A group of protestors showed up as an LGBTQ+ group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence attended Pride Night at the Los Angeles Angels game on Wednesday.
Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken invited the satirical ‘nun’ group to join her at the game as her guests following the group’s contention with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in May.
“Pride should be inclusive and like many, I was disappointed in the Dodgers’ decision,” Aitken tweeted at the time.
“I invited them as my guests because I thought it was important,” said Mayor Aitken. “When I thought they were being picked on, I want them to realize that they are welcome in Anaheim.”
Based on their philanthropic work, the Sisters were slated to be honored with the Dodgers’ Community Hero Award at the ballclub’s Pride Night on June 16. The Dodgers, however, rescinded the invitation after receiving backlash from conservatives and Catholic organizations who opposed the group’s use of Catholic imagery.
“We have a problem with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” said Brother Marko Sarducci, who opposes the group. “That whole thing is a mockery of our religion and anybody that supports them or brings them to an event like this, we don’t like it.”
The Sisters describe themselves as a “leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty. We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit,” according to the group’s website.
They are known for their activism on behalf of LGBTQ rights and their support for those living with HIV and other causes and have been around since the 1970s.
When the Dodgers announced their decision to disinvite the Sisters, they said:
“Given the strong feelings of people who have been offended by the sisters’ inclusion in our evening, and in an effort not to distract from the great benefits that we have seen over the years of Pride Night, we are deciding to remove them from this year’s group of honorees.”
In response, some fans, California lawmakers and local groups disavowed the move.
The L.A. LGBT Center withdrew its support of Pride Night in solidarity with the Sisters while calling on the Dodgers to reconsider their decision or cancel the event.
“Any organization that turns its back on LGBTQ+ people at this damning and dangerous inflection point in our nation’s history should not be hoisting a rainbow flag or hosting a ‘Pride Night,’” the Center said.
Amid blowback from the controversial decision, the Dodgers eventually reversed course and apologized to the Sisters, inviting them to be honored at the team’s 10th annual Pride Night. The Sisters accepted the invitation.
“After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence … the Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies,” the team said in a statement after meeting with leaders of the group.
As for the Angels Pride Night, the Sisters are not expected to be featured on the field or throughout the game and are attending as personal guests of the mayor.
“I’m a cradle Catholic,” said Mayor Aitken. “I have a deep respect for my faith and I understand that some people don’t like the way [the Sisters] deliver their message, but I believe they spend a lot of time in the community, ministering to the sick, the elderly, and the poor, and that’s really what our faith is about.”
In response to any criticisms that the Sisters are perpetuating anything offensive, group members wholly disagreed and said they have nothing but respect for others.
“We have lots of religious people who are Sisters, from Christians, Muslims, Hindus and they also take it very seriously to be a nun,” explained Sister Electra Complex. “It is not a mockery. We see being a nun as a calling, as a lifelong service to the LGBTQ community. We take all kinds of pride in our work, so it is definitely not a mockery of religion in any way. We take it very seriously.”
Other than a group of protestors holding a prayer circle outside Angels Stadium on Wednesday night, no other incidents were reported during the game.