Charity turns down donated bikes from KofC over 'anti-LGBTQ' beliefs

NWG executives 13 donate electric bikes to the Vatican at the Holy See Press Office Jan 27 2016 Credit Alexey Gotovskiy CNA 1 27 16 Alexey Gotovskiy/CNA.

A Vancouver-based bicycling charity broke a long-standing partnership with a local Knights of Columbus group this week and rejected their donations of bikes over the Knight's "anti-LGBTQ+" beliefs, The B.C. Catholic reported.

"I'm sad that religious intolerance seems to be getting in the way of getting bikes to poor people," Graham Darling, the spokesman for the local Knights council, told The B.C. Catholic.

The PEDAL Society is a non-profit that recycles and refurbishes used bicycles, and also provides education in bike mechanics to the community. Darling said the society called to let him know that the organization would no longer accept bikes donated by the Knights because the group is "anti-LGBTQ+".

The Knights had been donating bicycles in partnership with the organization since 2006, and Darling said that "no issues have ever arisen" in that time.

The donation section of the charity's website does not mention a required ideological alignment in order for donations to be accepted. The group's community agreement states that: "We believe that everyone deserves respect. While using the resources of Our Community Bikes, we ask that you respect the diversity of folks who use the space and treat each other with care and dignity."

Darling told The B.C. Catholic that "(t)he first principle of the Knights of Columbus is charity, and I'm sure that's been a priority for PEDAL Society/Our Community Bikes. It's a shame when people with moral differences elsewhere can't still work together in a common cause."

According to The B.C. Catholic, the Knights council partnered with the PEDAL Society and other groups to donate 67 bikes to the community during a bike drive last May. Darling said he is now not sure what the council will do with the bikes they have collected thus far this year.

Cara Fisher, chair of the board of directors for PEDAL, told The B.C. Catholic that "we have decided to no longer participate in the Knights of Columbus bike drive event," but did not comment on why the decision was made.

CNA reached out to PEDAL Society for comment March 6 but did not hear back from the group by press time.

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