The rugby family are meant to believe that Israel Folau is fighting for his future. Surely the boot is on the wrong foot. Israel must stay. Enough is enough. The board must go.
Nonetheless, watch the Judas brigade and its mercenary membership line up behind Rugby Australia and spout the party line. Israel speaks from conviction and Christian commitment.
What is the motivation for many of his critics in Rugby administration? Sadly the Wallabies coach, Michael Cheika, has lost his moral compass on this; but then, in this day and age, would he be the next victim if he were to defend Folau’s right to cite the King James Bible?
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is on the payroll for more than $1 million. Why put that at risk by defending Israel’s right to express a biblical truth?
How many people are singing the company tune to keep their gravy train rolling?
To use a biblical analogy, it is sickening to see these blokes taking their pieces of silver to sell out their former teammate and celebrated player. Rod Kafer somewhat fancifully said: “The Wallabies are a better team without Folau.” With that judgment, why would anyone listen to his commentary? No wonder he failed as a coach if that is his evaluation of a prodigious talent.
Phil Waugh was a tough and uncompromising player, dedicated totally to the green-and-gold. But now, sadly, on the board of Rugby Australia, he is singing the board’s tune.
If as some suggest, though I don’t agree, Folau should have kept quiet, surely that is precisely what some of his critics should be doing. But if the gravy train terminates at Rugby Australia, then I suppose it is asking for too much moral courage to expect some people to get off the train rather than stay on it for the money.
I know Karmichael Hunt. He is a good person and a fine player. He has been silly and he knows that. But he has been given three chances. His obvious decency, to anyone who knows him, was twice damaged by drug-related offences; but he is now on chance number three.
I don’t have a problem with that. I would give anyone a second chance, or a third chance if I knew that what lay in the future was the prospect of a good and reformed person. But is our message to kids that the taking of drugs is OK for the “values of the game”, but having strong religious beliefs and sharing them is wrong?
How odd that Rugby Australia preaches “diversity” and “inclusiveness” when what they really mean is uniformity or exclusion.
It was General George Patton, who commanded the US Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theatre in World War II and the US Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy, who said: “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
The only person we have not heard from is Scott Johnson. He has been back almost a month and he is silent. Where does he stand on this matter? Does he also think that it is OK for Qantas to sign contracts with nations where homosexuals and women are treated abominably; yet we are prepared to ostracise, demonise, punish and banish an Australian who has done nothing wrong other than state his beliefs. Is Johnson going to fall into line with the rest of the gravy train brigade? He is on big money. He was appointed, as I understand it, to be the boss; but when real leadership is needed, he has become gun-shy.
So keen to fall in line with the Qantas demands and gather up the money, Rugby Australia have completely ballsed up the whole show.
Of course, they have good form in the balls-up business. Remember the chairman Cameron Clyne calling a press conference over the summer then wet the bed when he was asked to explain the coaching restructure.
The bed-wetters are now running around squeaking that Qantas may pull their sponsorship because Alan Joyce wants Rugby Australia to sack Folau and, apparently, any of his mates who hold similar views. If Joyce is not applying the weights to Rugby Australia, let him clear the air and say so; but to the rugby follower, a dirty tail seems to be wagging a mongrel dog and the politically-correct minority sharpen their knives.
Before proclaiming Folau’s guilt, one would have thought he was entitled to the deliberation of a tribunal. But RA have already said he won’t play for Australia; he won’t be picked for NSW; his contract will be ripped up. Folau is, sensibly, going to contest all this. But this is after the event.
Rugby Australia have already called for punishment, banishment and termination because Folau warned:
“drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters, hell awaits you, repent, only Jesus saves … Jesus Christ loves you and has given you time to turn away from your sin and come to him”.
This is nothing more than what all Christians are called to do. It is part of the great commission Jesus gave to His disciples.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’. ”
We are talking about a young man who is a dedicated Christian expressing a legitimate view based on biblical teaching. Christians around the world are under siege. It appears now that sanctions of the most draconian kind are being imposed on Christians here who dare to proclaim their faith.
Anglican Bishop Michael Stead, who heads the South Sydney diocese, said on Tuesday:
“If a rugby player can be sacked for doing nothing more than posting on his social media page what is essentially a summary of the Bible, then it is a signal to the rest of us that we better keep our mouths shut.”
Forcing people to keep their mouths shut because they might express a view contrary to ours has almost become the norm. It is interesting that Joyce is entitled to his view even though, apparently, Folau is not. But surely Joyce cannot attribute his view to the whole Qantas family, many of whom disagree with him.
And by what Christian teaching do we seek to destroy an individual and his career for articulating a summary from the Bible, which is thousands of years old? Folau, as I have said before, is from a devoutly religious Polynesian family and it is interesting that many who now criticise him have, in the past, demanded tolerance for their viewpoint.
And that is fair enough. A diversity of viewpoints is healthy; but none of that tolerance is extended toward Folau. What is to happen to many of Folau’s fellow players who “liked” what he had to say? Are they to be banished? The drunks, the liars, the thieves, the fornicators and the atheists are not complaining.
Have we reached the point articulated in the Keith Murdoch Oration in Melbourne on Tuesday night by the chief executive of News Corp, Robert Thomson, who declared that a mob mentality has taken hold across much of the west … with “illiberal liberals” on a “seemingly endless, insatiable quest” for indignation and umbrage.
“We are going through a strange phase in seeking affirmation through victimhood; and one example was the seething secularism that portrays any person of faith, whether an evanescent evangelical or occasional attendee at mass or synagogue or mosque or temple, as a nutter, a fruitcake, touched, a devotee of the deviant.”
Is that, shamefully, the category in which we seek to cast Folau? Billy Vunipola, the England number 8, has voiced his support and he too has been muzzled. There are thousands of other Pacific Island players, all over the world, who hold strong religious beliefs and back Folau.
Most of these players support families back in the islands and will remain silent for fear that if they speak up, they will lose their contracts and they will no longer be able to support their extended families. Be proud Cameron Clyne. What a legacy.
It has been jarring for the average Australian rugby fan to turn on the news and see Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby boss Andrew Hore, both Kiwis, talking rubbish and questioning the character of Folau. The difference is, Folau is authentic.
In comparison, Hore and Castle are Kiwi rejects, seemingly able to trade off their nationality because our game is such a basket-case, our board members will listen to anyone wearing an All Blacks tracksuit.
Who the hell hired these people to run NSW and Australian Rugby? Christianity was introduced into the Pacific Islands by missionaries. Most of these Islander people don’t have a lot of material things. But you only have to see their smiles to know they are rich of heart. They could teach our administrators a lot. Israel, keep your head high. There are millions of ordinary Australians in your corner. Not all of them share your beliefs but they recognise your right to express them and they understand you are coming from a place of love. For those of us who have looked at your complete comments, we understand you are genuinely concerned for your fellow man.
These words are not yours. They have been part of the scriptures for 2000 years.
As I have said this week, Folau has shown a rare degree of moral courage. I would want him in my team any day.
Beyond his rugby skills, his example of moral courage is one that should inspire young people. This is not a battle that rugby administrators can win but they think they can. We know that rugby today is in a dark place.
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