Bulletin Columns

IWKnights Corner (Bulletin Insert) for November 19, 2017

Supreme Advocate (later Supreme Knight) Luke E. Hart
Supreme Advocate (later Supreme Knight) Luke E. Hart, an adamant foe of KKK bigotry and libel, is shown in a 1920s portrait. Knights of Columbus Multimedia Archives

Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus?

“One evening in the summer of 1923, Supreme Advocate Luke E. Hart looked out the window of the train he was riding through southern Indiana.

‘The lights of the automobiles lit up the roads for miles and made quite an impression on the travelers on our train,’ he wrote in a letter the next day.  He estimated that there were ‘not less than 1,000 automobiles filled with members of the Ku Klux Klan’ returning from a KKK parade in the town of Orleans.

A St. Louis lawyer, Hart had been named supreme advocate barely a year earlier, at a time when the Klan was on the rise and on the attack. The Klan and its allies’ campaign of racial and religious bigotry extended to Catholics in general and the Knights in particular — portraying Catholics as foreign invaders beholden only to Rome, and the Knights as the Church’s enforcers.

The introduction of a 1921 KKK pamphlet titled The Ku Klux Klan or the Knights of Columbus Klan referred to the Knights of Columbus as “the Pope’s Knights of Mob and Murder, his Militia of Christ, his pliant tools who have bound themselves together in a secret, unholy compact to destroy our free American Public School system, our Constitution and its guarantees.”  It further stated, “Apparently the organization most interested in the destruction of the Ku Klux Klan is the Roman Catholic Order of the Knights of Columbus.”

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