Following criticism from various Catholic groups and even a U.S. senator, the Dodgers on Wednesday, May 17, withdrew an invitation the team had extended to The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — described on its website as an “order of queer and trans nuns” — to participate in the team’s annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night.
“This year, as part of a full night of programming, we invited a number of groups to join us,” a team statement said. “We are now aware that our inclusion of one group in particular —The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — in this year’s Pride Night has been the source of some controversy.
“Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the Sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honorees.”
The group had been scheduled to receive a Community Hero Award at the team’s June 16 Pride Night, honoring its efforts to promote human rights, diversity and “spiritual enlightenment.”
The Sisters’ website describes the organization as “a leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns.”
“We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty,” the group says. “Since our first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”
Responding to the Dodgers’ announcement Wednesday, one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s most veteran and visible members, known as Sister Roma, said the team was giving in to “right-wing pseudo-Christian media.”
“So disappointing to see the Dodgers cave to the conservative pseudo-Christian homophobes,” Sister Roma wrote on Twitter. “This weaponizing of religion is exactly what the (Sisters) have been protesting for decades.”
The Dodgers’ original decision to honor the group drew criticism from various Catholic organizations. Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, accused the team of “rewarding anti-Catholicism” by honoring the group.
“The Catholic League has been the leading critic of this bigoted organization for many decades,” Donohue wrote on the organization’s website. “Just last month, they held an event mocking our Blessed Mother and Jesus on Easter Sunday.”
Donohue said he wrote to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to protest the Dodgers’ decision to honor the group. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, also sent a complaint to Manfred, saying the group “mocks Christians through diabolical parodies of our faith.”
The organization Catholic Vote also condemned the move. Its president, Brian Burch, issued a statement Wednesday hailing the team’s decision to exclude the group, which he called “an anti-Catholic hate group known for their gross mockery of Catholic nuns.”
“While we continue to wonder how such a group was selected in the first place, this incident should serve as a wake-up call for all religious believers: Unchecked woke corporations have no qualms about exploiting people of faith,” Burch said.
But the team’s decision to disinvite the group also generated criticism.
“If they’re not invited, I’m not going,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath wrote on Twitter. “Celebrating Pride is about inclusion. Do better.”
Assemblyman Rick Chavez Zbur, D-Santa Monica and a longtime LGBTQ+ civil rights advocate, also condemned the exclusion of the Sisters.
“I’m deeply saddened by the hate & ignorance perpetuated by leaders of other states for cheap political points, & I am truly disappointed that our beloved LA Dodgers have given into their manufactured outrage,” Zbur wrote on Twitter. “LGBTQ+ lives, families, love & existence have long been characterized as offensive & controversial, but we do not give in to those calls. I urge the Dodgers to reverse this decision & ensure our home team reflects the true Los Angeles values of inclusion & acceptance.”