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Cardinal George Defends Chicago Pride Parade/KKK Comparison

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 28, 2011 10:30PM

Cardinal Francis George seemed to have backpedaled on his comparison of Chicago Pride Parade organizers to the Ku Klux Klan last week. Then the Archdiocese of Chicago released a statement from George where he defended and tried to explain 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."

Except that Pride Parade organizers did move the start time for the parade so that it would not interfere with the services at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and was amenable to working with the church so that the Pride Parade wouldn't interfere with parishioners who wanted to attend mass. It should have been enough for George to simply wait out the fire while it burned out. Now his defending his statement has LGBT activists calling for his resignation.

Anthony Martinez of The Civil Rights Agenda released a statement.

“The Cardinal is obviously avoiding the calls for his resignation and apology. His statement not only lays the blame for his comments squarely on the parade organizers by saying they ‘invited’ his comments, but he does not take responsibility for his brazen and hurtful words. Additionally, he only further asserts his claims by stating that the KKK is not an organization that should be emulated.

“The LGBT community and our allies march in the Pride Parade every year to assert our pride in being an LGBT person or ally, and to advocate for our civil rights and equality. We do not march against any religion; in fact many faith communities join the parade. We march to assert our identities and freedoms. For the Cardinal to think that the entire parade is marching against the one Catholic Church on the parade route only shows that he sees the LGBT movement for civil rights as his opposition. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that this man does not have a very political motive for making these statements. They are not the only church on the route, but they are the only church complaining and asking for special treatment.

“The Cardinal’s words are hurtful to LGBT Catholics and the entire LGBT community. We renew our call for Cardinal George to issue an apology for his hurtful comments and respectfully ask him to resign.”

The Rainbow Sash Movement released a statement calling on George to resign based on his overall track record.

"The Rainbow Sash Movement believes that the Cardinal should submit his resignation; not only for this latest issue but also for the way he has handled the Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal, harassing women at family-planning clinics to threatening or killing doctors who perform abortion. We believe his silence on these matters is contravening the most basic of Jesus’ teachings and ethics."

The calls for George's resignation may fall on deaf ears. George is required to submit a retirement letter to Pope Benedict XVI next month when he turns 75. But he hopes the Pope doesn't accept it, saying he's hopes Benedict XVI holds off a few years. George turns 75 Jan. 16 and says he feels fine and has had no recurrences of cancer.