Israel Folau will quit rugby if that’s what God wants him to do

Australia fullback still facing sack after refusing to retract ant-gay comments

Israel Folau has refused to retract anti-gay comments as he faces the sack by Rugby Australia. Photograph: Jan Touzeau/EPAEAU

Israel Folau has refused to retract anti-gay comments as he faces the sack by Rugby Australia. Photograph: Jan Touzeau/EPAEAU

 

The Australia fullback Israel Folau says he stands by the social media messages relating to homosexuality that threaten his future employment in professional sport. Folau, who has warned that hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators, told the Sydney Morning Herald the furore over his comments has not prompted him to change his stance.

Rugby Australia has stood down Folau from all duties until further notice and stated its intention to sack him “in the absence of compelling mitigating factors” having previously warned the 30-year-old player against sharing material that “condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality”.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the row erupted, however, Folau said he would be prepared to give up rugby if that was God’s wish for him. “It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things,” he said, having attended a Sunday service at his local church. “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.

“First and foremost, I live for God now. His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue playing, so be it. In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”

With major sponsors threatening to withdraw their support from the cash-strapped Australian union, the chances of Folau featuring for the Wallabies in the World Cup this year appear non-existent unless he retracts his views on homosexual “sinners” being destined for hell. So far there is no sign of that happening.

“In Ezekiel, chapter 33, verse 11, it says that ‘God has no pleasure in the person that’s living in sin’,” Folau told the Herald. “He’s a loving God and he wants people to turn away from what they’re living in and he’ll give them life. That’s the message I’m trying to share, even though it comes across as harsh. I can’t change what the word of God says. As we heard today, those that live for Christ will be persecuted for his name. I have love towards everyone that might be saying negative things. I choose to love them because God loves me.” - Guardian

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