Originally published September 18, 2023 6:00 pm PDT
The Cathedral of Hope in Dallas recently hosted an event named “Drag Sunday,” during which the church extended blessings to a controversial drag queen group named the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
This gesture by the church, recognized as one of the world’s largest LGBTQ-friendly congregations, led to protests from activists concerned about the group’s portrayal of Catholic nuns, according to The Dallas Express.
The event at the Cathedral of Hope is viewed by some as a response to SB 12, a pending state law that seeks to limit “sexually oriented performances” in front of minors.
The legislation, originally set to take effect on Sep 1, has been temporarily paused due to legal challenges led by the ACLU and subsequent intervention by a federal judge.
Approximately 40 protesters gathered outside the Cathedral of Hope on the day of the event. A vocal participant in the protest remarked, “Put down your sex toys and pick up your Bible, folks!”
Cesar Franco, from the nonprofit America Needs Fatima, voiced his concerns, stating, “Catholic nuns are something that’s very sacred, very beautiful.”
He commented on the drag group’s portrayal of nuns: “For them to mock the purity of nuns, to mock this beautiful institution of the Catholic faith, it’s abominable.”
Jim Muller, affiliated with the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, echoed this sentiment, saying, “We’re protesting against this abomination that’s occurring here.”
The Cathedral of Hope’s leadership defended their decision to host the drag performers.
Reverand Neil G. Thomas said the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence “have been a force to help us understand that there is something still very deeply spiritual about us.”
He spoke of their association with efforts during the AIDS pandemic, asserting that the group had followed in the benevolent footsteps of many religious orders.
Thomas encouraged individuals who perceive the group as “anti-Catholic” to acquaint themselves with the Sisters’ endeavors before forming opinions.
During his sermon, he highlighted, “Drag queens are often targets of hate and violence. But we know that they are often powerful and resilient people who show us what it means to be truly authentic and expressive.”
Addressing concerns, Sister Sasha Cochteze from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence clarified their mission to “promulgate omniversal [sic] joy and expiate guilt.”
On the subject of SB 12 and the suitability of children attending drag shows, Cochteze remarked that “parents have the right to choose what their kids can and cannot see,” Dallas Express notes.
Despite the Sisters’ clarifications, there remain opposing voices.
Trent Horn, a Dallas-based Catholic speaker, previously criticized the Sisters’ activities, such as their “Hunky Jesus Contest” held on Easter. He expressed, “Respectful people would never celebrate a group that hosted ‘Hunky Muhammad’ contests or mocked the appearance of Hasidic Jews.”
He further commented, “Those who claim to be inclusive and respectful towards all faiths likewise shouldn’t celebrate the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.”
In recognition of their community contributions, the City of Dallas did honor the Sisters during LGBTQ Pride Month, citing their efforts in “community service, fundraising, outreach, advocacy, education for safer sex awareness, and promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment.”