Chicago's Cardinal Francis George recently took the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) to task for our protest against his anti-gay policies in front of Holy Name Cathedral yesterday morning, issuing the following statement:
"Some members of the Gay Liberation Network demonstrated in front of Holy Name Cathedral on Sunday, February 13, protesting against Catholic Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual genital relations and opposition to so called 'gay marriage.'"
"These are deeply felt issues, because they speak to the personal identity of some and to the religious beliefs of others.
"No matter the issue, Catholics should be able to worship in peace, without fear of harassment. An open display of prejudice against the Catholic Church because of resentment of Church teachings prejudices civil discourse in our society." (http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=9245)
1) That the Cardinal feels that our protest yesterday -- a peaceful expression of 1st Amendment rights -- constitutes "harassment," shows his contempt for the free expression of opinions which is a necessary component of democracy. The fact that the Cardinal and the rest of the Catholic leadership is at odds with the overwhelming majority of Catholic lay opinion on issues such as equal marriage rights for gays, equal rights for women, contraceptive use, and many other issues, also demonstrates the Cardinal's contempt for democracy within the Church.
2) The Cardinal lies by saying that our protest was "against the Catholic Church." As repeated several times in written GLN statements prior to the protest, a handbill distributed at the protest, and in our public comments during the course of the protest, our protest was against the LEADERSHIP of the Catholic church and not the Catholic laity, a majority of whom SUPPORT equal rights for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people. Cardinal George, while opposing our legal equality, attempts to "play the victim" by falsely claiming that we oppose the Catholic Church in general, rather than its anti-equal rights leadership.
3) The Cardinal as head of a tax-exempt organization apparently believes that he should have the right to lobby against gay rights in Springfield and give anti-gay statements from his church pulpit, but that tax payers who are for gay rights should be prohibited from protesting on a public sidewalk outside of his church. Apparently his ideas carry so little intellectual weight that they cannot withstand public debate.
4) We are intrigued that Cardinal George feels that he has a particular expertise to comment regarding "homosexual genital relations," particularly since he and his colleagues ostensibly lack first-hand knowledge of same. Please correct us if we are mistaken regarding your qualifications to comment on this issue, or any "genital relations" for that matter.