The absence of one of the best women’s soccer players in the nation from the national squad that just won the World Cup has prompted questions as to whether she didn’t make the team because of her openly professed Christian faith.
Jaelene Hinkle, 26, “has been called the top left defender in the U.S. game,” according to The Washington Times. Fox News noted Hinkle “helped her team win the NWSL championship and previously helped it win a title in 2016 when it was known as the Western New York Flash.”
But none of that apparently mattered to the women’s team. The Irish Times, which called Hinkle “the finest left-back in the NWSL,” wrote in June, “Hinkle likely would have been a fish out of water on the uber-woke women’s national team, some of whose biggest stars are openly lesbian, raising questions about whether she would have thrown off the squad’s chemistry.”
That’s because Hinkle has been quite open about her Christian faith. In 2015, Hinkle objected publicly to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, writing on Instagram:
Jesus didn’t come to save those who already believed in Him. He came so that the lost, rejected, and abandoned men and women would find Him and believe. I believe with every fiber in my body that what was written 2,000 years ago in the Bible is undoubtedly true. 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.
My heart is that as Christians we don’t begin to throw a tantrum over what has been brought into law today, but we become that much more loving. That through our love, the lost, rejected, and abandoned find Christ.The rainbow was a convent made between God and all his creation that never again would the world be flooded as it was when He destroyed the world during Noah’s time. It’s a constant reminder that no matter how corrupt this world becomes, He will never leave us or forsake us. Thank you Lord for your amazing grace, even during times of trial and confusion.
Love won over 2,000 years ago when the greatest sacrifice of all time was made for ALL mankind.
In 2017, when the women’s team wore special team jerseys celebrating Gay Pride Month for two international matches, Hinkle declined to play. She said on the “700 Club,” “I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey. I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what [God] was asking me to do in this situation.”
Soon after the interview, when her North Carolina Courage team played against the Portland Thorns in Portland, Oregon, fans waving rainbow flags booed Hinkle. The Washington Times noted, “Hinkle has not played for the national team since. After she was left off the World Cup roster, coach Jill Ellis told reporters that the decision was ‘solely based on soccer,’ an explanation greeted with widespread skepticism.” The Times added, “Ellis, who is married to a woman, did call up Hinkle last year for the Tournament of Nations but then cut her and one other player a few days later, fueling speculation that she was invited only to stave off a religious freedom lawsuit.”
Questions have been about Hinkle’s absence: John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Colorado Springs, Colorado, told The Washington Times:
You do have a very activist team. It’s very much a part of the program. And if we were talking about just any player, it wouldn’t be really clear, but just because of her abilities — Jaelene Hinkle is a heck of a player — it makes it that much more suspect … We know that increasingly there is going to have to be conformity on your viewpoint to be able to participate. I think that’s inevitable. We use the phrase “the theology of being fired” — in this case, it’s the theology of being cut.
In the interview with the “The 700 Club,” Hinkle stated, ““I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life. It was very disappointing. And I think that’s where the peace trumps the disappointment, because I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew I was being obedient. Just because you’re obedient doesn’t make it easy … If I never get another national team call-up again then that’s just a part of [God’s] plan, and that’s OK.”