Most Americans back Harrison Butker expressing his beliefs: Rasmussen

Harrison Butker #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with his children after kicking the go ahead field goal to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona.
Harrison Butker #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with his children after kicking the go ahead field goal to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. | Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

A majority of Americans approve of Kansas City Chiefs placekicker Harrison Butker expressing his religious and moral beliefs during a recent graduation speech at a Catholic school.

Last month, Butker gave a speech at Benedictine College in Kansas, which garnered some pushback due to his comments on social and religious issues.

According to a poll by Rasmussen Reports, the results of which were released last Friday, 58% of respondents said they approve of Butker expressing his beliefs, including 38% who said they “Strongly Approve.”

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By contrast, 29% disapproved of him expressing his beliefs, including 15% of respondents who said they “Strongly Disapprove,” while 12% of respondents said they were unsure.

Regarding the NFL’s decision to officially distance itself from Butker’s remarks, 51% of respondents said they disapproved of the NFL’s actions, while 37% said they approved and 13% were undecided.

Data for the report came from a survey of 1,222 U.S. adults conducted May 23 and 26-27 by Rasmussen, with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

A devout Catholic, Butker spoke at the graduation ceremony at Benedictine College, a Catholic academic institution, espousing conservative religious views to the students and families gathered.

One comment in particular that received a lot of attention was when Butker told the female graduates that “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,” Butker said.

“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.”

Butker also spoke directly to male graduates, telling them that the “absence of men in the home is what plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation.”

“Other countries do not have nearly the same absentee father rates as we find here in the U.S., and a correlation could be made in their drastically lower violence rates, as well,” he continued.

Butker received much criticism, including an online petition calling for his firing that has over 229,000 signatories and claims that Butker’s “comments were sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist.”

“These comments reinforce harmful stereotypes that threaten social progress. They create a toxic environment that hinders our collective efforts towards equality, diversity and inclusion in society. It is unacceptable for such a public figure to use their platform to foster harm rather than unity,” the petition states.

“We demand accountability from our sports figures who should be role models promoting respect for all people regardless of their race, gender identity or sexual orientation. We call upon the Kansas City Chiefs management to dismiss Harrison Butker immediately for his inappropriate conduct.”

For his part, Butker responded to the backlash to his speech at the “Courage Under Fire” gala in Nashville, Tennessee, which was in support of the Regina Coeli Academy.

“The theme of tonight’s gala — Courage Under Fire — was decided many months ago, but it now feels providential that this would be the theme after what we have all witnessed these past few weeks,” Butker said at the gala. “If it wasn’t clear that the timeless Catholic values are hated by many, it is now.”

“In my seven years in the NFL, I have become familiar with the positive and negative comments. But the majority of them revolved around my performance on the field. But as to be expected, the more I’ve talked about what I value most, which is my Catholic faith, the more polarizing I’ve become.”

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