June 19, 2019
The Fight to Preserve Religious Freedom in Sports

The Fight to Preserve Religious Freedom in Sports

By FRC Managing Editor Dan Hart

Sports is one of the few remaining venues in public life where people from every background, creed, and belief system can come together and celebrate a shared experience of athletic appreciation and fandom.

Or at least it should be.

In today's hyper-politicized climate, it seems that nothing can escape the relentless black hole of "woke" political correctness, not even sports. In a Speaker Series event at FRC, Dr. Jennifer Bryson gave example after example of how the LGBT agenda has strong-armed its way into sports, particularly soccer, where rainbow flags are featured on the jerseys of the U.S. men's and women's national teams, on team captain armbands, on shoelaces, and even on the ground where players are required to walk.

Are the athletes who make sports possible allowed to object to their jobs and religious beliefs being coopted by a political cause? Nope. Just ask Jaelene Hinkle, who faced immense harassment after declining to wear an LGBT-themed jersey for the U.S. national team. Or Josip Brekalo, who was required to wear a rainbow-themed arm band as a team captain, but declined to. Or Isreal Folau, who was sacked by both the Australian national rugby team and his professional team for expressing his religious beliefs on Instagram.

As Dr. Bryson pointed out, what makes this state of affairs even more outrageous for the sporting world is the "T" in "LGBT." Athletes are not allowed to object to the transgender agenda being foisted on them when individuals who identify as transgender are threatening to end women's sports as we know it.

As this issue continues to roil the world of sports at all levels, Dr. Bryson gave a list of helpful steps that we can all take to address religious freedom in sports. Sports organizations like FIFA can start enforcing the rules against political symbols that are already on the books. Parents can prepare themselves and their children playing on teams to respond to threats and to know the rules on political statements and symbols in sports. Athletes should advocate for more religious accommodations in their respective teams and leagues. Non-profit orgs can provide better resources. Congress can hold hearings and take legislative action to keep politics out of national sports teams.

What can the average citizen do? Dr. Bryson, the founder of Let All Play, has started a CitizenGO petition to FIFA urging them to stop using political symbols in soccer.

Be sure to view the entirety of this important Speaker Series event.