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OPINION

Dodgers Double Down on Anti-Catholic Bigotry

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AMAC

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Dodgers enraged Christians and non-Christians alike by pledging to publicly honor a radical LGBT group that mocks Catholic nuns at the team’s annual “pride night” event. While the move has sparked predictable backlash from conservative media pundits, many Christians are now also looking to players on the Dodgers to take a stand against anti-Catholic bigotry.

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There would be no more powerful sign of opposition to the hateful actions of Dodgers management than Christians on the Dodgers or the opposing San Francisco Giants refusing to take the field during pride night on June 16.

On May 4, the Dodgers announced that they were inviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI)—a group of drag performers who dress as Catholic nuns and crudely mock the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—to their annual “pride” event to receive a “Community Hero Award.” But following a torrent of criticism from the Catholic community and other Americans of faith—including a letter to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)—the Dodgers withdrew the group from their list of honorees, acknowledging in a now-deleted tweet that the inclusion of the SPI “has been the source of some controversy.”

Though Catholics, conservatives, and countless ordinary baseball fans applauded the Dodgers’ withdrawal of the invitation as a victory for “sanity and common sense,” the franchise was predictably hounded by left-wing advocacy groups and progressive Twitter personalities, who claimed the pulled invitation was a sign of exclusion and hate.

The Dodgers promptly caved to the progressive activist class and reinvited the group—offering their “sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ+ community and their friends and families.”

Although the MLB’s embrace of wokeism and gender ideology is far from new (last season, several teams donated funds from their “pride” events to groups that champion “gender-affirming” surgeries), the Dodgers’ decision to honor the SPI is a particularly glaring instance of hostility toward Americans of faith – and Americans who simply want to attend a baseball game without having sexual and irreligious matters shoved in their faces.

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The move is even more egregious given that the Dodgers draw in large numbers of Hispanic Catholic fans, and according to Outkick, many players and Dodgers staff “are openly religious.” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, for instance, has stated that his “relationship with Christ is the most important thing in my life.”

But despite widespread outrage from Catholics, conservatives, and other baseball fans, Christians on the Dodgers have remained virtually silent. The only sign of resistance thus far from within the Dodgers organization has come from Christian pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who announced a “Christian Faith and Family Day” at Dodger Stadium in July—a transparent attempt to placate outraged Catholics.

One Christian player on another team has courageously spoken out, providing an inspiring example that other players might follow. In a statement posted to social media on Tuesday, Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams blasted the Dodgers for “inviting and honoring a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion.”

“I believe it is essential for the Dodgers to reconsider their association with this group and strive to create an inclusive environment that does not demean or disrespect the religious beliefs of any fan or employees,” Williams continued. “I also encourage my fellow Catholics to reconsider their support of an organization that allows this type of mockery of its fans to occur.”

That call to action is one Kershaw, Roberts, and other faithful Christians within the Dodgers organization would do well to heed. On June 16, they have a unique opportunity to both display authentic Christian witness and send a message that anti-Catholic bigotry will not be tolerated by refusing to take the field.

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Refusal to participate in team “pride” events is not without precedent: last June, for instance, several players on the Tampa Bay Rays refused to wear uniforms with “pride” logos, citing their religious convictions. Several National Hockey League players also drew the ire of the left last month for refusing to wear “pride jerseys.”

Although a boycott by Christian athletes would almost certainly make participating players the prime targets of the left-wing outrage mob, it would also signal to Christian baseball fans and non-fans alike that their faith matters—and that it is worth defending from grotesque attacks no matter the cultural, social, or professional costs.

“Recently, you stated that Major League Baseball needs to ‘make decisions that are as inclusive and welcoming to everyone as possible, and keep us as apolitical as possible,’” Senator Rubio wrote in his May 15 letter to Manfred. “I write to ask whether your League wants to be ‘inclusive and welcoming’ to Christians, and if so, why you are allowing an MLB team to honor a group that mocks Christians through diabolical parodies of our faith.”

Baseball, Rubio continued, “has always been tied to our nation’s values, at the heart of which is faith in God.”

In the not-so-distant past, as Rubio acknowledged in his letter, baseball was regarded as one of the last remaining sources of national unity in an otherwise hyper-politicized culture. For generations, nothing captured the American spirit quite like a summer afternoon at the ballpark.

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Now, that all seems to be slipping away, But on June 16, Christian players can reassure fans that America’s pastime has not become a stomping ground for anti-Christian bigotry.

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Aaron Flanigan is the pen name of a writer in Washington, D.C.

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