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This article shared 4472 times since Sat Jun 29, 2013
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To Cardinal George

on Pride Sunday


Sunday, June 30, 2013 is the day that Chicago will celebrate LGBT Pride with one of Chicago's largest parades. I disagree with you that this parade in any way promotes an agenda that focuses on lust, a position you told me you had when we last met. On the contrary, I believe the Gay Pride Parade and the whole issue of gay marriage promote both family and gospel values. I realize such view is not allowed by you because of your blind biases.

I believe in a gospel that can forgive sinners and make us sons and daughters of God. Most of your clergy are forced to live in the closet because of your actions as George the corrector, and are shot down when they promote love over hate to the LGBT community. Going forward it is my hope that you will serve as a light for those who live in the dark shadows of the clerical closets thereby encouraging our gay clergy to come out. It is time to crucify our illusions of religious superiority based on sexual orientation.

You have chosen to impose your unique brand of homophobia on LGBT Catholics and indeed the whole Illinois Catholic community through the existence of the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach Ministry. Even many conservative Catholics understand the hypocrisy that is shown by the existence of this ministry because it lacks consistency with a Church Teaching that you claim to support; integrity appears to be at odds with bigotry. This ministry is a perfect example of what is wrong with the Church's message on the LGBT human being, and our inherent dignity. It sends a mixed message of welcome and bigotry at a time at a time when we should be loving each other.

Recently, your alliance with African-American pastors to promote bigotry by slowing down the march towards gay marriage in Illinois was a battle we lost, but the war is not over. The Supreme Court has now ruled on two monumental marriage cases, and in my opinion the legal and cultural landscape has changed in this country. I believe this to be an act of gospel witness by promoting permanent stable marriages regardless of sexual orientation.

When you denied me Holy Communion last Sunday because I wore a rainbow sash identifying myself as a gay man, you chose to side with homophobia over integrity. I will be returning to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel after the Gay Pride Parade this evening for the 7 p.m. Mass, and once again will seek reception of the Blessed Sacrament while wearing a rainbow sash. As a Catholic, I know my church stands for good throughout the world, even though I've struggled with its strong opposition to marriage equality.

Joe Murray

Executive Director

Rainbow Sash Movement

A call for women to unite

Dear Rep. Patricia Bellock:

Celebration of Women's right to vote in Illinois

Thank you very much for sending me an announcement of the celebratory resolution of the Illinois General Assembly. I salute you and the other co-sponsors for this declaration. I join you in celebrating this great milestone. I believe this civil right has served our state and nation well.

I note that the declaration celebrates the leadership and pioneering role of Illinois regarding women's right to vote, accomplishing this right seven years before the 19th Amendment. Illinois was the first state east of the Mississippi River to allow women to vote in presidential elections. We have a right to be proud of our forbearers.

Sitting on the manhole cover

By way of background, I am a seasoned businessman, of Catholic and Irish heritage, and a 21-year resident of Elmhurst. My family suffered discrimination based on their religious and ethnic heritage before achieving an education, professional skills and moving to the western suburbs. Unfortunately, some of my family discriminated against African-Americans before, during and after the civil-rights movement. It was, as they say, a case of sitting on the manhole cover after crawling out of the sewer.

I found it interesting that the announcement of the women's right to vote celebration reached me on the same day that the Supreme Court of the United States granted marriage equality by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Many Illinoisans (my clients, colleagues, neighbors, family and friends included) will now have the rights and responsibilities of other married couples under United States law.

A pioneering opportunity in the present

In the past Illinois General Assembly session there were not enough votes in the General Assembly to grant marriage equality in the state of Illinois.

It is my perspective that some of the same people whose forbears were discriminated against because of their background are now sitting on the manhole cover regarding LGBT rights.

Based on the new federal law, civil-union status in Illinois does not qualify citizens for federal rights and responsibilities. I ask, where is the Illinois pioneering spirit now? I am especially curious regarding the lack of declaration of support for marriage equality by women state representatives who come from families that were discriminated against for their religious and ethnic backgrounds.

I believe this is the time for the 42 women who serve in the Illinois General Assembly to take on a pioneering role, exercise their "hard-won rights," and work in a bipartisan manner to co-sponsor and vote for marriage-equality legislation.

Rep. Bellock, I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply regarding this issue and this request.


Chuck Scharenberg


Mixed emotions

Letter to the Editor:

The joy I felt over the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA and uphold the California's lower court's decision of the unconstitutionality of Prop 8 made me proud to be gay American. Yet that decision must be juxtaposed to the court's ruling on affirmative action the previous day, which made it a bittersweet moment.

The bully pulpit of voices and strategist for the bishops on gay marriage have been Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, with contributions from leading prelates like Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. These voices will now become irrelevant in the battle for marriage equality, with the exception of George. Look for the cardinal to turn up the heat by attempting to organize within minority communities in Illinois against same-sex marriage.

On a national level, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will no longer be calling the shots; those decisions will now fall to the respective bishops' state conferences. It is the bishops in the state conferences who will now decide how much money will be spent on this effort, or if those funds are better used in serving the poor. This is where LGBT Catholics must make their voices heard, both within the Church and outside of it.

Particularly important for Roman Catholics who support marriage equality is having our voices heard in the archdiocese of Chicago.

We can no longer afford the luxury to remain in our little ghettos on this. We must turn our sights on George and those who support him—such as the such as the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach Ministry—and publicly challenge them.

No longer can we give him a pass because he segregates some of us to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, and dismisses others by pushing them into None Catholic Churches. We cannot sell our souls for a church service (liturgy) that supports the denial of our fundamental rights; such a liturgy has no legitimacy without justice flowing from it.

Nor can we allow apathy to be justified by some perverted notion that this has anything to do with our faith and not bigotry, or that we owe respect to this homophobic cardinal Such ideas border more on the inane and self-hate than reasonableness.

It is beyond the time that LGBT Catholics and our allies in the parishes step up to the plate and make their voices heard on the issue of marriage equality. Our social-justice tradition demands that of us.

Joe Murray

Executive Director

Rainbow Sash Movement

This article shared 4472 times since Sat Jun 29, 2013
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