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Thank You for Protecting Persecuted Christians!

Brother Knight,

Thanks to the generous support of our members and friends, we raised more than $138,000 during our KofC #GivingTuesday campaign to help Christians and those in their care in the Middle East.

This equates to almost 70 families being able to move back to their homes. Or, more than 1,970 families receiving food for an entire month. Together, we have made a difference — thank you!

Of course, the need is ongoing — most Catholics in this country are barely aware of the genocide. This Catholic News Service story spells it out clearly: Most Americans are more worried about Christmas shopping than saving a Christian life.

It’s time we made a choice. Are we going to sit by and do nothing? Or are we going to use this Advent to pray for our suffering brother and sisters and encourage others to do the same?

All it takes is a simple tweet or share using the hashtags #ChristiansAtRisk and #KofC. Sharing these links, or even emailing your friends about the situation, will cost nothing more than a few seconds, but they can make a huge difference in spreading awareness!

Together, we can continue to change the future of Christianity! Together we can continue to make a difference.

Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510
203-752-4000

Combating Sparkle Season

A Message from Becket’s Executive Director
November 28, 2017
Dear Friends,

Will you join me in combating Sparkle Season? Yes, Sparkle Season.

Sparkle Season is the hollowed-out celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah celebrated in Pittsburgh every year at the behest of squeamish secularists.

No doubt you’ve gotten a taste of some variation on Sparkle Season in your hometown. The beloved town crèche was packed up one year and replaced with a bland assortment of polar bears, penguins, and snowflakes. The Christmas tree near city hall was renamed the “Great Pine Tree.” You now get the proverbial “Happy Holidays” in lieu of “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah.”

Have no doubt, you will be inundated with “Sparkle Season” for the next several weeks as our American tradition of publicly celebrating a variety of religious holidays continues to be watered down, or washed away altogether.

But Sparkle Season and its other secularized sister celebrations are not as innocent as they sound. Quite the opposite: they represent an increasing hostility to any public reference to religion. The same people that give us Sparkle Season are also leading campaigns around the country to scrub the public square of any reference to our religious heritage.

In one of our cases, Becket is defending a cross that has stood for 76 years in the town of Pensacola that atheists want taken down. The cross is a treasured monument to those from the naval town who gave their lives during World War II. It remains a vibrant meeting place where people from the town come together in common cause.

Becket is proudly defending the town’s right to retain that cross on public land, and we are proud of past wins defending cherished displays of faith – such as our victory for the veteran’s memorial, Big Mountain Jesus, in Montana – displays that monumentalize our freedom of religion and our belief as a nation that religion is not something to be boxed away like a Christmas ornament at the end of the season.

Gratefully,

Montse Alvarado
Executive Director

We’ve Given Thanks, Now Let’s Give Back!

Dear Brother Knights,

Just last week we sat around our tables, giving thanks to God for the great blessings we enjoy.

Today, on #GivingTuesday, it’s time to give back.

With your help, we can rebuild and resettle the predominantly Christian town of Karamles, Iraq. A few years ago, the town was devastated by ISIS forces — homes were looted, with Christian artwork vandalized and family possessions burned, while others were left completely in rubble, demolished by airstrikes. No home was left undamaged.

Today we’re working to restore these homes, brick by brick. We’re also working on other efforts in the region, including medical relief and education and food programs. Each and every one of these programs allows Christians to find strength and hope for the future and will allow them to return to the homes they love.

Watch this amazing testimony from Father Douglas Bazi. Despite being tortured, he opened his church as a home for Christians!

To do this, though, we need your help:

Donate. For about $70, you can feed a family for a month. For about $2,000, you can move a family displaced by ISIS back into their home. Whatever amount you donate, it will make a difference!
Let people know — via social media and email — that you donated. We know, we know — it doesn’t seem very humble to talk about your good deeds, but in the spirit of charity, we need you to help us spread the word! Just a simple tweet or Facebook message using the hashtags #KofC and #GivingTuesday is all it takes!

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these families. Together, we can change the future of Christianity!
BUILD A TOWN. CHANGE THE FUTURE.

One hundred percent of your donation goes directly to benefit
persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christians

Brother Knight,

Beginning this Sunday, Nov. 26, the Knights of Columbus will join the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other Catholic organizations in a Week of Awareness for Persecuted Christians from Nov. 26-Dec. 2.

During this week, many councils will be working to raise awareness about the plight of persecuted Christians. We hope you can join in these efforts, which you can learn about at www.kofc.org/weekofawareness.

You can also support our brothers and sisters who have suffered for their faith through prayer.

Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori has composed the following prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters:
Prayer for Persecuted Christians

O God of all the nations,
the One God who is and was and always will be,
in your providence you willed that your Church
be united to the suffering of your Son.
Look with mercy on your servants
who are persecuted for their faith in you.
Grant them perseverance and courage
to be worthy imitators of Christ.
Bring your wisdom upon leaders of nations
to work for peace among all peoples.
May your Spirit open conversion
for those who contradict your will,
that we may live in harmony.
Give us the grace to be united in truth and freedom,
and to always seek your will in our lives.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

To learn more about the Order’s efforts to aid persecuted Christians and those in their care, or to make a donation, visit www.ChristiansAtRisk.org.

Sincerely,

Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510
203-752-4000

Thanking God for Religious Liberty

A Message from Becket’s Executive Director
November 22, 2017
Dear Friends,

In 1999, Becket’s Founder wrote a piece called “The Feast of the Intransitive Verb,” and in his wonderfully witty way, described how Thanksgiving points to our longing for the transcendent. As he put it, “You can’t just sit there and ‘thank.’ You have to thank someone.” At Becket, we thank God—for the blessings in our lives, for the privilege of defending religious liberty every day, and for your partnership with us.

In true Becket fashion, this holiday comes with a flurry of activity. The Little Sisters of the Poor are going back to court. And houses of worship in Houston continue to fight to rebuild their churches while serving those in need: unloading trailers of food and goods for their disaster-stricken communities so they can celebrate Thanksgiving, too.

What’s happening at Becket:

The Little Sisters head back to court: Incredibly, the states of Pennsylvania and California are attacking the Little Sisters of the Poor and trying to take away their religious exemption from the HHS Mandate (to score political points). Becket is defending them in both cases.

New Mexico takes a second look at its bigoted Blaine Amendment. New Mexico adopted a sensible program that lends textbooks to children who need them, including when they attend a religious school. Unfortunately, the program was struck down because of the state’s anti-religious Blaine Amendment. Becket’s Eric Baxter is now back in the New Mexico Supreme Court fighting to put an end to the reign of Blaine.

Tribes seek justice in court after government needlessly bulldozed their sacred site. The federal government bulldozed Oregon tribes’ sacred burial grounds in 2008 despite having numerous alternatives to widen the highway without harming the site. In late October, Becket and members of each tribe asked the court for justice.

Pro-life pregnancy centers are not the government’s messengers on abortion. A Federal Court in Baltimore struck down a law that requires pro-life pregnancy centers to post government disclaimers on their waiting room walls. But the city couldn’t take no for an answer, and appealed. Becket was at the appeals court in Richmond for oral argument late last month, as the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns defended its right to talk to women about pregnancy free from government interference.

Becket in the news:

Becket President Bill Mumma in First Things: The country has arrived at a tipping point. The people have rejected the lies offered by the dominant elite. Those elites are in a state of anxiety. They know their reign is coming to an end. It is up to us to seize this moment.

Groundbreaking study by Becket Deputy General Counsel Luke Goodrich: Critics of Hobby Lobby predicted it would open the floodgates to a host of novel claims, transforming “religious freedom” from a shield for protecting religious minorities into a sword for imposing Christian values in the areas of abortion, contraception, and gay rights. But that didn’t happen. Read the study here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Montse Alvarado
Executive Director

We Honor Our Veterans!

Thu, Nov 9, 2017 2:41 pm

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day are opportunities to remember the sacrifices made by each and every member of the American Armed Forces and Canadian Armed Services — including so many brother Knights — who have served or who are serving now and who bear the wounds of war.

To these brave men and women we say thank you for your service. Please join us in a moment of silence to pray for each of them, especially those wounded and ill warriors still suffering for our freedom.

This Veterans Day we also remember our brother Knights who have earned the Medal of Honor for their heroic bravery while serving in the armed forces. In addition, we continue to support veterans through our Warriors to Lourdes program, sponsored in partnership with the Archdiocese for Military Services, USA. If you would like to join us in supporting a veteran’s journey of faith, click here.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother,
please pray to your Son, Our Lord,
for our warriors and our veterans,
for our countries and our continued freedom. Amen.

Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510

Little Sisters, Big Victory!

A Message from Becket’s Executive Director
October 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

It’s been a long time coming. No, I’m not talking about the fall weather. I’m talking about victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

As you may recall, the Little Sisters are nuns who spend their lives caring for the elderly poor. Six years ago, the federal government issued a rule requiring the Little Sisters to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion drugs in violation of their religious beliefs—or pay millions in fines to the IRS.

The Little Sisters refused, and Becket took their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ordered the government to work out a solution, and less than two weeks ago, the Department of Health & Human Services issued a new rule exempting the Little Sisters and others like them from the mandate. The new rule fulfills the Supreme Court’s order and President Trump’s promise earlier this year to protect the Little Sisters.

Now that the new rule is in place, the Little Sisters expect to get final, binding relief from the courts so they can go back to fulfilling their mission of serving the elderly poor.

What’s happening at Becket:

More good news for religious freedom. The Trump administration also just issued important new guidance for interpreting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)—a key law that protected the Little Sisters and others (see our database here). The new guidance emphasizes that religious liberty is protected both in the marketplace and in the workplace, and that government discrimination against religious people is forbidden.

Defending the sacred in Oregon. On Monday, October 23, Becket, alongside members of the Klickitat and Cascade Tribes, will be in court seeking justice after the government needlessly bulldozed the tribes’ sacred burial site. (Learn more about the tribes’ story here.)

Wedding cakes and the right to dissent. Weddings are viewed as important and sacred events by many Americans. Religious dissenters, like Jack Phillips, shouldn’t be forced to participate in a religious ceremony that violates their beliefs. Jack’s case will be heard by the Supreme Court on December 5.

Becket in the news:

He’s with them. James Freeman writes in this Wall Street Journal opinion piece, that the government “picked on the wrong nuns and the nuns seemed to have picked the right lawyers.”

Peace to an unnecessary fight. Becket Senior Counsel Hannah Smith reflects on the new mandate exemption and how it should help bring peace to an “unprecedented escalation of the culture wars against religious organizations.”

Houston, we have a problem. Check out my interview on Fox News, as well as Diana Verm’s C-SPAN interview explaining how absurd it is that zoos, squid tanks and museums are eligible for FEMA’s disaster-relief aid, but churches are excluded. Also, the Chicago Tribune agrees with us that FEMA should not exclude houses of worship from receiving disaster aid simply because they are religious.

What Becket is reading:

Keep pastors in the communities they serve. Becket client and Chicago-based pastor, Chris Butler, takes issue with a recent court ruling that strikes down a 65-year-old tax provision and threatens pastors and churches with almost $1 billion in new taxes.

Fighting words in Florida. The mayor of Pensacola Florida (and Becket’s client), Ashton Hayward, has a message for atheists trying to tear down the Bayview cross: I won’t back down.

A return to common sense. Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Lori praise the new HHS mandate exemption in a joint statement but agree that there is still work to be done to finally end this fight.

Sincerely,

Montse Alvarado
Executive Director

Happy Birthday to Our Noble Patron!

Dear Brother Knight,

As we prepare to celebrate Columbus Day, the following links may be of interest.

K of C-Marist poll shows strong support for Columbus and Columbus Day
Blaming Columbus Misses the Lessons of History
A website about Columbus, presented by the National Christopher Columbus Association
New KofC-Marist Poll: Do Americans Support Columbus Day?
Christopher Columbus and Fake History​
Why Columbus Sailed: Interview with Scholar Carol Delaney

Sincerely,
Knights of Columbus

Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510
knightline@kofc.org
203-752-4000

Update: Schools, Synagogues and FEMA

A Message from Becket’s Executive Director September 11, 2017

Dear Friends,

School is open, Congress is back in session and Becket is not missing a beat.

Pro-life pregnancy centers provide free counseling and care to women and children in need. But the cities of San Francisco and Baltimore are trying to force them to provide something else: government-approved messages about abortion. That’s right—the government wants to make pro-life pregnancy centers provide pro-abortion messages.

But Becket is fighting back. This month we’re defending a San Francisco pregnancy center. Next month, we’ll be protecting a Baltimore pregnancy center. In both cases, we are arguing that the government has no right to compel pro-life pregnancy centers to speak a pro-abortion message. Free speech and religious liberty are inextricable—and both rights protect the women who need the pregnancy centers’ vital services.

What’s Happening at Becket:

Churches—not judges—choose their own leaders. Becket won a landmark victory for the Archdiocese of New York and its Catholic schools, affirming Churchs’ constitutional right to choose principals and other leaders who share their faith. The ruling strengthens the unanimous Supreme Court decision Becket secured five years ago, which made clear that a religious institution’s right to choose its own leaders is at the heart of the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment (Watch: The Ministerial Exception Explained).

A synagogue’s big step toward a new home. A Jewish congregation in Boca Raton, Florida, was sued by hostile landowners who wanted to stop the congregation from building a synagogue. Their lawsuit threatened to gut protections for houses of worship across the country. So Becket stepped in and won a major victory for the congregation (Watch: What’s stopping synagogue construction in East Boca?). Now Becket is defending that victory on appeal.

Hurricanes don’t discriminate, so why should FEMA? Many churches suffered severe damage from Hurricane Harvey, but the federal government has a policy of denying disaster relief grants to all houses of worship. Why? Because they’re houses of worship. To end this discriminatory policy, Becket sued FEMA on behalf of three flooded churches, arguing that churches should be treated no worse than other non-profits that receive aid, like community centers, museums, and even zoos. The lawsuit follows the recent Supreme Court victory in Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, which held that the government could not discriminate against churches when awarding public benefits.

Becket in the News:

Becket profiled in WSJ. In case you missed it, Becket’s profile, history, and philosophy were featured in the Wall Street Journal’s “The Weekend Interview.”

A historic win for a synagogue. The nation’s oldest synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, won a major battle to keep ownership of the nation’s oldest synagogue building and centuries-old Jewish artifacts. See Becket’s Eric Rassbach quoted in the New York Times about the case.

Disaster relief for houses of worship. The Washington Post profiled our lawsuit on behalf of three small churches in Houston that were damaged in Hurricane Harvey.

What Becket is Reading:

God is not a dirty word. The states agree, according to this Pew Research Center analysis.

“Hate map”. This article from The Washington Times sheds light on the impact the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map” is having on religious non-profits.

Sincerely,

Montse Alvarado
Executive Director

Help The Victims of Hurricane Irma

Brother Knight,

Hurricane Irma has hit Florida. The destructive power of the hurricane is unimaginable.

In light of such devastion, it’s easy to feel helpless.

But you’re not helpless. In fact, Knights and their families have already made a incredible difference in the lives of countless men, women and children affected by Hurricane Harvey with their prayers and support. And now it’s time to help the victims of Hurricane Irma.

When we work together, even the smallest contribution can make a big difference. And with 100 percent of your donation going directly to relief efforts, you know your gift will get to those in need.

Please DONATE TODAY.
Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510