Tag Archives: fallacies of excluded middle

Things that don’t go together, part CXL

Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, caused ire and some headscratching when he expressed concern about the gay rights movement:

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. So I think if that’s what’s happening, and I don't know that it is, but I would respect the local pastor’s, you know, position on that.

The Cardinal's remarks were occasioned by the not unreasonable desire of the pastor of a church on the route of the Chicago Pride Parade.  The pastor worried that the parade of gay people would interfere with his church's staunch anti-gay stance, or that parishoners leaving Sunday mass would be tempted away to gayness.  Ok, in all seriousness, he said it would cause a traffic problem for the churchgoers.  Fair enough, and the two groups (the Pride Parade and Our Lady of Caramel) worked it out.

What has remained are the the Cardina's puzzling remarks about the gay-hating KKK, however.  In fact, the fallacy of the undistributed-middle endorsing Cardinal has reiterated his concerns that two groups that have nothing in common could make common cause of their hatred for the Catholic Church.  He remarked:

Organizers (of the pride parade) invited an obvious comparison to other groups who have historically attempted to stifle the religious freedom of the Catholic Church,” the cardinal said in a statement issued Tuesday. “One such organization is the Ku Klux Klan which, well into the 1940s, 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.

Let's put this syllogistically:

  1. The Klan are Catholics-protestors
  2. Teh Gays are Catholics-protestors
  3. Therefore, the Klan are the Gays.

Well, obviously three doesn't follow on account of the fact there is no middle term between the KKK and the Pride Parade organizers in Chicago.  The simple fact of objecting to some aspect of Catholicism is obviously inadequate to draw a line between the two groups.  The KKK objected to Catholicism on ethnic grounds; gay activists (some of whom are actually catholic) object to the Church's using its influence to deny people rights. 

Besides, I should remark that it's a shame that the Cardinal endeavors to influence the state to hold back the recognition of obvious human rights to oppressed minorities, much in same the way the KKK sought to prohibit the lawful practice of Catholicism.  It's alarming that the Cardinal would invite comparisons to virulently anti-Catholic sentiments.