When given the choice of standing alongside a decorated military hero or a bunch of militant LGBT activists – choose wisely.

The leadership of Hampden-Sydney College learned that lesson the hard way.

On May 19 I reported to you that the Virginia all-male college had chosen not to renew retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin’s contract – ending his stellar, nine-year career teaching leadership and ethics.

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Less than six hours later, the college reversed its decision and offered the retired general a one-year contract.

“Hampden-Sydney College is a fine school with a proud history of young men who have led our country, and I am honored to be a part of shaping the next generation of leaders,” Boykin told me. “I would like to thank the leadership of Hampden-Sydney College for the courage they have demonstrated in reversing their decision and allowing me to remain a part of the Hampden-Sydney community.”

The LGBT activists had wanted Hampden-Sydney to fire Boykin over a joke he made to a gathering of conservatives. They accused him of advocating for violence against gays and transgender people.

“The first man who goes into the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery,” Boykin told the crowd.

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The college acknowledged that LGBT activists had contacted the school – but denied their concerns were the “determining factor” in not renewing Boykin’s contract.

“Yes. They were of concern,” college spokesman Thomas Shomo told me. “They appeared to advocate or approve of violence.”

Shomo also told me Boykin is an “outspoken person who has many controversial views.”

For the record, forcing people to use the bathroom according to their God-given plumbing is not controversial. It’s common sense.

“This situation has been a great reminder of how our First Amendment principles are worth standing up for and defending,” Boykin told me.

I strongly suspect Hampden-Sydney had a bit of help with its decision to do the right thing. The readers of this column were among the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who publicly defended Gen. Boykin’s good name.

And that brings me to a very important point as we wage a battle for the soul of our nation – when patriots stand together – we can facilitate change.

“There is strength in unified numbers,” Boykin told me. “The radical left and LGBT activists completely underestimate the impact of freedom-loving Americans banding together to protect our First Amendment freedoms.”

And the general said those “unified voices” allowed him to return to the college.

I wrote extensively about this issue in my book, “God Less America.”  Consider what’s happened as a result of our silence: Atheists are rampaging across the fruited plain – waging war on religion, seeking to eradicate God from the public marketplace. The Obama administration has turned our bathrooms into cultural cesspools. And our public schools have been transformed into radical leftwing indoctrination centers.

The foundations of our nation have been ravaged – and many good people stood by and did nothing. Many churches were silent. We chose not to fight. 

“Never cave in when you know that you are standing for what is right and true, for these are the principles that made this nation great,” Boykin said. “Stand, even if it means you lose your job. Stand, even if it means you lose your life. The founding principles of this nation are worth defending, even if it costs you.”

Those are powerful and sobering words – steeped in truth. We must stand and we must stand together –with one, unified voice.

“When you stand, freedom prevails,” Boykin said.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.