Catholics United today is protesting at the Knights of Columbus offices and handing the KoC 5000 signed petitions demanding they stop funding anti-gay hate. Since 2005, the Knights Of Columbus has spent almost $16 million to fight same-sex marriage and the LGBT community, and spent at least $630,000 on ballot initiatives in four states this year.
“As Catholics who love the church, many of whom like myself have dedicated my life to the church, are saddened that the faith is increasingly aligned with a far right reactionary political agenda,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, as reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today:
The Knights, which provides life insurance and is the largest lay Catholic organization in the world, said it supports Catholic social teaching, including on moral issues. The group says its first concern has always been charity, and over the past decade has donated more than $1.4 billion and 664 million hours to charitable causes.
“At a time when so many Americans are suffering, it saddens me that the Knights of Columbus have dedicated a large portion of their charitable donations to fund a far-right political agenda,” Salt said via a statement on the Catholics United website. “The Knights of Columbus’ work against civil same-sex marriage laws has the unfortunate effect of pushing younger generations of Catholics out of the church. Younger Catholics don’t want our faith known for its involvement in divisive culture wars, we want our faith known for serving the poor and marginalized.”
Today the Knights of Columbus is at the nexus of a small group of organizations working to block marriage equality in the United States that includes the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Organization for Marriage and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The leadership of these three organizations is closely intertwined, and the Knights of Columbus provides funding to each for their work against marriage quality and for broader efforts to give religious-affiliated organizations the right to discriminate against gay or lesbian couples in the name of religious freedom. Since 2005, the Knights of Columbus has provided more than $15.8 million dollars toward these efforts, providing $6.25 million directly to anti-marriage equality efforts and $9.6 million to organizations to build a conservative religious and political culture to oppose efforts for marriage equality.
Image via Freedom To Marry