Standing with Israel Folau and religious freedom

“Archbishop Glenn Davies and the chair of the Religious Freedom Reference Committee, Bishop Michael Stead, have been pushing for assurances on religious freedom as the election campaign enters its final stages.

Concern about the issue has been heightened by the actions of Rugby Australia in sacking star player Israel Folau for a Christian message on Instagram.

Bishop Stead first raised concern soon after the controversy began when he told The Australian newspaper last month ‘If a rugby player can be sacked by doing nothing more than posting on his social media page what is essentially a summary of the Bible then it’s a signal to the rest of us that we better keep our mouths shut.’…”

Read the full story from (SBS image.)

See also this SBS report.

Israel Folau decision may set a course for the future

Christians across Australia have been given a message, ‘don’t commit social blasphemy’ and ‘be careful if you choose to use the Bible’. …

Lest we conclude that this story will soon be forgotten as a blip on the cultural radar, Rugby Australia’s stance may well soon find legislative legs. The Australian Labor Party (as the Greens have already done) have announced that they are considering expanding ‘anti-discrimination legislation to shield gay and transgender ­people from harmful speech if elected, in a move that has alarmed lawyers and free-speech advocates.’…

– Murray Campbell writes about what seems to be coming – and how Christian believers should respond.

Nick Farr-Jones on Folau: The ban is a ‘trainwreck’

“Wallabies legend and devout Christian Nick Farr-Jones has threatened to boycott the upcoming Rugby World Cup. He says Rugby Australia’s move to ban star Israel Folau for posting that ‘hell awaited homosexuals’ is a ‘trainwreck’. He spoke to Folau before coming on The Bolt Report.”

Watch on YouTube. Image: Sky News Australia.

Are you on the same team as Israel Folau? — Phillip Jensen speaks at Moore College Chapel

Phillip Jensen spoke on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 as a guest preacher at Moore College Chapel last Friday, 3rd May 2019.

This is well worth hearing and sharing. (File photo.)

Bishop of Grafton speaks on Israel Folau

“He claims that free speech gives him the right to say anything he wants and blames others for the offence they take.

While he is free to hold to particular religious views, how he expresses these views in public is another matter. Free speech is not hate speech and should not be used to vilify others. Threatening people in this way cannot be disguised as protected religious activity. …”

– Bishop of Grafton, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Murray Harvey, has issued this Media Statement. (PDF file.)


SMBC “Hot Topics” paper on “Religious Freedom in Australia” delivered by Associate Professor Neil Foster on 01 May 2019 (PDF file).

Reflections on the Israel Folau affair – Associate Professor Neil Foster, 14 April 2019.

“…the question seems to boil down to this: can a statement that ‘homosexuals’ (along with ‘drunks’ and ‘thieves’ and others) are destined for eternal punishment unless they repent, be said to be ‘hateful’ or ‘vilifying’?

Of course many in the community will reject the notion of a God who created the world, who cares about the behaviour of human beings whom he made in his image, who judges their rebellion, and who has graciously offered a way out of condemnation through sending his son Jesus Christ to die and rise again.

But those are doctrines that have been held by the majority of people who have lived and died in the Western world for thousands of years. … These are the clear teachings of the Bible…”

Photo: Diocese of Grafton.

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.

I’m a Sinner too – Israel Folau

“People’s lives are not for me to judge. Only God can do that.

I have sinned many times in my life. I take responsibility for those sins and ask for forgiveness through repentance daily.

I understand a lot of people won’t agree with some of the things I’m about to write.

That’s absolutely fine. In life, you are allowed to agree to disagree.

But I would like to explain to you what I believe in, how I arrived at these beliefs and why I will not compromise my faith in Jesus Christ, which is the cornerstone of every single thing in my life.

I hope this will provide some context to the discussion that started with my reply to a question asked of me on Instagram two weeks ago. …”

– Last year, Israel Folau shared his story at PlayersVoice. (Photo: PlayersVoice.)

Reflections on the Israel Folau affair

“Celebrity rugby player Israel Folau is in a complicated legal position. He shared a ‘meme’ on social media site Instagram recently, the text of which was: ‘Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You – Repent! Only Jesus Saves.’

To this he added his own personal comment: ‘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.’ …

His remarks were not well-received by many members of the public, and in particular by the peak bodies in rugby. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Neil Foster offers some comments on the latest news relating to Israel Folau.

‘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.


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 Folau case is a public relations disaster for Qantas and Rugby Australia

“What has happened to Israel Folau indicates that the inclusion and diversity programs run by Qantas and Rugby Australia seem to be, to coin a Trumpsim, ‘fake’ initiatives.

Moreover, the exposure of the attempts to gag Israel Folau has created a public relations disaster for Qantas and Rugby Australia. …”

– Commentary by Spiro Zavos at The Roar. (Link via

Related: Israel Folau – Heretic or Hero? – David Robertson.

Archbishop Davies interviewed on 2GB about Israel Folau and freedom of speech

Archbishop Glenn Davies spoke with Ben Fordham on 2GB about Israel Folau and freedom of speech today.

Worth hearing – Listen at the link.

Statement on Israel Folau — Archbishop Glenn Davies — 9 April 2018

Here is a Media Statement 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.

Rugby Australia has said ‘rugby is a game for all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender’ and it would be hypocritical for administrators to censure a player for expressing views which spring from his own faith and conscience.

Dr Glenn Davies
Archbishop of Sydney
9 April 2018.”

– Background, from MailOnline:

Israel Folau defiant ahead of D-day meeting with Rugby bosses

“Wallabies star Israel Folau has received the support of some of Australia’s top religious figures for his outspoken views on homosexuality.

Folau, a devout Christian, has been under fire for social media comments saying gay people would go to ‘hell unless they repent of their sins and turn to God’.

The comments have left Rugby Australia in a tough situation as major sponsors prepare to walk away if he continues to post in such a matter.

But the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, told The Australian it was a matter of free speech, and Folau should be allowed to have an individual view…”

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