Articles

Resolve to Defend Life

Doug Oldmixon, IPSD, State Historian

January is always a time of reflection. The old year has passed, and the new one is on the horizon.  It provides a person with a clean slate, wide open with possibilities.

As Catholics and Knights, we are lucky to have the benefit of the teachings of our Faith and the principles of our Order to help us as we look toward the future and for ways to improve not only our lives, but also the lives of those around us, through our actions and deeds in the upcoming year.

January also has the unfortunate distinction of marking the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of the United States Supreme Court.  It was 44 years ago this month, that the highest court in the land weighed in on the abortion issue, holding that the “right” to have an abortion is protected under the U.S. Federal Constitution, a position that is antithetical to our Catholic Faith and the belief that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. Since the Supreme Court issued its decision in that case in 1973, our Order has been at the forefront of the struggle to create and preserve a “Culture of Life.”  

But even before the Roe decision, our Order was on the front line of the pro-life movement, working with other pro-life groups to limit the legalization of abortion at the state level. As Catholics, we believe in the sanctity of human life in all its stages and as an Order, we have been steadfast in our opposition to abortion on demand. Fundamental to this opposition is a history of providing our members and others an ability to put their faith and beliefs into action. 

In January 1974, a year after the Roe decision, thousands of people participated in the first March for Life in Washington, DC, and the Knights of Columbus were an integral part of that event. The demonstration has happened every year since that inaugural march on Washington, and the Knights have been a vital part of each march, including hosting the first Rosary Rally on the Ellipse near the White House leading up to the March in 1978. Our Order is involved in local and state marches held annually on or near the anniversary of the Roe decision and encourages Knights who cannot make the trip Washington to attend the National March for Life to show support at the local level.  Texas Knights participate in the March for Life in the Texas State Capitol in Austin and in the rally on the Capitol grounds each year, as do Knights in all 50 states.

And as is often the case, Texas Knights have crafted their own “call to action” surrounding the Roe decision.  Starting in October of 1973, a group of Knights in Garland, Texas who had grown tired of all of the misleading spin that legalized abortion was getting in the media decided to hold a rally to raise money for pregnancy counseling centers in the area and to shed a light on the other positive options available to mothers who found themselves in a “crisis pregnancy.”  Headed up by several dedicated local Knights, the “Hike for Life” began from modest beginnings to become the first and longest lasting pro-life event in Texas.  Each year Hike for Life events raise funds to fuel the efforts of crisis pregnancy centers to promote alternatives to abortion. 

Of course the activism of the Knights on this issue does not stop there. Local councils across the nation are involved in prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics, and stories abound of women on their way to have an abortion changing their minds due to a prayer vigil outside of the clinic. Through advertising and other media, the Order has tirelessly promoted pro-life causes and supported initiatives to provide pregnant mothers with options. In 2009, the Supreme Council started the Ultrasound Initiative to promote this life-saving technology. Since that date, state and local councils have partnered with Supreme to place over 800 ultrasound machines in pro-life pregnancy care centers in all 50 states, Canada, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Peru – with over 60 in Texas.. 

While the Order has done great things to create and encourage a Culture of Life in the face of the obstacles that modern secular society has erected, we must remain engaged. In 2010, at the annual meeting of the Supreme Council in Washington, DC, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson explains why it’s important, more than ever, to fight the good fight. Invoking the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and the specter of the Dred Scott case, in which the Supreme Court allowed slavery to expand into the western territories, the Supreme Knight said, “Abraham Lincoln could not accept that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case had settled the issue of slavery. And we cannot accept that Roe v. Wade has settled the issue of abortion.”

We must continue to do our part to put the truths of our Faith and the principles of our Order into action. Make the most of the opportunity that this New Year provides us. Resolve this year to take a greater role in pro-life activities.  Resolve to do your part to defend human life.


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