Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author's opinion.

On Thursday, American evangelist Franklin Graham came out in support of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov who made news earlier this week when he announced that he would not participate in “Pride night.”

The hockey player told reporters that he didn’t participate in wearing the pride-themed jersey and using a pride-themed hockey stick because it was against his religion of Russian Orthodox.

“My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion,” Provorov explained to the press. He refused to take any other questions on the matter.

In response to Provorov’s refusal to participate, the Flyers released a statement reemphasizing their obedience to the LGBTQ+ movement:

“The Philadelphia Flyers organization is committed to inclusivity and is proud to support the local LGBTQ+ community. Many of our players are active in their support of local LGBTQ+ organizations, and we were proud to host our annual Pride Night again this year. The Flyers will continue to be strong advocates for inclusivity and the LGBTQ+ community.”

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Despite the hockey player’s valid reason for not supporting the event, that didn’t stop left-wing commentators and activists from attacking him for his religion and some telling him to leave the country, as reported by Fox News.

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In response to the outrage, Franklin Graham took to Facebook to express his support for the courageous man who was willing to stand up for his religious beliefs: 

“Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov is being accused of being homophobic and hateful—because he chose not to participate in a ‘Pride night’ warmup that would have forced him to wear a Pride-themed jersey and use a Pride-themed hockey stick that went against his Christian beliefs,” the evangelist wrote on Facebook. “Ivan told reporters, ‘I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.’ I commend coach John Tortorella who stood by Ivan.”

“Share a word of encouragement for Ivan in the comments below and let him know you support him,” Graham wrote leading to over 5,600 people voicing support for the player. The post also has over 10,000 reactions from users, as reported by Breitbart.

When brave individuals like Provorov stand up for their religious beliefs, all Americans should stand alongside them. Instead, progressives and individuals beholden to the LGBTQ+ lobby engaged in religious discrimination. As Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote on Twitter: “This, my friends, is what religious bigotry looks like.” If Americans don’t stand up to such bigotry, then our fundamental constitutional rights will continue to be under threat.

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