Recently, the St. Louis Cardinals announced a Christian Faith Night at Busch Stadium which will include an appearance by Lance Berkman who once said "To me, tolerance is the virtue that is killing this country." Putting aside the obvious fact that Berkman seems confused about the definitions of both "tolerance" and "virtue," the announcement was not greeted warmly by everyone.
Back in 2015, Berkman appeared in an ad aimed at defeating a bill that aimed to "protect Houston residents and visitors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity." The bill was successfully defeated thanks in large part to Berkman's stoking of the bathroom hysteria we saw most recently in North Carolina. For many, his inclusion in St. Louis's Faith Night was seen as an endorsement of homophobia. Now the Cardinals have announced a Gay Pride Night at the ballpark, scheduled for August 25.
Unsurprisingly, this announcement set off a wave of criticism from folks who seemingly align themselves with Berkman's tolerance-is-a-destructive-virtue platform. And they let the Cardinals know in the comments.
And so on.
It's great that the Cardinals are doing this because A.) it's great to have a Pride Night and B.) it exposes a deep truth that cuts through sports and culture: one man's non-political cause is another's line in the sand. As we see, Christian Faith Night, presented by some one who is literally intolerant of tolerance is not political and does not elicit calls to "stick to sports." But Pride Night, for some reason (can't figure out what that would be) does.
This isn't even about Cardinals fans, as easy as they can be to make fun of. It isn't about the PC-ification of the country, mixing of sports and politics, or any of that. The point is that if sports teams are going to be in the business of marketing to specific demographics, then they need to honor and respect all demographics, even ones with different beliefs.
The Cardinals are doing the right thing by having a Pride Night. It's not their fault if a segment of their fanbase is offended by tolerance.