June 06, 2018
When other sports leagues are tripping over themselves to promote LGBT pride, it's inspiring when a few courageous athletes refuse to play along. Professional soccer player Jaelene Hinkle is one of them. When the U.S. Women's Team announced they'd be wearing jerseys with a rainbow theme last year, Hinkle knew what she had to do -- even if it meant giving up her dream.
"I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn't my job to wear this jersey," she said in an interview for the "700 Club" this week. "I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what [God] was asking me to do in this situation." There was probably a point in her life when this wouldn't have been such a struggle. Jaelene gave her life to Christ when she was 12, but struggled to live it out through her teenage years. A health crisis changed that, and she and her family found themselves relying on faith like never before.
During her junior year at Texas Tech, a dangerous blood clot forced Hinkle to come to grips with the fact that she might never play again. "They told me my vein was 80 percent closed," she remembers. The doctor said, "You're not getting any blood flow, and if we have to put a stent in, you can't play any sports. It would be life threatening." "The first thing my mom said to me was, 'We're just going to pray all night long.'" The morning after her second surgery, the impossible happened. Doctors sat her down and said her vein was clear. "He told me, 'I'm not one to believe in God, but you've gotten a miracle.'"
From that point on, Jaelene was sold out to her faith. So when team officials came to her and asked her to promote a message that contradicted the Bible's truth, Hinkle thought about the second chance she'd been given to play. "I felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn't my job to wear this jersey," she said wistfully. She walked away from the team and everything she'd worked so hard to achieve. "The peace trumped the disappointment," she explained, looking back. "I knew in my spirit that I was doing the right thing. I knew that I was being obedient."
When team officials asked why she was withdrawing, she cited "personal reasons." In the year since, Jaelene has never been asked to rejoin her national team – but she insists that's okay. If she doesn't get to play for U.S. Women's soccer, "that just is part of His plan." After all, she says, "maybe this is why [I was] meant to play soccer. Just to show other believers to be obedient."
But unfortunately, standing up for your beliefs has its price. Even now, Jaelene is booed and harassed when her new North Carolina team -- appropriately named the Courage -- travels to other stadiums to play. Last week, a crowd full of rainbow-flag waving fans in Portland taunted Hinkle with signs that read "personal reasons" in big colored letters. That's because, the Weekly Standard's Kevin Williamson points out, extremists will only have conformity, "abject and absolute."
"'We're here, we're queer, get used to it!' became, 'We're here, we're queer, and you will do as we say!'" ...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... 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 better stand up straight and salute."
While the decks seemed stacked against Hinkle, there are plenty of people who see her stand for what it is -- heroic. Teammates, coaches, and friends couldn't be prouder. "I believe with every fiber in my body that what was written 2,000 years ago in the Bible is undoubtedly true," Hinkle told fans. "It's not a fictional book. It's not a pick and choose what you want to believe. You either believe it, or you don't. This world may change, but Christ and His Word NEVER will."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.