TORONTO, May 23, 2003 ( – The Arthritis Society (TAS) has been receiving numerous messages of disappointment from local leaders of the Knights of Columbus (KofC) for the new TAS position to support embryonic stem cell research.  While official communications between KofC Ontario State Council and the TAS have not yet commenced (although calls have been made), local KofC leaders have notified TAS of their displeasure with the new position.  Frank LeVay, Grand Knight in Gravenhurst Ontario wrote the TAS saying: “As a Knight of Columbus I shall refuse to support the Arthritis Society in any way as long as it encourages or funds HUMAN Embryonic Stem Cell ‘reseach’. I shall cease, henceforward, to contribute, to canvas, or to vote funds for the Arthritis Society until I hear that the Society clearly retracts its position on this issue. I am convinced that the vast majority of Knights of Columbus and their families share my position.”  Bill Murphy, a Knight from a Council in northern Ontario wrote TAS: “I urge you to distance yourself quickly from any association with this type of research. If even a lingering perception remains that The Arthritis Society embraces policies contrary to human dignity, harm could be done to the very positive support you enjoy among our members.”  Alex Schadenberg, former Chairman for Pro-life of the Ontario State Council of the KofC, and a past grand knight in West Lorne Ontario told LifeSite, “The Knights of Columbus would never support an organization that provides research money for embryonic stem cell research. They are a group of good Catholic men. It sounds like The Arthritis Society does not respect their relationship with the Knights.”