The Dodgers’ disinvitation of a queer anti-Catholic hate group clarifies the cultural stakes.

The most essential insight of George Orwell’s 1984 is that it isn’t enough for totalitarians to dominate.  They must demand subjugated people acknowledge them as the arbiters of reality itself.  This quality is the telltale warning about a movement’s nature, and spotting its bizarre appearance in the United States, I’m beginning to wonder whether our constitutional safeguards against totalitarianism forced it to take a contorted shape.

That shape is clearly visible in the what-reality-are-we-in controversy over the L.A. Dodgers’ disinvitation of “The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” from the baseball team’s “Pride Night” event.  What the group is about is entirely obvious, but our society is in such a near-totalitarian state of confusion a veil of mainstream narrative is draped across the radical face of reality.  With that veil in place, the Dodgers failed to anticipate that the invitation — and giving the group a “Community Hero Award” — would generate a negative response.

Manipulators like CBS News provide no images of the “sisters” and leave a giant question mark about why anybody would be offended by the group.  One must turn to the New York Post for details like this:

The “nuns” — who have names like Sister T’aint A Virgin, Sister Porn Again and Sister Holly Lewya — were being awarded for supposedly “promoting human rights and respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment.”

The “sisters” (mostly men dressed up in a mocking imitation of women) claims to be a charitable organization, but what is their charity?

We use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.

And whom do they attack with their “irreverent wit”?  Christians, naturally, more specifically Catholics, and more specifically nuns.  Their “charity” is to offend people with whose beliefs they disagree.  They choose the most holy days to mock Christians, and their costumes are obviously malicious.  Mockery and hatred are their reasons for being — their identity.  This is unambiguous, and to accept such activity as charitable is to adopt their bigotry.

The context was different decades ago, when the culture had a Christian consensus.  Irreverence became a mainstay of comedy and counterculture as a way to take a breather from reality and gain some distance by which to test assumptions.  When the counterculture becomes the driving force of the mainstream, however, the mockery takes on a wholly different character.

In an essay for National Review, the father of a teacher and student who survived the Covenant School shooting makes a telling observation.  Waiting for two hours to be reunited with his family after the attack, Graham Hillard watched the therapeutic state swoop in:

During that mind-focusing span, I acquired a series of insights that had previously been merely secondhand or theoretical. I learned that the ideology of psychotherapy has become so culturally ingrained that assembled parents were urged to “process” the day’s events even as those events remained ongoing. (In an irony worthy of Voltaire, the city-employed counselors stalking the aisles wore rainbow-flag lanyards.)

The tried-and-true test of the inverted counterfactual is instructive.  What if a murderous Christian zealot targeted an institution focused on gay families and the government therapists showed up wearing crosses?

To be sure, the city workers could not have known the shooter’s motives at the time (which motives, Hillard notes, authorities appear to be minimizing even now by withholding her “manifesto”), but we cannot be confident it would have mattered.  After all, they knew they were going to a Christian school and apparently didn’t reconsider their ideologically charged lanyards.

A culture in which maliciously mocking Catholic nuns is a form of charity begets a society in which Christians should be grateful for whatever comforts government is still compelled to offer them and a school shooting is a fine time for sartorial evangelism.  The totalitarians will grin as they insist it’s a matter of civil rights to force people to pay the bill when others wish to kill their own children, and the inexorable logic of evil will demand ever-more-visible declarations that two plus two equals five.


Featured image from Shutterstock.

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