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Rev. Franklin Graham, other faith leaders support Bethany Hamilton's stance on trans athletes

After pro surfer Bethany Hamilton spoke up against a World Surf League policy allowing male-bodied athletes who identify as women to compete in women's surfing, faith leaders supported her views.

Faith leaders across the country are reacting to the position taken by surfer Bethany Hamilton on the new inclusion of trans athletes in women's pro surfing.

In the past few days, Hamilton shared her thoughts in an Instagram post, stressing that while she strives" to have love for all of mankind, regardless of any differences," she's "concerned as a professional athlete" and feels "that I must speak up and stand up" for others who cannot or won't speak out about a controversial new policy.

Among other thoughts, Hamilton said, "I personally think that the best solution would be to create a different division so that all can have a fair opportunity to showcase their passion and talent — and I think it's really hard to imagine what the future of women's surfing will be like in 15-20 years down the road if we move forward allowing this major change."


She also said, "I personally won't be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains."

The World Surf League recently announced that transgender women athletes will need to maintain a testosterone level of 5 nmol/L for at least a year to participate in the women’s division.

On his Facebook page on Monday morning, Rev. Franklin Graham, CEO and president of Samaritan's Purse as well as of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, shared with his millions of followers, "Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack while surfing when she was 13 years old, but survived and has been surfing competitively for 15 years."

Rev. Graham added, "Now Bethany says she is stepping out of the sport because of a new rule … put in place that allows men to compete in the women's competitions."

He also wrote, "Who makes these rules anyway? It's tragic. I don't understand why all women don't stand up in revolt," he added. 

Rev. Graham also said, "Pray for Bethany and other brave young women like her who are trying to defend what even common sense tells you is right."

Wrote a commenter on Facebook responding to Rev. Graham's post, "If the only way a man can win is to ‘identify’ as a woman, that is wrong any way you try to spin it!"

Said another, "Lord bless her for standing up."

Said still another, "America had got to stand up and stop this nonsense!"

Judge Phil Ginn, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, told Fox News Digital via email on Monday morning, "Bethany Hamilton captured our hearts and minds many years ago as the nation watched her triumph over her serious injuries and subsequent inherent fears to get back on her surfboard and learn to excel again in the sport she obviously loves."

He added, "Unfortunately, there has been another setback to her competition. This time it’s not from a shark but from misguided bureaucrats who have decided that having biological males compete with women in sports is somehow a good idea."


Said Judge Ginn, "Casting aside the moral issues for a moment, no one who is thinking right can come to the conclusion that creating an obvious advantage for one group over another in sports or any other venue is a good idea. Yet that is exactly what we are now being told by our own government that needs to be done."

Judge Ginn added as well, "Title IX was created to prevent these unfair advantages. It was a good idea then and it is a good idea now. Unfortunately, though, we have become so politically correct in America that we can no longer be politically correct."


Patti Garibay, founder and national executive director of American Heritage Girls, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, told Fox News Digital on Monday via email, "Plaudits to Bethany Hamilton! Her courage to speak the truth in an era when many believe truth is relative and transient is admirable."

Garibay added, "Women have fought long and hard for equal treatment over the past century. It is time to uphold the God-given rights described in our nation's founding documents — the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness … whether it be in the ocean, on the field or in the pool. Stay strong, Bethany."

Trent Talbot, CEO of Brave Books in Texas, which recently published Hamilton's new children's book, told Fox News Digital this past weekend, "What an act of bravery. I stand with Bethany Hamilton and her choice to not participate in the World Surf League if they allow men to compete in the women's division."

He also said, "God designed males and females differently with a purpose – and when we reject this, we reject God. Men do not belong in women's sports." He said as well, "We must take a stand against this progressive movement that would allow men to compete in women's sports. Thank you, Bethany Hamilton," he also noted, "for pushing past fear and standing up for what is right."

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