"To me, tolerance is the virtue that's killing this country."
So said former major-league baseball star Lance Berkman in 2015, while campaigning against Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, which was created to protect the rights of those in the city's LGBT community. Berkman's best years were with the Astros, and he leveraged that fame to make the lives of a minority of Houston's population more embattled and more difficult. The ordinance was defeated.
Berkman, crusader against "tolerance," is a right-wing evangelical Christian. In practice, that means he stands with the political efforts to roll back hard-won civil rights for women and LGBT people.
If Berkman wants to wield his Christianity as a tool to attack LGBT people, that's his business. What's gob smacking, however, is that the St. Louis Cardinals organization--another team for whom Berkman donned a uniform--is giving him a platform to spew his rhetoric on its "Christian Day," to be held on July 30.
To be clear, calling this event Christian Day is like holding a satanic heavy metal concert and calling it Music Night. It's not a celebration of Christianity, in all its many shades and political outlooks, but of the very narrow evangelical, Dominionist variety that Lance Berkman subscribes to, the kind that celebrates the idea that tolerance is destroying this country.
As for the Cardinals, they are all in, as Manager Mike Matheny will be participating with Berkman in a postgame "outreach event."
The PrideCenter in St. Louis released the following statement: "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. 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, it's worth noting, fielded a gay, minor-league player named Tyler Dunnington. For those unfamiliar with his story, Dunnington quit baseball and...