Change.org has released a petition calling for the resignation of Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, following comments the Cardinal made to FOX Chicago Sunday comparing the gay rights movement to the Klu Klux Klan’s anti-Catholicism. Equally Blessed, an umbrella group of pro-LGBT rights Catholic organizations, has reinforced the pushback by releasing a statement declaring in part that George, “has demeaned and demonized LGBT people in a manner unworthy of his office. In suggesting that the Catholic hierarchy has reason to fear LGBT people in the same way that blacks, Jews, Catholics and other minorities had reason to fear the murderous nightriders of the Ku Klux Klan, he has insulted the memory of the victims of the Klan’s violence and brutality.” The petition has already garnered well over half the 2,500 signatures the organization was aiming for.
Chicago’s upcoming gay pride parade had been rerouted past Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, raising concerns it would logistically interfere with that Sunday’s services — sparking Cardinal George’s incendiary comments:
CARDINAL GEORGE: 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 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.
Meanwhile, Chicago’s LGBT community could give Cardinal George a lesson in graciousness: They met with representatives from Our Lady of Mount Carmel last week, and have agreed to a noon start time for the parade to accommodate parishioners moving to and from Sunday services.
Cardinal George has attempted to walk back his comments, claiming he was comparing the impact of the KKK and gay pride parades, not the people in the two different groups:
Obviously, it’s absurd to say the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan, but if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past because it stops us from worshipping God, well then that’s the comparison, but it’s not with people and people — it’s parade-parade.