Hagel And The “Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence”

TPM helpfully adds some context to Chuck Hagel's remarks about the "aggressively gay" nature of James Hormel. Now I'm not defending the remarks or approving them. But it's worth noting one concern of Hagel with respect to Hormel being an ambassador to a very Catholic country, Luxembourg:

Hagel also told the World-Herald he has seen tape of Hormel at an event by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a San Francisco-based performance and activist group comprised of gay men in drag as nuns. “It is very clear on this tape that he’s laughing and enjoying the antics of an anti-Catholic gay group in this gay parade,” Hagel told the paper in the 1998 interview. “I think it’s wise for the president not to go forward with this nomination.”

Let me just say that I am on record as being bored by the lazy, tired, smug bigotry on display in the video seen above. "Hunky Jesus Day" was designed to mock those of sincere faith – and is held on Easter Sunday. I wouldn't be standing around clapping and laughing. In San Francisco, anti-religious bigotry is apparently the one hatred that is still allowed. How else do you interpret the opening remarks:

Are you ready to piss off some Christians?

Now imagine if they opened a performance with "Are you ready to piss off some Jews?" Or: "Are you ready to piss off some Muslims?" Now imagine if a Phelps-type group did a performance piece reducing gay people to various crude sexual acts, and began the act by announcing: "Are you ready to piss off some homosexuals?" Somehow I think the Sisters would object.

In their defense, they have done a great deal of work for charity, safer sex education and the like. That's important context and you can read more about them here. And they have absolutely every right to blaspheme against anyone's faith. But I do not think it's nuts or bigoted to think they are not exactly the model of diplomacy.