If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then religion is a close second.

The much-loathed Dodger (co-?)owner, Frank McCourt, has already wrapped himself in the flag, trotting out “God Bless America” for the 7th inning stretch.

That hasn't gotten people off his case, so now it's time to come to Jesus.

McCourt has enlisted African-American religious leaders to write to Commissioner Bud Selig and beg for mercy on his behalf.

The letter is posted in full below. Here's the nub of it:

In our communities and churches we attempt to teach our thousands of congregants about fairness, dignity and equity. That is why we must speak up in support of Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Talk about a non sequitur. Let's start with equity. Last year, Frank dragged the Dodger fan base through a tawdry trial in an ultimately failed bid to deprive his wife of half of their marital estate. What was equitable about that, exactly?

On to dignity. The dignified thing to do would have been to handle the situation the way the Moores did in San Diego — behind closed doors and without embarrassment. They had to sell the Padres, but they kept their dignity. Frank was presented with the same choice and chose to hang on to the Dodgers like grim death. (Jamie's not blameless either.)

Fairness. Frank and Jamie jacked up ticket and parking prices — putting games out of reach for many low-income families — while leveraging a civic treasure for their own benefit. They took $100 million out of the team, bought seven houses, put their kids on the payroll, and paid no taxes. They did it because they could, not because it was fair.

So why are these religious leaders standing up for Frank? Here's a clue:

Frank McCourt has added significant value to the Los Angeles community through his ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers and it would be a mistake to allow those gains to falter. (Emph. added.)

Who knows what that means precisely, but it's worth pointing out that the Dodger Dream Foundation makes generous contributions to a scholarship program run by the Jackie Robinson Foundation. It also makes donations to the MLB Urban Youth Academy and the Los Angeles Urban League, and has renovated a number of ballfields in South L.A.

That's laudable stuff, certainly, but it doesn't begin to make up for everything else. Here's the letter.

LA Weekly