The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Retired MLB star Lance Berkman declares tolerance is ‘killing our country’

Lance Berkman, seen here as a Texas Ranger in 2013. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Six-time MLB all-star Lance Berkman used to be a star on a field, but a starring role in an advertisement against a recently failed Houston equality referendum has some in the city wishing he’d fade away.

In the ad, which took a stand against the Houston equal-rights ordinance (HERO), the former Houston Astros and Texas Rangers player urged everyone to “vote no” because it would allow “troubled men” to use women’s bathrooms.

His words caused a lot of controversy at the time and inspired some stinging tweets from even Mayor Annise Parker.

Despite the backlash online, Berkman’s words may have made an impact with voters. The measure, known Proposition One or, as Berkman called it, the “bathroom ordinance,” failed by a wide margin when put to a public vote this week.

[NFL won’t move 2017 Super Bowl away from Houston]

The fight for Berkman, however, seems to only have just begun. After the ordinance failed, Berkman doubled down on his comments and said he wasn’t just worried about transgender men using women’s bathrooms but the idea of tolerance, in general, which he said would lead to the demise of the United States.

“To me tolerance is the virtue that’s killing this country,” he said on a Houston’s KTRH 740 AM on Wednesday. “We’re tolerant of everything. You know, everything is okay, and as long as you want to do it and as long as it feels good to you then it’s perfectly acceptable do it. Those are the kinds of things that lead you down a slippery slope, and you’ll get in trouble in a hurry.”

Berkman had a lot more to say (the Houston Chronicle posted the full 12-minute interview), including saying that it was his duty as a Christian to do what he could to halt the “LGBT agenda.”

“As a Christian I felt that I had an obligation to stand for what is right,” Berkman said. “I am about articulating my belief system and taking a stand for it when I have the opportunity.”

Berkman wasn’t the only sports figure to come out against the HERO legislation. So did Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, who earned significant heat from fans who questioned his giving $10,000 to an anti-LGBT group fighting the ordinance. McNair later withdrew his donation, saying the group misrepresented his views.

[McNair: Anti-LGBT group ‘made numerous unauthorized statements about my opposition to HERO’]

McNair did not publicly say how he would vote on the matter, but did say he thought the ordinance needed to be re-worded.

(H/t: Deadspin via Uproxx)