Israel Folau and Free Speech

Firestorm! An Australian sports figure writes on his social media platform his own opinion. The sports world in Australia goes ballistic. The media brands Israel Folau a bigot and homophobe. There are calls for his being fired for declaring his opinion about who is on their way to hell. Wow, let's sit down and consider what this is about and what it is not about.

Some say that he is welcome to have his own opinion, but he shouldn't declare that opinion if the content might offend someone. Some don't want him to express any opinion at all if it is 'out of bounds'  Wait a minute, who decides which of your opinions are worthy or proper or agreeable? Do you really want the thought police 'out there?'

Imagine if Anthony Mundine or Khoder Nasser, Usman Khawaja or Fawad Ahmed were being told they couldn't say that homosexuality is out of bounds in their religion. Muslims hold that as one of their beliefs. Would their sports association dismiss them for that, too?

Someone is crossing the line here, and it's not Folau. Or did he?

You see, the issue, they say, is that Qantas and Rugby AU have said that their sportsmen are not to say things which will cause some fans to withdraw their support. Folau signed an agreement with that position less than three months ago. So there are TWO issues, one the signed agreement, and the 2nd is the matter of Rugby telling their players what they can or cannot say.
Commentator Alan Jones weighed in. reported today 

"Folau has found an ally in broadcast heavyweight Alan Jones after Rugby Australia vowed to terminate the contract of the Wallabies star after he posted an image which included anti-gay sentiment to Instagram this week. Folau, 30, was widely slammed for calling on “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” to repent for their sins or else “hell awaits” them.
Jones, a former coach of our national rugby team, is pointing the finger at Rugby Australia. “Rugby Australia are only worried about the quids, they’re only worried about the sponsorship,” Jones said on his 2GB radio show on Friday morning.“That’s why they asked Israel to sign a contract in which he wouldn’t say this and he wouldn’t say that and that his views would be consistent with (Rugby Australia sponsor) Qantas.“He’s made comments about religion — who will end up heaven and who will end up in hell. Who cares? It’s an opinion. I don’t necessarily agree with what he said, by the way, but a lot of people don’t agree with what I say.
“We’re going down a very, very narrow road here and this has gone on and on and on this crap. I’m telling you, out there people are terrified of saying anything. They are frightened, they don’t know what they can say. We’re on a slippery slope here ... it’s got nothing to do with Israel, or rugby, or religion, or homosexuals, or whatever. Where are we in this country on free speech?”
Sports figures worldwide regularly make comments about their beliefs, just like movie folks accepting their Oscars. In the US, sports and religion, especially after a significant victory, go hand in hand.  The US media wrote this about former star player Tim Tebow: "Evangelical quarterback Tim Tebow is known for demonstrating his faith on the football field, including wearing Bible verses on his eye black in college and dropping to a knee in prayer (launching the meme “Tebowing”). The son of Baptist missionaries, he spurred a movement to let homeschooled athletes compete on public school teams and starred in a pro-family Focus on the Family ad during the 2010 Super Bowl. At the University of Florida, Tebow won the 2007 Heisman Trophy. He went on to play for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets in the NFL."

Michael Chang won the French Open when he was 17 (still the youngest male to win a major) (see this link: /) Chang has always been outspoken about his faith in Jesus, beginning in 1989, when he won the French and then told the interviewing commentator, “I thank the Lord Jesus Christ, because without Him, I am nothing."

Social media is exploding with calls for Folau to be gone, and others who like this blog, are standing with Folau. Some religionists and prime ministers, even Christian ones, are not speaking up as loudly as they might in defense of Folau's right to free speech. Listen to this from Lyle Shelton today on the radio. AUDIO.  What happens if gagging becomes the norm? 

God, give Israel Folau great wisdom and terrific lawyers.
God, help our country to calm down about the religion of non-offense and learn to disagree agreeably. 

We really need help.



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