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Finally, A Night Where It’s Safe To Be Christian At The Ballpark

Clayton Kershaw looks up.
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Recently the Los Angeles Dodgers were dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that it would be functionally impossible and also embarrassing to try to host a Pride Night event while specifically and publicly snubbing a venerable charity and activism organization that has been doing essential work for the Los Angeles LGBTQ community for decades. After flailing in their own stupid mess, the Dodgers apologized for banishing the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, secured the group's participation, and announced that the party is back on.

Having reaffirmed the franchise's love for gay people, the Dodgers were then thoughtful enough to carve out a night on the schedule to celebrate anyone who would like to claim religious grounds for hating gay people. Led by longtime starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, last week the Dodgers announced the revival of Christian Faith and Family Day, to be held on July 30. Kershaw, who rejects the Sisters on the grounds that he doesn't "agree with making fun of other people's religions," says the decision was specifically made "in response to the highlighting of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" in the upcoming Pride Night festivities. At last, the sport that still has some teams play "God Bless America" during the seventh inning will provide a rare opportunity for Christians to participate openly in American pastimes.

Kershaw says Christian Faith and Family Day—not at all named in such a way as to draw a contrast between queer people and the concept of family—is "our opportunity to be able to kind of share our testimony of what we believe in and why we believe in it, and how that affects our performance on the field." In other words, if the Dodgers are going to give in to what Senator Marco Rubio (who represents Florida, not home of the Los Angeles Dodgers) described as bullying by "socio-political ruling elites" (i.e. a charity group founded during the AIDS crisis), it makes sense that they should also grant the comparatively less elite group known as "Christians" a night "to see the platform that Jesus has given us and how to use that for his glory and not ours."

Earlier this week, Sister Unity from the Los Angeles chapter told SFGate that she had no problem with the Dodgers' Christian Faith event, but suggested in so many words that perhaps people like Kershaw would be less indignant if they learned anything about the group and what it does:

“We [The Sisters] absolutely employ satire and humor and joy to heal our own community. We never aim it at anyone’s faith. It is always aimed inward at our people to our own benefit,” Sister Unity said. “I completely understand how that can be construed as offensive. I can only offer that understanding, which takes time and patience, can be attained by spending time with LGBT people; understanding our lifelong experience. And perhaps the Sisters' experience makes more sense once you are familiar with this context that we live in every day of our lives.”

Whereas the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are "dedicated to the promulgation of universal joy and the expiation of stigmatic guilt," so that queer people may exist openly in human society, the broader Christian right is dedicated to making it illegal to so much as acknowledge the existence of queer people, let alone invite them around for a ballgame. To allow the former to enjoy a dedicated event, without offering the latter a platform from which to evangelize a belief system that condemns the former to hell, would simply be unfair.

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