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Faith and courage

Hinkle during a game against Sky Blue FC on May 19 in Piscataway, N.J. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/AP)


Faith and courage

Pro soccer player doesn’t cower to LGBT bullies

It’s somewhat fitting that Jaelene Hinkle plays for a professional soccer team called the Courage.

She’s needed courage in standing firm in her Christian convictions involving the month-long LGBT celebration known as “Pride.”

Hinkle, a defender for the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League, made headlines in June 2017 when she turned down a coveted call-up to the U.S. women’s national team (USWNT). Hinkle cited “personal reasons” for declining to represent her country in two international “friendlies”—essentially, glorified exhibition matches—in Scandinavia. However, many in the media speculated that her decision had to do with the team’s Pride-themed jerseys, which featured rainbow-colored numbers on the back.

The speculation stemmed largely from a tweet that Hinkle sent out in 2015 after the Supreme Court forced states to recognize same-sex marriage: “The world is falling farther and farther away from God,” Hinkle wrote.

Hinkle remained silent about the reasons behind her decision for roughly a year—and team representatives declined requests from WORLD to interview her, citing Hinkle’s desire not to inflame fans who might misinterpret her words as hateful. 

In late May, however, The 700 Club televised an interview in which Hinkle admitted that the Pride-themed jerseys were the reason why, after prayerful consideration, she declined to join the national team: “I felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,” Hinkle said.

The interview aired just before the Courage’s late May road match against Portland Thorns FC—the first of many Pride-themed matches that Hinkle would play in over the next several weeks. In a manner befitting the name of the team they support, Thorns fans responded to Hinkle’s comments by being a pain in her side: They booed whenever the ball came near Hinkle and angrily waved LGBT Pride flags in her direction. One fan even brought to the match a red placard with the words “Personal Reasons” spelled out in rainbow-colored letters.

Although Hinkle had never disparaged LGBT individuals, LGBT fans still condemned her: “It doesn’t matter how nice you are in person to the gay people in your life,” Katelyn Best wrote for the Portland soccer website Stumptown Footy. “What matters is that you’ve chosen to stand so staunchly in the conviction that there’s something wrong with them, with this thing that they cannot change about themselves, that you’d pass up the chance to play for your country for it. … You cannot hate the sin and love the sinner when the ‘sin’ is an integral part of a person’s being.”

Fans of Portland’s Pacific Northwest rival, Seattle Reign FC, were surprisingly more subdued when Hinkle came to town for the Reign’s Pride Day on June 23: If any fans in the largely rainbow-clad crowd of 4,032 booed her at all, the loud, persistent drumming from the Reign’s supporting pep band, the Queen City Corps, drowned them out. When Hinkle mingled with fans after the match, nobody confronted her. Most fans in LGBT-themed clothing had already left.

Hinkle had appeared for the USWNT in eight matches before her 2017 call-up but has not received another invitation since. The USWNT’s coach, Jill Ellis, is openly lesbian.

“If I never get another national team call-up again, then that’s just a part of [God’s] plan and that’s OK,” Hinkle told The 700 Club. “Maybe this is why I was meant to play soccer, to show other believers to be obedient.”


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    Posted: Wed, 06/27/2018 04:36 pm

    In the 50s and 60s Sandy Koufax was a  pro baseball player. He was a committed Jew. He declined to play on any Jewish holidays. His commitment to "living out" a fundamental tenet of his belief was celebrated and rightly honored. How the times have changed.

    Posted: Wed, 06/27/2018 04:37 pm

    Can one of the Worldmag IT whiz kids change it to show  SAWGUNNER instead of the 2074478 number. I have no idea what that means. It ain't our home phone, car tag number or bank PIN. 

    And used to I could log in and have R. Lee Ermey likeness as my blog handle. Gone for good?

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Thu, 06/28/2018 11:11 am

    Please contact Member Services (call 800-951-6397, Monday–Friday, except holidays, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. ET or email about any technical or membership-related issues. Thank you.

  • Yokefellow
    Posted: Fri, 06/29/2018 09:54 am

    Thank God for Jaeline Hinkle's courage and convictions to follow the Word of God.  Her statement that "The world is falling farther and farther away from God" is a statement of reality that it needs to hear.  Telling people they are on a path away from God is an expression of love. 

    When Katelyn Best states, “What matters is that you’ve chosen to stand so staunchly in the conviction that there’s something wrong with them, with this thing that they cannot change about themselves, that you’d pass up the chance to play for your country for it. … You cannot hate the sin and love the sinner when the ‘sin’ is an integral part of a person’s being,” she reveals a paradigm shared by all LGBT supporters that change cannot occur.  Of course, this is patently false. 

    Our God can bring about a desire to follow His path no matter the attraction or desire.  (Matthew 11:28-30)  I want to be clear, I am not saying God will necessarily give a person with same sex desires a desire for the opposite sex.  I am saying that despite their desires and attractions, God will give them the strength and desire to be obedient to His Word; make sure their primary identity is in Jesus Christ, and not enter into sexual intimacy with the same sex, if they seek Him.

    Finally, she seems to be respectful and humble in her approach.  It is important that we all look to our own sin and take the log out of our own eye before attempting to take a speck out of another's eye.  This requires us to repent from our own disobedience and exert humility as we express the truth found in God's Word and the grace that God wants us to extend to anyone who finds themselves falling "farther and farther away from God."

  • AlanE
    Posted: Fri, 06/29/2018 03:34 pm

    Barring a reversal of trends, Jaelene Hinkle's story will become more the norm than the exception. Professional sports, and perhaps especially women's sports, have become an agenda arm of the LGBT-etc movement. And woe to those who dare to cross the agenda. I am heartened by the story of her resolve.

    With respect to Sawgunner's post above about Sandy Koufax, perhaps it's time for Christian athletes to decline playing on Sunday? BTW, and as a relevant aside, did Koufax decline pitching assignments between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday?

  •  Deb O's picture
    Deb O
    Posted: Fri, 06/29/2018 10:28 am

    Our pastor asked those 40 years and younger in our congregation to stand up one Sunday and said that if they were true to their beliefs, they would face persecution in our country that none of us older than 40 would ever have believed could happen. Persecution doesn't begin with being thrown in jail and killed ... it begins with boos and hisses and shakings of the head to silence us. We will see more and more challenges against our freedom to work in our chosen professions, as does Ms. Hinkle and some well-publicized small business owners. 

    I admit it; as a Christian in 21st century America, I am soft and weak in the knees. Could I stand up under the derision and reproach of the world ... of my workplace ... of my neighbors and family? We've never known what our third-world brethren already know, "Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."

  •  BosLarJazz's picture
    Posted: Fri, 06/29/2018 01:20 pm

    I am so thankful to hear of her stand in this matter. Her quiet demeanor through this is such a great example. She stands humbly but unashamed of her faith. I was struck by the response in one of the quotations and I quote it partially, ".......the ‘sin’ is an integral part of a person’s being.” Sin is indeed an integral or should I say, dis-integral part of every person as it weakens our integrity with regard to what God intended for us no matter what kind of sin it is.  I've been struck recently by the thought that God uses people and circumstances around us to illustrate the dilemma of all of mankind. The LGBT community in a way illustrates that internally all people are at odds with how we are made to be because our sinful nature drives us away from God's design in every area of life, not just sexuality. Before I became a believer I had instances when believers around me took unpopular stands and I thought it was pretty useless and they were just being difficult. How ironic that when I traced my steps backward to see how many times I was witnessed to before I came to Christ, it was those very people who were shining light into my darkness. Keep shining Jaelene! You have no idea yet how God is using you for his redemptive purpose. God bless you!

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Mon, 07/30/2018 07:58 pm

    The biblical position on homosexuality is that it is a behavior (i.e. sin) and not an inherent trait.  There is no scientific evidence to the contrary, so Christians have both faith and science on their side.  Hinkle took a painful stand for the truth.  Let those who have the truth not hide it under a basket.