Cardinals invite Berkman to speak at ‘Christian Day’; local LGBT group calls foul

Lance Berkman. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – A local LGBT group is voicing its displeasure over the St. Louis Cardinals’ decision to invite former player Lance Berkman to speak at an upcoming Christian Day event at Busch Stadium.

Last week, a spokesman for the PrideCenter in St. Louis released a statement to the sports blog OutSports:

“Pride St. Louis is disappointed by the decision of the St. Louis Cardinals to provide a public platform for Berkman, an individual whose words and actions towards the LGBTQ+ are divisive and demeaning. We know that the Cardinals can do better, and we want to extend an offer to help them by co-organizing their official LGBT Pride Night at Busch Stadium. Let’s work together to promote love, diversity, and inclusion.”

In November 2015, Berkman caught flak for speaking out against an equal-rights ordinance in Houston. During an interview with a local radio station, Berkman said “…tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country.”

According to the Cardinals, ‘Christian Day’ has been a longstanding event for nearly 30 years, and Berkman previously attended the event while a member of the club.

Ron Watermon, a Cardinals spokesman, said Busch Stadium has hosted several LGBT events in the last decade, and that the team will host a Pride Night later this summer.

“The Cardinals have hosted a Christian Day at the ballpark for nearly three decades. The post-game event usually features a well-known keynote speaker (often a former Cardinal or professional athlete) who talks about his or her experience of being a practicing Christian in the public arena. Lance Berkman participated in Christian Day when he was a Cardinals player, and we welcome him back this year to discuss his faith.

“As an organization, the Cardinals have always been committed to bringing like-minded groups together to share in the unifying experience of Cardinals baseball. We are an inclusive organization with a social responsibility to be welcoming to all types of people and organizations. We continue to try and reach out to every part of our community, and have hosted a variety of themed events like Christian Day, Jewish Community Night, Catholic Family Night, Bosnian Heritage Night, Fiesta Cardenales, and many others. We are excited to announce that we will be hosting our first Pride Night later this season (details to follow shortly) which will bring members of the LGBT Community together to enjoy Cardinals baseball.

“I might add that while this will be our first official Pride theme event, the Cardinals have hosted various LGBT community groups at the ballpark for more than a decade.”

Christian Day is scheduled for Sunday, July 30.