Christian Soccer Player Under Attack for Refusing to Wear a Gay Pride Jersey

FILE – In this Dec. 13, 2015, file photo, China’s Han Peng (18) slides in to knock the ball away from United States’ Jaelene Hinkle during the second half of an international friendly soccer match, in Glendale, Ariz. Hinkle revealed she decided not to play for the U.S. women’s national team last year because her Christian faith prevented her from wearing a jersey that commemorated LGBTQ Pride Month. Hinkle revealed the reason for her decision last June in an interview posted Wednesday, May 30, 2018, on The 700 Club website. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)


Yesterday, a young women’s professional soccer player, Jaelene Hinkle, made a startling statement–if she was a suspect on Law & Order, Jack McCoy would say it was “made against penal interest”–in an appearance on the evangelical television show, the 700 Club. (By the way, this show has been around forever. When I was an ROTC cadet, the physical training sessions for upperclassmen were held at 7 a.m. and called the 700 Club.) Last summer, she was “called up,” i.e. invited, to join the US Women’s National Team. She declined for, as she said at the time, “personal reasons.” In that 700 Club interview, she let us know what those personal reasons were.

Jaelene Hinkle’s decision not to play for the U.S. women’s national soccer team last summer was, she said, a simple one. Because of her religious beliefs, and a decision by U.S. Soccer to highlight LGBTQ pride month with special jerseys during their June 2017 friendlies, Hinkle declined a call-up from the team, something she said she had dreamed about her entire life.

“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle said in an interview with “The 700 Club,” a Christian talk show, that was published this week. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what He was asking me to do in this situation. … I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life and I’m saying no to it. … I think there’s where the peace trumps the disappointment. I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient.”

Hinkle, a defender who turned 25 Monday, has made eight appearances for the national team, but has not received another call-up since declining to join the team last summer. She is playing for the North Carolina Courage in the National Women’s Soccer League; during a game Wednesday night against the Portland Thorns in Oregon, fans booed Hinkle, while some waved pride flags. One fan carried a sign with the words “personal reasons” — the reason publicly cited when Hinkle declined the call-up last year — in rainbow letters.

I’d be remiss here if I didn’t quote from Kevin Williamson’s take on being booed in Portland:

The world is full of stupid and angry people, and most of them live in Portland.

Women’s soccer player Jaelene Hinkle, a defender for the North Carolina Courage, was booed by angry Portland women’s soccer fans—and is there any other kind, really?—during a match against the Portland Thorns, after the local mutawwi learned via an interview with The 700 Club (which still exists!) that Hinkle had passed up an opportunity to play with the U.S. women’s team because she was not comfortable wearing a jersey celebrating (roll call!) Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer/Questioning (there is some dispute about what the Q stands for; some people insist on LGBTQQ just to cover the bases, but that seems like a lot of Qs, if you ask me) Pride Month.

The public denunciations already have begun. There will be petitions and the like soon enough.

One can understand Portland’s inconsolable rage. It’s a second-rate Seattle, which makes it, by extension, a fourth-rate (22) San Francisco. Which is to say: Austin without the sunshine and higher education and tacos. I’d be angry if I lived in Portland, too.

Predictably, the gay lynch mob has turned out to ruin her life and career.

I hesitate to quote random Twitter douches in my posts, but this is a sampling of the commentary:

I don’t have words to express my admiration for Hinkle. She turned down the dream of a lifetime for a matter of faith. She publicly confessed that faith knowing what the blowback would be. Few of us ever have our faith as visibly challenged as Hinkle and rather than taking the easy way out, and participating in scandal by wearing the “Gay Pride” jersey (and I’m more than a little unclear on why gay sex is a matter of “pride,” can I wear a “doggy style pride” jersey?).

This is an object lesson for the would-be kapos on the right who have badgered the rest of us with the fatuous idea that the egregious instances of bullying of Christians by homosexual activists is an issue of equal protection and equal rights (this is largely the same group who is now trying to convince us that Facebook and Google throttling conservative news feeds is no big thing). Nothing could be further from the truth. What the homosexual rights movement is after is not acceptance or tolerance, they are demanding that their aberrant behavior be given pride of place in our society. Again, this is Kevin Williamson:

Maybe Hinkle has some really interesting and well-developed position on the question of homosexuality; maybe she has only the banal and sentimental because-the-Bible-tells-me-so ideas that one might expect from a guest on The 700 Club. It really shouldn’t matter to the question of playing soccer, which is about another kind of scoring altogether.

But of course it must be made to matter. You will wear the jersey celebrating gay pride, or you will not play. Hinkle chose not to play. Fair enough. To her credit, she has not engaged in Colin Kaepernick-level grandstanding or done the usual thing and filed a lawsuit. She only declined to participate, to give her affirmation.

Yet that’s an unforgivable crime for our so-called liberals. That’s what’s really behind the demand for public funding of abortion, contraception, and the like: The strategy is to ensure that everybody is implicated, corporately. The pretense that Sandra Fluke can’t afford a rubber is ridiculous. Nobody really believes that. It’s like Antiochus and the Jews, whose insistence upon their own faith and their own ways offended those who desired to “oblige them to partake of the sacrifices” and “adopt the customs” of their political rulers. It is not enough that gay people should be allowed to organize their own lives as they wish and to follow their interests and their pleasures where they will. You can decline to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but when they raise the rainbow banner, you’d damned well better stand up straight and salute.

Hinkle’s WrongThink, much like the bakers and florists and photographers victimized by the same lynch mob, was simply refusing to engage in an activity that placed her salvation in jeopardy, that forced her to choose between Mammon–celebrating disordered personal behavior–and obedience to God. In Hinkle’s case, the outrage is over her giving up something she really wanted because the price was too high. Now that is not acceptable.

As Erick Erickson said, “you will be made to care.”

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