A Notable Victory

The Knights of Columbus won a notable victory for the American people, and especially for the children of generations to come, by its successful fight against the so called Oregon School Law. It began in 1922, when a law proposed by initiative petition was enacted in Oregon which would prevent children from attending private and parochial schools.

Responding to an appeal from Archbishop Alexander Christie of Portland, the Knights of Columbus provided $10,000 with which to initiate a suit testing the constitutionality of the law to the Supreme Court of the United States. The court ruled that the law violated the rights of American citizens to educate their children in accordance with the dictates of their own conscience. The Order also provided $15,000 to the Oregon State Council to pursue a similar case involving private schools.

It is due to that action that parents today are not interfered with in the operation of their private and parochial schools and in the rearing of their children in the manner in which they wish them to be raised.

Similarly the Order responded in more recent times when a case arose in British Columbia that would place in jeopardy the rights of the hierarchy to conduct its schools in a manner consistent with its beliefs. A suit brought by the Manitoba bishops to secure public funding of denominational schools in that province was also supported by the Order.