Ill. Cardinal's KKK-Gay Parade Comparison Sparks Call for Resignation

Truth Wins Out (TWO), an activist group that fights anti-gay "religious extremism," is placing a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune calling for the resignation of Cardinal Francis George for comments he made comparing the city's Gay Pride Parade to the Ku Klux Klan.

The Parade, scheduled for June 24 in Chicago, had initially been planned to pass with its floats and marchers right by the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at around 10 a.m., and potentially disrupt Sunday mass. The parade’s organizers then made the decision to reroute the parade so it passes by at noon, but Cardinal George accused the movement of demonstrations against Catholicism.

“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism,” he shared last week with Chicago Fox News.

The comments drew ire from gay rights groups, with Wayne Besen, Executive Director of TWO, declaring in a press release:

“It is outrageous that Cardinal George would place law-abiding, peaceful citizens in the same category as a notoriously violent hate group.”

The TWO has since made it clear that a simple apology from George would not be enough to make up for his initial comments, CBS Chicago reported. The full page ad on the Chicago Tribune complains that George spoke out against the parade even after the scheduling dispute was resolved, and demanded that he resign from his position.

The ad reads: “He has crossed so far over the line of basic decency that he couldn’t see it with a pair of binoculars. His only road to redemption is handing in his resignation.”

The TWO also question in the ad why the church was given special consideration and the parade’s route was changed on its request, given that most other things the parade will pass by will be disrupted as well.

Another concern addressed in the Chicago Tribune refers to the cardinal’s suggestion that people will be “demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism,” – which TWO calls “paranoid and delusional” remarks, claiming that most Catholics support LGBT equality. The ad points to a Public Religion Research Institute poll which states that 71 percent of Catholics support either civil marriages for gays.

As of Jan. 3, 2012, an online petition started by TWO calling for the resignation of Cardinal George has gathered more than 5,000 signatures.

Cardinal George has tried to clarify his comments by insisting that he was not comparing the gay rights activists themselves with Ku Klux Klan members, but pointing out that the Klan was known for disrupting Catholic services.

“What I was comparing was a parade to a parade," George clarified in an interview. “Obviously it’s absurd to say that the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Kluxers, 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.”