because quite frankly, folks, marriage is not threatened by the LGBT community. It is ruined by people who cannot and don't live up to the expectations of marriage.

Period. End of story.

There will be many people whose minds will never change on this issue. I'm one of those people. And as much as there will be people who find fault with two people loving each other and wanting to spend the rest of their lives together, with the same rights afforded other married couples, I cannot stand by anymore and allow these hateful and disgusting words to go unnoticed.

And just as word comes that the Knights have donated $1 million toward helping to pass Proposition 8 in California that would redefine marriage in the state constitution as between one man and one woman, I know that I, too, as someone who considered himself Catholic, can do what I think is best in the same realm. I don't need a Grand Knight telling me who I can and cannot vote for.

And even worse, I wonder just how many people will read a similar letter, as a Catholic, and as a Knight, and then go on to vote for a pro-gay-marriage candidate anyway? Unlike them, I won't just ignore that notion.

And if it means that I am no longer worthy of the church-and no longer worth of the Knights-then so be it.

Quite honestly, I could do without all that hatred and viciousness.

I think we all could, folks.

Sadly, however, the debate will rage on for many years to come-and I doubt, in my lifetime, the church or the Knights will ever see it as I, and many other Americans do.

I guess that means I'm now divorced, too-from the Knights of Columbus.


  1. Kevin , congratulations on your article . It was very well done and expressed your feelings very well. Not everyone has to agree with everything their priest, minister, or rabbi states. They are just men and women in the long run. You do not have to agree with abortion or gay marriages. Stay with your faith. In the end each one of us must answer for our own lives on earth and no just GOD will judge you for your disagreements on earth. Live a good life and do the best you can always. Enjoy your site. Kate A

  2. i'm a real" republican" and believe two people who are in love, commited forever, should not be made fun of. I haven't found that person (oh yeah, of the opposite sex) but pray that his religion, race, etc. would not s
    stand in our way.