Addressing convention, Carl Anderson defends religious liberty, persecuted Christians
TORONTO — Because it has resulted in human devastation on a massive scale, “abortion is different” the CEO of the Knights of Columbus told a convention of the organization’s members and nearly 100 Catholic bishops on Tuesday. He added that “it is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians.”
These remarks by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson’s were part of his report to the 134th international convention of the Knights of Columbus in Toronto, which also highlighted the organization’s enormous charitable contributions, its protection of Catholic families, the need to defend religious liberty at home and around the world, and the Knights advocacy work on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
While rejecting voting based on party identity, Anderson noted that politicians who support abortion – regardless of political party – should not get the vote of Catholics.
Anderson repeated words that he spoke at the Knights’ 2008 convention held in Quebec: “Once again we meet during a presidential election campaign in the United States and once again the question confronts us: ‘How should Catholics exercise their responsibilities as citizens?’
He rejected the notion that other issues are important enough to offset a candidate’s support for abortion. Not “just another political issue,” Anderson said abortion “is in reality a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths” [now 59 million].
Continuing from his 2008 remarks, he added: “What political issue could possibly outweigh this human devastation? Abortion is different. Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale. We need to end the political manipulation of Catholic voters by abortion advocates. It is time to end the entanglement of Catholic people with abortion killing. It is time to stop creating excuses for voting for pro-abortion politicians.”
“We will never succeed in building a culture of life if we continue to vote for politicians who support a culture of death,” said Anderson.
Anderson noted that support for restrictions on abortion is the consensus view in the United States. Citing a recent Marist poll commissioned by the Knights. That survey showed that a majority of Americans are against taxpayer funding of abortion, and that about 8 in 10 Americans would significantly restrict abortion.
Anderson highlighted the new charitable and membership records set by the Knights of Columbus this year. He cited charitable activities on the local, regional and national levels, including distributing 310,000 new coats for kids since 2009, supporting Special Olympics in the U.S. and internationally, and donating more than 57,000 wheelchairs over the past decade and a half. Anderson also pointed to the plight of Middle Eastern Christians that has been a top priority for charity and advocacy by the K of C.
“Christians and other religious minorities are facing extinction,” said Anderson. “Many receive no support from their governments or from the United Nations. They have had to rely on their fellow Christians, and they have been able to rely on the Knights of Columbus.” The K of C has raised more than $11 million for Christian refugees since 2014
“That money has been a lifeline,” said Anderson, noting also that the K of C’s public awareness and advocacy campaign for these persecuted Christians helped move the U.S. State Department to declare that genocide against Christians – and other religious minorities – is taking place in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS.
The K of C will hold a news conference tomorrow at its convention with several bishops from the Middle East to discuss the ongoing issues faced by Christian communities in that region.