On Sunday, February 13, 2011, Chicago's Gay Liberation Network, under the leadership of Andy Thayer, held a rally and protest in front of Holy Name Cathedral, seat for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. The agenda for this rally was to condemn the "behind the scenes effort" of Francis Cardinal George, OMI, Cardinal Archbishop for the Roman Catholic Community of Chicago, for his efforts to prevent secular to provide gender common couples the rights of civil unions and/or marriages. Andy and his group usually hold a protest in front of Holy Name once or twice a year, earn some quick air time on television and in the print media and then go home. In most cases, I usually don't too much attention to Andy's visits to the Cathedral, but this year I watched the media's coverage of this event and have become motivated to offer comment on it.
I must confess that I am at a loss to understand the true agenda behind this protest, for it came across to me as unseemly and akin to something the Fred Phelps group would engage in.
I have problems with protest in front of houses of worship and I have a problem with GLN's preoccupation with the Roman Catholic Church, for the Roman Catholic Church is NOT the only religious body unfriendly - both within their internal forums and within the secular forum - to the gay and lesbian community. I believe that I am on safe ground when I say that leaders from the various religious bodies have either directly or indirectly lobbied in Springfield and Washington against all of the various legislative attempts to provide civil rights to to the gay and lesbian community. So why single out the Roman Catholics? Could it be that protesting in front of a Roman Catholic Church would increase the odds of media attendance?
Andy and his posse negate themselves when they or anyone else choose to attach theology and doctines. First of all, we do not live in a theocratic society. We live in a society in which membership within any religious body is a voluntary act. Those who protest the teachings or theology of a religious body in which they do not belong to have no business to do so.
If Andy and his organization wishes to make a legitmate contribution to the cause of civil rights, he and they should direct their energies away from the steps of houses of worship. This is a discussion best left within the halls of our houses of government and the courts.
We already have one Fred Phelps group to deal with. We don't need another counterproductive one.