The St. Louis Cardinals resolved to host Lance Berkman as their “Christian Day” speaker, despite outcry from the LGBTQ community.
St. Louis Pride, an LGBTQ organization, protested the Cardinals’ decision to host Berkman and demanded that the Cardinals cancel his appearance at their annual Christian Day, a post-game event where a public figure, usually a former player as in Berkman’s case, speaks about how Christianity has affected their life.
Berkman drew criticism from the LGBTQ community in 2015 and has been lambasted as a homophobe over his opposition to a Houston city ordinance that would allow transgender people access to bathrooms opposite their biological gender.
Berkman expounded on his opposition to the ordinance in an interview, explaining that, in his view, the ordinance tramples public liberty for the whims of a few.
“The issue is, what to do about a 15 or 16-year-old boy who thinks he’s a girl and wants to shower with the girls,” Berkman said. “Maybe he is [transgender], maybe he’s confused. But I wouldn’t want him in the shower with my daughters. We shouldn’t have the rights of 2 percent of the population trump the rights of the other 98 percent.”
Berkman also blasted what he saw as indiscriminate tolerance and the harm it does to the U.S.
“To me tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country,” Berkman said. “We’re tolerant of everything. You know, everything is OK, and as long as you want to do it and as long as it feels good to you then it’s perfectly acceptable do it. Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you’ll get in trouble in a hurry.”
St. Louis Pride issued a statement to the Cardinals to express their opposition to Berkman and request that the Cardinals host a pride night.
“Pride St. Louis is disappointed by the decision of the St. Louis Cardinals to provide a public platform for Berkman, an individual whose words and actions towards the LGBTQ+ are divisive and demeaning,” the statement said. “We know that the Cardinals can do better, and we want to extend an offer to help them by co-organizing their official LGBT Pride Night at Busch Stadium. Let’s work together to promote love, diversity, and inclusion.”
The Cardinals stood by their original intentions and issued a statement of their own in defense of both Christian Day and Berkman.
“As an organization, the Cardinals have always been committed to bringing like-minded groups together to share in the unifying experience of Cardinals baseball,” the statement said. “We are an inclusive organization with a social responsibility to be welcoming to all types of people and organizations. We continue to try and reach out to every part of our community, and have hosted a variety of themed events like Christian Day, Jewish Community Night, Catholic Family Night, Bosnian Heritage Night, Fiesta Cardenales, and many others. We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our first Pride Night later this season (details to follow shortly) which will bring members of the LGBT Community together to enjoy Cardinals baseball.”
The Cardinals’ Christian Day is scheduled for July 30.
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