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Christian soccer player Jaelene Hinkle allegedly cut from U.S. national team over religious beliefs

Conservative pundits and Christian activists are claiming Jaelene Hinkle was kept off the 2019 United States women’s World Cup team roster for her religious beliefs 

Following a successful World Cup run, in which several members of the United States women’s soccer team voiced their support for LGBTQ rights, conservative pundits and Christian activists are claiming one top player was left off the roster over her political and religious beliefs.

On Monday, evangelical blogger Erick Erickson claimed former national team fullback Jaelene Hinkle was ‘shoved aside’ for the 2019 World Cup roster over ‘feminist virtue signalling.’

Hinkle has been vocal about her Christian beliefs in the past, once refusing to play in 2017 because the team was wearing jerseys with rainbow-colored numbers during Gay Pride Month.

The reasoning behind the decision was not revealed until an interview with the 700 Club in May of 2018. Two months later, Hinkle, 26, made her eighth and last appearance with the U.S. women’s national team. 

‘I just felt so convicted in my spirit that it wasn’t my job to wear this jersey,’ she told ‘The 700 Club’ in a May 2018 interview. ‘I gave myself three days to just seek and pray and determine what [God] was asking me to do in this situation.’

At the time, Hinkle said she knew her decision could have consequences. 

‘I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life, and I’m saying no to. It was very disappointing,’ she said in the 700 Club interview.  

Hinkle has not spoken about the issue publicly since the U.S. won the World Cup on Sunday. A spokesperson for Hinkle’s club team, the North Carolina Courage, did not immediately respond to the Daily Mail’s interview request. 

Players of USA wears shirt with numbers of rainbow colors during the international friendly between Sweden and USA at Ullevi Stadium on June 8, 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Hinkle refused to wear the 'Pride' jersey, later revealing she made the decision for religious reasons

Players of USA wears shirt with numbers of rainbow colors during the international friendly between Sweden and USA at Ullevi Stadium on June 8, 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Hinkle refused to wear the ‘Pride’ jersey, later revealing she made the decision for religious reasons 

Five members of the U.S. women's team are publicly out including captain Megan Rapinoe (pictured with her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird) and coach Jill Ellis

Hinkle (pictured) has not appeared in a game for the U.S. women's national team since July of 2018 - two months after she publicly acknowledged sitting out of a 2017 match over her objections to 'Pride' jerseys

Five members of the U.S. women’s team are publicly out including captain Megan Rapinoe (pictured left with her girlfriend, WNBA star Sue Bird) and coach Jill Ellis. Hinkle (right) has not appeared in a game for the U.S. women’s national team since July of 2018 – two months after she publicly acknowledged sitting out of a 2017 match over her objections to ‘Pride’ jerseys

Although she never made a World Cup or Olympic roster, the 26-year-old fullback has played professionally in the National Women’s Soccer League since 2015. Hinkle also played every minute in the 2018 postseason as she and the Courage went on to win a league title.

‘You do have a very activist team,’ John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Colorado Springs told The Washington Times. ‘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,’ Stonestreet said. ‘I think that’s inevitable. We use the phrase ‘the theology of being fired’ — in this case, it’s the theology of being cut.’

Five members of the U.S. women’s team are publicly out, as is coach Jill Ellis.

Captain Megan Rapinoe even credited the team’s gay players after she scored both goals in a 2-1 quarter-final win over France.

‘Go gays!’ she yelled to reporters. ‘You can’t win a championship without gays on your team. It’s never been done before. That’s science right there.’

Megan Rapinoe of USA kisses her girlfriend Sue Bird after Team USA won the World Cup

Megan Rapinoe of USA kisses her girlfriend Sue Bird after Team USA won the World Cup 

Prior to Hinkle's refusal to play in the team's Pride Month jerseys, she previously spoke out against gay marriage on social media in 2015, when the practice was legalized nationally

Prior to Hinkle’s refusal to play in the team’s Pride Month jerseys, she previously spoke out against gay marriage on social media in 2015, when the practice was legalized nationally

Prior to Hinkle’s refusal to play in the team’s Pride Month jerseys, she previously spoke out against gay marriage on social media in 2015, when the practice was legalized nationally.

‘This world may change, but Christ and His Word NEVER will,’ Hinkle said on Instagram. ‘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.’

Players mascots carrying flags with rainbow colors ahead of the international friendly between Sweden and USA at Ullevi Stadium on June 8, 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden

Players mascots carrying flags with rainbow colors ahead of the international friendly between Sweden and USA at Ullevi Stadium on June 8, 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden

Although Hinkle was booed by fans, according to The Washington Times, teammate Jessica McDonald defended the former Texas Tech star to The Oregonian.

‘She’s never said anything bad about me,’ McDonald said of Hinkle. ‘She never said anything bad about anybody. So, for people to pass on that kind of judgment on another human being, I think it’s sort of uncalled for.’

Ellis called Hinkle up to the national team a year ago for the Tournament of Nations, but later cut the Denver native.

‘It was very disappointing,’ Hinkle told the 700 Club. ‘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.’

Jay Schwartz, who writes for Erick’s website, The Resurgent, praised Hinkle for doing ‘what she believed in without resorting to name-calling and hatred like so many in our culture do today.’

‘It’s good for parents to teach their children how to compete,’ Schwartz wrote in 2018. ‘It’s even better for parents to teach their children how to stand on principle, even when it costs them their dream. Thank you, Jaelene, for graciously showing us what that looks like.’ 

The United States women's World Cup team beat the Netherlands on Sunday for its fourth title

The United States women’s World Cup team beat the Netherlands on Sunday for its fourth title

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