WASHINGTON, D.C., January 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Senate may have unanimously approved a resolution condemning religious discrimination against the Catholic fraternal organization Knights of Columbus, but one of the Democrat lawmakers who instigated the controversy is showing no regrets.
Last Wednesday, the Senate passed by unanimous consent a resolution from Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse, expressing the “sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to Federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus” violates the Constitution’s bar on religious tests. It was a response to Sens. Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris grilling Trump judicial nominee Brian Buescher on his membership in the charitable organization last month.
Hirono’s written questions claimed the Knights have “taken a number of extreme positions,” including opposition to same-sex “marriage,” support for defunding abortion-involved health centers, and criticism of contraception. She asked whether Buescher would “end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias,” “recuse yourself from all cases in which the Knights of Columbus has taken a position,” and for “assurances” that he can hear so-called “reproductive rights” cases “fairly and impatiently” despite “your membership in this organization.”
Hirono and Harris were met with scathing criticism from conservative, pro-life, and Catholic voices, and the Senate quickly embraced Sasse’s resolution. Unanimous consent means individual senators don’t have to cast a recorded vote.
Hirono, however, doubled down on her original stance, calling the resolution “unnecessary” and stating that the Knight's of Columbus amounted to an “alt-right’s position,” as first reported by EWTN’s Jason Calvi.
“S. Res. 19 is unnecessary because no religious test is being applied to nominees for Federal office,” she said Wednesday on the Senate floor. “If my colleague, the junior Senator from Nebraska, wants to embrace the alt-right’s position by offering this resolution, that is his business.”
Hirono then called on the Senate to “focus on something real” like ending the partial government shutdown, and read into the record statements attacking the Knights of Columbus defending Hirono by a number of left-wing groups and constituents of the Hawaii senator.
Democrats “had every reason to raise these questions due to the Knights’ troubling record,” claimed the statement by the pro-abortion group Catholics for Choice. “Today’s Knights of Columbus have strayed far from their civic roots as a philanthropic organization” with their pro-life, pro-marriage advocacy.
Sasse’s communications director James Wegmann responded by noting that the Nebraska Republican has made a name for himself opposing the alt-right, and that Hirono was “recklessly using the label” to “smear 2 million Catholics who volunteer in their communities. It’s laughably stupid, but it’s also insulting to the folks who face hate from the actual alt-right and neo-nazis.”
Hirono is no stranger to inflammatory statements about those she considers threats to abortion-on-demand. Last September, she infamously claimed then-judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s denial of uncorroborated sexual-assault claims lacked “credibility” because he was supposedly “against women’s reproductive choice,” and the next month refused to answer CNN host Dana Bash’s question whether “run[ning] senators out of restaurants, go[ing] to their homes” was “going too far.”