Paul Tuns:

Portland, Oregon, USA – June 16, 2019: Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Portland’s 2019 Pride Parade.

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced on May 4 they would award the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an anti-Catholic hate group that raises money for left-wing causes by dressing up in religious garb and mocking Christian symbols, a Community Hero Award as part of its pride night celebrations on June 16.

After Catholic Vote and the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights chastised the Dodgers for their recognition of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, there was a chorus of criticism that soon included Republican senators Marco Rubio and Tim Scott. So, the Dodgers disinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on May 17. The disinvitation met with charges of homophobia and transphobia from gay rights groups and the California Teachers Association, so the Dodgers reversed themselves again on May 23 and re-invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to be part of the ceremonies, reigniting criticism of religious and conservative groups. The Dodgers tried to placate them by reinstituting their Christian Faith and Family Day, a tradition that the organization ended in 2019.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, founded in 1979, describe themselves as a “leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns” committed to “community service, ministry, and outreach to those on the edges.” In fact, it has no ties to any religion or religious group. Their motto is “go forth and sin some more.”

Some of the drag performers go by names such as Sister Jezabelle of the Enraptured Sling, Sister Shalita Corndog, Sister T’aint a Virgin, Sister GladAss of the Joyous Reserectum, Sister Selma Soul, and Sister Guard N.O. Pansies.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have held “Hunky Jesus” and “Foxy Mary” events at bars on Easter (as recently as this year) and have had their drag performers dress up as Jesus to twerk for audiences and use the cross as a stripper pole. They have also held mock masses with “holy communion and tequila” and “Condom Savior Masses.” Bishop Robert Barron, former auxiliary bishop of L.A. said the group “can only be described as an anti-Catholic hate group.”

When the Dodgers announced that they originally disinvited the sisters, the team meekly said their presence had caused “some controversy,” but when they reinvited the drag group to the award ceremony, they profusely apologized for their insensitive treatment of the Sisters of Perpetual Induglence in what Mercatornet’s Kurt Mahlburg called an “obligatory struggle-session confession.”

The Dodgers released a statement that said: “After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families.” The Dodgers announced “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.”

Three Wall Street Journal editorials and columnists condemned the Dodgers. Matthew Hennessey wrote that everyone should already feel welcome at the ballpark and should not have to endure “force-fed culture-war politics.” Hennessey noted that the Dodger Way celebrated by the O’Malley family, long-time owners of the club, “meant professionalism and class” – two traits sorely missing from the drag act of the sisters. Notable Catholics such as manager Tommy Lasorda, players Gil Hodges and Orel Hershiser, and radio announcer Vin Scully wouldn’t recognize the new Dodger Way, Hennessey argued.

Several current players spoke out against the Dodgers hosting the anti-Catholic group including Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams. Both said they opposed celebrating a group that mocks Christians. Williams noted that the inclusion of the Sisters of Indulgence drag group in the Dodgers pre-game ceremonies undermined the team’s discrimination policy and urged Catholics to reconsider their support of the Dodgers.

Williams later told EWTN “we cannot stand idly by while our Lord gets mocked,” adding, “When I die and St. Peter greets me at the gates, he’s not going to ask ‘what (was) your win-loss record in 2023?’ He’s going to ask ‘how did you build up the kingdom of heaven’?”

Williams, a married father of four, said that teammates, other ballplayers, and stadium staff have thanked him for speaking out but are afraid to speak out.