Cardinal Francis George Rainbow Award 2011

Francis Cardinal George, winner of the first-annual Turning Left Rainbow Flag Award.

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George easily won Turning Left’s first-annual Rainbow Flag award after comparing — and then defending his remarks regarding — the city’s gay pride parade to a rally of the Ku Klux Klan.

Yes, the KKK.

Honestly, what was this man thinking?

Some gay rights activists in Chicago asked the Cardinal to apologize for his remarks, calling his remarks “hurtful,” “brazen” and “bigoted.”

But George, always one to hold steadfast to his conclusions, refused.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Linking the KKK to gay rights activism led to criticism of the cardinal. On Tuesday, he issued a statement on the Archdiocese of Chicago web site defending his comments.

“The Chicago Gay Pride Parade has been organized and attended for many years without interfering with the worship of God in a Catholic church,” the cardinal’s statement said. “When the 2012 Parade organizers announced a time and route change this year, it was apparent that the Parade would interfere with divine worship in a Catholic parish on the new route.

“When the pastor’s request for reconsideration of the plans was ignored, the organizers invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church. 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. It is not a precedent anyone should want to emulate.”

How can the Cardinal possibly miss the fact that this really was not about him, or any “Catholic parish on the new route”?

Why would he possibly think that this change completely revolved around the Catholic Church, and the mass schedule of one parish?

Worst of all, the Cardinal lumped all parade participants in the same category with the KKK.  He did not distinguish.  The insult was to all of our GLBTQ brothers and sisters.

The change of time for the parade, believe it or not, was actually initiated to keep inebriated people from sullying the streets of Chicago. Thanks to your efforts, the parade will now launch at Noon, and the drinking will continue.

Here’s the rub:

Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward) and organizer Richard Pfeiffer meet with church representatives last week to discuss the parish’s concerns about the route and proposed start time of 10 a.m., which is one hour before the church’s morning mass.

As Chicago’s first openly gay alderman and a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Tunney was caught in the middle.

Now parade organizers say the 2012 parade will be pushed back to Noon – the previous start time – to help accommodate Sunday services along the parade route.

“After consulting with the various City departments, we believe this is an agreeable compromise to help keep the parade safe and manageable while respecting the diversity of our neighborhood,” Tunney and Pfeiffer said in a joint statement.

Congratulations to FRANCIS CARDINAL GEORGE, winner of Turning Left’s first-ever annual Rainbow Flag Award!