In 1995 a ‘Deeply Embarrassed’ MLB Owner Apologized for Event With Anti-Catholic Drag Performers
Almost 28 years ago, the owner of the San Francisco Giants wrote a letter of apology to the Catholic League for hosting ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ before a game, according to correspondence the Catholic League shared with CNA on Friday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, it turns out, are not the first MLB team to find themselves in hot water over an invitation to the drag group calling itself the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”
Almost 28 years ago, the owner of the San Francisco Giants wrote a letter of apology to the Catholic League for hosting the drag group on the field before a game, according to correspondence the Catholic League shared with CNA on Friday.
In a letter dated Aug. 28, 1995, Catholic League President William Donohue raised his concerns with Giants owner Peter Magowan, who died in 2019, that the pregame ceremony designed to raise AIDS awareness “also seemed to open the door to anti-Catholicism.”
In response, Magowan expressed regret for the inclusion of the group at the event, saying “their acts of mockery” were “unfair to the Catholic Church.”
The national group of drag performers founded in 1979 dress as religious sisters, using Catholic religious imagery and themes in protests and sexualized performances to raise awareness and money for LGBTQ+ causes.
“We were informed that people dressed as Catholic nuns and as the pope were on the field. The ‘nuns’ apparently attend many AIDS-related events and are known as the ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,’” Donohue wrote. “If this group mocking Catholics and the Church did attend, the Catholic League would like to know why.”
Donohue added that “an event meant to raise money for AIDS should not become a forum for bigotry.”
In response, the Giants owner said that the team was “deeply embarrassed to discover the ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ on the field during the pregame ceremonies” in a letter dated Sept. 5, 1995.
Magowan assured the Catholic League that “the Giants had no previous knowledge” that the anti-Catholic drag group would be participating in the ceremonies, explaining that the team relied on AIDS organizations to provide the 1,000 volunteers.
Though he said the team was not aware the anti-Catholic group would be there, Magowan reiterated that he “in no way condon[ed] the behavior of this group.”
“It was most regrettable, as their acts of mockery not only were unfair to the Catholic Church but also were a distraction to the worthy focus of the day,” Magowan said. “Let me assure you that stricter screening procedures will be implemented next year if a similar event is staged.”
The recent controversy erupted after the Dodgers announced that they would honor the Los Angeles chapter of the drag group with a “Community Hero Award” during their “Pride Night” at Dodger Stadium on June 16.
Donohue told CNA that he believes “the difference between the Giants’ response in 1995 and the Dodgers’ response today is a reflection of the cultural changes we have been experiencing.”
“We have become increasingly secular, and, indeed, there is a militant streak evident among the ruling class,” Donohue said. “Perversely, in the name of tolerance and diversity, we have become increasingly intolerant of the diversity that Christianity provides.”
Donohue added that he believes “a restoration of our Judeo-Christian heritage is the answer, not more militant secularism.”
“As a sociologist, it is my conviction that we may be reaching a tipping point in our culture,” Donohue asserted. “The backlash against Bud Light, Disney, Target, the Navy — and now the Dodgers — suggests that the woke mob has gone too far.”
After initially receiving blowback from the Christian community, the Dodgers revoked their invitation to the drag group, only to reinstate it with an apology days later.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” the team said in an official statement on Twitter, adding: “We have asked the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to take their place on the field at our 10th annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night on June 16th.”
“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,” the Dodgers said. “In the weeks ahead, we will continue to work with our LGBTQ+ partners to better educate ourselves, find ways to strengthen the ties that bind, and use our platform to support all our fans who make up the diversity of the Dodgers family.”
Not all the team members agreed with the team’s decision to reinvite the anti-Catholic drag group.
In a personal statement, Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen said that the team’s decision “disenfranchises a large community and promotes hate of Christians and people of faith.”
“Many of their performances are blasphemous, and their work only displays hate and mockery of Catholics and the Christian faith,” Treinen said, adding: “This group openly mocks Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of my faith, and I want to make it clear that I do not agree with nor support the decision of the Dodgers to ‘honor’ the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”