- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2023

The Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to relaunch Christian Faith and Family Day as the team comes under fire from Catholic groups over plans to honor a bawdy troupe of drag queens that dress as nuns.

“Excited to announce the relaunch of Christian Faith and Family Day at Dodger Stadium on July 30th,” said pitcher Clayton Kershaw in a Friday tweet. “More details to come— but we are grateful for the opportunity to talk about Jesus and determined to make it bigger and better than it was before COVID. Hope to see you on July 30th!”

The decision to bring back the faith-themed day, last held before the pandemic in 2019, comes with the team caught in a pickle between LGBTQ advocates and Catholic leaders over plans to present a community service award next month to the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The Dodgers reversed plans last week to recognize the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence under criticism from Catholic organizations, then flip-flopped Monday under pressure from LGBTQ advocates by reinviting and apologizing to the drag group.

Not letting the matter drop is CatholicVote President Brian Burch, who said his group is gearing up for a $1 million multi-channel ad campaign urging “all people of goodwill to express their opposition to your celebration of anti-Catholic bigotry and mockery.”

Mr. Burch also renewed his request for a meeting with the team, citing CEO Stan Kasten’s statement that the organization is “in discussions and listening to everyone.”

“Prior to the launch of this campaign, we are requesting yet another opportunity to speak by telephone or to meet in person with an appropriate representative so that you can better understand the extraordinary harm and hurt your decision has engendered,” Mr. Burch said in the Thursday letter.

“The voices of Catholics — including clergy and religious sisters, which we would include — need to be heard,” he said. “We are hopeful you will match your rhetoric of ‘listening to everyone’ with action.”

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles also condemned the team’s decision to honor the self-described “leading edge order of queer and trans nuns.”

“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,” said the archdiocese in a statement.

The team also came under criticism from Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, who earlier posted a video of a performance featuring a man dressed as Jesus on a cross engaged in sexual behavior with another man.

“This is the anti-Christian pervert hate group the media defended and the @Dodgers will be honoring at their @MLB game on June 16th,” tweeted Mr. Rubio.

Mr. Burch was unassuaged by the team’s decision to host Christian Faith and Family Day, calling it “the equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.”

“It’s hard to interpret this announcement as anything other than a public relations stunt intended to blunt the widespread national backlash that is only growing stronger,” he said. “The Dodgers have one path forward: apologize and stop honoring hateful anti-Catholic organizations.”

CatholicVote accused the group of mocking the faith by adopting parody names such as the “Sister Mysteria of the Holy Order of the Broken Hymen,” “Sister Sermonetta of the Flying Phallus,” “Sister Rose of the Bloody Stains of the Sacred Robes of Jesus,” and “Sister Missionary Position.”

In his letter, Mr. Burch said the media campaign will “include radio and television ads; geo-targeted digital ads aimed at fans in and around Dodger Stadium; billboards near the stadium and along major routes to the stadium, and more.”

“It will continue throughout the 2023 season, postseason, and beyond. You have left us with no choice,” said Mr. Burch.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center cheered the team for bringing back the SPI, calling it a “step in the right direction.”

“Last week’s debacle underscores the dangerous impact of political tactics by those who seek to stoke the flames of anti-LGBTQ bias at a time when our rights are under attack,” said center CEO Joe Hollendoner. “We must continue to stand together as a community in defense of the rights and recognition of LGBTQ+ people in Los Angeles and beyond.”

Founded in 1979 in San Francisco, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a registered non-profit that does fundraising for primarily LGBTQ causes, although the group is best known for its bawdy sexual humor and parodies of Catholicism.

“We have asked the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to take their place on the field at our 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 16,” the team said. “We are pleased to share that they have agreed to receive the gratitude of our collective communities for the lifesaving work that they have done tirelessly for decades.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide