Not long after Pride Month, the St. Louis Cardinals are hosting their 27th annual “Christian Day” event. And this year, former Cardinal Lance Berkman will be joining the day with a post-game presentation. But Berkman is an outspoken anti-LGBTQ figure, one that says “tolerance” is “killing this country,” and his presence is causing an uproar among LGBTQ fans.
Lance Berkman, also known as “Big Puma,” previously fought back against a Houston, Texas, Equal Rights Ordinance protecting LGBTQ citizens from discrimination. He believes transgender women are “troubled men,” calling transgender rights a “Pandora’s Box” for America, and he also warns that LGBTQ issues are a “slippery slope” into “trouble” for the country’s morals.
“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 for you to do it,” Berkman said during one interview. “Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you’ll get in trouble in a hurry.”
Berkman says his anti-LGBTQ beliefs come from his desire to “stand up for Christ.” He laments that the rest of the world has called him a bigot, and he believes transgender teenage girls should not be allowed to share a locker room with his daughters.
I’m saddened to learn a player I much admired, Lance Berkman, is a dickhead.
— mcb (@michaelcbarr) June 9, 2017
“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? Maybe he is [transgender], maybe he’s confused,” Berkman told NBC News, according to LGBTQ Nation. “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. Is it a mental choice? I don’t know. But it’s a Pandora’s Box.”
Lance Berkman being asked to speak about anything but baseball seems like a not so great idea. https://t.co/fzuW1BJ5uh
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) June 9, 2017
It’s unclear whether Berkman will discuss anti-LGBTQ issues during “Christian Day,” but LGBTQ fans fear his presence at the stadium is essentially condoning his beliefs. In an official statement, the Cardinals defended Berkman and honored his role as a former player for the team.
“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 read. “We are an inclusive organization with a social responsibility to be welcoming to all types of people and organizations.”
It’d be Real Good if Lance Berkman wasn’t speaking at an event my favorite team is hosting
— Catt Marp (@CattMarpMD) June 13, 2017
Berkman’s inclusion during “Christian Day” sparks wider questions about Major League Baseball’s relationship with the LGBTQ community. St. Louis Cardinals draft pick Tyler Dunnington previously left the MLB after experiencing homophobic language from coaches and players in the minor league system, and the Riverfront Times reports that nearly half of all MLB teams do not have some sort of Pride Night for their LGBTQ fans. While the MLB has a strict anti-discrimination policy, enforcing those rules is difficult if teams aren’t willing to put in the hard work.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals are drafting plans for their first Pride Night for the 2017 season, however, a date has not been officially announced.
H/T the Riverfront Times
The post Former all-star Lance Berkman to bring anti-trans views to Cardinals’ ‘Christian Night’ appeared first on The Daily Dot.