Clayton Kershaw pushed for Dodgers to announce Christian night in response to LGBTQ+ charity award

Clayton Kershaw wanted to move up the announcement of Christian Faith and Family Day. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers moved up the announcement of their Christian Faith and Family Day because star pitcher Clayton Kershaw was unhappy the team chose to highlight the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a prominent LGBTQ+ charity.

The Dodgers have hosted Christian Faith and Family Day in previous seasons and were reportedly planning to hold the event during the 2023 MLB season, but Kershaw wanted the team to make the announcement sooner as a response to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence receiving an award, according to Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.

“I think we were always going to do Christian Faith Day this year, but I think the timing of our announcement was sped up,” Kershaw said. “Picking a date and doing those different things was part of it as well. Yes, it was in response to the highlighting of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence [by the Dodgers].”

Kershaw tweeted the announcement about the team holding Christian Faith and Family Day, which will be July 30.

Dodgers honoring Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence during Pride Night

The decision comes in response to the Dodgers hosting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Pride Night on June 16. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will receive an award during the festivities in recognition of the group's community service. The group has spent the past 44 years helping "those on the edges" of society. They played a pivotal role in caring for those afflicted with AIDS in 1979 and throughout the '80s.

Conservative politicians, such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R), took issue with the Dodgers' honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. They denounced the Dodgers for the decision and accused the Sisters of making a mockery of Christians. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence frequently dress in drag, typically wearing nun habits.

Kershaw viewed the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's methods as mocking and took exception to that, per the Los Angeles Times.

“I don’t agree with making fun of other people’s religions,” he said. “It has nothing to do with anything other than that. I just don’t think that, no matter what religion you are, you should make fun of somebody else’s religion. So that’s something that I definitely don’t agree with.”

The Dodgers initially caved to that pressure, rescinding the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's invitation to Pride Night. The decision was met with disappointment from local LGBTQ+ groups, which vowed to withdraw from the event unless the team reversed course.

The team eventually did reverse course and reinvited the Sisters to take part in Pride Night. That prompted Kershaw to approach the Dodgers about announcing Christian Faith and Family Day. Kershaw said his decision "has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community or Pride or anything like that."

At least one other player has spoken out in support of Kershaw. Washington Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams said he disagreed with the Dodgers' decision to reinvite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to the park. Williams released his statement during the Nationals' series against the Dodgers. Williams pitched in Monday's contest, in which he gave up six runs in five innings of a 6-1 loss.

"A Major League Baseball game is a place where people from all walks of life should feel welcomed, something I greatly respect and support. This is the purpose of different themed nights hosted by the organization, including Pride Night," Williams, a devout Catholic, said in a statement posted on Twitter. "To invite and honor a group that makes a blatant and deeply offensive mockery of my religion, and the religion of over 4 million people in Los Angeles county [sic] alone, undermines the values of respect and inclusivity that should be upheld by any organization."

While baseball players have given their thoughts on the matter, at least one nun spoke out in support of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Jo’Ann De Quattro, who is a Catholic Sister of the Holy Names, wrote a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times in support of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's mission statement. De Quattro said the Dodgers "should not give in to pressure from anti-inclusion groups, which serve only to divide rather than unite our society."

De Quattro also spoke with America Magazine, again offering support for the group and challenging those who wanted the Dodgers to rescind the invitation.

“For me, it’s about trying to embrace people who might be different from us,” she said. “Because Jesus said, ‘Come to the table.’ Not, ‘You don’t deserve a place at the table.’”

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be in attendance to receive their award at Dodgers' Pride Night on June 16. Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times that he would not boycott the event.