Editor’s note: This column was written in response to a series of public comments from feminist and New America Fellow Jill Filipovic, which can be found here.
Dear Ms. Filipovic,
Would you like to know what my parish’s “extreme right-wing anti-choice anti-LGBT” organization does every year?
First, let me set the stage.
I’m one of a few members of my local Knights of Columbus council who are under 30; most active members in our supposed cabal of evil are in their 60s, with some younger middle-aged members and more than a few in their 70s, 80s, and possibly even 90s.
We have monthly planning meetings where we sometimes have beer. (Ooh, terrible right? Remember, Brett Kavanaugh drank beer. The absolute horror!) Our council is about 12 to 13 years old now, and I’ve been a member since I was 18, when I became a First Degree alongside my dad.
Here is what our typical year looks like:
In January, we bring Catholic elementary and middle school kids down to DC for the annual March for Life to be with 200,000 other pro-life people in the freezing cold. (Anti-women, you cry! Nonsense. I bet you more than half that crowd is female.)
We have an organized campaign every April-through-May that raises between $7,000 and $9,000 to buy items like diapers and blankets for unwed mothers who have opted to keep their babies. (HOW INHUMANE!) Parishioners put loose change into baby bottles that we hand out after Mass and return them on Mother’s Day.
In past summers, we’ve run BINGO nights to raise money for a bunch of different charities. Usually, the money goes towards local disadvantaged children’s groups such as the Scarpelli Association for Autism, or organizations like The Phoenix House. In more recent years, we’ve raffled off Yankees vs. Red Sox or Yankees vs. Mets tickets to raise money for similar ventures.
The fall is our busiest season. We have a Columbus (TERRIBLE! RACIST!) Day Dinner where we provide 60 different dishes and raffle off more than 30 gifts. The money we raise from this dinner funds our activities and charitable ventures for the next year. Leftover food is given to homeless shelters, usually in Newark.
The day after Thanksgiving, we rake the leaves of elderly folks in town. My dad has joked that some of the people are younger than he is, which is laughably true!
Around Christmas time, we’ve assisted at the Sisters’ of Life Christmas party in NYC, where this wonderful group of sisters hosts all the women and children they’ve helped out over the years. A few members of my council even helped build the life-size manger in their nativity scene from scratch!
Also in December, we buy gifts for the kids of a few poorer families in town to ensure their holiday season is fulfilling and happy.
Lastly, we run three blood-drives throughout the year, spread out so people can donate the most ALYX possible, as it requires double the waiting period of general blood donations. We get between 30 and 50 people to donate each drive.
All of that, and this doesn’t even cover all the little things we do for our parish and for one another. See, that’s what good Catholic men do. What Knights do. We don’t preach hate or bigotry. We help our communities and our parish, which enriches our own Catholic faith in the process.
To the media and government figures like you, Ms. Filipovic, like Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono and others who demean this wonderful, charitable organization with ignorant, bigoted statements—I hope you’ve learned a little something here. This is just one relatively small Knights of Columbus council’s contributions in a single year.
With 2 million Knights around the world, a lot of good is being done, everywhere, all the time. Some of it may not be in line with your “progressive” politics, but then again, your politics aren’t in line with many good, holy people, either.
The world would be a much worse place without the Knights of Columbus.
I will pray that you realize this.