Evangelist Franklin Graham is glad the U.S. women's soccer team lost the World Cup
The Christian Nationalist is no patriot
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If you need more proof that the Christian Right worships Donald Trump instead of Jesus, look no further than evangelist Franklin Graham, who echoed the former president in celebrating the U.S. women's national soccer team’s loss to Sweden in a World Cup knockout match.
The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team lost to Sweden yesterday at the 2023 Women's World Cup. I used to pull for our women’s soccer team, but in recent years they have shown disrespect for our country’s flag and national anthem and have used their platform to promote the LGBTQ agenda. When they lost yesterday, I wasn’t sad. I wish I didn’t feel that way, but when players think it is more about them than the nation they represent, I can’t support that. Former President Donald J. Trump also spoke out about the team’s loss to Sweden and some of the players being openly hostile to America, and he’s right about this: “WOKE EQUALS FAILURE.”
It’s okay to root against the country, I guess, if the women in question think LGBTQ Americans should be treated with respect.
All of this stems from a series of right-wing attacks on the team that have been occurring for years but really picked up steam after some members were visibly silent during the National Anthem before their first match. (The U.S. women later won that game.)
Those who peacefully protested all had their reasons for not singing along, just as we’ve seen with athletes who kneel during the National Anthem. If anything, there’s an argument to be made that it’s more patriotic, not less, to protest like this because players believe the country isn’t living up to its ideals rather than merely singing along and pretending things are okay. Hell, what would it say about our country if athletes were forced to sing the National Anthem? Protesting is a hallmark of free countries.
But Graham’s version of Christianity values blind faith over genuine belief, and that also extends to sports.
That’s why it didn’t matter to Graham that the USWNT was literally representing our country on the largest stage in the sport. They were dead to him upon arrival and he rooted for their demise. It wouldn’t have mattered if they didn’t advance past the group stage or lost in the championship match. He was ready to gloat the moment there was a misstep.
He doesn’t give a shit about women’s sports.
Not if the women draw attention to inequality, anyway. The U.S. women have done more for women’s sports than all of Graham’s anti-trans tweets ever could, but he can’t bring himself to admit that because bigotry always takes center stage in his Christian bubble.
Graham said the same thing four years ago at the previous Women’s World Cup, when star player Megan Rapinoe chose not to sing the Anthem or place her hand over her heart. “Her not respecting our flag and our national anthem does not represent our nation well and makes me not want to root for them,” he wrote, just weeks before the U.S. women won the whole competition. (So much for his opposition.)
Graham is just taking a page from Trump, who gloated over the team’s loss over the weekend in an excruciatingly close game that was ultimately decided by a matter of millimeters. It could have gone either way. The U.S. came up just short in a tournament in which they were beset by injuries.
The former president, a longtime vocal critic of the team, specifically Megan Rapinoe, a blue-haired talisman and outspoken LGBTQ+ advocate who missed a crucial penalty during the final moments of the game, said that the team’s loss is “fully emblematic of what is happening to our great Nation under Crooked Joe Biden”.
“Many of our players were openly hostile to America — no other country behaved in such a manner, or even close,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “WOKE EQUALS FAILURE. Nice shot, Megan, the U.S. is going to Hell!!! MAGA.”
They were “openly hostile to America,” said the guy who fomented an insurrection at the Capitol. Leave it to our most famous traitor for celebrating America’s loss and blaming the current president—somehow—for it.
(Then again, maybe Trump deserves credit for finally acknowledging a defeat.)
For what it’s worth, we lost to a nation that has universal health care, strict gun regulations, and relatively progressive LGBTQ rights. If “WOKE EQUALS FAILURE,” then Sweden should never have made it to the tournament. Instead, they’re heading to the World Cup quarterfinals.
But this is what unpatriotic people like Graham and Trump do. They celebrate our nation’s demise, even in sports, because they refuse to honor people whose liberal politics don’t line up with their own. If the president is a Democrat, they root for economic collapse (and help make it happen). If a governor is a Democrat, they want that state to have a budget crisis. They’re always America First unless the Americans in question are liberal.
It takes someone like Joe Biden to celebrate what the women accomplished—and to focus on the bigger picture instead of the details of a single game.
Graham could have said all of that. He could’ve thanked God for the team’s accomplishments while spreading some Christian nonsense about how everything happens for a reason.
That would require empathy and civility, though, and Graham possesses neither.
He would much rather be an asshole in the name of Jesus while citing a deranged narcissist who believes the country is only at its best when people who disagree with him suffer.
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