On Sunday, February 12, please join in a protest against Cardinal George's anti-gay bigotry - 10:30 AM in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, Chicago. Support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equal rights!
Clerical Bullies Who Try to Limit Rights of Others Now "Victims"?
*** Writing in the January 15th issue of the official Archdiocesan newspaper, Chicago's Cardinal Francis George said he had "fear" that the so-called "liberty of the Catholic Church" is under attack.
As easily the single largest, and arguably most influential religious denomination in Chicago and Illinois, any notion of a "threat" to the Catholic Church here is patently absurd. What is true is that Cardinal George and the Church leadership internationally have used their considerable influence to try to stop civil rights for LGBTs.
*** In Rome in a January meeting with the diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict XVI condemned same-sex marriage as a "threat to humanity" and decried "policies aimed at marginalizing the role of religion in the life of society, as if it were a cause of intolerance."
No one is talking about the government forcing the church to celebrate same-sex marriages or other equal rights for LGBTs and women in the Church, any more than forcing the church to re-marry divorcees. What we are saying is that we will no longer allow religious bigots to determine the laws by which people of other faiths (or no faith) observe.
*** After the passage of the civil unions bill in Illinois, George pompously predicted, "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square."
This gaseous, inflated rhetoric is the telltale language of clerics in retreat. They know that their parishioners are not with them, and neither is the wider public. With support for their anti-equality beliefs slipping, George and other church leaders cast themselves as "victims" and appeal for pity and acceptance on that basis.
It is a tired tactic we have seen before. What makes it so cynical and disingenuous is that these same highly placed and still-influential clerics deny the misery that their guilt-inducing rhetoric has caused.
Furthermore, not content to fulminate from the pulpit, they ignore their tax-exempt status and enter the political arena to try to influence legislation.
Cardinal George, for example, has opposed every advance for LGBT rights in Chicago, in Cook County, and across the state largely without success. Unfortunately, he has had more luck helping our enemies win victories in California and Maine, where anti-gay bigotry defeated marriage equality, at least for the short term.
- George attempted to kill LGBT inclusion as a "protected class" in the Illinois Human Rights Act, which now protects us from housing and employment discrimination.
- George opposed similar Cook County protections and the county's domestic partnership registry.
- George and other Catholic bishops circulated petitions in a failed effort to force an advisory referendum on "gay marriage."
- George vigorously opposed the Illinois Civil Unions Act, which is now law.
- George has blessed the Illinois Catholic Conference's effort to kill the passage of full-fledged same-sex civil marriage rights in the state.
- George, as head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, spent big money backing the anti-gay referendums Proposition 8 in California and Question 1 in Maine,.
Polls show that a majority of Catholics in the pews back LGBT rights. It is the hierarchy of the church that is out of step with the membership for which they falsely claim to speak.
We call upon Catholics, and all other people of good will, to join us in our demand for full legal equality in Illinois and nationwide. Join us on Freedom to Marry Day 2012: