by Mark Segal
This is a call to look at how government funds go to the Catholic Church.
Over the years, the Catholic Church or the men who run it have called our community everything – intrinsic moral evil, dysfunctional, un-family, even violent and much worse – but a low point for the Church occurred recently when Chicago Cardinal Francis George compared our LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan.
Chicago’s LGBT community is not letting this pass, unlike many other cities in this country who give the church a pass. Bravo to Chicago. And if you don’t mind, I’d like to offer some advice from an old activist. Change does not happen quickly, so a one-time demonstration won’t work. You need to keep up the pressure. You also must have a stated goal. Here your choices are obvious: step down, apologize or meet with LGBT leaders. But the parties must agree to treat each other with respect, something the Catholic Church has never done before.
Note: We have no problem with Catholicism, but we do have a problem with its leaders tossing verbal bombs at our LGBT community. But a demonstration, while a great place to start, is not in itself the answer. For that you must be creative: Hit the Church where it hurts, in its moral pocketbook. After all, it seems at times that’s all the Church really is – a business.
One of the best examples of how to tame the Church’s tongue is in our nation’s capitol. You might recall that Washington, D.C., has marriage equality. In the lead-up to the vote on marriage equality in the district, the Church took the lead in attacking equality by stating it might have to close social services programs if it passed. But then, some of the elected officials who supported marriage equality made the point clear that the annoying and offensive voice of the Church might lead to stronger legislation. Translation: It could take funds away from religious institutions that the Church was saying it would voluntarily close.
The elected officials called the Church’s bluff. And in the end they are both living with each other in harmony. The point is clear: If the church wishes to continue to be an opponent of equality, we must go for the wallet.
So to activists nationwide, let me share some information with you: One of the key funding sources for the Catholic Church is government programs and funding. Do I have to draw a map for you?