The Los Angeles Dodgers face widespread backlash for plans to honor The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with the Community Hero Award on June 16, 2023, which the Dodgers designated as Pride Night. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are described by many as an anti-Catholic drag group due to their mockery of Catholic traditions and beliefs.
Brenda Lebsack, a teacher of 30 years and former school board member of Orange Unified School District, regards the Dodgers’ decision as an affront not only to Catholics but to all people of faith and conscience. Her recently published The Orange County Register article showcases multi-religious solidarity in support of Catholic believers.
Read Brenda’s piece responding to the on-again-off-again decision of the Los Angeles Dodgers to award special honors to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Originally published by Brenda Lebsack for The Orange County Register
People of all faiths should be offended by the sudden mainstreaming of anti-Catholic drag group
As founder of the Interfaith Statewide Coalition and state delegate of the California Teachers Association, I am appalled that the Dodgers are awarding the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — drag queens dressed as nuns — a community hero award, saying they provide “spiritual enlightenment.”
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence satirize Catholic beliefs. They mock Easter Sunday with a Hunky Jesus/Foxy Mary contest. They hold “Midnight Confessional Contests” awarding the “hottest confessions,” according to the Catholic League. Their motto is “Go and sin some more,” while they use the cross for poll dances.
Many Catholics are boycotting the Dodgers and Angels due to this endorsement of religious mockery. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange’s statement regarding Anaheim Mayor Aitken’s invitation of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to the Angels baseball team’s Pride Night is, “The decision to openly embrace a group whose demeaning behavior is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian is misguided and disrespectful to the sisters of the Catholic Church who minister in Orange County and selflessly dedicate their lives to God’s underserved people. We cannot condone any actions that have historically shown such high levels of disregard for the sincerely held beliefs of the faithful.”
The invitation is also a slap against Jews, Muslims and Protestants.
Rabbi Dov Fischer, national vice president of Coalition for Jewish Values, representing the views of 2,500 traditional Orthodox rabbis, and congregational rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County states, “The Los Angeles Dodgers baseball club is a professional athletic organization that has offered apolitical entertainment primarily to the residents of Southern California, and also to Dodgers’ fans throughout America, since their arrival here in 1958. Baseball is an inter-generational family pastime, and the sport historically has been associated with wholesome family values. There is no place in baseball for the interjection of political partisanship or Woke counter-cultural advocacy that offends mainstream religious family sensitivities. Drag queens who dress like nuns and mock the sacred sacraments of the Catholic Church have ample other platforms to promote their shameful activities and deeply offensive images. If the Dodgers forget and show disregard for the religious sensitivities of their family fan base, they deservingly will lose not only faithful Catholic fans but also Jews, Muslims, and other Californians of faith who can find alternative entertainment vehicles in California and in Major League Baseball.”
Imam Mustafa Umar, senior religious director at the Islamic Center of Irvine, an executive member of the Fiqh council of North America, and a senior fellow at the Yaqeen Institute agrees with the rabbi. “The interfaith community must stand together to oppose this public degradation and humiliation of what we hold most sacred. Many immigrants have sought refuge in America from religious persecution, however these freedoms will be short-lived when prestigious organizations award religious mockery which fuel intolerance and hate. I am perplexed and alarmed that the teachers union endorses this behavior, when they say they promote anti-bullying. Their actions reveal their bias against religion. Families of diverse faith should start to question if public schools are safe for their children.”
As a teacher in Santa Ana Unified and someone who has been in Protestant ministry for over 30 years, I know there are many teachers of faith in California. However, I don’t think many of them are aware of what their union is doing politically.
It’s time Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Catholic teachers take a stand for religious tolerance and decency. We can take a stand by being a voice of opposition as members of our union, or if that is not your style, leave the union and tell them why you’re leaving. Your voice counts.