The Catholic Church’s Intolerance For Gay Rights

Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has gotten himself into a bigger controversy than whether or not you should say holiday tree or Christmas tree. Last week on Fox News Sunday, Cardinal George compared the gay pride movement to the Ku Klux Klan, in response to a change in the start time and the route of the Pride Parade that would take it past Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Lakeview for the first time. Saying that such would interfere with worshippers attending Sunday mass, Cardinal George said:

“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.”

Joe Murrary, Executive Director of the Rainbow Sash Movement, said that the Cardinal’s words were “inappropriate” and called on him to apologize. As the Cardinal turns 75 in January and must offer to step down, he has said that he will be sending a letter to Pope Benedict offering to resign.  On Fox News Sunday, Murrary said that, while his group is “not promoting the idea of his resignation,” they “would certainly welcome it.”

On Christmas day, Cardinal George sought to explain his controversial remarks.

“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.”

The Pride Parade is held the last Sunday in June and drew a crowd of hundreds of thousands last year; the parade’s organizers said they would move back the starting time until noon. As Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Chicago LGBT Pride Parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer said in a written statement on Thursday quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times, they wished to “help accommodate Sunday services along the parade route . . . We believe this is an agreeable compromise to help keep the parade safe and manageable while respecting the diversity of our neighborhood.”

However, a statement from Cardinal George issued on December 27 was not so accommodating. The Windy City Media Group quoted his statement:

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. [my emphasis]

“It is terribly wrong and sinful that gays and lesbians have been harassed and subjected to psychological and even physical harm. These tragedies can be addressed, however, without disturbing the organized and orderly public worship of God in a country that claims to be free.”

While the Cardinal might say that he is simply comparing one act of parading with another, this statement suggests that he is making some unfortunate presumptions about the Pride Parade, claiming that the parade and its organizers were somehow seeking “to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church” by marching past Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. In leaping to conclusions about how the parade will interfere with worshippers attending services, the Cardinal reveals a disturbing intolerance towards the parade and towards gay rights, masked by claims of the church’s religious freedom being stifled.

In addition to the Rainbow Sash Movement, others have called for Cardinal George to resign.  Truth Wins Out has taken out a full page ad in this Sunday’s Chicago Tribune.

Cardinal George’s remarks are certainly regrettable. They are also indicative of the Catholic church’s lack of tolerance for gay rights, an attitude also seen in a recent decision by Illinois’ Roman Catholic bishops to shut down most of the state’s Catholic Charities affiliates,  rather than comply with new state regulations under which, in order to receive state money, they must consider same-sex couples as potential foster-care and adoptive parents. Bishops in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have also chosen to shutter adoption services rather than follow nondiscrimination laws. As the New York Times says, the bishops are claiming that the rules are part of an “escalating campaign by the government to trample on their religious freedom while expanding the rights of gay people.”

Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., a civil and canon lawyer, went so far as to say that “‘In the name of tolerance, we’re not being tolerated.’” But statements like Cardinal George’s comparing the gay rights movement to the Ku Klux Klan rather suggest just how intolerant the Catholic church is of those whose views do not accord with its own. It is unfortunate that the church is hiding behind claims of its “religious freedom” being trampled upon while suppressing the freedom of expression of others.

Related Care2 Coverage

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Photo of Pride Parade by spin_melissa

109 comments

Carol Mac
Carol m.4 years ago

Ron, Thank you my friend.

Carol Mac
Carol m.4 years ago

Ron, ...Please do not be offended by comments I have made to you , anything I have said is with love and with truth, we all are wanting and searching for truth in the days we are living in. I respect you and apprecieate your help and input , you are a pleasure to listen to in this wicked world . I hope you are considering me a friend?

Carol Mac
Carol m.4 years ago

Cont` Matt. 5:14-16 " you are the light of the world ...let your light shine before men , that they may see your fine works and give glory to your father who is in the heavens" { For others to give glory to God for what true christians do , it is obvious that those who are christians must be active witnesses to the world concerning God`s name and purpose. It is to this activity christians give primary emphasis. I hope this helps .

Carol Mac
Carol m.4 years ago

Deep christian love to you and yours. Ron , this is hard to answere on this sight , I appreciate your thoughts , you are a very precious person. I wish to express what I have come to know through many yrs. of study . I belonged to many different denominations before finding truth. And there are many...God does look at hearts and these are the ones he draws { honest hearted ones } Only he and his Son has the right to judge. There is only one truth not two or hundreds , only one , It is right or wrong, Jesus clearly called those false teachers hypocrites because they lied to the people. To be fallowers of Christ we need to know what he told us and what is involved in being a true christian , or Christ like . No one know`s the heart of anyone , that`s why we are instructed to tell people and help them know him. So that he Jehovah can draw them to him. Jesus clearly said ther would come false doctrin to mislead people . Just to say I believe in Christ isn`t enough , we need to know what and how to worship the father Jehovah, most worship Jesus , Mary , Peter , Paul , saint Jude , ect . the list goes on and and on .the very reason Jesus came to earth to do his fathers will answere all John chap. 17 and to make his name known .I just heard that there is a new K. James version of the bible coming out that has put God`s name back where it was in the begining over 6, 700. times , that is where the title LORD or God is and it will reinstated Do people pray even to that great one ? I

Carol Mac
Carol m.4 years ago

Ron, Don`t you think that if the cath.`s and their doctrins are wrong { which we know that`s true}, that the stuff in the other churches with their doctrin is wrong also? with these man made relg`s. If they do not tell the truth they are in the same boat , right ? but my friend ,I do agree with you that they have a right to their choice and beliefs , and just because a church see`s one thing that is wrong and acts upon it ....doesn`t make them exceptable , or excused for other things . remember that scripture that say`s if you are not fully for me you are against me? I see both sides and both are wrong , not one better than the other because they both go against what the Creator say`s . I`m so sorry for the awful things there in NZ , what a tragedy , my thoughts and prayers are there ..., So sad, a sign of the times. Just remember that all will be made right.

Dr Clue
Dr Clue4 years ago

As a gay person , while I certainly don't agree with the Catholic Church , I can see why they would not appreciate those not giving birth to new worshipers in an environment promoting their brand of business, and thus reducing their profits and power.

Critical thinking and a questioning mind are also things that counter to their profit and power, so I can see why they would be in continuous conflict with science as well.

Intellectual buggy whip factories, like many of today's corporations look more for ways to extend their reign of profitability , not through innovation but coercion.

Pego Rice
Pego R.4 years ago

Well, if your surmise is that only practicin heterosexuals are "allowed" to be saved christian sthen I can show you thousands of religious parades from arouind the world

Frankly the assumption IS that "all people are hetero, unless specifically noted" which we pretty well established with our conversation about how Johnathan could strip and go into David and tell him how much he loved him.... and still be considered a "Pal" because the sex was only implied, not stated.

This is the whole reason for those parades. It is to tell people they aren't alone.

You don't like them?

Don't go

Sharon R.
Sharon R.4 years ago

Who has ever heard of a hetero parade? Parades are usually just that, a bunch of people of all walks of life and backgrounds walking together for some community purpose. Surely there have been both heterosexuals and homosexuals in most parades. Now we come full circle back to the original Care2 story in that the Bishop remembered KKK people detouring their parades past Catholic churches as an effort to create a negative impact. This Bishop saw the gay parade being detoured past Catholic churches as parallel in the intention to create a negative impact.

Carol Mac
Carol m.4 years ago

Nice comment Ron, Isn`t it funny how people were and are still killed for believing in the Creator and wanting to do what`s right? Imagin thinking that they were getting rid of God and his instructions for us, by getting rid of these people? Just so that man could do his own thing without feeling guilty , with no one telling them what they can or can not do. But they fail to see it is out of love for them and the Creator that they are being helped to choose life and live. How`s your beaches and sea life doing in NZ ?

Carol Mac
Carol m.4 years ago

Pego, Please note everyone has the right to make their own choices in life , but today we are being warned , We are living in the last days of this system of things. We should all pay attention before it is too late. John 3:36 " He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life, he that disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him" So it is up to us to listen or not. I do hope this will help