Rugby Australia has announced its intention to sack Israel Folau for social media posts that said hell “awaits” gay people if they do not “repent”.
The 30-year-old Waratahs full-back is one of Australia’s most experienced and well-known players and was expected to play in this year’s World Cup but his Christian fundamentalist views have thrown that future into doubt.
“Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport,” a joint statement from Rugby Australia and the New South Wales Rugby Union read.
Statement from Rugby Australia on Israel Folau: pic.twitter.com/ul0SKWHRVG
— i sport (@iPaperSport) April 11, 2019
“We want to make clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.
“Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Warathas employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality.”
Folau posted similar comments last year but escaped sanction and signed a new contract until 2022 in February with Rugby Australia saying it did not support his “position”.
However, that multi-million dollar contract now looks set to be torn up unless Folau can convince the governing body there are “compelling mitigating factors” for his posts.
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Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 17:30 KJV _______________
Folau sparked widespread condemnation from the rugby community on Wednesday for an Instagram post which said: “Warning: Hell awaits you… Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters. Repent! Only Jesus saves.” He posted a similar message on Twitter.
England and Wasps flanker James Haskell was among those to voice his disapproval.
“This is the biggest load of s**t I have ever read,” he wrote on Twitter. “Sport has no place for this crap. Keep it to hate groups @IzzyFolau, you aren’t spreading the Lord’s word. You are spreading hate. You are an unreal player, but a f**king misinformed bigot.”
Qantas Airways also condemned Folau’s message and said it would make a decision on its lucrative sponsorship of the Wallabies following the governing body’s disciplinary review, having previously considered its position when he made similarly provocative comments last year.
“These comments are really disappointing and clearly don’t reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support,” the airline said.