What scares you? Ever since childhood, I've had a fear of heights. It's waned with age, but it's still there on occasion. Technically, I guess I don't really have a fear of heights, but a fear of falling from great heights. And actually, I don't have a fear of falling ... I have a fear of impact at great speed!

As uncomfortable as fear is, it highlights the beauty of its alter ego: courage. Courage is, by definition, standing up to our fears and doing what we must do, regardless of potential consequences. We admire men and women who put themselves in harm's way to rescue those who cannot rescue themselves. So recently, when the Principal of Covenant Christian School in Nashville went after the gunman in her school – to protect her students – she was appropriately called a hero for her courage. Courage that cost her life.

Riley Gaines

Someone I've grown to admire is former U of Kentucky swimmer, Riley Gaines. Ms. Gaines, a 12-time NCAA champion, is just 23 years old ... but she displays rare courage. What do I mean? Ms. Gaines publically says true things that get her vilified by today's Gender Police – that band of nonsensical activists intent on destroying the rational structures of society.

More specifically, Ms. Gaines has been unafraid to speak her mind regarding so-called Gender Identity in Women's swimming. As a biological woman and NCAA champion swimmer, she was coerced (by the NCAA) to go along with the new cultural shibboleth: "Anyone who feels like a woman is a woman, regardless of biological markers." She refused.

Of course, rational people know a biological man cannot be a woman, and thinking so is delusional. Feelings never supercede facts. However, since rationality is in short supply in 2023, the loudest voices (not the most logical voices) are platformed by the media. And those voices scream: "If you feel it, it's true."

"Lia" Thomas

Riley Gaines has been a competitive swimmer all her life. In the 2022 NCAA finals, she swam against Lia Thomas, the transgender swimmer from UPenn. In review, Thomas is a biological man, who swam for three seasons on UPenn's men's swim team. However, he "transitioned" to female (2019-2021), jumping from #462 place among men's swimmers to the #1 women's swimmer – winning the 2022 NCAA 500 freestyle event.

[Note: Lia Thomas is actually William Thomas. He has adopted three consecutive letters in "wil-LIA-m" to form a new name. He has the male anatomy of every other man on the planet. He has none of the reproductive anatomy of a woman. He went through male puberty. His chromosomes are XY, not XX.]

He is a man. Yet he races as a woman. Most of America is silent. Not Riley Gaines.

ESPN Is Delusional

ESPN celebrated this nonsense by honoring William "Lia" Thomas as a model of great womanhood, during National Women's History Month (March, 2023). The ESPN video was captured here.  Below is Riley Gaines reaction:

"Lia Thomas is not a brave, courageous woman who EARNED a national title. He is an arrogant cheat who STOLE a national title from a hardworking, deserving woman. The @ncaa is responsible."

Boom. No mincing words. Willing to accept the consequences of saying "what must never be said." Basically, she's willing to say "Voldemort" openly and honestly, regardless of others' fears. This is COURAGE.

Ms. Gaines continued:

"If I was a woman working at ESPN, I would walk out. You're spineless @espn  #boycottESPN"

What Is Courage?

Riley Gaines models what so few followers of Jesus seem to possess: courage. Christian, what are you afraid of, exactly? Losing your job? Getting yelled at? Not being invited to the party? Last time I checked, if you're a Christian, you have the God of the Universe with you ... He's got your back.

Some may argue, "But Dan, surely Riley's response isn't very compassionate." I beg to differ. Challenging a deeply-held untruth is genuine compassion, because it seeks the eternal flourishing of the misguided individual. On the contrary, affirming an untruth is the least compassionate thing you can do. It is mean, because it wishes a life of delusion and pain upon the misguided individual.

Isn't it time Christians learn from Riley Gaines? I think so. To love our neighbor means to guide them from error to truth. Today, that requires courage.