The Crime of Being Israel Folau

It’s amazing how much commentary regarding Israel Folau is ill-informed, often simplistically so. For example, Graham Richardson has a piece in today’s Australian titled  “Folau must be without sin to be confident in throwing stones”.  He goes on to say:

In making his pronouncements about liars, fornicators and other ne’er-do-wells, Folau must consider himself as being in that category. Personally, I am having real difficulty believing that Folau is such a perfect human being that he has never succumbed to any of the devil’s wide range of temptations.

If he has indeed lived a perfect life then he should be in the running to make sainthood in the same manner as Mary MacKillop. I am unaware, however, of any moves to canonise him. As someone who has committed every sin on many occasions, his belief that I am headed for hell, a place I do not believe exists, does not cause me any angst.

Two things, Graham.  Firstly, Folau has never thrown stones at any individual person, or even at anyone in general.  He has merely quoted the teachings of his religion and urged listeners to harken unto the Divine edicts in which he believes and which he attempts to observe.  Secondly, he has never claimed to be without blemish, and I’m sure he counts himself amongst those who, on occasion and for some reason or another, have a need to repent.  In these respects, Folau is no different from any religious preacher.

One rather suspects the columnist hasn’t thought things through, or prefers not to, and soon ran out of inspiration. By his article’s end he is rambling on about the invasions of white farms in South Africa.

Then there is this letter in the same issue of the Oz:

I wonder if there would be the same passion for “religious freedom” if Israel Folau’s homophobic views were espoused by, say, a Muslim cleric? At the end of the day, hatred is hatred. No matter what the guise, be it religious, artistic or scientific; intolerance causes the same harm to the targeted group. 

One might argue that Folau’s views are ‘homophobic’, given the degree of corruption of the English language that now prevails.  But, if I am right about Folau’s view of his own place in the hierarchy of the virtuous, then it is impossible to support the contention he is expressing hatred of anyone – not the fornicators, not the thieves, nor even the homosexuals.

Here’s another one:

As a 65-year-old gay man , my advice to Israel Folau is to toughen up princess — you get used to it. 

How tough does he want Folau to be?  Sacked from his job and subjected to the most vicious campaign of invective, and now fighting for his right to free speech, I have yet to hear Folau express anything remotely resembling self-pity.  Does this 65-year-gay man expect Folau to meekly accept being stripped of his livelihood, to be villified even to the extent of seeing his wife made a target. Is this Richardson’s conception of how things are meant to be: the arbiters of social media call down punishment on someone who dares to disagree with their view of morality and the world and he must accept that verdict without protest. As Bill Martin writes elsewhere at Quadrant Online, Folau’s attackers would do well to remember that pendulums swing both ways.

Most commentators supportive of Israel Folau’s right to freedom of religion and, more germane in this instance, freedom of speech, bend over backwards to disassociate themselves from his ‘repellent’ views.  Do they realize, I wonder, that they’re inadvertently  giving comfort to their enemies?  They are conceding that, in their view, Folau’s views are repugnant to society at large. But is that true?

Folau adheres to a religion whose teachings were, until very recently, part of mainstream Christianity.  Thirty years ago, his views were widely accepted. People revise their religious and social beliefs at different rates.  It may seem blindingly obvious to many that homosexuality is not a sin.  But not everyone has come to that conclusion.  And how does one discriminate between one belief based on faith, i.e. the very existence of God, and another teaching that homosexuals are among the sinners who must repent.   To abandon one belief (the latter) must necessarily call into question the validity of first.  That is not an easy thing to do, particularly for a young man, respectful of his highly religious father, whose strict religious upbringing is still so recent in time.

I suspect that among Folau’s supporters, there are many motivated not (or not only) by concern for freedom of religion and freedom of speech but by disgust at the militancy of the LGBTQI lobby, not just in the case of Folau but in many other instances.  And I doubt they find his views all that repugnant.

I’ll let you decide on whether or not I share Folau’s views or, more importantly, whether or not  you care.

15 thoughts on “The Crime of Being Israel Folau

  • Charles says:

    My thoughts on this are that there a lot of people commenting on this topic who have a very poor grasp of English comprehension. Any normal interpretation of Folau’s post would reveal he is showing compassion and concern for all the categories (of sinners) listed. It’s a bit like warning someone to step around a hole so you don’t fall in it and hurt yourself. There is no vilification, no expression of hate or disdain for sinners in any category, just concern for their well-being.

    Many though have chosen to find offence where none exists, and I am reminded by this of the NewSpeak which featured in George Orwell’s book 1984. In some ways he is now up there with Nostradamus in his ability to accurately foresee the future where our language has become corrupted to the point it has.

  • lloveday says:

    Richardson’s column is slap-dash rubbish. Here’s a comment I submitted on-line; don’t know if it will be allowed.
    Richardson writes: “Personally, I am having real difficulty believing that Folau is such a perfect human being that he has never succumbed to any of the devil’s wide range of temptations”.
    Why is he trying to believe it? Why is he even considering it as a possibility?
    Has he done zero research on what Folau himself has to say? I’ll help the paid correspondent out – here’s a direct quote from a recent article Falou wrote for “PlayersVoice”, and there are many similar, easily found, quotes:
    “I have sinned many times in my life. I take responsibility for those sins and ask for forgiveness through repentance daily”.

  • Guido Negraszus says:

    Well said. What is happening in Australia at the moment is just crazy. What a shame this didn’t happen BEFORE the SSM plebiscite. I wonder what the outcome would have been. I doubt it would have been 60:40. It also doesn’t help that we have a PM who seems to have zero interest in this subject. Why would he? He is only the leader of the Liberal Party.

  • rod.stuart says:

    It would seem to me that many of the plebs are illiterate, insofar as their interpretation of Israel’s tweet.
    So many express an opinion such as “I don’t agree with what he says, but he deserves the right to say it”.
    What exactly do they find disagreeable?
    Israel simply quotes a short passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
    Do they disagree that these are the words written in the bible?
    Do they disagree that a committed Christian is obligated to point this instruction out to his fellows?
    I think they probably don’t believe the validity of the passage. If this is the case, they are simply disbelievers. Israel merely brings this information to their attention. Whether they heed it or not is theor prerogative, and they do so at their peril

  • gary@erko says:

    Falou’s twitter feed is for his religious views, addressed to religious compatriots. Preachers used to roam around the city with sandwich-boards proclaiming stuff like this, and on soap-boxes in the Domain. It’s harmless. It has zero relationship to his football activities.

  • PT says:

    What I love about this is the apparent notion we vote on who goes to heaven or hell! They’re acting as if Israel Folau is sending gays to hell.

    Then, of course there’s the fact no one cares about everyone else on the list. Precious virtue signalling as far as I can see.

  • Tezza says:

    Graham Richardson’s columns are often insightful, and remarkable given his recent ill health. But his most recent handful of columns, including the one cited, were very rambling. I fear the guy may have been off his meds.

  • DUBBY says:

    Paul was writing to the Corinthian Christians and, by extension, to the future Christians of the world. Whoever Falou might think he was writing to, his comments are, in fact, intended for Christians. If you are a non-believing, non-Christian, homosexual, you have nothing to worry about; it doesn’t apply to you. Similar non-believing drunks and others on Falou’s list may also take comfort in that. I know one drunk who stopped drinking because he believed Paul and formed the view that it was a sin. Paul may have been wrong, but he still hasn’t had a drink. But I digress.

  • deric davidson says:

    1. I find sodomy an act outside of ‘normal’ behavior. It contravenes the prescribed design and purpose to which our bodies have been made. Otherwise it is intrinsically unnatural (disordered) and hence it is a grossly wrong act. It is degrading in its nature for those who participate.
    2. For those who glibly dismiss the existence of a spiritual domain called hell I would suggest a long chat with an experienced exorcist. Hell is a real state of being from which there is no exit.

  • T B LYNCH says:

    Sodomy caused the AIDS epidemic and still spreads 85% of HIV, which kills one million patients each year. Sodomy is the main spreader of syphilis and gonorrhoea, and any other pathogen eg Shigella looking for a free ride. It looks like sodomy was always a threat to survival because the story of Sodom and Gonorrhoea is in Genesis, right at the start of the Bible.
    I used to attend the magistrates court in Queensland in the days when sodomy was illegal. The charge, according to the criminal code enacted by Sir Samuel Griffith, was “unlawful carnal knowledge against ther order of nature”. The prisoners were recidivists, infesting public toilets, and recruiting at random, and thus a threat to public health. They pleaded guilty and received two weeks in the local prison.
    In those days there were two life size enamel signs in the railway toilets in NSW, each depicting a skeleton covered in red dots, each dot leading to a description of the effect of syphilis or gonorrhoea on brain/eye/bone/every organ, all very puzzling to a schoolboy, but actually a warning about sodomy.

  • Mike O'Ceirin says:

    Folau warned that a number of things that humans do would send them to hell unless they repented. I am not gay but not out of the woods I am certainly a fornicator, atheist and at times drunk. Since I don’t believe in hell I am not at all offended. Being gay is a small part of it but it has been focused on. The direct retribution for being gay in other religions and countries is far more severe than this. But Folau is far more accessible for the activist who wishes to tell us all what to think. Personally I do not have a problem with people being gay but why is it contentious? I think at times why has society and religions throughout history be so opposed. I have never seen reasons offered that could be understood. Why throughout human history this extreme opposition. The only thing I can think of is to do with reproduction. Could someone enlighten me?


    Graham Richardson, among the many, including those who profess to being Christians, does not understand Christian sainthood.
    This description from Got Questions.org, with appropriate bible references, offers enlightenment:

    “Saints, on the other hand, are not born saints; they become saints by being reborn. Because we have all “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we are all in need of spiritual rebirth, without which we will continue in our sinful state throughout eternity. But God, in His great mercy and grace, has provided the (only) means for turning a sinner into a saint—the Lord Jesus Christ, who came “to give His life as a ransom for many.” When we confess our need for a Saviour from sin and accept His sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, we become saints.

    There is no hierarchy of saints. All who belong to Christ by faith are saints, and none of us are more “saintly” than our Christian brothers and sisters. The apostle Paul, who is no more of a saint than the most obscure Christian, begins his first letter to the Corinthian church by declaring that they were “sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2, emphasis added). In this verse, hagios is translated “saints,” “holy,” and “sanctified” in different Bible versions, leading to the unmistakable conclusion that all who have ever called upon Christ for salvation are saints, made holy by the Lord. We are all “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).

    We are not saints because we have been declared to be saints by a church, nor can we work our way to sainthood. Once we are saved by faith, however, we are called to certain actions befitting our calling as saints of God. “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15–16). Saints are not sinless, but the lives of saints do reflect the reality of the presence of Christ in our hearts, in whom we “live and move and have our being”

  • lloveday says:

    Well said PO’B (The Australian today). Wong’s arrogance and hypocrisy are appalling, even compared to her queer peers.
    However, rather than “changed her mind”, I suspect she just changed her public stance.

  • whitelaughter says:

    Give blood – save 3 lives. Since you can donate every 3 months, that’s a life a month…for decades. (Yes, I love my seasonal milkshake).

    But gays can’t give blood, because of the insane levels of STDs in their ranks. They aren’t just killing themselves, they’re making it impossible to save others as well.

  • lloveday says:

    I used to give blood, but now, despite being hale and hearty, medication free, fitter and stronger than most of the younger people in the gym, I’m lumped in with the homosexuals as ineligible because of my age.

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