A Brief History of Kamala Harris and the Knights of Columbus
During their debate earlier this week, Vice President Mike Pence used California Senator Kamala Harris for her attacks on the religious views of several recently appointed judicial candidates - an issue on which Harris has not yet received press questions.
"Senator, I know one of our justice candidates who you actually attacked for being a member of the Catholic Knights of Columbus," said Pence, "only because the Knights of Columbus have lifelike views." I hope Judge Amy Coney Barrett is respectfully elected at the hearing and confirmed in the United States Supreme Court. "
In response to Pence's allegation, Harris said, “Joe Biden and I are both men of faith and it is insulting to say that we would beat anyone for their beliefs and in fact, if Joe is elected, Joe will only become the second practicing Catholic be as President of the United States. "
There is a lot to be said about Biden and his Catholicism, some of which I have discussed elsewhere in NGOs. But what really deserves to be questioned about Harris' answer is her lie that she did not "hit" anyone because of her belief.
In a recent article, I have recorded many times over the past three years when Democratic senators questioned candidates for justice about their beliefs, suggesting in various forms that a candidate's Catholic or Christian beliefs may render them incapable of being in the bank to serve.
Some of these questions were asked by Harris himself, with an emphasis on Catholic candidates. For example, in late 2018, Harris Brian Buescher, who was appointed federal district judge in Nebraska, grilled about his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal charitable organization with more than 2 million members worldwide. Here is one of Harris' written questions to Buescher:
Since 1993 you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society made up mostly of Catholic men. In 2016, Knights of Columbus leader Carl Anderson described abortion as "a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths". Mr. Anderson continued, "Abortion is the killing of the innocent on a large scale." Did you know that the Knights of Columbus rejected a woman's right to vote when you joined the organization?
She went on to ask whether Buescher "was aware that the Knights of Columbus were against marriage equality when they joined the organization" and whether he "had ever contributed in any way or contributed to advocating women's reproductive rights" .
Harris put these and similar questions to Paul Matey and Peter Phipps, Catholic candidates who, like Buescher, are members of the Knights. Some of the questions she asked Matey about his involvement with the Knights included:
* Do you agree with Mr. Anderson's description of abortion as "the killing of the innocent on a large scale"?
* Do you agree with Mr. Anderson that legal abortion "has resulted in more than 40 million deaths" in the US?
* Do you think a fetus is eligible for protection under the US Constitution?
Harris asked Phipps the following questions:
* Since 2011 you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization limited to men only. The Knights of Columbus declare that they "defend the right of every human being to life, from the moment of conception to natural death". As a member of this organization, are you carrying out this mission?
* If confirmed on the bench, will you be defending everyone's right to life, from the moment of conception to natural death?
* Do you have to swear an oath to join this organization? If so, what kind of oath is that?
* How can litigants expect a fair hearing in your court if the organizational values of your group conflict with the litigants' constitutional rights?
However, Kamala Harris never explicitly stated that Catholics are not allowed to hold public office. She probably doesn't think so and no one has blamed her. The problem arises when she suspects that a Catholic might actually believe what the Church teaches about marriage or abortion. What Harris' narrow-minded worldview overlooks is that a judge doesn't have to be religious at all to see that Roe v. Wade was based on unconstitutional legal considerations.
Rather than focusing on the legal philosophies that could guide a judge's decisions at the bank, Harris has chosen several times to examine the candidates' religious beliefs, motivated by a strong belief that membership in a Catholic organization is suspect and possible is disqualification.
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