CHICAGO, February 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The city of Chicago ordered its police force not to enforce the law against a mob of homosexualist activists who disrupted Mass at the Holy Name Cathedral to protest “anti-gay bigots” who support the Church’s teaching on marriage.
The Gay Liberation Network staged the rally on the eve of Valentine’s Day, shouting and chanting loudly as churchgoers entered to celebrate Sunday Mass. The demonstration’s primary target was Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who has spoken out in defense of traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Protesters had staged a similar disruption around the same time last year.
In response to the protest, George, who was not present at the cathedral, acknowledged that the issue is deeply emotional on both sides but, “No matter the issue, Catholics should be able to worship in peace, without fear of harassment.”
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) released a video of the protest showing rainbow flag-waving protesters shouting and holding signs stating, “It’s time to stop being nice to anti-gay bigots.” “The Catholic leadership has ranged itself against equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for too long!” declared one homosexualist protester. Others called for an end to government cooperation with the Church’s charitable activities on the basis of its “bigoted” views.
Churchgoers withstood the angry protest passively. One said that the pastor present for the Mass “was almost attacked and was called a bigot.” The Chicago Tribune reported that there was a small counter-protest defending traditional marriage and Cardinal George.
While it was illegal for the protesters to disrupt a religious service, the Chicago City Council announced that police would not enforce the law in this instance - a move that NOM castigated.
“It’s outrageous that the city of Chicago stepped in and basically told police not to enforce a law for this one occasion,” said NOM president Brian Brown.
“Gay Liberation Network is not above the law. If the city believed the ordinance was unconstitutional they should either repeal it for everyone, or go to court to get a determination. What happened instead was indefensible: stripping Catholics of their legal right to attend religious services peacefully.”
“We don’t know yet if this signals a new phase in the gay marriage movement: organized protests at churches nationwide.”
Jeff Field, a spokesman for the Catholic League, told LifeSiteNews.com that the city council’s refusal to protect the Catholic worshippers was “disappointing to say the least.”
“Everybody has a right to practice their religion. For the city council to deny that right for Catholics is disappointing,” said Field, who pointed out that Muslims and Orthodox Jews shared a religious dedication to traditional marriage. “You wonder if they would allow protests in front of a mosque or a synagogue during their religious services,” he said.