Florida State Council

Knights of Columbus

Message from State Advocate 10.20.18

POLITICAL ISSUES

Catholic Citizenship And Public Policy

Guidelines For Political Activity

Prohibition On Use Of Membership To Promote Candidates For Public Office

Nonpartisan Voter Registration Program

Nonpartisan Vote Programs Resources

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Catholic Citizenship And Public Policy

The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic men’s fraternal service organization whose mission is to witness to our Catholic principles of charity, unity and fraternity by performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy locally and throughout the world. The Knights of Columbus believes that the best way to renew society and build a true

“civilization of love” is through the personal witness of its members to the love of Jesus

Christ. The Knights of Columbus gives no more compelling witness to the love of Jesus Christ than when its members are united in fraternal bond performing charitable works.

In addition to performing charitable works, the Knights of Columbus encourages its members to meet their responsibilities as Catholic citizens and to become active in the political life of their local communities, to vote and to speak out on the public issues of the day. To understand these responsibilities, the Knights of Columbus looks to The Second Vatican Council, which identifies the mission of the Catholic faithful to build a society consistent with Gospel values when it states, “By reason of their special vocation, it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will…. Thus especially by the witness of their life resplendent in faith, hope and charity, they must manifest Christ to others.” [1]

In the political realm, this means opening our public policy efforts and deliberations to the life of Christ and the teachings of the Church. In accord with our Bishops, the Knights of Columbus has consistently maintained positions that take these concerns into account. The Order supports and promotes the social doctrine of the Church, including a robust vision of religious liberty that embraces religion’s proper role in the private and public spheres. The Knights of Columbus supports policies that promote a Culture of Life and opposes legislative efforts that promote pornography, contraception, sterilization, cloning, the destruction of embryos, abortion, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. As Saint Pope John Paul II once said, “Abortion and euthanasia are […] crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.”[2] The Knights of Columbus also promotes the dignity and the irreplaceable value of the family founded on the Church’s understanding of marriage as the faithful, exclusive, and lifelong union of one man and one woman joined in an intimate partnership of life and love.

Altogether, we are called to promote a civilization of love that is possible when the law honors the dignity of marriage and the dignity of each human person from conception to natural death. The Order joins with our bishops and the national bishops’ conferences throughout the world in their efforts to achieve legal and constitutional protection for human life, religious liberty, and marriage at the national, state, territorial, and local levels. If a candidate for public office displays a sustained commitment to policies conflicting with these reasonable goals, we reserve the right to withhold our votes from such a candidate. If such a candidate prevails, we will express our principled disagreement with his or her policy choices as informed Catholic constituents.

In all of these efforts prayer is indispensible. We will pray that the Holy Spirit enlighten elected officials and judges to adopt laws and make judicial decisions that respect religious liberty and affirm life and the authentic nature of marriage.

DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH LUMEN GENTIUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964, 31, available at http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents... (last visited June 2, 2016).

Saint Pope John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, March 25, 1995, 73, available at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_... (last visited June 2, 2016).

As stewards of the Knights of Columbus reputation, state deputies have a responsibility to know what is going on in their jurisdictions and to report to the Supreme Council any irregularities, misconduct, or abuse. The Order has procedures and protocols to effectively address allegations of wrongdoing, but we can do so only if we receive timely notification from our fraternal partners in the field. For this reason, state deputies should promote open channels of communication within their state councils and subordinate councils in order to receive critical information at the earliest possible stage. Upon receipt of such critical information, state deputies should convey it immediately to the Supreme Advocate.

Rev. June 2016

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Guidelines For Political Activity

Knights are first and foremost Catholic citizens who are members of their communities and constituents of their elected officials. A citizen most effectively petitions his elected official as an individual voter. Ordinarily, there is no need to refer to one’s membership in the Knights of Columbus when petitioning an elected official. The message we want to send is “I am an informed constituent who has a principled stand [against / in favor of] your public policy choices and I vote.” As Pope Emeritus Benedict

XVI reminded us: “It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States comes to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness.”[1] To help members answer this call to faithful citizenship effectively, the Knights of Columbus provides the following list of political activity “DOs and DON’Ts”:

DOs

DO become active in the political life of your local community;

DO register to vote and encourage others to register to vote;

DO initiate and participate in robust “get out the vote” efforts to bring voters to the polls in all primary, general, and special elections;

DO become informed on public policy issues of fundamental interest to the Catholic Church at the local, state, federal, and international levels;

DO become acquainted with public policy initiatives of the national conferences of Catholic Bishops as well as state and provincial Catholic conferences;

DO study and reflect upon the teachings of the Catholic Church so as to develop a well-formed Catholic conscience – a good place to start would be to review relevant sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, available at http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM ;

DO order booklets on specific issues of fundamental importance to Catholics published by the Catholic Information

Service, http://www.kofc.org/un/en/cis/index.html ;

DO share with others the Catholic Church’s teachings on moral issues of fundamental importance to society;

DO advocate for Catholic positions on local and national legislative and other issues of fundamental interest to the Catholic Church. This includes participation in action alert announcements that seek to make the voices of Catholic citizens heard on legislation of fundamental interest to the Catholic Church;

DO write letters to the editor of local newspapers;

DO know your elected representatives and their positions on issues of fundamental interest to the Catholic Church;

DO correspond with your representatives and let them know that you support the Catholic position on issues of fundamental interest to the Catholic Church;

DO thank representatives for their actions taken on issues of fundamental interest to the Catholic Church;

DO join the Supreme Council and your State Council in advocating for public policy issues. When doing so, echo the sentiments and wording the Supreme Council or your State Council have already articulated; and • DO VOTE!

DON’Ts

DO NOT engage in any partisan political activity in the name of the Knights of Columbus. Partisan political activity is defined as including activity that seeks to endorse or oppose a candidate or party in a campaign for public office.

DO NOT make partisan political statements in the name of the Knights of Columbus. A partisan political statement is defined as including statements that seek to endorse or oppose a candidate or party in a campaign for public office.

DO NOT, on behalf of your local council, congratulate or admonish public officials in the name of the Knights of Columbus.

DO NOT, on behalf of your local council, take a position on a matter of public policy unless you are joining a position the Supreme Council or your State Council has already articulated;

DO NOT distribute any Knights of Columbus member lists or contact information to political campaigns or to individuals running for office;

DO NOT use an official fraternal title in connection with your personal political activity, except to convey biographical information; and

DO NOT use Knights of Columbus facilities, including, but not limited to, email accounts, social media, fax machines, letterhead and the like, in connection with partisan political activity.

[1] ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI, POPE EMERITUS, TO THE BISHOPS OF

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ON THEIR "AD LIMINA" VISIT, Consistory Hall,

Thursday, 19 January 2012

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2012/january/doc... (last vistited June 2, 2016)

Rev. June 2016

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Prohibition On Use Of Membership To Promote Candidates For Public Office A member may not use his membership in the Knights of Columbus, including the name and emblem, for political advantage or to imply that the Order supports a candidate for public office. Specifically, Section 162.23 of the Laws of the Order prohibits a member from “issuing or soliciting by virtue of his membership in the Knights of Columbus, aid, or assistance or support by or in behalf of . . . candidates for public office . . . .” Consistent with this Law, the Board of Directors will not authorize any use of the name and emblem of the Order, or one’s membership in the Order, to promote any political affiliation or candidate for public office. If a member wishes to express his public support for a candidate or political party, he may not identify himself as a member of the Knights of Columbus. To the extent any member is himself a candidate for public office, failure to observe this rule may expose the member to disciplinary action under Sections 162.11 and 162.23 of the Laws of the Order.

Rev. March 2013

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Nonpartisan Voter Registration Program

Citizens of the United States have the right to vote. In exercising this right, Catholic citizens have the opportunity to contribute to the civic life of their country and their communities by voting for candidates who will support policies that are consistent with Catholic values.

Knights of Columbus should register to vote and should encourage other members of their families, parishes, and communities to register. To that end, the Knights of Columbus has developed the parish based Nonpartisan National Voter Registration Program, the goal of which is to enable members to help fellow Catholics exercise their right to vote.

This important program is conducted annually.

Please review the webcast training * along with your State Advocate.

Next, consult with your local bishops/archbishops and Catholic Conference to determine whether they will authorize Knights of Columbus to conduct this program in their dioceses.

If any bishops/archbishops authorize Knights of Columbus to conduct this program, please advise all relevant Grand Knights that, if their council chooses to participate in this program, they must obtain permission of local pastors before they can conduct the program.

Once a Grand Knight has obtained a local pastor's permission, the Grand Knight should log on to the Officers' Desk Reference to review the webcast training and related instructions and materials referred to below. This will help ensure that the Grand Knight and the members of the council are properly trained on how to administer this program.

Before participating in the Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Voter

Registration Program, please read Catholic Citizenship And Public Policy , Guidelines For Political Activity, available online under the “Political Issues” tab of the “Officers’ Desk Reference” on “Officers Online” at www.kofc.org, as well as review the Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Voter Registration Program * presentation.

Recommended general steps to participate in the Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Voter Registration Program are:

Consult with your state’s Catholic Conference or local diocese in order to obtain approval and guidance on how your state's bishops would like the state council to conduct its registration drive in each diocese and local parish.

Carefully review and understand your state's voter registration rules and regulations. To find your state's rules and regulations, the Knights of Columbus has provided an interactive map of the United States on its homepage, which can be accessed by clicking on this

link http://www.kofc.org/en/members/programs/4th-degree-programs/getout-the-v.... Additionally, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) provides a website with a map that allows you to select state links to access state election websites that include voter guides, registration information and deadlines, absentee and early voting dates, provisional voting information, and polling place hours and locations. You may access the EAC’s website here: https://www.eac.gov/voters/register-and-vote-in-your-state/

If you have any specific legal concerns or questions about your state’s voter registration laws or regulations, please contact the elections division, which is typically under the direction of your state’s attorney general office or secretary of state’s office, or retain the services of a competent and trustworthy election law attorney licensed in your state.

Appoint at least one “Diocesan Coordinator” to be a liaison between the state council and the local diocese and its parishes.

Each Diocesan Coordinator should organize teams of volunteers from local parish assemblies and councils.

Collect name and contact information of those local council and assembly volunteer members who will monitor the tables after each Mass on the designated weekend(s).

Train each volunteer member on his responsibilities, stressing the need to remain nonpartisan throughout the registration process.

The Diocesan Coordinator(s) should train volunteers by ensuring that each volunteer has been provided with a copies of Catholic Citizenship And Public Policy, Guidelines For Political Activity, and the Knights of Columbus National

Nonpartisan Voter Registration Program * presentation.

After the Diocesan Coordinator has ensured that each volunteer has been provided with these training materials, he should provide the volunteer with a Nonpartisan Voter Registration Acknowledgment Form for the volunteer to read and sign. The volunteer must return the signed form back to the Diocesan Coordinator to retain on file.

Volunteers from a local council or assembly intending to participate in the voter registration program should get in touch with the pastor of their parish to receive his permission to hold the drive.

Volunteers should discuss dates on which the drive will be held with the pastor; To maximize the impact of the registration effort, each participating council and assembly should plan on having at least three weekend registration drives in every parish.

Discuss table placement with the pastor.

Make sure the pastor has received copies of proposed bulletin and pulpit information/announcements.

Obtain the pastor’s permission to hang posters around the parish. PDFs of the posters are available here and here for reproduction. Set a volunteer schedule for each Mass.

Nothing may be attached to the voter registration forms you hand out, including organizational flyers, membership forms, or other information. Although membership is not the focus of this program, Forms 100 may be made available, if asked for, to recruit new members. Membership forms should not be kept on the table during the registration drive, but should be kept out of sight, separate and apart from voter registration forms.

Greet parishioners as they leave church and invite them to register to vote.

If a parishioner is wondering whether or not he or she is already registered to vote, you can recommend that he or she check with the city or town hall where the person is domiciled. You can also recommend that the person log on to the website maintained by The National Association of Secretaries of States. This organization provides a searchable database containing most states on its website, which may be helpful to persons wondering if they are already registered to vote. The weblink for the website is https://www.nass.org/can-ivote.

Using this Registration Tally Worksheet, record each person's completed voter registration. At the end of the program, the worksheet should be turned in to the

Grand Knight. The Grand Knight then logs on to the Registration Survey at http://surveys.questionpro.com/a/TakeSurvey?id=3213185 to input the

total number of completed registrations done by members of his council. The Grand Knight should retain a copy of the worksheet and submit the original worksheet to the Diocesan Coordinator.

After the drive is over, return the completed voter registration forms within the applicable deadline. Mail or hand deliver as soon as possible!

*VIEWING THE TRAINING WEBCAST

Click on the weblink and wait for the webcast to load. It should begin to play automatically.

The play and pause buttons on the side of the window will allow you to stop and start viewing at your convenience.

To view a section of the webcast again, click the “Jump To” button, and choose the slide on which you would like the video to begin.

When you have viewed the entire webcast, you may close the window and log on to the Officer’s Desk Reference on www.kofc.org to obtain printer friendly implementation instructions and related materials.

This webcast is compatible with all browsers and operating systems. However, for best results, Knights of Columbus recommends the Google Chrome browser, available for free & secure download

at www.google.com/chrome/browser/ Please direct all questions regarding Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan National Voter Registration Program to advocate@kofc.org.

As stewards of the Knights of Columbus reputation, state deputies have a responsibility to know what is going on in their jurisdictions and to report to the Supreme Council any irregularities, misconduct, or abuse. The Order has procedures and protocols to effectively address allegations of wrongdoing, but we can do so only if we receive timely notification from our fraternal partners in the field. For this reason, state deputies should promote open channels of communication within their state councils and subordinate councils in order to receive critical information at the earliest possible stage. Upon receipt of such critical information, state deputies should convey it immediately to the Supreme Advocate.

Rev. August 2016

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Nonpartisan Vote Programs Resources

2018 Register to Vote Poster

2018 Vote Poster

2018 State Deputy Voter Registration Checklist

2018 Grand Knight/Faithful Navigator Voter Registration Checklist

Guidelines for Participation in Knights of Columbus Nonpartisan Voter Registration Program

2018 Nonpartisan Voter Registration Acknowledgement

2018 Registration Tally Worksheet

2018 Knights of Columbus Catholic Citizenship and Public Policy

Knights of Columbus Guidelines for Political Activity

2018 Voter Registration Drive: Bulletin Announcements

2018 Voter Registration Drive: Pulpit Announcements

2018 Get Out the Vote – Bulletin Announcement

2018 Get Our the Vote – Pulpit Announcement

2018 Diocesan Press Release

Rev. October 2018

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