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NFL kicker faces woke fury over Catholic commencement speech


Many in our country are so repulsed by traditional Catholic and Christian views that they can’t allow someone to say them out loud without retribution — and certainly not someone as young, successful, and influential as Harrison Butker.

Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker is facing severe backlash for the speech he made at a college commencement ceremony, with critics calling his words “dehumanizing” and sexist.

Butker, who is Catholic, was invited to give the speech at Benedictine College in Kansas, a Catholic university.

You can view Butker’s entire speech here or read the transcript here.

Though the speech was delivered last weekend, Butker has faced an increasingly shrill fallout this week, thanks to a petition demanding that the Chiefs release the kicker.

The controversy?

His comments on poor leadership during the COVID pandemic, connecting the sin of pride to LGBT Pride month, and suggesting that most women would be happiest as wives and mothers, among other things.

He criticized political and religious leaders who shut down churches during COVID but also called out prior instances of weak and immoral leadership, explaining,

“While COVID might have played a large role throughout your formative years, it is not unique. Bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values in media, all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder.”

Butker also criticized President Joe Biden for claiming to be Catholic yet championing abortion.

He urged Catholics to reject the “church of nice” and be willing to say things that are unpopular, stating,

“Our Catholic 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.

Not surprisingly, Butker’s comments about LGBTQ issues sparked plenty of blowback.

He stated, “From the man behind the COVID lockdowns to the people pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America, they all have a glaring thing in common. They are Catholic. This is an important reminder that being Catholic alone doesn’t cut it.”

He also made reference to an Associated Press article that portrayed traditional Catholics and Benedictine College as radicals. In rejecting the article’s premise, he commented on the sin of pride and its connection to LGBT Pride month.

“I am certain the reporters at the AP could not have imagined that their attempt to rebuke and embarrass places and people like those here at Benedictine wouldn’t be met with anger, but instead met with excitement and pride,” he said. “Not the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it, but the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the Holy Ghost to glorify Him.”

What has drawn the most pushback, however, are Butker’s comments about women and homemaking.

For clarity, here are those comments in their entirety:

“For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.

I can tell you that my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother. I’m on the stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation. I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.

She is a primary educator to our children. She is the one who ensures I never let football or my business become a distraction from that of a husband and father. She is the person that knows me best at my core, and it is through our marriage that, Lord willing, we will both attain salvation.”

Outraged feminists claim that Butker is “telling women to stay in the kitchen” and to quit working or pursuing a career.

A petition demanding that the Chiefs cut Butker from the roster has garnered over 132,000 signatures. The petition claims that Butker’s comments create division.

Scores of articles and social media posts claim that Butker is sexist and homophobic.

The NFL has distanced itself from Butker’s comments, saying,

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

The government of Kansas City meanwhile, made a post on its official X account specifying the exact Kansas City suburb where Butker lives with his wife and two young children. City officials have since issued an apology, claiming the post was made in error.

However, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey accused Kansas City officials of doxxing Butker for “daring to express his religious beliefs” and promised to hold them accountable, stating that they may have violated the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Supporters say that Butker has done nothing wrong.

Alexandra Lains, a Catholic media personality, wrote on X,

“Harrison Butker is right. He didn’t say a woman’s career wasn’t important. He didn’t say women couldn’t get an education. But if that’s what you got out of that speech, then it wasn’t for you to begin with.”

Lains also posted a video criticizing the NFL for hypocrisy in calling out Butker but saying little about players who commit crimes.

Kansas City radio host Pete Mundo wrote,

“Kansas City and national media are more offended by Harrison Butker saying we should put God and family as priorities before career than they are Rashee Rice driving 120 mph on a freeway and putting dozens of people in immediate physical danger. Pathetic. Yet also predictable.”

A traditional Catholic expressed traditional Catholic beliefs during a speech to traditional Catholic students at a traditional Catholic college.

 That’s all this brouhaha is about.

The story here isn’t that Butker is a sexist who believes that women should be forced into servitude like “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The story is that so many in our country are so repulsed by traditional Catholic and Christian views that they can’t even allow someone to say them out loud without retribution — and certainly not someone as young, successful, and influential as Harrison Butker.

Butker’s speech was approximately 20 minutes long and the overwhelming majority of it was about Catholic issues of relevance to Catholics. These include his advocacy for the traditional Latin mass, the belief that bishops and priests should refrain from being overly familiar with their parishioners, and that Catholics should live out their biblical and liturgical roles in life.

Yet it is the fleeting comments Butker made regarding homosexuality and gender ideology and a few paragraphs about how much he appreciates his wife that are drawing all the attention.

News flash to all the keyboard warriors: Butker is Catholic, the school is Catholic, and the students are Catholic. If you don’t want to hear Catholic views, don’t listen to his speech.

For example, Butker made various statements that some conservative Christians would disagree with or even find upsetting. Butker criticized the use of contraceptives. He called it “playing God” to try to plan when or how many children you will have.

Most devout Christians believe there is nothing wrong with using certain types of birth control.

Butker also made theological claims that run counter to Protestant beliefs, such as when he said, “She is the person that knows me best at my core, and it is through our marriage that, Lord willing, we will both attain salvation.”

Evangelical Protestants believe that salvation is by grace through faith (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8) and that one can know they have received eternal salvation at the moment of conversion (John 3:36, John 10:28, 1 John 5:11-13).

Yet Evangelical Protestants aren’t forming a petition demanding that Butker lose his job.

Butker has the First Amendment right to speak his views and to hold to his religious beliefs, just like any other American.

That said, though, there was nothing homophobic, racist, or sexist in Butker’s comments. His statement about women and homemaking is true — many women do find great happiness in being a wife and mother, his wife being one of them. He never said women shouldn’t work.

In fact, his comments echo Christian belief on this topic for over two millennia.

In a letter to the wife of a friend, C.S. Lewis wrote that homemaking “is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government, etc. exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes?…So your job is the one for which all others exist.”

That doesn’t mean all women should stay at home and raise children. Some women should remain single. Some should pursue a career.

Some should or need to work at times in their children’s lives and stay at home at other times. Some have to work throughout their children’s lives to help support the family.

Some are unable to have children and some choose not to.

Yet the most common path that helps bring happiness to a woman does involve being a wife and mother, and many women will tell you that they would love to be able to stay home with their children, at least while they are young.

As for the Chiefs, they have remained silent on Butker’s comments despite pressure from the mob demanding the team cancel Butker for his religious beliefs. That’s not likely to happen — not just because it could potentially result in a lawsuit for violating protected speech and religious liberty but because Butker is a great kicker.

Last season, Butker successfully made 33 of 35 field goal attempts, including all 5 from 50 yards or beyond. He also made a 60-yard field goal. He made all of his extra point attempts.

In case you don’t follow football, that’s really quite good.

But he isn’t just good, he’s clutch. He can be counted on to keep his cool under the most intense pressure.

In the playoffs last season, for instance, Butker made all 11 of his field goal attempts, including four in the 2024 Super Bowl. This included a 57-yard field goal that ranks as the longest in Super Bowl history and his game-tying field goal at the end of regulation that sent the game into overtime.

It was nothing new for Butker, who during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl campaign during the 2022-2023 season, kicked the game-winning field goal in both the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl.

As sports fans like to say, he’s cold-blooded.

So Butker won’t cave to the pressure. The question is: Will the Chiefs?

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