I’d written previously about a controversy surrounding a cross drawn on the back of the mound at Busch Stadium in St. Louis to honor slugger Stan Musial who passed away earlier this year. Musial, apparently a devout Catholic and the best Cardinals hitter of all time, was being honored by the grounds crew with the symbols scratched in the dirt before every game.
But after some fans saw it and expressed their outrage, Cardinals management decided to remove it.
“It’s just not club policy to be putting religious symbols on the playing field or throughout the ballpark,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I didn’t ask for the reason behind it. I just asked for it to stop.”
The stadium belongs to the team, and the grounds crew works for the team, and the St. Louis Cardinals can, of course, set any policy they want regarding religious symbolism in their parks. But c’mon. It was a symbol honoring one of baseball’s all-time greats in a manner consistent with his strongly-held religious faith.
We live in a free society with a lot of diversity when it comes to religious belief. A prerequisite for functioning in that society is tolerating the religious displays of others. Or, that should be a prerequisite anyway.
Chalk up another victory for the curmudgeons who demand tolerance from everyone else, but are unwilling to give a little tolerance of their own.