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Archive for November 2017

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