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Chicago Cardinal Francis George issues apology for gay/KKK analogy

UPDATE: Sunday protest cancelled by Rainbow Sash, GLN say 'it's on'

Chicago, IL — Chicago's Cardinal Francis George has apologized for repeatedly comparing the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan.

Cardinal Francis George
Cardinal Francis George
"During a recent TV interview, speaking about this year's Gay Pride Parade, I used an analogy that is inflammatory," George said in a statement released by the Archdiocese of Chicago late Friday afternoon.

"I am personally distressed that what I said has been taken to mean that I believe all gays and lesbians are like members of the Klan.  I do not believe that; it is obviously not true.  Many people have friends and family members who are gay or lesbian, as have I.  We love them; they are part of our lives, part of who we are.  I am deeply sorry for the hurt that my remarks have brought to the hearts of gays and lesbians and their families.

"I can only say that my remarks were motivated by fear for the Church's liberty.  This is a larger topic that cannot be explored in this expression of personal sorrow and sympathy for those who were wounded by what I said."

George, the head of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and the Archbishop of Chicago, first made controversial comments about the LGBT community to Fox Chicago News on Dec. 21. 

"A true leader can admit when they are wrong, and the Cardinal has set a good example of leadership today with his statement," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA). "Now, with this apology, the LGBT community and the Catholic community can begin to heal the divides that this has caused."

TCRA last week called for George to step down after he reiterated his gay-KKK analogy. 

"It appears that the Cardinal has had a chance to reflect on the deeply hurtful and destructive statement he had made on Christmas day in comparing the movement for LGBT equality to the Ku Klax Klan," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest organization advocating for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. "His apology is important and will go some way toward healing the pain he has caused. However, his actions will speak louder than words, and we will be paying attention to see if his words translate into acts of dignity and respect towards LGBT people."

Protests from gay activists and organizations, including a planned rally at Holy Name Cathedral on Sunday Jan. 8, seem to have prompted the Cardinal to retreat on his inflammatory statements.

Rainbow Sash Movement (RSM), one of the groups organizing Sunday's protest along with the Gay Liberation Network, has since announced its cancellation. 

"The Cardinal spoke directly to us in sincere language," said Joe Murray, RSM executive director. "Our Board of the Directors has instructed me to immediately call for a cancellation of planned demonstration outside of the Cathedral on Sunday. We got what we ask for and that was an apology."

Calling the Cardinal's apology "pathetically inadequate," the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) said late Friday that the protest is on for Sunday, Jan 8.

"When the church leadership ceases doing everything it can to oppose our equal participation in society, then we might believe that George truly cares about our feelings," GLN said in a released statement. 

Cardinal George and the Archdiocese of Chicago have most-recently clashed with the LGBT community over the passage and implementation of civil unions in the state.

As Windy City Times reported in September, the Catholic Conference of Illinois launched a Defense of Marriage department in an attempt to fight what it calls "an uphill battle against current societal trends."

The GLN protest is 12 Noon, Sunday, Jan. 8th in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street.

Statement from Cardinal Francis George

During a recent TV interview, speaking about this year's Gay Pride Parade, I used an analogy that is inflammatory.

I am personally distressed that what I said has been taken to mean that I believe all gays and lesbians are like members of the Klan.  I do not believe that; it is obviously not true.  Many people have friends and family members who are gay or lesbian, as have I.  We love them; they are part of our lives, part of who we are.  I am deeply sorry for the hurt that my remarks have brought to the hearts of gays and lesbians and their families.

I can only say that my remarks were motivated by fear for the Church's liberty.  This is a larger topic that cannot be explored in this expression of personal sorrow and sympathy for those who were wounded by what I said.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
 
photo
Standard politics.
Posted by Steve Martindale on Sat, 1/7/2012 3:52 AM
And. . . REALLY!? I miss the Chicagoans who said what they had to say, and didn't back down, no matter what.
Posted by Steve Martindale on Sat, 1/7/2012 4:43 AM
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