Tell Chicago Cardinal George: We Are Not the KKK
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.