Los Angeles Dodgers Play A Zero-Nun Game At Annual Pride Night


(ANALYSIS) The Los Angeles Dodgers honored the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence last Friday night, an event meant to highlight the group as part of the team’s annual Pride Night.

The appearance by the “drag nuns” — supporters call them “satirical,” while opponents label them “a hate group” — was either a success or a bust depending on what media you consume and where you get information.

The Dodgers have held Pride Night for 10 years. This year’s edition, however, became ensnared, starting last month, in a massive controversy. Following criticism from Catholic groups, the team rescinded an invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to be honored at Pride Night. The performers are men who dress flamboyantly as nuns.

The group was later reinvited, sparking protests. What happened on Friday night? Unless you attended the game and got there an hour before it started — that’s when the group was honored — you don’t really know what happened.

Different media outlets highlighted what they saw as most important (there was no consensus), and some even disagreed with how the group was welcomed when given the Community Hero Award.

Here’s a timeline of what happened based on a variety of media reports and first-hand accounts found on social media with supporting videos.

Harnessing the power of social media, Catholic groups amassed a protest outside the ballpark a few hours before the first pitch. Fox News reported there were “thousands” of protesters in a headline and that Catholics for Catholics, a group based in Phoenix, organized “a prayerful procession” in a parking lot outside Dodger Stadium.

Here’s how Fox News’ website reported on the protests:

Several hours before the first pitch was thrown at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Pride Night, a large group of protesters gathered outside the stadium.

Catholics for Catholics, a group based in Phoenix, organized what it described as “a prayerful procession” in a parking lot outside Dodger Stadium.

Fox News’ Larry Fink was on scene several hours before the start of the game and captured video of thousands of protestors outside Dodger Stadium praying and holding flags and signs. Many of the demonstrators also wore red clothing in honor of the sacred heart.

The procession lasted a couple of hours before the protesters made it to Vin Scully Avenue. Around the time the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were being honored on the field, the group appeared to block one of the entrances to Dodger Stadium.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the evening this way, choosing to highlight the protests:

The main entrance to Dodger Stadium was briefly shut down Friday afternoon by a crowd protesting the honoring of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a satirical performance and activist organization considered blasphemous by some Christians, as part of the team’s 10th annual Pride Night.

The Sisters organization — which describes itself as “a leading-edge order of queer and trans nuns” — received an award in recognition of its decades of community ministry ahead of Friday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. But beforehand, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside for a “prayerful procession” at Parking Lot 13.

Helicopters hovered above as demonstrators, most of them wearing red shirts, gathered in the parking lot, where a stage had been set up for speakers. Some demonstrators passed out rosaries and held up flags with religious imagery, illustrations of Jesus Christ and signs — including ones reading “Long Live Christ the King!” and “Shame on the Dodger’s organization.”

Whittier resident Don Robert Elante, 69, was nearly in tears as he listened to speakers. It was the first time the retired sales and marketing representative had taken part in a protest.

“I couldn’t stand by and watch my faith and the cross desecrated,” Elante said. “I felt like I had to be here.”

About 30 feet away, East Los Angeles resident Corina Swetch, 31, held a sign that equated LGBTQ+ rights with criminality. She said she was angered “with all the mockery” by the Sisters and prayed for their conversion.

“It’s not too late to change,” she said.

As the demonstration continued, some in the crowd began to yell anti-LGBTQ+ slurs.

Although the protest was billed as nonpolitical, the crowd included a few people wearing hats emblazoned with former President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, and some right-wing activists.

The story went there, pointing out the few people in that large crowd with a connection to Donald Trump. While shouting slurs is not a welcome sight, the newspaper only says “anti-LGBTQ+ slurs.” We don’t really know what they were. All we have to go on are the reporters’ observations.

USA Today, an outlet that has generally given the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence favorable coverage over the past few weeks, opened its news story this way:

LOS ANGELES — With a heavy police and security presence along the first level of seating, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were honored with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ community hero award on the team’s Pride Night.

The honor took place more than an hour before first pitch. Dodger Stadium was relatively empty when the civil rights activists took the field. But those in the seats gave the Sisters loud cheers and applause when they were announced.

“The Dodgers community hero award goes to an organization reaching the LGBTQ+ community, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, LA chapter,” stadium announcer Todd Leitz said. “Please join us in recognizing the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for their outstanding service to the LGBTQ+ community.”

Sister Unity, who donned a blue outfit with red ribbons to represent the group’s service in fighting HIV/AIDS, was with Sister Dominia on the field to accept the honor from the Dodgers. Sister Unity said they thought the ceremony would take place “when the stadium was already full,” but expected cheers and boos regardless. Instead, it was only cheers.

They then give space to the protests in the second half of the article, reporting that “hundreds” and followed by this paragraph:

Sister Unity was concerned about the safety of the group ahead of the game, knowing there would be protesters. Some Sisters drove past the protesters in front of the stadium entrance, seeing the signs of disapproval, leaving doubts of their safety. However, the Sisters were able to avoid a confrontation with protesters, and with the ceremony over and the focus going back to baseball, the hope is the negative attention on the Sisters will begin to die down.

Local TV station KTLA also reported “hundreds” and tweeted out shots from its news chopper for all to see.

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