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President Trump’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty: A Missed Opportunity?

By Rev. Robert A. Crutchfield, Founder FaithInspires.Org

This afternoon President Trump leveraged off the National Day of Prayer to sign a much anticipated Executive Order expanding and expressing support for religious freedom. Many Christian leaders welcomed his action as signaling a welcome change in the Washington mindset, or at least a step in the right direction.

Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel had this reaction “We commend President Trump for sending a message to Congress and the rest of America that religious freedom must be protected. This is an appropriate way to commemorate the National Day of Prayer as our President commits to protect and promote religious freedom,”

Meanwhile Carl Anderson CEO of the Knights of Columbus had this to say, “We applaud President Trump’s executive order on religious liberty. While there is still work to be done to restore the reverence for religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment, this order marks an important step in restoring those constitutional principles guaranteed to every American. Guided by their beliefs, people of faith contribute in important ways to every aspect of this country, and this order will begin to restore the principles upon which this country was based: that people of faith should be able to exercise that faith with the protection rather than the opposition of their government.”

A leding Hispanic Evangelical added, “This new executive order not only signals President Trump and Vice President Pence’s commitment to fighting for and representing the Evangelical community, but also the larger struggle for religious liberty. For years now, people of faith—especially Christians—have been essentially told that their faith has no place beyond their front door. A subversive oppression has taken a hold of our nation and sincerely held beliefs are subject to not only social ridicule but also legal retribution.” Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez President National Hispanic Christian  Leadership Conference.

Today’s executive order among other things provided relief from the so called Johnson Amendment. This provision enacted in the 1960’s greatly restricted endorsements of political candidates by non-profit groups including churches. This has been a very unpopular provision among evangelical Christians and others since. So rolling it back even if by a bit will meet with at least some pleasure among those groups.

But will it be enough. An earlier draft of the executive order would have provided a much wider range of protections. Especially for average Christians ( as opposed to clergy, churches and ministries.) who acted or refused to act out of religious conscience. From what I can gather it was Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump that convinced the president to leave these additional protections out of the EO. Over time I fear this will be seen as the loss of an opportunity to cement the president’s relationship with a core part of his winning coalition.

My personal opinion is that as time passes today’s order will be seen as doing very little to advance the wishes of evangelical Christians, and will have done much more to anger those on the left. The result will be to leave us father from common ground on some issues not closer. For someone who sees himself as a master negotiator, this move seems like more of a weak compromise than anything else. Evangelicals are growing tired of weak compromises and disappointments. Today’s executive order may cost the administration more than it gains.

Marist Poll: 57% Say Limit Abortion to Cases of Rape, Incest, or Saving a Mother’s Life

Survey shows majority of “pro-choice” supporters now favor a number of abortion restrictions

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (57 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Even a quarter of those who identify as “pro-choice” agree. The data was included in the results of a survey by The Marist Poll released this week in Washington.

The survey also found that majorities of pro-choice Americans support substantial restrictions on abortion. Americans as a whole – and pro-life Americans –support restrictions at even higher rates.

Two-thirds of pro-choice Americans would support limiting abortion to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. The view is shared by 8 in 10 Americans overall (81 percent). More than 6 in 10 pro-choice Americans (62 percent) and a similar number of Americans overall (61 percent) would ban abortion after 20 weeks, except to save the life of the mother. And more than half of those who identify as pro-choice would ban taxpayer funding of abortion, a view shared by 68 percent of Americans overall.

“The idea that those who say they are pro-choice believe abortion should not be substantially restricted simply doesn’t match reality. The data clearly show that there is a consensus in this country in favor of significant abortion restrictions, and that this consensus includes a majority of those who say they are pro-choice,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. “We need a conversation that reflects the reality of this unity instead of the fiction that the label means something it does not.”

Additionally, 77 percent of Americans, including 71 percent of those who are pro-choice, say that laws can protect both a mother and her unborn child.

By a 25-point margin, Americans (55 to 30 percent) say abortion ultimately does a woman more harm than good. Even about 1 in 4 who identify as pro-choice (27 percent) also share this view.

Six in 10 Americans (60 percent), say abortion is “morally wrong.” One-third of pro-choice Americans agree (33 percent).

There was almost no difference in the responses between women and men.

The survey of 1,686 adults was conducted Nov. 15-22, 2015, by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed in English and Spanish by telephone using live interviewers. Results for adults are statistically significant within ±2.4 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

For more details about the survey results and methodology, visit kofc.org/polls.

By Wide Margin Americans Say ISIS’ Targeting of Christians and Other Religious Minorities is Genocide

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 15, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — A new nationwide survey conducted by Marist Poll finds that Americans are well aware of ISIS’ atrocities against Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, and believe those actions to constitute genocide.

By almost 20 points, 55 percent to 36 percent, Americans agree that this targeting of Christians and other religious minorities meets the U.N. definition of genocide.

In addition, nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent), say they have heard “a great deal” or “a good amount” about the targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in the region by ISIS.

The survey comes just over a week after a broad coalition of religious leaders, researchers and scholars sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging – based on the overwhelming evidence of their targeting in Iraq and Syria – that Christians be included in any determination of genocide made by the State Department.

And one week ago, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also released a statement urging the State Department to declare what is happening to religious minorities in the region as genocide.

Pope Francis has called the situation genocide as well. During his trip to Bolivia, he stated, “Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. … A form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, in a letter has also urged Congress to pass the “Genocide” resolution, H.Con.Res. 75.

The survey of 1,517 adults was conducted Dec. 1-7, 2015, by The Marist Poll sponsored and funded in partnership with The Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed in English or Spanish by (landline and cellular) telephone, using live interviewers. Results are statistically significant within ±2.5 percentage points.

Supreme Knight’s Report Highlights K of C’s Charity, Growth & Commitment to the Faith

132nd International Convention hears of first council in Korea 

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 6, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — The Knights of Columbus has set a new record in charitable giving, is continuing to experience membership growth, and has established a new council in South Korea, said the organization’s supreme knight in his annual report to the Knights’ 132nd annual international convention in Orlando.

“Florida is a fitting place for us to remember the great Catholic contribution to our hemisphere,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson as he opened his report. “Before the colonies of Jamestown and Plymouth, the first permanent European settlement was here in Florida, and it was Catholic.”

The supreme knight spoke to an audience of nearly 90 archbishops and bishops, including 11 cardinals, scores of clergy and approximately 2,000 members of the Knights and their families from throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe.

The annual convention — centered this year on the theme “You Will All Be Brothers: Our Vocation to Fraternity” — was drawn from the message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace, in which the Holy Father observed: “Without fraternity it is impossible to build a just society.”

“This sense of fraternity is at the foundation of our call,” said Anderson. “Our charitable activity is all the more effective because it is supported by our fraternal brotherhood.”

For the 14th consecutive year, Anderson reported, the Knights set a new record in charitable giving, with over $170 million and 70.5 million hours of voluntary service given during 2013. According to independent sector, the time donated by Knights to charity was worth more than $1.6 billion.

In addition, “During the fraternal year ending June 30, our membership grew for the 42nd consecutive year,” said Anderson. The Knights now has more than 1.8 million members.

He also announced that the Knights has established St. Andrew Kim Taegon Council 16000, the first K of C council in South Korea.

“There are nearly 5.5 million Catholics in South Korea today. It is the fastest growing Catholic community in the world,” said Anderson. “I am sure that South Korea, like the Philippines, will play a significant role in the future of the Knights of Columbus.”

Other developments reported by the supreme knight included:

  • By percentage, the Knights grew the most in Poland, where membership increased by more than 23 percent. Notable growth has also being achieved in Ukraine and Lithuania.
  • Texas membership grew by two percent last year, making it the only jurisdiction in North America to top 100,000 members.
  • In October, the Knights will launch “Building the Domestic Church: The Family Fully Alive” to help families and parishes offer opportunities for daily prayer, catechesis, Scripture reading, charitable projects and social activities.
  • The Knights’ New Evangelization Series includes new booklets on prayer, the Eucharist, the theology of the body, marriage and consecrated life.
  • The Knights responded quickly and creatively to disasters in the Philippines and North America.
  • The Knights added 15 college councils last year, and now has 302 campus councils with 27,000 members.
  • More Catholic families are protected by the Knights’ insurance program than ever before with $8.2 billion in new insurance issued last year — another annual record.
  • The new Young Adult Insurance Program provides annual renewable term insurance at competitive rates to Knights and their spouses ages 18-29.
  • The Knights remains fully committed to Church teaching and supporting Pope Francis and the bishops in defending religious freedom.
  • The Knights has made great strides in bringing people together in appreciating the gift of life. The K of C ultrasound initiative has added 480 ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers in the United States, Canada and beyond, bringing together mothers and their unborn children in an important way. In addition, the K of C-Marist polling has continued to uncover an ever-growing consensus on life issues and a solid consensus in favor of greater abortion restrictions in the United States.

Follow #KofCFL14 on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for live coverage of the Knights’ 132nd International Convention.

Knights of Columbus Donates $250,000 to Assist in Philippine Relief

The emblem of the Knights of Columbus

The emblem of the Knights of Columbus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

K of C Charities accepting donations to assist the relief efforts

Contact: Andrew Walther, 203-824-5412; Joseph Cullen, 203)-415-9314; both with Knights of Columbus

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 12, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan — one of the strongest typhoons in history — which devastated the Philippines, the Knights of Columbus is donating $250,000 to assist in relief efforts in that country.

The New Haven-based Knights of Columbus has strong ties to the Philippines, where it has had a presence since 1905 and today counts hundreds of thousands of members.

“As we work to assist those who have suffered so much in the Philippines, they will also remain in our prayers,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “The Knights of Columbus has a long tradition of charitable service in the Philippines, and our efforts there on behalf of those affected will continue in that spirit. Locally and internationally, we are committed to helping the people of the Philippines rebuild their lives.”

Those seeking to assist with the relief efforts can donate to the Knights of Columbus Charities Philippine Disaster Relief Fund at www.kofc.org/disaster.

Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100 percent of all donations collected by Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., will be used for disaster relief in the Philippines.

Founded in 1882 in New Haven, Conn., the Knights of Columbus is one of the most active charitable organizations in both the United States and the Philippines. Last year, Knights worldwide donated more than $167.5 million and 70 million hours to charitable causes — including donating substantial amounts of money and time to disaster relief following Hurricane Sandy; the explosion in West, Texas; and the Oklahoma tornadoes.

Knights of Columbus Takes Active Role in Oklahoma Tornado Relief Efforts

The emblem of the Knights of Columbus

The emblem of the Knights of Columbus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 29, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — In the aftermath of the devastating May 20 tornado in central Oklahoma, the Knights of Columbus has taken an active role in assisting those whose lives have been turned upside down by the enormous tornado that hit Moore, and surrounding communities.

K of C relief operations in Moore are headquartered at St. Andrew Church, where its disaster coordination team is addressing community assistance requests and registering Knights of Columbus relief volunteers. Members may offer help at the either of the churches above or online at kofc.org/responders.

Members of St. Andrew’s Council 9901 took to the streets of Moore May 24 to visit parish families at their homes to assess damages and needs. The Knights shared their findings with the parish administration and provide a communications link between the parish and the affected families.

Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City thanked the Knights of Columbus via twitter, writing: “Many thanks to the Knights of Columbus! The response of the Supreme, State and local councils to the Oklahoma tornado effort is outstanding.”

“As an organization whose first principle is Charity, the Knights of Columbus is pleased to be able to assist those who have had their lives so disrupted by this tornado,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “We continue to pray for those affected — both the living and the deceased — and look forward to continuing to help the survivors as they rebuild their towns and their lives.”

The K of C is also among the volunteer agencies offering assistance at four Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) in Moore, Okla. Knights at the centers have already distributed approximately $20,000 for immediate relief needs, in addition to the purchase of various relief supplies totaling several thousand dollars.

In addition to their work at St. Andrew’s and at the MARCs, the Knights have partnered with Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City. Working with Catholic Charities, the Knights opened a distribution center at All Saints Catholic School in Norman, Okla., on May 25 to provide personal hygiene kits, nonperishable food, cleanup materials and tools to those in the storm’s wake.

Catholic Charities is also registering families for assistance and long-term recovery support with the Knights of Columbus providing emergency relief as families inform them of immediate needs.

As part of the ongoing disaster response efforts, the Knights of Columbus launched a new Twitter account — @KofCRelief — to share updates with members and partners through the duration of the recovery process. More detailed updates on the Oklahoma Knights response may be found at kofc.org.

Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc. is continuing to accept online donations of assistance at www.kofc.org/relief.

One hundred percent of all donations collected by Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc. will be sent to those affected by the disaster. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc., is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

With more than 1.8 million members worldwide, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal organization and one of the nation’s most active charitable organizations. Last year, Knights donated more than $158 million and 70 million hours to charitable causes.

Reaction to The Election of Pope Francis I

Below is a sampling of the comments of various leaders and groups around the United States on the election of Pope Francis I.

“Pope Francis stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside. The bishops of the United States and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayers for our new leader and promise allegiance to him,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

“The Catholic world rejoices that the Chair of Peter is no longer empty. The Cardinal-electors have chosen Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th Successor of Peter and the Bishop of Rome. I offer Pope Francis my fidelity and obedient love as the Chief Shepherd of the Universal Catholic Church and my daily prayers that he will confirm our faith in Jesus Christ and lead us in holiness and to fullness in charity to all and be a voice for world peace.”

– Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

“This past Tuesday, Cardinal DiNardo asked the people of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to pray for the Church, the Cardinals, especially himself, and for the new Pope. Since then, we have been praying to God the He would send His Holy Spirit upon all involved in the election of our new Pope. Today our prayers have been answered. We now have a new Pope, Francis. We congratulate him and pledge our unending support to him. May God Bless our new Holy Father.”

– Bishop George A. Sheltz

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

“Pope Francis is a humble leader who has vigorously defended the fullness of the Gospel on issues of public concern. Life, marriage, religious liberty and economic justice are borne out of the Church’s defense of the dignity of every human person beginning with the unborn. Pope Francis represents a historic invitation to all Catholics, especially Hispanic Catholics, to respond to the call of the New Evangelization in American political life.”

VoteCatholic.Org

I am very happy with the election of Pope Francis.

For us as Catholics, this is a beautiful spiritual moment, a time of joy and thanksgiving.

A time for prayer for the whole Church. This is a great day, not only for Catholics, but for the whole world. Because the Pope is the living sign of the universality of God’s Church. And the Pope is a sign of Jesus Christ’s love for the world and for every person in every nation.

I have had the privilege of knowing our new Holy Father through our work together on

the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. I look forward to seeing him and getting

to know him better while I am in Rome next month. It is a beautiful sign to have a new Pope who is the first Pope from the Americas, from the New World. The election of Pope Francis is a call for all of us to strive for holiness and to work to make our countries and ourcontinents a “new world of faith.”

So today we thank God that he has given us a Pope who is a humble man who lives with simplicity and a desire for holiness.

Our new Pope is a defender of the poor, a strong teacher, and a leader committed to renewal in the Church and the new evangelization of our world.

I join my brothers and sisters in the Church in Los Angeles and throughout the Americas and the whole world in offering my prayers for Pope Francis and pledging my loyalty and love for him and my obedience to him.

I ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for our new Pope. And I pray that we

all go to Jesus, closely united to the Pope, through Mary.”

Most Reverend José H. Gomez

Archbishop of Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Departing for a moment from strictly American reaction the Rt Rev. Justin Welby the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the following statement which gives us insight into the thinking of Non-Catholic Christian leaders. As head of the Anglican Communion, Welby is also the spiritual leader of the members of the Episcopal Church here in the United States.

We wish Pope Francis every blessing in the enormous responsibilities that he has assumed on behalf of Roman Catholics around the world.

“His election is also of great significance to Christians everywhere, not least among Anglicans. We have long since recognised – and often reaffirmed – that our churches hold a special place for one another. I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors.  May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world.

“Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows. His choice of the name Francis suggests that he wants to call us all back to the transformation that St Francis knew and brought to the whole of Europe, fired by contemplation and closeness to God.

“As I begin tomorrow a prayer pilgrimage toward my own inauguration as Archbishop in Canterbury next Thursday, Pope Francis will be much in my own prayers, as he will be throughout the coming months and years.”

Rt. Rev. Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury

“In the humility and vigor of his first appearance, Pope Francis gave immediate hope and spiritual renewal to the world’s Catholics.

“Secular liberals hoping the new pope will bend the Church’s teachings to their political agenda — such as acceptance of same-sex marriage — will no doubt be disappointed to discover that Francis is, in fact, a Catholic.

“It was an inspired and history-changing choice for the cardinals to elect the first pope from the New World.

“As American Catholics face a continuing battle with the Obama administration, and the President’s secular liberal allies, over Obamacare’s abortion mandate and President Obama’s push for universal acceptance of same-sex marriage, we can take heart that we have a new pope who has already shown he is willing to stand before worldly leaders girded only in Christ’s teachings to tell them they are wrong.

“In Argentina, the Pope worked to assert the church’s moral influence and support traditional values.

“As Bishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis’ legacy in Argentina included rebuilding the Church’s reputation after many followers were disheartened when the Church failed to openly challenge Argentina’s murderous 1976-83 dictatorship.

“If Pope Francis’ outspoken criticism of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner didn’t stop her from imposing radical secular liberal policies, such as same-sex marriage and adoption to free contraceptives for all, he provided the great moral compass that society must have when temporary political expediency points a nation or a people in the wrong direction.

“Such moral leadership and courage will inject much-needed backbone into the bishops, priests, and lay-leaders here in the United States, where the Church has too often adopted the trends and habits of a secular amoral society.

“The election of Pope Francis is a life-changing, world changing event for Catholics, and all Christians, who can be inspired by what he told priests in Argentina last year:  ‘Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.'”

Richard A. Viguerie

Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com

“Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and the 1.8 million members of the Knights of Columbus extend cordial best wishes and prayers to our newly elected pope. The election of Pope Francis – the first pope from the American hemisphere – highlights the fact that America is the continent of baptized Christians, and a place of central importance to the faith today. Pope Francis is well known also for his emphasis on charity – the first principle of the Knights of Columbus. Both in our efforts for evangelization and in our charitable work, we will strive with him to bring the light of Christ to the people of our continent during his historic pontificate.”

Official Statement of the Knights of Columbus

 

“I rejoice with all the Catholics of the world in the election of Pope Francis. His life as a disciple of Jesus Christ and his service as a Jesuit priest and as Archbishop of the local Church of Buenos Aires have prepared him for his universal pastoral service as successor of St. Peter. His great sense of humility, his eloquent preaching of the Faith and his life of simplicity and dedication to the poor already mark him as a fitting Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Universal Church.

May I also add how privileged I was to participate in the conclave. It was a humbling and enriching experience. ”

+ Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

 

Below is a statement from Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, on the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I

I join my brother Cardinals in giving thanks to God for the election of Pope Francis I, the 266th successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ. The clergy, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Boston celebrate this blessing for the Church.

At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus commissioned St. Peter the rock upon which the Church would be built. Pope Francis continues that mission in an increasingly secular culture, where many people have not come to know or have forgotten that Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer. The world will greatly benefit from Pope Francis witnessing Jesus’ call for us to love God and love one another. We pledge our faithful support for the Holy Father as he leads the Church in proclaiming the New Evangelization, inviting all people to a develop a closer relationship with Christ and to share that gift with others.

May God grant Pope Francis the grace and strength to lead the worldwide community of more than one billion Catholics. The Holy Father has already shown us his deep humility in the invitation to pray with him, for him and for the Church. We pray that the Holy Spirit, who led us to choose the Holy Father, will guide him in witnessing the eternal truths of our faith.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley

Archbishop of Boston

 

“It is a brilliant stroke of the Holy Spirit that completely faked out the media (and me too, I have to say). A son of Ignatius takes the name of Francis. A man of Old World heritage who is part of the New World. Truly a Pontifex Maximus (which means “the greatest builder of bridges”). He’s solidly orthodox with a zeal for the poor. His model is the obedience of Ignatius and the poverty of Francis. How blessed we Catholics are in our popes!”

Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio

Founder and Publisher of Ignatius Press

 

“The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel congratulates Pope Frances on assuming the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. We wish him great success in guiding the Catholic faithful and continuing the great work of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to strengthen the friendship between the Church and the Jewish People that began at the Second Vatican Council.

“At a time when the entire human family desperately needs to recommit itself to fundamental moral values for humanity to flourish, we pray that the Church and Pope Francis will be successful in teaching the world the truths of Judeo-Christian ethics and the intrinsic value of the human person created in God’s Image,” said R. Shlomo Riskin, founder and Chancellor of CJCUC.

All of us at CJCUC look forward to continued cooperation with the Vatican and Catholics everywhere to teach mutual understanding between Catholics and Jews and to defend religious tolerance and freedom for all.”

Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, Chancellor, CJCUC
Mr. David Nekrutman, Executive Director, CJCUC
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, North American Director, CJCUC
Rabbi Dr. Angel Kreiman-Brill, Latin American Director, CJCUC

The Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding in Israel

 

 

Two-Thirds of Americans Prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ Greeting

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 21, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — A new survey finds Americans by a wide margin prefer the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting to the non-specific “Happy Holidays.”

The Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll found that two-thirds of adults nationally — 66 percent — think people should say, “Merry Christmas,” while less than one-third — 29 percent — believe the appropriate greeting is “Happy Holidays.” The proportion that prefers “Merry Christmas” has continued to inch up over the past two years. Last year, 64 percent thought “Merry Christmas” was the more appropriate greeting while 31 percent preferred “Happy Holidays.” In 2010, the number preferring “Merry Christmas” stood at 61 percent.  Five percent remain unsure.

“That we prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ by such a wide margin is indicative of the importance that Christmas has in the lives of the great majority of Americans,” said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “For that vast majority of Americans who observe Christmas, this day and season are a time for us to celebrate the fact that God exists and is with us. Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ allows us to celebrate that fact with joy and let us share this joy with our loved ones and neighbors.”

The meaning of Christmas has long been important to the Knights of Columbus. For decades, the Knights have been at the forefront of the campaign to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” producing public service announcements (PSAs) with the “Keep Christ in Christmas” message since the 1980s. The radio and television PSAs reach millions annually. The PSAs can be accessed at kofc.org/christmas.

This Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll surveyed 1,246 adults and was conducted December 4 through December 6, 2012, and has a margin of error within +/- 2.8 percentage points. Results may be viewed at kofc.org/moralcompass.

Knights of Columbus Sets New Records for Charitable Contributions

English: Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of t...

English: Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW HAVEN, Conn., June 11, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — The Knights of Columbus announced today that it set new all-time records for charitable donations and volunteer service hours in 2011. Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson released the results of the Catholic fraternal organization’s annual survey in a presentation to its board of directors and state leaders, meeting June 6-10 at its international headquarters.
The results of the K of C’s Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity for the year ending Dec. 31, 2011 indicate that total charitable contributions reached $158,084,514 — exceeding the previous year’s total by more than $3.4 million. The figure includes $29,183,386 donated by the Supreme Council and $128,901,128 in contributions from the organization’s state and local affiliates. Overall contributions increased for the 12th consecutive year.
Large donations during the period included $7.5 million in support of priestly and religious vocations, $3.6 million for Special Olympics, $515,000 for the organization’s Coats for Kids program and continuing support of a joint program with Project Medishare to provide prosthetics to Haitian children who lost limbs during the January 2010 earthquake.
The survey also indicated that the quantity of volunteer service hours to charitable causes by Knights grew to 70,053,149 — an increase of 3,716 hours compared to the 2010 total. At a national average value of $21.79 per service hour according to Independent Sector, the total value of the Knights’ service hours last year exceeds $1.5 billion.
Among the service programs receiving significant K of C volunteer hours were the Coats for Kids project, Special Olympics, and the Global Wheelchair Mission.
There were also more than 418,000 K of C blood donations during the year.
Cumulative figures show that during the past decade, the Knights of Columbus has donated $1.406 billion to charity, and provided more than 653 million hours of volunteer service in support of charitable initiatives.
“At a time when many in our communities continue to experience economic hardship, the increasing charitable work of the Knights of Columbus is a testament to the power of love of neighbor and to the great things that can be done by those committed to the common good,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
The Knights of Columbus was founded by Father Michael J. McGivney, a New Haven parish priest, in 1882. It has grown into the world’s largest lay Catholic organization, with more than 1.8 million members throughout North and Central America, the Philippines, the Caribbean and Poland.

Knights of Columbus Joins Legal Defense of 10th Mountain Division War Memorial

"See him Through. Help Us To Help The Boy...

“See him Through. Help Us To Help The Boys. National Catholic War Council Knights of Columbus. United War Work… – NARA – 512603 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 memorial on Forest Service land includes statue of Jesus 

NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 30, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — It’s a war memorial that has commemorated the valor and sacrifice of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division for more than 50 years. And yesterday, one day after Americans solemnly observed Memorial Day, the Knights of Columbus — represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — asked to intervene in a pending lawsuit to defend the memorial’s right to exist on public land in Montana.

The war memorial near Whitefish, Mont., includes a large statue of Jesus. It was erected by Montana members of the Knights of Columbus who were asked by veterans of the 10th Mountain Division to create a memorial reminiscent of hilltop shrines they encountered in Europe while fighting in World War II. The memorial has been maintained by local Knights of Columbus in Whitefish since it was erected in 1954.

Yesterday, the Knights of Columbus asked the U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont. to allow it to intervene as a defendant in the case Freedom from Religion Foundation vs. Weber, in order to protect its First Amendment rights — and those of its members in Montana — as it seeks to continue honoring the memory of the soldiers who gave their lives for our country.

“The idea that a war memorial containing a religious symbol on a remote piece of public land somehow establishes religion in this country is at odds with the historical record, the vision of our Founding Fathers enshrined in the First Amendment and the extensive jurisprudence in this area,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “It is sad that some in America have become so intolerant of religion that they are willing to remove longstanding memorials to America’s war heroes to enforce their narrow view on the rest of us.”

Nearly 60 years ago, Kalispell Council 1328 of the Knights of Columbus leased the 25-foot by 25-foot plot of land on Big Mountain, which lies within a commercial ski resort, from the U.S. Forest Service, to erect a memorial honoring fallen soldiers from World War II.

The permit had been renewed every 10 years without incident until 2010, when the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based organization, threatened the Forest Service claiming the memorial violated the U.S. Constitution. The Forest Service initially denied the permit, but then renewed it after nationwide media attention and a public outcry. In February, the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed suit to have the memorial permanently removed.

A Knights of Columbus-Marist national poll conducted in 2010 found that 76 percent of Americans believe the first Amendment should protect the free exercise of religion, not keep government land free of religious symbolism. Similarly, a 2009 Rasmussen poll indicated 76 percent of Americans favor the display of religious symbols on public property.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Conn. A number of its initial members were veterans of the Union Army who fought in Civil War.