Cardinal Francis George, the head of
the Catholic Conference of Illinois and the Archbishop of Chicago, is
being called on to resign for comparing gay rights activists to the
Ku Klux Klan.
George on Sunday told Fox
Chicago that he agreed with Our Lady of Mount Carmel's concerns
about a new Gay Pride parade route in Chicago which would pass in
front of the Roman Catholic church's doors. The church has asked the
city to force organizers to alter their plans.
“I go with the pastor,” George
said. “He's telling us that he won't be able to have services on
Sunday if that's the case. You don't want the gay liberation
movement morph into something like the Klu Klux Klan, demonstrating
in the streets against Catholicism.”
George defended his stance when the
host called it “a little strong.”
“It is, but you take a look at the
rhetoric. The rhetoric of the Klu Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of
the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The
Catholic Church.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of
this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
An online petition launched Friday by
Truth Wins Out
calls George's remarks “outrageous.”
“This outrageous comparison of the
LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan was so degrading and hurtful that
apologizing will not be sufficient,” the Change.org
petition reads. “George's only road to redemption is handing in
his resignation. If he has a shred of dignity and a shard of class
he will immediately step down.”
An archdiocesan spokeswoman told the
Tribune that the cardinal's words could be “misinterpreted.”
“Whether it was the best choice of
analogy I don't know. Taken out of context the meaning can be
misinterpreted. I would suggest people read the whole interview.”
Nearly 3,000 people had signed by
petition as of Saturday morning.
Last year, George opposed Illinois'
civil unions law, which is now in effect.
“Marriage is what it is and always
has been, no matter what a legislature decides to do; however, the
public understanding of marriage will be negatively affected by
passage of a bill that ignores the natural fact that sexual
complementarity is at the core of marriage,” he wrote.