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Activists Plan To Protest At Holy Name Over Cardinal’s KKK Comments

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Cardinal Francis George speaks to reporters during a visit to Children's Memorial Hospital on Christmas Sunday. (Credit: CBS)

Cardinal Francis George speaks to reporters during a visit to Children’s Memorial Hospital on Christmas Sunday. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The controversy has persisted into the new year surrounding Francis Cardinal George’s remarks comparing the gay rights movement to the Ku Klux Klan.

The group Rainbow Sash is planning a protest at noon this coming Sunday at Holy Name Cathedral.

Gay rights activist Lair Scott tells the Chicago Phoenix the demonstration is scheduled to coincide with Sunday mass at the seat of the Chicago Archdiocese, located at 735 N. State St.

The protest will likely move to the Cardinal’s Mansion at North Boulevard and State Parkway afterward, Scott tells the publication.

The Gay Liberation Network plans to participate in the protest, as does the Rainbow Sash Movement, an organization of gay and lesbian Roman Catholics.

In an interview on Fox Chicago News last month, George commented on complaints by Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 708 W. Belmont Ave., that the new route for the Gay Pride Parade in June would disrupt mass at the church.

George said, “You don’t want to see the gay liberation movement morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.”

To accommodate the church, parade organizers reversed an earlier decision to move the start time to 10 a.m., and decided instead to start the parade at noon as in past years.

In a later interview, George said he never meant to compare gay rights activists to members of the Ku Klux Klan, but said the Gay Pride Parade was “a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past, because it stops us from worshipping God.”

In a statement issued last week, cardinal added, “the organizers invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church” by initially refusing to change the start time of the parade.

“One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940’s, paraded through American cities not only to interfere with Catholic worship, but also to demonstrate that Catholics stand outside of the American consensus,” the cardinal added. “It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate.”

On Sunday, the gay rights group Truth Wins Out took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune demanding that the cardinal resign for the comments.

George said in Tuesday’s statement that he was “grateful” that the issue had been settled by moving the parade start time back to noon.

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