Israel Folau and Three Myths of a Changing Society

“As Australians celebrate Easter, I want to assert, as a Christian, that because of his love, Jesus died and rose again to bear the sin and judgement of we sinners who deserve his condemnation. So, with all Christians, in obedience to our Saviour, I would call on all to repent and find forgiveness while they may.

However, I write this article not as a Christian but as an Australian citizen and lifetime rugby supporter, who happens to be a Christian, seeking what I see as the good of society. Furthermore, I am writing simply on the basis of public media information, without knowing the full details of Israel Folau’s employment.

As a Christian, I don’t expect the Government or anybody to defend me, or my preaching of the gospel. They crucified my Lord and I am not to be surprised by any hostility towards his people. But as an Australian rugby supporter, I do think it is in the best interest of everybody to identify the issues behind this present imbroglio and do something about them, in order to protect our society and the game of rugby. …”

– Phillip Jensen, former Dean of Sydney, has published this opinion-piece on his website.

In support of Billy Vunipola

“Dear Sir,

I am not a Rugby fan, but I wish to protest at your treatment of Billy Vunipola. Mr Vunipola has done nothing wrong, other than express his Christian beliefs in support of another Christian believer. …”

– Anglican Mainstream has published this Letter from a South Yorkshire Rector to the Rugby Football Union and the Saracens Rugby Club.

Background:

Billy Vunipola: England number eight given formal warning by RFU – BBC News.

“The 26-year-old number eight liked the post by Folau and called for people to ‘live their lives how God intended’. Vunipola, who has also been warned by his club Saracens, has been ‘reminded of his responsibilities’ by the RFU. …”

See also:

Israel Folau to challenge Rugby Australia’s breach notice over social media post – ABC News.

When talking about hell… – Murray Campbell.

‘Folau Sacking is Religious Discrimination’

Here is a media release from the Australian Christian Lobby* –

“The Australian Christian Lobby has expressed deep disappointment with Rugby Australia over plans to sack Israel Folau just for stating his beliefs.

We continue to stand with Israel Folau and support his right to express his beliefs,” said ACL’s managing director, Martyn Iles.

‘Far from being homophobic, Israel Folau’s social media post was very inclusive – drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters – is a list which includes everyone, affirming the Christian teaching that all are equal in our need of salvation.’ …”

– Read it all at The Australian Christian Lobby.

Related: Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union statement regarding Israel Folau.

* The Australian Christian Lobby and the Anglican Church League have the same initials, but are separate organisations.

(Photo: PlayersVoice.)

The outrage mob is out to get Folau

“The outrage mob is out in force following rugby star Israel Folau’s latest social media comments.

The mob wants to more than disagree with Folau’s opinion, as is our right in a free society. It wants to ban him from expressing it, which is totalitarian. …”

– Morgan Begg,a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, writes in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Related:

Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments – ABC News.

What the hell, Australia? – David Ould.

See also earlier posts – mainly from April 2018, including a media statement, at the time, from Archbishop Glenn Davies:

“The way Israel Folau is treated will be a test of Australian Rugby’s ‘inclusion’ policy.

Israel Folau should be free to hold and express traditional, Biblical views on marriage and sexuality without being penalized – just as other players have spoken out with their differing views. …”

The Puzzle of Secularism

“…the funny thing is that I, and all my generation, could have sworn that puritanism was a church disease. With the decline of church influence, then the old stiff and bossy rectitude would collapse. And, indeed, it has, if we are talking about Christian concerns about alcohol, gambling, pornography, promiscuity and the like.

But the tolerant society we were promised by secularists has not emerged – far from it. It is just that a new set of commandments, inspired by autonomy and an optimistic individualistic anthropology, has arrived with a vengeance.”

– Church Society has published on its website an excerpt from Archbishop Peter Jensen’s editorial in the latest issue of Churchman. (Peter is now the Editor of Churchman.)

Jordan Peterson, Caroline Farrow and the death of free speech

“There are certain values which are so foundational to our society that we take them as a given and always assume that they will remain. But when the foundations are being destroyed perhaps we need to sit up and pay attention – and strengthen what remains before it dies.…

Three events this past week in the UK serve as warnings that these basic freedoms are under threat. This threat comes not from Muslim extremists, or far right terrorists or any external political ideology. No, this threat has arisen from within.“

– David Robertson writes at The Wee Flea.

Tactics, not truth, over same-sex marriages

“It would seem that the response by the bishops of the Church of England to the latest attempt in the House of Lords to force clergy to conduct same-sex weddings was driven by tactical considerations rather than by transcendent truth.

Although the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft [pictured], resisted the amendment by Lords Faulkner and Collins to remove the CofE’s exemption from solemnising same-sex marriages, his remarks were notable for their political tone…”

The Rev. Julian Mann discerns an attempt by the Bishop of Oxford to placate the 100+ evangelical clergy in his diocese who signed a letter ‘of grave concern’ in January.

‘Mandating public funds to end the lives of unborn children is merciless, unjustified and simply wrong.’ Public Statement on ALP announcement on abortion funding

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney Media Release

Public Statement on ALP announcement on abortion funding

“The rights of the unborn child are completely obscured by this policy.

We need to care for and support women who fall pregnant and do not wish to keep their child for whatever reason. But we must do that without jeopardising the life of the child.

A pregnancy is a life given by God. A pregnancy that is unwanted represents not a health problem but a responsibility for the whole society. Mandating public funds to end the lives of unborn children is merciless, unjustified and simply wrong.

We need policies which support the lives of children to be enhanced and nurtured so as to enrich our society.

Archbishop Glenn Davies
6 March 2019.”

– Source: Anglican Media Sydney.

Background:

Labor pledges to tie hospital funding to abortion servicesSydney Morning Herald.

“Public hospital systems would need to provide abortion services to qualify for federal funding under a wide-ranging new Labor plan… ”

Should men competitively wrestle women?

In the latest issue of Albert Mohler’s The Briefing, the question of men wrestling women is considered after a male competitive wrestler forfeits, rather than wrestle a girl.

What are the implications of wrestling, or nor wrestling, and what does it say about how Christians should respond to the changes in our culture?

Same-sex spouses of Bishops will not be invited to Lambeth – but the Bishops in those same-sex marriages will

“I need to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen. Invitations have been sent to every active bishop. That is how it should be – we are recognising that all those consecrated into the office of bishop should be able to attend.

But the invitation process has also needed to take account of the Anglican Communion’s position on marriage which is that it is the lifelong union of a man and a woman. That is the position as set out in Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. Given this, it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has had a series of private conversations by phone or by exchanges of letter with the few individuals to whom this applies. …”

– ‘Secretary General of the Anglican Communion’, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon speaks of “the global excitement about the Lambeth Conference”. (Link added.)

Pictured:

Bishop of Toronto Kevin Robertson (left) who is in a same-sex ‘marriage’, is being invited to the 2020 Lambeth Conference, as is Bishop Susan Bell of the Diocese of Niagara (centre), who officiated at the marriage ceremony in St. James’ Cathedral, Toronto.

Mohan Sharma (right), as spouse of Bishop Robertson, has not been invited. (Thanks to Anglican Samizdat.)

Religious ‘vilification’ not unlawful in NSW

“In an important decision on religion and free speech in NSW, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has ruled today in Ekermawi v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2019] NSWCATAD 29 (15 Feb 2019) that it is not a breach of the law in NSW to make offensive comments about a religion.

However, the case involved some difficult issues of law, and while the outcome seems correct, it may foreshadow a restrictive approach to free speech in other cases in the future…”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Senate committee report on “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill

“The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has now (Feb 14, 2019) tabled its Report on the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Removing Discrimination Against Students) Bill 2018, a Private Senator’s Bill introduced last year by Senator Wong with the support of the ALP. (The background to the Bill can be found in previous posts on this blog, starting here, the most recent of which was here.)

The recommendation of the majority is that the Bill not be approved, and instead that the Bill and related issues “be referred to the Australian Law Reform Commission for full and proper consideration” (para 3.86). …

However, in the current Parliamentary situation in Australia at the moment … it is worth noting the dissenting ALP senators’ report.”

– Assoc. Professor Neil Foster provides an update on the Senate committee report on the proposed “Religious Schools and Discrimination” bill.

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