Cheap Seats 2019
Knights Cross - 01/16
By Rich Trzupek
In case you missed it, Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Kamala Harris (D-California) expressed concerns over President Trump’s nomination of Omaha lawyer Brian C. Buescher to sit on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska. The dynamic duo’s problem with Buescher? He’s a religious extremist. Their proof? He openly admits that he is a member of Hamas, the officially designated terrorist group that runs the Palestinian state.
Scratch that. Clearly membership in Hamas doesn’t trouble the modern progressive. Hell, it might even be required at some point. But no, Buescher is part of an extremist organization far more dangerous than Hamas, at least in Hirono and Harris’ world: The Knights of Columbus.
I must confess that I too am a member of that evil cabal and have been for several years. To be sure, given my travel schedule with the day job, I don’t go to many meetings or participate in many functions, but I do dutifully send in my dues and like most of my brothers in the order attempt to conduct my life in accordance with the principals established by founder Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882.
McGivney envisioned an organization that would help the poor, promote education, support the Catholic Church, and provide, as much as its members could, examples of living a life inspired by Christ and His teachings. Today there are nearly two million of us around the world, so one can understand why Hirono and Harris would find us a threat.
In my council, knights routinely participate in extremist activities like preparing breakfast for church-goers once per month and using the money raised to support charitable causes. Knights direct traffic in the church parking lot during heavily-attended holidays like Christmas and Easter. We participate in Eucharistic Adoration once a month. When a brother knight needs help, he can count on many of his fellows rushing to his aid.
It is true that women cannot be knights. Yet, many wives and daughters see fit to help out the fellas when they can. One presumes that these women don’t see misogyny when they look at the Knights of Columbus, they see concern, they see empathy and they see a group of men who – however imperfectly – attempt to lead a life in Christ.
Now it is true that some of us carry swords. (I do not, for the record, which – all things considered – is probably for the best). I have yet to see a knight wield his sword in anything but salute, but one mustn’t take chances with extremists.
It is true that most of us are extreme in our view of human life. We believe that it is a precious gift from God at every stage of development, in every single instance, in every single place. We believe that its extremely important to protect the innocent as much as we possibly can.
While we would not force our beliefs upon anyone, we must be extreme in our insistence for the same inalienable right of every other American: The right to express our opinions, the right to attempt to convince others that our opinions have merit, the right to support candidates for public office who we believe will best serve those positions we believe in and the right to engage in respectful public discourse without politicians engaging in extremely insulting, antiquated and bigoted behavior that attempts to establish a religious test for public servants.
In the 1850s the Secret Order of the Star-Spangled Banner briefly flourished in America. A staple of the party was its anti-Catholic stance. Today, the party is more popularly recognized by the nickname “the Know Nothings”. Initially, this moniker referred to the stock party member response with asked about details of their organization: “I know nothing!”
The nickname would take on an ironic twist over time. Historical consensus is that the ignorance and bigotry of the Secret Order of the Star-Spangled Banner was proof that its members were indeed incapable of grasping the most basic of concepts. They were, in less kind words, idiots. Who would have thought we’d see the rebirth of Know-Nothings one hundred and seventy years later?