The Los Angeles Dodgers are at the center of the controversy, with both sides denouncing the organization for perceived injustices.
As part of the The Dodgers’ 10th Annual LGBTQ Pride Night Event, a drag group known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were invited and this simple act started a wave of events that has the baseball team caught between a rock and a hard place.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are a drag troupe who dress as nuns. They were founded in 1979 in San Francisco and operate as a charity, protest and performance organization. The Los Angeles chapter is scheduled to receive the Community Hero Award and was in this disguise that the Dodgers invited them to celebrate their service.
The fly in the ointment is that several players are devout Catholics and view the company as a mockery of their religion. Among the players who protested were Cy Young Award winner and Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw and relief pitcher Blake Treinen.
Treinen released a statement saying he was disappointed to see the Sisters honored at Dodger Stadium, as “many of his performances are blasphemous and his work only shows hatred and mockery of Catholics and the Christian faith.”
Kershaw was a bit more muted in his criticism, saying: “This has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community or Pride or anything like that. This is simply a group making fun of a religion. That I do not agree with.”
As politicians and celebrities on the national stage chimed in, the Dodgers decided to rescind their invitation to the Sisters. But rather than put the issue aside, the LGBTQ community accused the Dodgers of homophobia and called for a boycott of the baseball club. The Dodgers hastily invited the Sisters back and have faced criticism from the religious side.
The Washington Nationals will play at Dodger Stadium during the event and their pitcher Trevor Williams was perhaps the most trenchant of all., saying: “As a devout Catholic, I am deeply concerned by the Dodgers’ decision to once again invite and honor ‘The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ at their Pride Night this year. To invite and honor a group that does a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion and the religion of over 4 million people in Los Angeles County By itself, it undermines the values of respect and inclusion that any organization should uphold.”
Williams doubled down on his position, calling on Catholic fans to “reconsider your support for an organization that allows this kind of mockery of their fans to occur.”
So here are the Dodgers, caught in the middle.
Curiously, two of the most reassuring voices in the series appear to be the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers decided to relaunch their Christian Faith and Family Day, allowing Kershaw to announce it and take the lead in announcing it.
Kershaw again insisted that their protest was not about LGBTQ but specifically about a particular act which he believes to be anti-Catholic. He confirmed that he will No boycott Pride Night and has no problem with the LGBTQ community.
Sister Dominia, speaking on behalf of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, said in a statement: “Our mission is to help those in need and provide service and support to the LGBTQ community. We accept our nomination to the LA Dodgers in recognition of our 27 years of service to Los Angeles and LGBTQ+ people. We thank the Dodgers for their support.”
Sister Unity, one of the founding members of the group in Los Angeles, said: “We don’t mock catholic nuns. Us borrow of them, there is a bit of jolly good natured banter. But We honor your work and assume it for our community.”
Noting that Kershaw’s decision to attend the Pride Night game, Sister Dominia said her decision was “very Christian.”
“The neighbors are the neighbors. He has his beliefs. He’s fine. I’m not angry about anything. Everything is alright.”
And maybe if we can all pull back from the brink, this is the best lesson for all of us. You don’t have to agree with another person all the time to respect them. And if we all do that, maybe, just maybe, this world would be a better place for everyone. Even Dodgers fans.