The Catholic League and Senator Marco Rubio have launched a holy war against the Los Angeles Dodgers and their Pride Night for honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with the team’s Community Hero Award.
The Dodgers chose the Sisters to receive the award “for their countless hours of community service, ministry, and outreach to those on the edges, in addition to promoting human rights and respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment.”
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a 501(c)3 — a federally recognized non-profit whose supporters can file their donations to the group as tax write-offs. They brought in about a quarter-million dollars in 2019. Unlike a lot of other charities, none of the officers receive any compensation for their time.
The group — with a healthy amount of LGBTQ members — has for several decades used satire to bring attention to their marginalized community, dressing in nuns’ habits and administering to underserved populations.
During the AIDS crisis, when the Catholic Church and other people in power shamelessly ignored a gay community in dire need of help, the Sisters were instrumental in providing assistance to affected people, particularly in San Francisco.
While many people — even in the LGBTQ community — have forgotten the disgraceful behavior of organizations like the Catholic Church during this time, the Dodgers clearly have not and are recognizing the group for their humanitarian efforts.
According to the Sisters’ Guidestar profile, the group believes “all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty,” using “humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
It’s humor lost on the Catholic League and Rubio.
So why does the group utilize Catholic imagery to advance their cause? For a group founded by and comprised largely of LGBTQ people, it’s not hard to understand. The Catholic Church has for decades railed against the gay community and, as mentioned above, leaving them to die in the 1980s and 1990s.
Still, the organization isn’t necessarily anti-Catholic, but rather against the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, reflecting proudly on their website their enlisting of “energy of angry people for the Holy Wars against homophobia in the church and the government.”
The Catholic League’s President, Bill Donohue, said he has written a letter to the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, asking why any MLB team would be allowed to honor an organization he claims demeans Catholic people.
In addition, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has joined the campaign against the Dodgers, their Pride Night and the Sisters, posting on his official Senate page:
“The ‘sisters’ are men who dress in lewd imitation of Roman Catholic nuns,” Rubio posted. “The group’s motto, ‘go and sin some more,’ is a perversion of Jesus’s command to ‘go, and sin no more.’”
It’s amazing that the satirical nature of the group has been lost on these conservatives. Satire is a powerful and protected class of self-expression. The 1st Amendment has, over and over again, protected satirical speech. That these folks would now attack this thoughtful, satirical expression is unfortunate.
Oh, one last note: The Catholic League (New York) and Rubio (Florida) are located thousands of miles away from Dodger Stadium.
You can buy tickets to Dodgers Pride Night here.