As in other examples where the culture wars have intersected with sports teams and American athletes, Christian faith has become part of the issues. Conservative “worldview” media has focused on former team member, Jaelene Hinkle, who drew criticism for speaking out against LGBTQ interests and back in 2017, withdrew from the national team rather than where a jersey that supported gay pride. When she was asked to try out for the world cup team but failed to make it, these same outlets cried foul. Back in June, Breakpoint lauded her decision, even challenging readers with the remark, “Jaelene Hinkle chose well. Will we?” Its time more Christians adopt a “a theology of getting fired, or if you happen to be in Hinkle’s profession, a theology of getting cut from the team,” Breakpoint’s John Stonestreet & David Carlson said. The resentment for Megan Rapinoe, where the contrast on the issues is obvious, is veiled only thinly in the coverage of Hinkle. The Christian post also picked up the story and with the women’s recent World Cup victory, Fox News is again drawing attention to Hinkle.
Perhaps not surprising, these outlets are giving less attention to the Christian players who were actually on the World Cup team — players like Tobin Heath — who are clearly committed Christians but perhaps haven’t adopted a “theology of getting cut.” Within the persecution narrative of Conservative evangelicals, it would seem that becoming a “marked woman,” as Breakpoint writers described Hinkle, is to be celebrated more than the quiet, steady faith of players like Heath.