The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Pride Parade Compromises For Catholic Church, While Cardinal Compares Them To KKK

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Dec 23, 2011 3:15PM


The organizers of the Chicago Gay Pride Parade responded graciously to complaints from a Lakeview Catholic Church by changing the 2012 parade's start time so as not to interfere with church mass. As they quietly made the change, though, area leader Cardinal Francis George went ahead and compared the pride parade to a Ku Klux Klan rally.

"You don't want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," George told Fox Chicago. "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." The video of the exchange is posted below. After he said it, the interviewer gave him an opening to backtrack, suggesting perhaps the analogy was a bit strong. George steams ahead, saying, "You take a look at the rhetoric," and "Who is the enemy of the Catholic Church?"

"Whether it was the best choice of analogy I don't know. Taken out of context the meaning can be misinterpreted," a spokeswoman of the archidiocese told the Tribune. "I would suggest people read the whole interview."

The gay pride parade had to change the schedule for 2012, as the event has outgrown its route as a victim of its own success. When the new route was announced, the parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church pointed out that it will pass by the church just in time for Sunday mass, which could prevent churchgoers from attending. They started to pass petitions, but now three weeks later parade planners said they'll go back to the regular noon start time.

Like many churches in Lakeview, Mount Carmel is gay-friendly. It is home to the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, AGLO Chicago, and Cardinal George has taken part in its liturgies. George clarified his stance on AGLO to Fox Chicago:

“Well, you start with respect. You start with people who are homosexually oriented, gays and lesbians. However they picture themselves, you start with respect,” the cardinal said.

"So, if they want to publicly be part of that community, you still have to see to it that they have the spiritual helps -- the sacraments, the preaching of the Gospel that they need to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ, which means to live chastely if you're not married."

LGBT Catholic organization Rainbow Sash Movement released a statement on George's words. "Cardinal George wants to promote a doubled standard when it comes to the Gay Pride Parade," the statement read, via Windy City Media. "One only has the look at the Chicago Marathon, and negative impact that race has on parishes such as Assumption Parish, St. Joseph's Parish, Immaculate Conception Parish and St. Michael's Parish just to name a few."

We think Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, summed it up best, telling the Chicago Tribune, "To equate a movement that is about acceptance, diversity and joy to a group of men in white hoods standing on a lawn and burning a cross is very hurtful and it's just not truthful."

Cardinal Francis George Warns That Chicago Gay Pride Parade Might 'Morph Into Ku Klux Klan':