We’re witnessing something pretty spectacular in the news this week. An athlete at the top of his game, throwing it all away; the money, the popularity, integrity, the respect of his colleagues… the lot.
Rugby Australia has signalled its intention to sack star player Israel Folau, after the 30-year-old shared a meme to social media that declares “hell awaits” those who “are living in sin”; among those damned souls (according to the meme, that is) are gay people, those who drink alcohol, lie and fu… sorry, ‘fornicate’.
RA’s move is strong, swift, admirable. But it’s also a move that has played right into the centre’s hands, allowing him and his supporters to cry “free speech”, to use the backlash from the public and the sport as another example of what they perceive to be an ongoing attack on conservatism.
Indeed, despite public condemnation from rugby bosses, much of the public, even Wallabies Vice-Captain Will Genia, Folau is reportedly fighting the attempt to tear up his $4 million contract on the grounds that the views expressed in the meme are deeply held and stem from his religious beliefs. The posts also remain live on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
It seems this is the hill Israel Folau is prepared for his career to die on:
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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 _______________