An Ocean County religious leader is making headlines for his role in organizing a protest against the Lakewood BlueClaws first ever Pride Night. So it's our chance to show love and acceptance for all on Saturday.

The BlueClaws (the Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies) are scheduled to host their first ever Pride event at the stadium during Saturday evening's game (June 8) at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood.

Rabbi Yesuda Levin is calling on the community to hold a protest on Thursday evening outside of the stadium in Lakewood (Ocean County).

I was horrified when I first saw this news, and I am going to borrow some of the words from Matt Ryan, who is one of our colleagues at our sister radio station in Toms River. Matt covered the story, and wrote: "This is not the type of topic that I normally dive into on my blogs, but I feel compelled."

Yeah, Matt. I did too. Matt went on to say "There's never enough love going around for others," and I couldn't agree more.

In fact, as a "radio personality," I don't even want to give the counter-protest too much attention. But I will tell you that the Rabbi at the center of Thursday's protest says that Saturday's celebration of pride at the stadium will "victimize young and innocent children" with the "abomination" of homosexuality.

This hit close to home. I grew up in Ocean County. I grew up going to Lakewood BlueClaws games. And I am a gay man.

So when I first saw that the BlueClaws were hosting a pride night, I was incredibly moved. Seriously. You don't see that stuff happening in suburban New Jersey too often. It shows how far we've come to accept one and all.

Having said that...

It's more important than ever that we go to the BlueClaws game on Saturday night.

Celebrating "pride" is not just about one's gender or identity. It is about showing our youth that it's OK to be themselves.

Don't show up to Thursday's event and incite violence. The best way to respond to their actions is to simply have a GREAT time during Saturday evening's game in LARGE numbers.  Be loud & proud on Saturday, and that will stifle their hateful message on Thursday.

The world is full of a ton of scary things when you're a young person and questioning your identity. In fact, the world can be a scary place for all of us as adults too when we feel "different" than what we think is normal. Pride is a chance to embrace those differences, and it serves as my annual reminder that I fit into this world in so many ways. I always make it a point to attend a pride event. I marched in New Hope, PA's pride and will be celebrating Pride in Philadelphia this weekend.

By the way, the Lakewood BlueClaws have not backed down. They issued a statement to saying, "Baseball is for everyone and all people are welcome at a BlueClaws game." The team's statement goes on to say "It is unfortunate that some individuals are choosing to display intolerance rather than embrace the true spirit of the night. We look forward to BlueClaws Pride Night."

If you do believe that the LGBTQ community and everyone deserve kindness, respect, love, and the opportunity to celebrate who they are, you don't have to argue with protesters, all you have to do is enjoy a baseball game.

Tickets are still available for Saturday's game, by the way. The first 1,500 fans to enter the park will receive a BlueClaws Pride Night baseball hat (from Coca-Cola). The evening will also feature post-game fireworks.

"We want to show the LGBT community that they are welcome at BlueClaws games, and always will be welcome at BlueClaws games," BlueClaws Team President Joe Ricciutti.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Townsquare Media, its employees or advertisers.

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