Those who want to understand how Democrats manage to scare the hell out of vast sections of the country need look no further than the story of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and the Knights of Columbus.

In considering the confirmation of Brian Buescher to a federal judgeship last month, Harris and Hirono submitted written questions that raised alarms about his membership in “an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men.” “Were you aware,” Harris asked, “that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?” And: “Have you ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women’s reproductive rights?” And: “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?”

For those who know the Knights of Columbus, this is a bit like accusing your Aunt Harriet’s knitting circle of being a Mexican drug cartel. In most of the country, the Knights of Columbus is a respected fraternal organization consisting of men who hand out coats to needy children, promote devotion to the Virgin Mary, support crisis pregnancy shelters and protest doggedly each year in the March for Life.