Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Francis George has defended his comparison of the gay advocacy movement to the Ku Klux Klan Tuesday, fueling an already heated controversy about the LGBT movement.
“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism,” George said told Fox News in response to Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade being routed to pass a Chicago church during Sunday mass.
“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,” he added.
In his defense, he said that organizers of the parade invited an obvious comparison to other groups that have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church, according to a statement released by George on Tuesday.
“One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940s, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus,” George said in a statement.
“It is not a precedent that anyone should want to emulate,” he said.
The parade was originally set to start at noon but was later changed to 10 a.m., until a local priest complained that it would interfere with morning mass. The parade has been rerouted to pass Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at a noon, as originally planned, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The LGBT community was outraged at the bishop and many petitions for his resignation have been started.
Truth Wins Out, a gay advocacy group, says that George’s only road to redemption is his resignation, according to a press release. They feel his comments were so extreme that he lost all his credibility and permanently damaged his ability to serve as a respected voice of reason.
“It is outrageous that Cardinal George would place law-abiding, peaceful citizens in the same category as a notoriously violent hate group,” Wayne Besen, Executive Director of TWO said in a press release.
Equally Blessed, an umbrella group of four pro-LGBT Catholic organizations, denounced George’s comparison, which they say has demeaned and demoralized Chicago’s gay community, according to The Washington Post. They started a petition at change.org, which calls for George to resign.
The Rainbow Sash Movement is another gay advocacy organization that called for the Cardinal’s resignation. In a statement, the group said that George’s recent statement is just another example of bigotry sidestepping what it means to be pro-life, according to The Chicago Tribune.
“The Cardinal promotes his brand of bigotry based on a case of selective Biblical literalism,” the group stated.
The Cardinal also wrote, in his defense, that it is wrong and sinful for gays and lesbians to be harassed and subjected to psychological and even physical harm. Joe Murray, executive director for the Rainbow Sash Movement, isn’t convinced of George’s sincerity, saying that the statement is an attempt to have it both ways.
“It’s schizoid,” Murray said. “You can’t say on one hand that you love people and the other hand condemn them for who they are.”