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Chicago Cardinal Compares Gay Rights Movement to KKK

December 22, 2011, 4:57 pm | Posted by John Gehring

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, the former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, owes an apology to the gay and lesbian community of his city. During an interview with Fox News in Chicago, the cardinal compares gay rights activists to the KKK. Even the Fox News reporters seem stunned.

From the transcript:

Mike Flannery, Fox Chicago News Political Editor: The Gay Pride Parade is going to go right by there, at least it is scheduled to. What’s your view? The pastor there is upset by that.

Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago: Well, I go with the pastor. I mean, he’s telling us that they won’t be able to have Church services on Sunday, if that’s the case. 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. So, I think if that’s what’s happening, and I don’t know that it is, but I would respect the local pastor’s, you know, position on that. Then I think that’s a matter of concern for all of us.

Dane S. Placko, Fox Chicago News: That’s a little strong analogy, isn’t it? Ku Klux Klan?

Cardinal George: It is. But you take a look at the rhetoric.

Placko: What rhetoric?

Cardinal George: The rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some in the Gay Liberation. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.

Comparing gays, lesbians and their straight allies marching in a parade to a racist extremist group with a bloody history of terrorism and murder is as outrageously offensive as it is historically ignorant. It reveals a mindset that is too often on display among some Christian leaders who profess respect for the dignity of all people, but who casually toss around explosive language that dehumanizes and demeans. The cardinal’s persistent question – who is the enemy? – speaks volumes about a disturbing strain of Catholicism in public life these days. It’s the quivering voice of a fearful Church that sees itself as a victim, not a reconciler, the voice of institutional callousness drowning out compassionate humanity, a Church eyeing enemies around every corner. I hope the Church I worship in and love is still too full of grace, justice and mercy to embrace that shrunken, embittered posture.

If they choose, Catholic leaders have every right to fight the winds of history now blowing toward greater equality for gays and lesbians. But regardless of your position on same-sex marriage, most people would agree that those who aspire to be moral shepherds should at the very least mirror the virtues of compassion, civility and prudence. Let’s not forget that despite great strides in becoming part of the American mainstream, gays and lesbians are still defamed, beaten and sometimes killed for being who they are in this country and around the world. LGBT-rights activists might inconvenience a church service with a parade route and on occasion say intemperate things about religious leaders. But Cardinal George and other Catholic bishops are not besieged members of a minority group. Perhaps some Christmas reflection is in order for those who preach the Gospel from powerful pulpits but seem indifferent to the ways that words can wound.


One Response to “Chicago Cardinal Compares Gay Rights Movement to KKK”

  1. John D. Whitney, SJ says:

    The avoidance of the hierarchy, led in no small measure by Cardinal George, of dealing with the real rupture caused by the systemic failure in matters of sexual misconduct requires the creation of enemies. One can’t justify circling the wagons if the Natives are peaceful. I have no doubt of his sincerity, which makes it all the sadder. The truth is that one must either conclude that homosexuality is a chosen behavior, a sickness, or that it is in the nature of the person. For the first, there is little evidence (in the majority of situations); for the second, one must refute the majority of scientists; and if the latter is true one must reverse the notions of natural law. . .or one could accept these persons as Jesus would. But the alliance of the Church leadership with the Evangelical wing of the Republican Party is about the maintenance of privilege and power, and not really about theology at all. (How many theological issues today revolve around who has the authority and not whose argument is the most cogent?)