By: The Editors – nationalreview.com –
When businesses celebrate various identity groups among their customers and employees, it can easily descend into cloying and opportunistic pandering. But it is mostly harmless, in the way that drinking green beer on St. Patrick’s Day or wearing plastic sombreros on Cinco de Mayo is harmless. Nobody is forced to participate, and anodyne celebration of the cultural signifiers of different ethnic and religious groups doesn’t require an endorsement of their beliefs on any particular topic.
The same cannot be said of Pride Month (previously Pride Week). It has increasingly become a tool of forced conformity for the purpose of isolating dissenters from LGBTQ+ ideology — especially religious believers — and either compelling their submission or punishing them for standing on their conscience. The sports world has become an especially visible arena for this dynamic, as witnessed last year when National Hockey League commentators threw a fit at Ivan Provorov of the Philadelphia Flyers for declining, without fuss or comment, to publicly wear a Pride jersey. For standing his ground on the tenets of his Orthodox faith without comment, Provorov had an NHL Network analyst calling for him to be sent back to Russia.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have now added another sin to corporate Pride: openly celebrating and honoring anti-Catholicism.
The controversy arises from “LGBTQ+ Pride Night” at Dodger Stadium, scheduled for June 16. Not content merely to invite gay and transgender fans to celebrate in their own individual way, the Dodgers proposed to give a “Community Hero Award” to a group calling itself the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”
The “Sisters” are “queer and trans” drag queens whose shtick is to dress up as Roman Catholic nuns and mock them and their faith in ways that range from the lewd to the sacrilegious. They go by various sexual and blasphemous stage names, all of them with the honorific “Sister” (e.g., “Sister Anal Receptive”). The group’s motto is “go and sin some more.” They annually host a “Foxy Mary and Hunky Jesus” contest on Easter Sunday. This year, that included a “Jesus and Mary–themed striptease” in which, per the San Francisco Chronicle, a pole dancer was “writhing upside down on a large wooden cross.” Senator Marco Rubio observes that the group “hosts pub crawls mocking the Stations of the Cross and even the Eucharist.” The group’s website proudly notes that it began when members “went in full, traditional habits through the streets of our city and down to the nude beach.”
Nor have the “Sisters” left Catholic worship alone. In 2007, the Archbishop of San Francisco apologized for being tricked into giving Communion to two of the “Sisters” at Mass. Archbishop George Niederauer observed that this was “intended as a provocative gesture” because the group and its members had “long made a practice of mocking the Catholic Church in general and religious women in particular.” “The manner of dress and public comportment of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” he continued, “is deeply offensive to women religious and to the witness of holiness and Christian service that women religious have offered to the Church and to the world for centuries.”
When there was a public outcry against the Dodgers’ choice of honorees, the team belatedly recognized the problem and retracted the award. But to the event’s promoters, one cannot be baptized in the LGBTQ+ faith halfway. The Los Angeles LGBT Center threatened to pull out of the evening and called on the Dodgers to cancel “Pride Night” if it did not genuflect to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In a garish display of cowardice, the Dodgers reversed course again, grovelingly apologized, and indicated that the award would go forward. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles blasted the about-face, saying that “the decision to honor a group that clearly mocks the Catholic faith and makes light of the sincere and holy vocations of our women religious who are an integral part of our Church is what has caused disappointment, concern, anger, and dismay from our Catholic community.”
It’s a free country, so the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have not met the fate that would come with blasphemy against more sensitive faiths in other lands. Our culture of free speech recognizes that God is not so easily mocked. But it is one thing to tolerate bigoted satire and public lewdness as the prices of a free society; to actively celebrate them is to take sides against their targets.
The Dodgers have a long and deep connection with their Catholic fans, dating back to when they were in Brooklyn and fans prayed for Gil Hodges. The team was long owned by the devoutly Catholic O’Malley family, which used to host “Nun’s Day” at Dodger Stadium. Ever since the arrival of Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, the team has boasted the largest Hispanic fan base in the game, much of it composed of Catholics. Never before has that connection been anything but harmonious with the franchise’s history of real inclusivity, from Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier to the team introducing the game’s first Mexican and Japanese pitching stars. But Pride Night is not about diversity; it is about choosing ideological sides. The Dodgers have chosen theirs against Catholic fans and Catholic employees of their team. This is an insult and a betrayal, and should be received as such.
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