They are running their own TV ad titled Actions Speak Louder Than Words, in which they remonstrate with Senator McCain, "You voted against one of the largest support programs for pregnant women. You voted against health care for our children. And you voted for a war that has killed thousands of Americans. Senator McCain, when will you start defending all human life, without exception?"
Now they have sent me an email entitled "Knights of Columbus Distracts Catholics from the Real Issues of this Election" in which they denounce the K of C for publishing (and paying to place in a number of newspapers) an open letter to vice presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden. The Open Letter from the Knights of Columbus to Senator Biden can be found here, and I strongly encourage you to read it. It is a thorough and thoughtful letter.
Catholics United executive director Chris Korzen is quoted as saying:
The Knights of Columbus' ad campaign is yet another unfortunate distraction from the serious and urgent issues Americans are facing in this campaign: lack of health care, a crumbling economy, a war that has gone on far too long, and solutions to the tragedy of abortion that offer results instead of rhetoric. By choosing to focus on Senator Biden's own unhelpful comments instead of offering a comprehensive vision of what it means to be pro-life, the Knights are doing a major disservice to the unborn, indeed to all Americans.Let me reply, both as a fellow Catholic and as a Knight, to Chris Korzen and to James Salt, the "organizing director" who is the signatory to all the emails that go out from Catholics United:
Your attitude towards the open letter from Supreme Knight Carl Anderson is not only disappointing, it is deplorable. You and your organization should be ashamed of yourselves and of your politicization of Catholic teaching in order to support the most pro-abortion candidate ever to seek of the office of President of the United States.
Further, your attempts to attack McCain and uphold Obama on "pro-life" grounds are misguided to the point of being morally disgusting.
This is not because I think that every good Catholic must support McCain because of the abortion issue. Far from it. I know orthodox Catholics and other people who are genuinely pro-life who believe that a progressive approach to economics and social services (or a change in foreign policy) are so desperately needed in this country that they consider them more than proportionate reasons to support Senator Obama for president. I respect such people's position, though I by no means agree with it.
However, in your ad you elide some important moral and political distinctions. A desire to help the poor, expectant mothers and those in need of medical treatment is not the exclusive domain of social progressives. Nor are the particular pieces of legislation which you fault McCain for opposing necessitated by Catholic Social Teaching or a pro-life commitment. Catholics who hold conservative and progressive economic views are united in their desire to help those in need, but we disagree on the best way to do so. Principled conservatives do not believe that continuously expanding social welfare programs at the federal level is the best way to alleviate suffering in our communities. And a great many of us provide significant donations to crisis pregnancy centers and other charities designed to achieve these very goals via private means in our communities. (In stark contrast, it might be noted, to Senator Biden's virtually complete absence of charitable giving. And Obama's similar tendencies.)
So while being pro-life in a comprehensive sense most certainly requires "caring for people outside the womb as well as inside" (as the phrase goes) it does not necessarily require that one share the progressive politics of Messrs. Korzen and Salt.
Moreover, it is doubly hypocritical for you to first attack Republicans for not agreeing with your opinions as to what specific policies are actually most conducive to the common good, and then denounce the Knights for asserting basic Catholic teaching about the morality of abortion. The truth can never be a distraction from the "real issues".
I assume that you are in earnest in your belief that progressive policies are most conducive to the Common Good. If you called yourselves "Progressives United" that would be all well and good. But to call yourselves "Catholics United" and then denounce those who put forth basic Catholic teachings, while acting as if your personal policy preferences have the stamp of doctrinal necessity is the height of dishonesty.