Cardinals Invite Anti-LGBT Speaker Lance Berkman to 'Christian Day'

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PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR / MISSOURI DIVISION OF TOURISM

Update: The Cardinals say they will commit to a "Pride Night" in the 2017 season — though they're still defending Lance Berkman's selection as a speaker on "Christian Night." See our latest post here.

The St. Louis Cardinals, who typically have a full roster of theme ticket days scheduled throughout the season, will host their 27th annual "Christian Day" at the stadium on Sunday, July 30. Among the speakers? Former Cardinal player and anti-LGBT speaker Lance Berkman, who will appear at the invitation of the Cardinals.

Berkman, of course, has been outspoken in his hostility to the gay and lesbian community, as noted by the pro-LGBT sports website outsports.com. He actively campaigned against Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, which was created to protect the rights of those in the city's LGBT community, and told a Houston radio show "to me, tolerance is the virtue that's killing this country" after the ordinance's defeat.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that the club handing Berkman the mic has been a bit more reluctant to celebrate its gay fans. The Cardinals still have yet to host an official Pride Night, though a team official tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team is "actively planning" one. The daily reports that the Pride Night could take place this season, but if not, it will be on the schedule no later than 2018.

For that, the daily credits the fan blog Viva el Birdos, which used its megaphone last month to call for a Cards Pride Night. The blog reports that "over half" of all Major League Baseball teams currently host a Pride Night. (Locally, the Blues have already beaten the Cards to it — showing that a successful Pride Night is indeed possible in St. Louis, even at the sports arena.)

Are the Cards up for a public show of support for gay fans? At least one former player in the organization suggests the team has a ways to go: In March 2016, a player in the club's minor league system, pitcher Tyler Dunnington, reported to Outsports that he'd experienced both coaches and players making comments about killing gay people. Dunnington, who is gay, told the website that he ultimately retired for his own sanity. This is all despite the fact that MLB policy bars players from harassing or discriminating against other players due to their sexual orientation.

Berkman is scheduled to speak after the day game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and both manager Mike Matheny and current Cardinals players are slated to participate in the "post-game outreach event" as well. Might we suggest getting your tickets for a different game? A more inclusive game is supposedly going on the schedule .... eventually.


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