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Tell Chicago Cardinal George: We Are Not the KKK

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Dec 22, 2011

We here at Standing on the Side of Love are incensed at comments made on Fox Chicago Sunday by Cardinal Francis George, which we first read about on Towleroad.com.

Apparently, Chicago’s Pride Parade may be re-routed this year in a way that has it passing by a local Catholic parish, which might disrupt its Sunday mass if there are crowds of parade-goers in the streets and sidewalks.  We’re all for respectful dialogue about the best way to accommodate all parties’ interests who are along the parade route.  But this statement by the Cardinal is simply repugnant:

“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism,” said Cardinal George.

The Cardinal was challenged by one of the Fox reporters, who asked, “that’s a little strong analogy…?”

“It is,” replied Cardinal George. “But you take a look at the rhetoric. The rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who’s the enemy? The Catholic Church.”

Watch the video for yourself, noting the limited choice of images from the very diverse Chicago Pride Parade that Fox Chicago chooses to use.

This is hardly the first time that members of the Catholic hierarchy have stepped way over the line in their choice of language.  Still, it never fails to shock us, anger us, and sadden us. And Cardinal George is no outlier. He served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2007 to 2010. After Illinois passed civil unions, he stated, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”

The real sting is that Cardinal George repeats his tired, defensive posture — i.e. our religious freedoms are threatened, the moral fabric of our society is under seige — to act like a victim being accosted by a malicious gang of immoral marauders who are nothing more than white-hooded members of the KKK.

But it’s the Catholic Church through its Catholic Conference lobbying arms have fought tooth and nail in state after state against sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination laws.  Laws that help prevent people from getting fired. Laws that make sure parents can put food on the table for their children. The Catholic Conferences have put millions upon millions into preventing any relationship recognition — marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships — from becoming laws that can protect families in vulnerable times.  And they have put millions more into enshrining that discrimination into state constitutions across the land, using rhetoric that is psychologically harmful to LGBT people and our families.

What’s most frustrating is that we know that most Catholics don’t agree with the hierarchy and its rhetoric.  Poll after poll remind us that Catholics are more supportive than many other faith communities of marriage equality.

We need outrage from pew-sitting Catholics at the tone of these comments!  Cardinal George should apologize immediately for his disgraceful analogy that reduces all of us — you and me, gay and straight, the very faces of the “gay liberation movement” — into nothing more than a hate group.

Get in touch with Cardinal George. Ask him to reconsider his comments and issue an apology. Above all else, approach this conversation with the greatest amount of love you can muster, lest we give credence to his beliefs that “the gay liberation movement” is full of angry hate-mongers. Our issue isn’t with Catholics — it’s with those leaders who use divisive, incendiary language and tactics to suppress an entire group of people and our families.

You can leave a message for Cardinal George through his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FrancisCardinalGeorgeOMI

Or try the Diocese Catholic Information Line: 312-534-8204

Note: It appears that many Facebook comments are being deleted. Another way to reach Cardinal George is via email at archbishop@archchicago.org.

10 Responses to “Tell Chicago Cardinal George: We Are Not the KKK”

  1. jane bergren says:

    repent !! these people stand for LOVE which the catholic church itself does not always give.REPENT and make amends for the statements you made~~ it IS the will of God !!! LISTEN to the LORD

  2. Dear Cardinal George,

    Although I am a Unitarian Universalist, I have always respected the Catholic Church. So it is with sadness that I write to you today to tell how disappointed I am about your comments regarding gay people and your analogy of their rhetoric as being like the Klu Klux Klan. I find this extremely offensive and think that an apology from you is in order.

  3. Bill Baar says:

    Way over the top… there are more Gays in Catholic Churches in Chicago on any Sunday then Gays and Straights in Chicago’s UU Churches in total.

  4. Kathryn Lockwood says:

    I grew up in church and now hold a Masters of Divinity. I have great respect for the Catholic Church. What I don’t respect is bigotry, divisiveness, and deliberate attempts to alienate people from their spiritual selves. Likening members of the gay community to the KKK is a horrible statement to be coming from a spiritual leader. You realize, don’t you, there are millions of gay and lesbian people in the Catholic church? That your statements won’t change who they are but will cause them pain with you hateful words? I assume you DO respect your office and your church? Do you also respect the people who attend your churches? It will seem questionable so a certain portion of that body now.

  5. Karen Lane says:

    I agree, it was a hateful thing to say and hopefully the Cardinal will be awoken by this publicity to a more Christ-like demeanor. But let’s not let Faux News get us too riled up — this is how they make their money, folks, by accentuating the horrible, the hateful and the divisive. I refuse to click on a Fox link for that reason.

  6. I’m Catholic and disturbed and upset by Cardianl Geroge’s KKK remarks. His lack of chriatian charity is offensive to me and my family. He and Archbishop Dolan do not speak for many Catholics with their rhetoric and hateful statements. “These people” Dolan refers to are children made in the image and likeness of God. When they, George and Dolan, show us how to live as Jesus would have wanted, then more Catholics will be accepting of the Church they represent. It is my Church, too. I’m staying, but not listening to the hate they speak.It is my hope that both of them will apologize for the statements. But we all know Catholic Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals don’t apologize!

  7. Bill Baar says:

    I listened to Rick Garcia and Company in Chicago on shutting down Catholic Charities. That’s a pretty hateful bunch. They’re marching the Gay Pride Parade right by Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s during Mass (a parish with more Gay Catholics by the way than Chiago has UUs).

    I asked a Gay friend once why Chicago’s Gay Lobbies were so locked into politics and groups who on the side made it perfect clear they detested them, and he told me there are those against us, and those against those against us, but very few for us.

    Considering the work Catholic Charities and the Church has done with HIV afflicted and dying in Chicago, it’s really an abomination the Lobby would turn on the Church the way they’ve done the past year in Illinois (Pat Hicky’s blog has a list of the work).

    Cardinal George perfectly justified feeling he’s the target of anti Catholic bigotary because that’s exactly what it is.

  8. Dear Cardinal George,

    Jesus is reported to have said, “You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?” Cardinal George, surely you must know the difference between grapes and thorns, figs and thistles, love and hate? One stings the tongue, the other sweetens it.

    I am one of your Catholic children that was lost to the Church years ago due to hateful rhetoric. Think of the tremendous gifts of so many that you could be celebrating and inviting into ministry… only to sweeten your church communities and their impact in the world.

    May your heart and soul recognize the truth —
    Rev Julia McKay

  9. Kit says:

    Self-will is the driving force of the movement…..religion is the wedge between the IMPERIAL SELF and attainment of a society that aims to please the One who
    brought us here. http://divine-interventions.com/religioustoys.php

  10. Jim Hinckley says:

    The cardinal is WRONG to compare Chicago’s gay community (nothing like a terrorist group) to the KKK (probably the most famous domestic terrorist group in U.S. history). Most Catholics are too timid or apathetic to speak out against the cardinal’s remarks, but they shouldn’t be. Chicago’s gay pride parade isn’t anti-Catholic . . . and comparing it to a KKK event is just a thinly veiled form of discrimination.

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