home news topics photos press opinion donate contact


Letters: Cardinal George

Extended for the online edition of Windy City Times - LINK


GLN permalink 1-4-2012

By George

Letter to the editor:

In asserting that LGBT-rights activists are akin to fascists, Chicago's Catholic Archbishop Francis George has crossed the line from the intemperate to the outrageous. His recent remarks would be silly if they weren't so dangerous, coming from a highly placed and influential prelate.

In what is presumably an attack on the Gay Liberation Network (GLN), which has demonstrated several times against him, he asserted that "some in the gay liberation" are the equivalent of the KKK because they are "anti-Catholic." Further, he maintained that if the Pride Parade next summer passes a Catholic church during service, it will be an attack on Catholicism. Really? (It's instructive that George has never made this complaint about the huge Chicago Marathon crowds, which gather annually on a Sunday morning when the race passes several Catholic churches during services.)

George's anti-LGBT animus is well known, and he never misses an opportunity to attack our movement. It should not need mentioning that George, who plays the victim card and continually paints us as the aggressors, chooses time and again to ignore the inconvenient fact that Gay Liberation Network's argument is with the anti-gay bigotry of the Church hierarchy—the spiteful rhetoric and advocacy of anti-gay discrimination by people like George and his minions.

We know that the Catholic laity is often supportive of LGBTs and our rights while the church leaders are not, and this is both threatening to the latter and a challenge. Their attacks against us are just as much an effort to win support from their parishioners as they are to score points against our movement.

We oppose the Catholic hierarchy because it promotes bigotry against us, both from the pulpit and in the media. We oppose it, and have demonstrated in the streets against the hierarchy because it has steadfastly stood in the way of every advance for LGBT rights in Illinois for more than a decade, from the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Chicago and Cook County anti-discrimination ordinances to the civil-unions bill passed last spring.

Despite these gains, LGBTs still lack full legal equality in Illinois, like the right to marry and the attendant benefits and recognition that this entails. Beyond legal equality, we lack LGBT-affirming education in all of our public schools and programs addressing the unique needs of homeless LGBT youth.

In the battles for these gains, if the past is any guide, George and the rest of the Catholic hierarchy will be our steadfast enemies. Therefore, unlike the Democratic politicians who try to appease the Catholic leadership and LGBTs at the same time—ending with muddled support for LGBT rights, at best—we will clearly denounce George's anti-LGBT bigotry at every opportunity. That is why this next Valentine's Day, we invite all who support LGBT rights and liberation to join GLN at our annual Freedom to Marry Day demonstration in front of Holy Name Cathedral. (More info is available at http:// www.gayliberation.net.) ;

Gay Liberation Network

By George, part two

Dear Archbishop Cardinal Francis George:

You lost more than you gained by insisting the 2012 Pride Parade not interfere with one Mass at one church. The parade participants celebrating on that day are also God's people (albeit inherently sinful people according to your doctrine).

Apparently, you never even considered the option of changing the time of the Mass in order to accommodate a much larger contingent of God's people who wanted to use the public street in front of your tax-free property. Why you think one religious service once a year could not be rescheduled or (gasp!) cancelled is the height of arrogance—a characteristic you seem to have in abundance.

It's hard for me to imagine that your God gives a crap about this minuscule inconvenience to your empire, but probably does give a crap about your deplorable conduct in this matter. We are supposed to enjoy both freedom OF and freedom FROM religion. Your considerable clout makes freedom from you and your religion an enormous challenge.

What if it had been a St. Patrick's Day parade on that same route, day and time? Or a veteran's parade? Or a MLK observance? I doubt you would have objected at all; or if you had, you would have chosen language far less inflammatory and offensive than you used against the GLBT community.


Jim Kelly

Oak Park

Cardinal controversy

Letter to the editor:

I respectfully disagree with Cardinal Francis George. I believe, with his re-evaluation of his erroneous analogy, he will find that the use of scripture by the gay-rights movement is more in line with the use of scripture by the civil-rights movement of the '60s than the KKK.

The KKK used scripture in an attempt to justify its superiority and dominance over others and in its practice of oppression of many different groups. The civil-rights movement used scripture to celebrate the equality of all individuals in their fight for equal rights to housing, employment, education, public services, marriage and other institutions.

Today, the far right-wing conservatives use scripture in an attempt to justify their practice of forcing their religious beliefs upon all Americans and oppressing those with different political and religious views. The gay-rights movement uses scripture to celebrate the equality of all individuals in their fight for equal rights to housing, employment, education, public services, marriage and other institutions.

I am not the only one who sees this parallel. Civil-rights leaders from the '60s—like Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton and Coretta Scott King—all stand on the conviction that the gay-rights movement is equal to that of their movement. When asked about his support of the gay and lesbian community during a recent CNN interview, Lowery said that "all Gods children must have shoes."

As for those in the gay-rights movement who have been drawn into this arguement with the cardinal, they must refrain from the same tactics used against them. You lose your self-respect, you lose respect in the community and you lose your message if you stoop to the level of those who fight against you. Follow the example of Dr. King and we shall overcome.

For me as a person of faith, and as a seminarian, my faith is anchored in the reality of voices in my life. My great-grandfather, who lived in Georgia, hoped every day that the curse of Jim Crow would one day be no more. It is with this I answered a call to be a divinity student at New York Theological Seminary and as a member of the historic Riverside Church.

It is my hope that everyone can gather around God's banquet table of spiritual and physical sacrifice to open a dialog to find a solution for those who cry out for equal access and fairness. There is unity in the least of these.


TJ Williams

Historic Riverside Church;

New York Theological Seminary and

Trinity United Church of Christ

Dear Cardinal George,

I was raised Catholic and have been blessed to have received a Catholic education. I consider myself a devote Catholic and strive to live my faith on a daily basis through prayer, meditation, service and actions towards others.

The recent events that have made headlines has caused me to stop and reflect on my church's position regarding all people, but specifically the gay community. While I did not witness the interactions regarding the parade and I would not be surprised if the environment was less than friendly for all parties, I am surprised at the statement made comparing the gay community to the Ku Klux Klan.

As I reflect on this, I think of some the core basics I have been taught through Catholic institutions and countless sermons over the years, some of them being (paraphrased): "Do unto to others as you would have them unto to you," "We are all created in God's image," "Love one another as I have loved you," "Turn the other cheek" and "Do not judge lest you be judged." Regardless of what was said, how it was stated and when the remarks were made, we all have the obligation to take the higher road and not comment in any way that would treat others with any less respect and love than our Lord Jesus showed to those who persecuted and crucified him.

I am disappointed that, as our archbishop, you chose to not take the higher ground and ultimately stooped to the level of a few. As a Catholic I am embarrassed that our leader—regardless of views on homosexuality—made a public statement that was incredibly insensitive, inflammatory and hurtful, and not demonstrative of the forgiveness, love and acceptance the Church has taught throughout the centuries.

I hope that you—as a religious leader, spiritual person, public figure and man of integrity—will take the steps to extend an "olive branch" to the few who initiated or made accusations that were not true or offensive regarding our Church or its leadership. I pray that this is done in a manner that demonstrates respect for all children of God, as gay people are his children, too. Lastly, I hope this action would be made public, showing that our Church is a forgiving, loving and welcoming community. An apology for what was stated would not condone others' behavior; it would, however, show the depth of our convictions to live as Christ lived.



Gay Liberation Network


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.