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No separation of church and baseball: Minnesota Twins host a faith night

Faith Night — what an odd promotion for a baseball team to have. 

REUTERS/USA Today Sports/Bruce Kluckhohn

I am a Minnesota Twins season ticket holder and have been since 2007. One of the joys of living in the Twin Cities is being able to go to Target Field many times during the course of a season. It takes me ten minutes to get there and ten minutes to get back. Seats are affordable. The ballpark is beautiful. And the Twins are actually winning for a change. It’s a cliché, but the ballpark is my house of worship. And baseball is my religion.

As a season ticket holder, I get e-mails from the Twins announcing upcoming promotions and events. Last week, I received one of those e-mails informing me that on August 29th, the Minnesota Twins will host “Faith Night at Target Field.”

Here is the language from the e-mail:

The Minnesota Twins will host their first annual Faith Night at Target Field presented by Praise FM on Saturday, August 29, when the Twins take on the Houston Astros. The event will feature a postgame program featuring live worship music from UNITE Twin Cities and testimonies by Torii Hunter, Brian Dozier, Kyle Gibson and other Twins players.

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What, what, what???

I read the e-mail again. I went to the Twins website. What an odd promotion for a baseball team to have. What about my faith or the faith of the other non-Christians? Do we count for anything? I am a season ticket holder after all. Are the Twins the official Christian baseball team in the majors? Are they endorsing Christianity as the only faith? A large amount of Target Field was paid for by the taxpayers, what about separation of church and state? So many questions!

So I tweeted the Twins and the players listed. I posted on the season ticket holder page on Facebook. The only response I got was from Twins All-Star 2nd baseman and uber-Christian Brian Dozier:

 

So I asked him if I could give a Jewish testimonial. I don’t even know what a testimonial is but if Torii Hunter can give one, so can I. Side note: Hunter hid behind his Christianity when he publicly said he wouldn’t “be comfortable with a gay teammate.” Clearly, that version of Christianity, like “Faith Night at Target Field”, is more exclusive than inclusive.

My public posts garnered some interesting replies. Many people agreed with me asking why religious preaching belongs at the ballpark. Others questioned why a major league baseball team would sponsor a religious event like this. Others were personally offended that I didn’t have Jesus in my life. One person told me to find a sponsor and I could have my own faith night. I was told that it would have been more inclusive of other faiths if the team had players of other faiths. Several people told me that all faiths are welcome…and that all Twins fans should want to hear player testimonies. And then the yahoos came out spewing about this being a Christian nation founded by Christians and if I don’t like it, tough.

I saw other replies to the announcement, some referencing Atheist Night at CHS Field and others asking for a Science Night. Well, after a bunch of Twins players visited the Creation Museum on a recent road trip in Cincinnati, I don’t think a Science Night is in the cards for Target Field.

What’s clear is that August 29th is just one faith’s night at Target Field. If you’re not a Christian, you’re welcome to buy a ticket and watch the game. But leave early unless you’re interested in hearing why Torii Hunter loves Jesus. Frankly, after what he’s said, the Twins should prevent microphones from getting anywhere near his face.

Meanwhile, still no response from the Twins and at this point I don’t expect to get one. I guess you could say I’ve lost a little faith in them.

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This post was written by Jeff Mandell and originally published on TC Jewfolk. Follow TC Jewfolk on Twitter: @tcjewfolk.

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