Knights of Columbus Write Open Letter to Senators Hirono, Harris

Members of the Knights of Columbus participate in a Columbus Day ceremony at the National Columbus Memorial in front of Union Station, October 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Columbus Day celebrates Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Mark Wilson/Getty

The Knights of Columbus have written an open letter to Democrat Senators Hirono and Harris after they suggested that a Catholic judicial nominee may not be qualified for judgeship because of his membership in the Knights.

As Breitbart News reported, the senators openly harassed district court nominee Brian C. Buescher for his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization, because the organization shares the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

The Knights of Columbus have taken “a number of extreme positions,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) stated in written questions sent to Buescher on December 5, such as contributing “to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.”

For her part, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked Buescher whether he was aware that the Knights of Columbus “opposed a woman’s right to choose” and were against “marriage equality” when he joined the organization.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed Buescher’s candidacy for the District of Nebraska, Senators Hirono and Harris asked whether belonging to the Knights of Columbus could prevent Mr. Buescher from hearing cases “fairly and impartially.”

In their open letter, the Capitol Hill-area Knights of Columbus Council took issue with Sen. Hirono’s allegation that the Knights hold “extreme positions” and invited the senators to visit them to learn more about their work.

“We recently read about statements which expressed the fear that the Knights of Columbus held many extreme beliefs,” the letter states. “It is our great pleasure to assure you that this fear is not grounded in any truth.”

The group outlined the sort of work they have been involved in during the past year, including giving away coats to neighborhood children, assisting the developmentally disabled, and collecting diapers and other supplies for new mothers in need.

“We wish to formally invite you all to join us for any social or charitable event,” the letter said, such as the upcoming Polar Plunge to raise funds for DC Special Olympics.

“You and anyone you know are more than welcome to join us either jumping in the cold water or sponsoring our team,” the letter said.

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from considering a person’s faith when assessing suitability for holding federal office. This clause has been a bedrock principle since the founding of the Republic.

“This is the kind of thuggish behavior we expect from third world dictators, not United States Senators,” said Ken Blackwell, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

“That this attack on Catholics comes from the party of John F. Kennedy, who was proudly a Knight of Columbus, is particularly shocking and egregious,” he said.

In their letter, the Knights did not address the senators’ apparent anti-Catholic bias, or the suggestion that being pro-life or pro-traditional marriage are “extreme positions” that could disqualify a person from judicial confirmation.
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