Christian athlete sacked from Australia Rugby team for quoting Bible on homosexuality
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SYDNEY, Australia, April 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Star Australian rugby player Israel Folau will not retract statements about homosexuality and sin and it may cost him a multimillion dollar contract with Rugby Australia.
On April 10, Folau posted to more than 340,000 followers on Instagram, "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."
Quoting St. Paul's letter to the Galatians, Folau posted, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians KJV 5:19-21).
On April 11, Rugby Australia declared that it was aware of social media posts by Folau.
“The content within the post is unacceptable,” the organization said. “It does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the Rugby community.”
In an April 14 statement, Rugby Australia stated that Folau has 48 hours to appeal a notice of termination. The statement quoted Rugby Australia executive Raelene Castle as saying, "This is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values.”
As it now stands, Folau will not be included on the roster of players for the Rugby World Cup, just weeks before games begin.
Folau has run afoul of the league and LGBTQ campaigners in the past for his defense of Biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage.
“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly … with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations,” Castle said in the release. She added that any commentary “that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action.”
LifeSiteNews has issued a petition to Rugby Australia’s CEO, asking for Folau’s reinstatement.
On Twitter, Folau responded to news that the state of Tasmania, Australia, will make optional the designation of a newborn’s sex, saying, “The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free.”
In the past, Folau has gotten into hot water because of his support for traditional marriage.
The devil has blinded so many people in this world, REPENT and turn away from your evil ways. Turn to Jesus Christ who will set you free. pic.twitter.com/BWSWTMye98— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) April 10, 2019
During an April 14 service at the Truth Of Jesus Christ Church in Kenthurst, Australia, fellow worshippers warmly greeted Folau, a sincere evangelical Christian. During the service, references were made to religious persecution in Folau’s case. One speaker praised Folau for his “boldness” for adhering to God’s word.
Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald that he currently has no plans to sue Australia Rugby for religious discrimination. Asked whether he may have to leave professional rugby behind, he told the paper, "Whatever His will is, whether that's to continue playing or not, I'm more than happy to do what He wants me to do." He said he would miss playing football, adding, “But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first."
Nowadays it appears more & more that when the truth is spoken it offends, as Israel Folau Australia’s top Rugby player, express his religious views.— Daniel Kotze (@DanielKotze9) April 13, 2019
When has it become a crime to quote from scripture and speak out on same sex relationships, not all agree to the same views. pic.twitter.com/VV40g6O265
Folau said the furor that emerged about his social media posts has not made him budge. He told the Sydney Morning Herald, "I'll stand on what the Bible says. I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people's reactions are the total opposite to how I'm sharing it.”
"I have love towards everyone that might be saying negative things. ... I choose to love them because God loves me," Folau said.
Fellow footballer Billy Vunipola expressed online support for Folau, garnering a warning from his team in England. Vunipola liked Folau’s post, stating that “there comes a point where you insult what I grew up believing in that you just say enough is enough. What he (Folau]is saying is not that he doesn’t like or love those people. He’s saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be.”
The management of the Saracens rugby club, based in London, released a statement that stated: “Our sport is open to all and we strive for it to be free from all forms of discrimination. We recognise that people have different belief systems and we expect everyone to be treated equally with respect and humility.”
Saying the Saracens have responsibilities to the club and society, the release said the player’s “social media posts are inconsistent with this and we take this matter very seriously. It will be handled internally.”
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. _______________ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these , adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 KJV _______________ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38 KJV _______________ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 KJV _______________