28 Jun '21 19:13:059
But first, who is Israel Folau?
The above hero video tells it all. He’s a Polynesian Australian.
He's a member of “Pasifika” and “Pasifika peoples” - terms used to describe a minority community of people living in Australia and New Zealand who have migrated from the Pacific Islands or who identify with the Pacific Islands because of ancestry or heritage.
He’s a sporting hero: the highest try-scorer in the Qantas Wallabies, the Australian national Rugby Union team. You can’t get better than that.
He’s a strong evangelical Christian. That appears to be a thing within the Pasifika community in Sydney. It probably harks back to the strong influence of the Christian missionaries to the Islands over a hundred years ago.
He’s a family man, whose wife is Maria ; she's a great sporting champion in her own right.
But this story is not about Maria.
Above: Israel Folau and his wife Maria
Without doubt, Israel Folau is a role model for Islander youth in Australia. Therein lies the rub. He was unceremoniously sacked from the national Wallabies rugby team, no doubt with pressure from the CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce - the prime financial sponsor of Rugby Australia.
Above: Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas (right) with his husband, Shane Lloyd.
And Israel's crime?
It was merely the posting to his 350,000+ followers on Instagram a thought-provoking graphic image paraphrasing a passage of the Bible. His post got 50,000+ "likes"!
Above: Israel Folau's Instagram graphic
The graphic, as every ordinary reasonable person should know, simply expresses traditional Christian disapproval of certain licentious human behaviours.
The problem with this message is the reference to "homosexuals". That is because there is anti-discrimination laws in New South Wales that incorporate the word "homosexual" to denote a minority group.
That law - section 49ZT of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act - is designed to render unlawful "public acts" that "incite" a person to experience a feeling of "contempt" or "hatred" towards a "homosexual" person or group.
We believe that, if Israel Folau had been a bit more street-wise, he would have used the traditional biblical word "sodomite" rather than the word "homosexual". Then there would be widespread acceptance that this graphic was a true expression of Christian religious belief and attitude to all this socially and morally undesirable behaviour.
Or, better, he might have not attempted to paraphrased the Bible quote. His wording made the Bible quote more strident, more fear-mongering.
But maybe this stern and direct parent-to-child evangelical approach is what he thinks will keep his youthful Pasifika followers on the straight-and-narrow and out of jail.
Instead, Israel Folau might have quoted directly from the Bible, without any simplification.
Here it is: 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
"Homosexual' and 'homosexuality' is a protected attribute under New South Wales anti-discrimination law. That's the problem. That law is not even-handed, because a 'fornicator' and 'adulterer' is not a protected attribute under that law.
Israel has lost his career with Rugby Australia for posting that graphic, and he sued them under unfair dismissal laws. The defendant, Rugby Australia eventually settled outside court, apologised, and gave Israel a big payout of several millions of dollars for the unfair dismissal.
The alternative for the perpetrator, Rugby Australia - might have been a much greater loss in the High Court of Australia in the matter Folau v Rugby Australia.
Here is Israel's YouTube clip in which he, and his wife Maria, extend a big thank-you to all his fans who supported him in this battle against LGBT political correctness.
And a special thanks went to Martin Iles, the Chairman of the Australian Christian Lobby.