John M. Becker

Chicago's Cardinal George Doubles Down on Bigotry

Filed By John M. Becker | December 29, 2011 4:45 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: Cardinal Francis George, Catholic cardinals, Chicago, Ku Klux Klan, pride parade, Truth Wins Out

Refusing to back down from comments he made in a recent interview where he compared the LGBT movement to the Ku Klux Klan, Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, opted instead to double down and defend his inflammatory rhetoric.

GeorgeTribad1.jpgThe controversy erupted as a result of an interview George gave to Fox News Chicago in which he was asked about a resolved dispute regarding the scheduled starting time of the city's annual LGBT pride parade. The June 2012 event was originally set to begin at 10am, but a priest at a local parish complained that it would interfere with morning Masses. George remarked, "You know, you don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism."

After widespread public outcry by citizens, Catholics, and LGBT activists, George issued a statement on Tuesday. Here's his defense:

When the 2012 Parade organizers announced a time and route change this year, it was apparent that the Parade would interfere with divine worship in a Catholic parish on the new route. When the pastor's request for reconsideration of the plans was ignored, the organizers invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church. One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940's, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus. It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate.

As Cardinal George continues defending the indefensible, the backlash against him is only increasing.

LGBT rights group Truth Wins Out is taking out a full-page ad in Sunday's Chicago Tribune calling on George to hand in an early resignation to Pope Benedict XVI and started a petition demanding the same. A "concerned student" at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin launched a second petition asking the school's administration to rescind Cardinal George's invitation to speak at their spring commencement exercises.

This former Catholic would like to encourage readers to sign both of these petitions and make their displeasure known to the Archdiocese of Chicago. Let's continue to make sure, though, that we direct our anger at its proper targets - the homophobic bigots who run the American Catholic Church - and not at the average Mary and Joseph Catholic in the pews on Sunday. After all, when it comes to LGBT equality issues, the majority of them are already with us.

John Becker is Director of Communications and Development for Truth Wins Out.

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