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May 20, 2024

Harrison Butker Sends Truth Straight Through the Uprights

“We need to stop pretending that the ‘Church of Nice’ is a winning proposition.”

By Suzanne Bowdey

Most Americans were probably surprised to hear the media cover a Kansas City Chief not named Travis Kelce. But while Taylor Swift’s latest boyfriend is away on her European tour, the mob stayed very busy crucifying his Catholic teammate, kicker Harrison Butker. His crime? Daring to talk about his faith on a college campus that shares it.

Butker’s sin, at least in the eyes of the far-Left, is refusing to keep quiet about the woke cancer eating its way through American culture. To the graduates of Benedictine College in Atchison, the three-time Super Bowl champion spoke plainly — about Joe Biden’s phony Catholicism, about the horrors of transgenderism and abortion, about the church’s refusal to speak into the moral issues of the day.

“These are the sorts of things we are told in polite society to not bring up,” he admitted to the Class of 2024. “You know, the difficult and unpleasant things. But if we are going to be men and women for this time in history, we need to stop pretending that the ‘Church of Nice’ is a winning proposition. We must always speak and act in charity, but never mistake charity for cowardice.”

He explained that he “never envisioned” himself, “nor wanted, to have this sort of platform, but God has given it to me, so I have no other choice but to embrace it and preach more hard truths…” But the reality, he told the crowd, is that faith “has always been countercultural.” “Our Lord, along with countless followers, were all put to death for their adherence to her teachings. The world around us says that we should keep our beliefs to ourselves whenever they go against the tyranny of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We fear speaking truth, because now, unfortunately, truth is in the minority.” The time has come, Harrison urged, “to [say] the difficult stuff out loud.”

A father and husband, he spoke heartfeltly to the graduates, encouraging men to be men and tearing up when he talked about the sacrifices his wife made to stay home with their children. The moment Butker called “homemaker” the most important title a woman could have, the crowd erupted in applause for 18 solid seconds.

The press wasn’t nearly so enthusiastic. Once clips of the speech started circulating, out came the media buzzsaw. Feminists, leftists, and well-known personalities skewered Harrison as misogynistic, extremist, hypocritical, sexist, homophobic — and those were the kind adjectives. LGBT activists at GLAAD described the kicker’s comments as “a clear miss” and “woefully out of step with Americans…” — an assessment that fans wasted no time debunking.

In a matter of hours, Butker’s jersey sales skyrocketed, stunning no one but the radical Left. Like hockey defenseman Ivan Provorov, who refused to wear the NHL’s Pride jersey last year, Harrison became an overnight hero — a symbol of moral pushback in a culture regular Americans no longer recognize. While the NFL tried to distance itself from Butker, throwing him under the bus in a league statement, fans made it clear that No. 7 spoke for them too. As his gear shot up the best-seller list (selling out for the women who were supposed to be so incredibly offended by his sentiments), others started a petition to have the champion kicker fired from the team.

For what, supporters demanded to know? Having an opinion? That’s interesting, some pointed out, since the NFL didn’t seem to mind when Colin Kaepernick did. But if a player is brave enough to challenge the forced worship of the mob’s in-your-face agenda, it’s somehow unforgiveable.

“The Chiefs kicker isn’t a hater,” National Review Editor Rich Lowry insisted. “He has deeply grounded views and believes that if he doesn’t speak the truth, few others in his position will.” Not to mention, Lowry went on, “Butker is a traditionalist Catholic giving a speech to traditionalist Catholic students graduating from a traditionalist Catholic school.”

While everyone from Jenna Bush Hanger to the catty women on “The View” skewered Harrison, others stepped up to defend him. Legendary Coach Lou Holt cheered Butker’s boldness, thanking him for “standing strong in your faith values.” “Your commencement speech at Benedictine College showed courage and conviction and I admire that. Don’t give in.”

Chiefs’ teammates like Chris Jones had Harrison’s back, tweeting, “I love you @buttkicker7! My brotha.” The wife and daughter of the team’s owner were also stanchly supportive. On Instagram, matriarch Tavia Hunt warned people about taking “things out of context.” “I’ve always encouraged my daughters to be highly educated and chase their dreams,” the mother of three said. “I want them to know that they can do whatever they want (that honors God). But I also want them to know that I believe finding a spouse who loves and honors you as or before himself and raising a family together is one of the greatest blessings this world has to offer.”

“Affirming motherhood and praising your wife,” Tavia continued, “as well as highlighting the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be a mother, is not bigoted. It is empowering to acknowledge that a woman’s hard work in raising children is not in vain. Countless highly educated women devote their lives to nurturing and guiding their children. Someone disagreeing with you doesn’t make them hateful; it simply means they have a different opinion.”

Her daughter, Grace, echoed those comments on “Fox and Friends,” telling the audience that she was blessed by her own experience growing up with a stay-at-home mom. “And I understand that there are many women out there who can’t make that decision but for me in my life, I know it was really formative in shaping me and my siblings to be who we are.” Steve Doocy asked, “So you understand what [Butker] was talking about?” “For sure,” she replied, “and I really respect Harrison and his Christian faith and what he’s accomplished on and off the field.”

Some surprising celebrities also came to Harrison’s defense, including firebrand Whoopie Goldberg, who stunned viewers by suggesting, “These are his beliefs, and he’s welcome to them. I don’t have to believe them,” she pointed out. “I don’t have [to] accept them.”

Outlets like the Babylon Bee mocked the NFL’s double standard — bashing a positive role model on one hand while elevating questionable characters on the other. “Harrison Butker Does Not Reflect Our Values,‘ Says League of Woman Beaters,” the parody account jabbed. Others, like the New York Post’s Kirsten Fleming, piled on. “Never mind the NFL could support its own police blotter every season. Players charged with domestic assault or drunk driving aren’t uncommon. Dolphins star Tyreek Hill, who pleaded guilty to domestic violence in 2015 and was briefly suspended by the Chiefs in 2019 during a child abuse investigation, had two paternity suits slapped on him last year. But we need to get rid of a man who teared up while speaking lovingly of his wife’s unconditional support?”

But perhaps the most important reinforcement came from top leaders like Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R), who took very seriously the threats Butker’s facing. The state’s top law enforcer said he’s “demanding accountability” after Kansas City’s X account shared where Butker lives. Doxxing of Christians, Bailey declared, will not be tolerated. “I will enforce the Missouri Human Rights Act to ensure Missourians are not targeted for their free exercise of religion. … The mayor needs to immediately turn over his office’s communications relating to this post.”

By Wednesday, managers of the account had deleted the tweet, claiming it was posted “in error.”

I’ll bet. The reality is, Harrison Butker had every right to share that message on a campus that embraced it — and even on a campus that didn’t. That’s what makes this America. And in a country starved for values, where even the hint of pro-family morality is stifled or silenced, this kicker’s honesty was refreshing.

“So let Harrison Butker be himself,” National Review’s Dan McLaughin urges. “His opinions are outgrowths of virtues in short supply today: faith, fidelity to the traditional family, and respect for the different, complementary, and mutually supporting roles played by husbands and wives. These are mostly opinions that were not even controversial until a few decades ago, and it should alarm us to see so little tolerance for their mere expression in the public square.”

Meanwhile, as the PR storm swirls on, visitors to Butker’s X account will see a single pinned tweet: “We mustn’t squander this period of the world’s history which God has entrusted to each one of us (St. Josemaria Escriva).” It’s safe to say the only thing squandered was the media’s chance to respect truth when it finally encountered some. 

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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