An Illinois-based Catholic leader is making headlines after penning a column arguing that members of his church are now being forced to live under a pro-gay, pro-choice "state religion" akin to those living in nations "governed by Sharia law."
Cardinal Francis George, Head of the Archdiocese of Chicago, writes in a column for Catholic New World:
In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered 'sinful.' Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes.
He goes on to note:
We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.
He also seemed to hint at the number of bus who have been called up in the media for turning away same-sex couples, noting that business owners "must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law."
You can read the full column here.
The comments aren't particularly surprising given the cardinal's history of anti-LGBT sentiment. In 2013, George launched a last-ditch campaign against Illinois' same-sex marriage legislation, saying the state's government didn't have the authority to "create something that nature itself tells us is impossible," according to Religion News Service.
In 2011, he compared LGBT rights advocates to the Ku Klux Klan in an interview with Fox News Chicago.
"You know, you don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism," he said at the time in a discussion about Chicago's LGBT Pride Parade, according to the Sun-Times.
Earlier this week, however, a church music director who was fired from his job after it was revealed that he'd gotten engaged to his same-sex partner said he'd met and prayed together with George, according to The Chicago Tribune.
"I'm not that naive to know that there are some people who believe that who I am basically is wrong," Colin Collette, who was let go from his job at Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness, told the publication. "I'm not that naive, but the love and support I have received is truly humbling and is beyond words."