I debated writing a response to Rick Reiss’s opinion letter, “Dear Senator Jones…” I thought to myself, “what would a Sister do?” A Sister would pay it no mind and focus on the next charity Bingo or Pictionary night. But I’m not a sister. And classifying an organization that has helped so many, that exists to spread joy and stand up for marginalized people as a bigoted hate group is something I object to.
Comparing The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to a minstrel show is a false equivalency; the Catholic Church is not an oppressed community. The personas adopted by SPI members are not stereotypes of nuns. They are an expression of individuality.
If you have an issue with someone who has not taken vows to become a nun wearing a nun costume, are you also planning on writing a letter expressing your disgust with Spirit of Halloween when they roll out the “sexy nun” and “pregnant nun” costumes?
Claiming SPI is a hate group is horribly inaccurate: nothing could be further from the truth. The SPI often engage in protests against the Catholic Church and its policies on homosexuality and continued cover-up of child sex abuse within the church. These protests are not fueled by bigotry or prejudice.
The SPI stand up for communities that have been historically, specifically ostracized by the church. Members of the church have been actively hostile to the LGBTQ community since SPI’s inception. It is possible to protest without malice. Our local chapter’s mission statement is “to Promulgate Universal Joy and Expiate Stigmatic Guilt.” The SPI are not a hate group.
To suggest that SPI are a “small mob” is also incorrect. SPI, a 44 year old, nonprofit organization with chapters across the globe is not small. Nor are they a “mob.” Do you think the Dodgers arbitrarily decided to award a group of people as part of some imaginary culture war? SPI’s charity endeavors are why the Dodgers honored them. I’m not sure what a quote about capitalism has to do with a charity organization being recognized by a baseball team.
I suspect that, as a confessed non-Catholic, your “disgust” with The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is not that they are poking fun at Catholicism as much as their status as a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ+ community.
Quite frankly, with churches purchasing child molestation insurance policies and multiple Archdioceses filing bankruptcy as the result of sex abuse lawsuits, I think the Catholic Church has bigger fish to fry than a bunch of fundraising, fantastically flamboyant nuns.