Monday, October 27, 2008

Rebel Knights

Yes, I know this isn’t exactly recent news, but coming across it earlier today I nevertheless found it interesting - and it’s certainly relevant in the lead-up to the presidential election and in light of the recent revelation that Obama is leading among Catholic voters.


Knights Disagree with Leaders
By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service
September 30, 2008

Washington – Upset with a letter from their supreme knight critical of Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden, some Knights of Columbus have launched a web site backing Barack Obama for president.

Led by Rick Gebhard, a member ofKnights of Columbus Council 853 at Guardian Angels Parish in the Lake Michigan town of Manistee, Mich., the group launched the web site,, October 3.

A middle-school teacher, Gebhard said he decided to publicly demonstrate his support for the Democratic ticket after reading a letter from Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson that challenges Biden on abortion.

Between 1983 and 1987, Anderson held various positions in President Ronald Reagan’s White House.

“Basically, I read it, and as that letter ended, it said Mr. Anderson was speaking for all knights,” Gebhard told Catholic News Service September 30. “He wasn’t speaking for me.”

Gebhard, a member of Boston-based Catholic Democrats, said he contacted the organization to discuss how he could respond to Anderson’s letter and learned that several other Knights shared his disagreement with Anderson. Within days of the letter's publication, Gebhard decided to pursue the Web site option.

“I guess I am trying to level things out a bit to show that the Knights are not a partisan group and to show there's a mix of beliefs,” he said.

A third-degree Knight who has belonged to the organization for two years, Gebhard said he supports Obama because “his policies are closer to mine on Catholic social teaching.” In explaining his support, Gebhard cited the Illinois senator’s stances on meeting the needs of poor people, increasing access to health care and the need to shelve the concept of pre-emptive war.

At the time CNS spoke with Gebhard, Anderson and other Knights of Columbus leaders were attending meetings in Rome. Patrick Korten, vice president for communications for the Knights, told CNS from Rome Sept. 30 that until they learn more about Knights for Obama the fraternal organization would not respond.

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