Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not All Publicity Is Good Publicity

I just received a phone call that was, to say the least, a bit flummoxing.

For those of you who are familiar with San Francisco, one of our most notable (or notorious) icons is The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Over the twenty-five-plus years they've been in existence, the Sisters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and distributed it to a veritable galaxy of organizations both inside and outside the gay community. They have been one of the stalwarts of the Castro, always ready to step forward in time of need; this week, for example, they're hosting a children's Halloween celebration, a community fundraising event, and several self-defense classes and seminars in response to a recent upswing in crimes in the Castro.

But, all that considered, though, they're men. In drag. In nun drag. And to say that the Sisters are bawdy is a bit like saying Antarctica is cold and barren.

Recently, the Sisters have revived one of their most famous fundraisers -- Sister Bingo. Unfortunately, some people caught wind of the fact that they were holding it in the fellowship hall of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church -- and notified the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which has a long history in regards to the Sisters. As a result, it seems, the Archdiocese of San Francisco has has put the kibosh on using the church hall, just in time for the November 2nd event.

Losing the venue is bad enough. However, according to my phone call, the likelihood is high that the event will be canceled -- not just because of the loss of venue, but because the event is apparently being used for negative pre-election publicity.

I'll update with further details as I receive them.

For now, I'm annoyed that a charity event -- especially one raising money for gay organizations that really need it -- is being yanked because people are exploiting (or afraid of it being exploited) that which is done at a private, admission-only gathering, where people under the age of 18 are not allowed, for political purposes.

However, what will be even more annoying is when the gay leftists who are so eager to drag everyone else's dirty laundry through the streets start screaming about how "unfair" it is for the public to know what's going on at these gatherings.

Shame is something that has never been associated with the Sisters before. Here's hoping that political maneuvering doesn't make this the first time.

UPDATE, 9:00 PM PST: Apparently the Sisters have formally canceled the event. I don't have an official copy yet, but this comment on the Catholic-oriented blog that first publicized the connection purports to have both the initial and final statements from the Sisters.

Furthermore, according to other sources, Father Steve Meriwether, Most Holy Redeemer's pastor, has been placed on leave from his duties.

1 NOVEMBER, 9:00 AM PST: It's official.

Here's more pungent commentary. I'm sure the Archdiocese didn't know what hit them.

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