Soccer player Jaelene Hinkle got her 15 minutes of fame among Christian conservativesafter the Women’s National Soccer Team won the Women’s World Cup in France and when a year-old clip of Hinkle resurfaced on Twitter last week and famous homophobe Franklin Graham jumped to defend her.
In the video, Hinkle was speaking on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club about how she refused an offer to possibly join the Women’s National Soccer Team because she would have had to wear a rainbow jersey to support inclusivity in sports.
“I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle said last June. “I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what he was asking me to do in this situation… I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient.”
When that video began to circulate again, out Women’s National Soccer Team player Ashlyn Harris called Hinkle homophobic on Twitter.
“Hinkle, our team is about inclusion. Your religion was never the problem. The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic. You don’t belong in a sport that aims to unite and bring people together. You would never fit into our pack or what this team stands for.”
After Harris’ passionate post defending her teammates, homophobic evangelist Graham took to Facebook to defend fellow homophobe Hinkle:
“Ashlyn Harris of the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team was recently in the news for accusing former teammate Jaelene Hinkle of homophobia. Why? Because Jaelene took a stand for her faith. In 2017, Jaelene refused to play two matches for the U.S. Women’s National Team, reportedly because she wouldn’t wear the team’s gay pride-themed jersey. Jaelene has said, “This world may change, but Christ and His Word NEVER will.” She’s right—and standing with that truth takes courage. Ashlyn Harris needs to understand that believing the Word of God doesn’t mean that you’re homophobic. It means you’re truthful. Jaelene chose her faith above fame, above soccer, and above her peers. Let’s encourage Jaelene in the comments below.”
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Despite rampant homophobia in the U.S., the women’s national soccer team has never been more successful with the highest number of out people in history.
The team has at least five LGBTQ players and its coach is a lesbian, and the team’s official Twitter account acknowledged how necessary “gays” were to their success.