[The following is a guest-post from Kathy Nance. Kathy is a freelance writer, green entrepreneur and lifelong Cardinals Baseball fan from St. Louis, Missouri. She also is the first Pagan to write for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Civil Religion blog.]
Say it isn’t so.
Say it was just a horrible mass hallucination, that you didn’t really accept an award from GLENN BECK and share the stage with SARAH PALIN at that rally dishonoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Saturday, August 28.
Because if it really was you—then Cardinals Baseball, the one thing that united St. Louisans, is now tainted for me.
St. Louis is a baseball town. Football teams have come and gone with just a change of fan jerseys. We’ve yawned when professional basketball foundered, barely rallied to keep professional hockey, and hardly noticed the demise of two soccer leagues. Or maybe three.
But Cardinals baseball is sacred. We forgave Mark McGwire the steroid allegations, extended dispensation to Tony LaRussa for being a California vegetarian, gave alms to the millionaire owners for a new stadium. But most of all, we have worshipped Albert of Pujols, the second coming of Stan “The Man” Musial. St. Albert. El Hombre.
I’ve admired him for his charity work among people with Down Syndrome. I respect that he points upwards after every home run, thanking his own God in his own way. He certainly deserves awards and recognition for leading an exemplary life off the field.
But did he have to accept it from Glenn Beck and his gang of racist theocrats?
I have to wonder whether Albert thought about how that might read to his non-white, non-Christian fans. Michael Jordan famously observed that Republicans buy shoes, too. Well, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, and Pagans all buy baseball tickets, Albert. But I don’t think any of us would have been welcome at Glenn Beck’s rally. Or wanted to be. Shudder.
Think about this, Albert. If you weren’t El Hombre—if you were just a regular hombre scratching for work, how welcome would you have been at that rally? Glenn Beck, supporter of Arizona’s anti-immigration laws would have been among the first wanting you booted back where you came from. And he wouldn’t mean St. Louis.
As for me, well, if I’d known about the rally Saturday at the Stan Musial statue protesting your appearance at the BeckFest, Albert, I would have been there. Instead, I was at the International Festival at Tower Grove Park. Food, music, dances honoring people and religions from every inhabited continent. It was beautiful.
Too bad you missed it. It was St. Louis at its most diverse and its most unified, right down to the Cardinals baseball hats.