The Windy City and values

As many of you know, I am from the great city of Chicago. Many folks tell me “you can take the kid out of Chicago; but you can’t take Chicago out of the kid.” I always thought that was a compliment of sorts since I really still have great fondness for my hometown.

Recently, of course, I have really found myself dodging a few remarks about Chicago’s political leaders – both local and national. The remarks and the leaders who provoke them have made me less proud to speak about the Chicago I know and love.

A few weeks ago, however, one of my personal heroes, himself a proud Chicagoan, took hold of the bully pulpit that is rightfully his and spoke to the issues better than anyone I’ve ever heard. That hero, of course, is his eminence Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago. I am providing you with a little of his blog from two weeks ago and encourage you to follow the link to the complete entry. He makes the point in his usual clear and concise style. It is a “teachable moment” that I am happy to share with you.

Recent comments by those who administer our city seem to assume that the city government can decide for everyone what are the “values” that must be held by citizens of Chicago. I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval. Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city? Is the City Council going to set up a “Council Committee on Un-Chicagoan Activities” and call those of us who are suspect to appear before it? I would have argued a few days ago that I believe such a move is, if I can borrow a phrase, “un-Chicagoan.”

The value in question is espousal of “gender-free marriage.” Approval of state-sponsored homosexual unions has very quickly become a litmus test for bigotry; and espousing the understanding of marriage that has prevailed among all peoples throughout human history is now, supposedly, outside the American consensus. Are Americans so exceptional that we are free to define “marriage” (or other institutions we did not invent) at will? What are we re-defining?

For the rest of the Cardinal’s blog entry, follow this link:

…and I’ll see you at Sunday Mass.

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