Dear Australia, I love you but you really do need to grow up.

So Izzy said something you didn’t like. People do that.

When I was young and got upset by somebody saying something mean it wasn’t long before I heard the mantra “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. It wasn’t said to me by my parents to just sideline whatever unpleasantry had been thrown my way but, rather, to help me rise above it.

I was being taught that maturity meant having a robust sense of self-worth and not viewing myself by how everyone else wanted to define me. They didn’t want me to collapse in a heap of self-pity because someone was nasty. Maturity means the right kind of emotional independence.

The alternative is to keep running to mummy to have her sort it out. That might be necessary when you’re 3 years old but when you grow up and are (for one random example) the CEO of a major transport company you really need to have a little more sense of self-worth.

Enter Izzy. Israel Folau is a brilliant rugby player. He’s also a Christian. And yesterday he put this up on Instagram:

instagram.com/izzyfolau

Now I don’t think that came out of nowhere. Tasmania has just passed a law allowing people to effectively change their recorded gender at will. As you can expect some people don’t agree. Perhaps he was responding to that. Perhaps he did just post it up spontaneously.

Either way he lost his job for it. The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) got together and decided that enough was enough. He did it last year (albeit in answer to a question asked of him) and that caused enough of a stink. Now they were done and Folau has had his contract terminated. Qantas, the main sponsor of the ARU, is headed up by prominent gay activist CEO Alan Joyce and it’s not hard to put 2 and 2 together.

But what if Izzy had said it differently? What if, in response to the Tasmanian decision he’d posted something like this:

Respectfully, this is a really dangerous decision. Jesus warns us clearly where this and other things will take us:
1Cor. 6:9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 

Yes, I know it’s a warning to the church, not to the world. But Izzy’s not a sophisticated theologian and, either way, it tells us what God thinks on the topic. Besides, it’s not like the ARU board would say to themselves “wait a moment, Izzy’s misquoted there – that’s a warning to the church, not to the rest of the world. Everyone calm down a little”.

I reckon if he’d tried gentleness and sensitivity it would have been a much better way to go about things but he’d still be fired tonight. And it wouldn’t be because Alcoholics Anonymous, the cast of Love Island, or the Artful Dodger raised a hue and cry at his criticism of them.

No, Izzy had the audacity to say publicly state that gay sex was wrong. Very wrong. And you can’t do that. You’re just not allowed to criticise in that area. Would he have been sent to perdition if he only posted the quote from Galatians 5? I suspect not. Because Galatians 5 doesn’t criticise that which must not be criticised.

More than 5 years ago I had the privilege of taking part in a reality TV show, Living with the Enemy. It was an enlightening experience from the very beginning. On the first day our guests, a homosexual couple, arrived. We had dinner and then chatted for a good hour in our kitchen. As you might expect the topic moved very quickly to the main areas of contention – the Christian religion and then human sexuality. Towards the end of the conversation I was told, with outrage, that it was just wrong for me to say that I thought how someone else lived was immoral. And yet that very same person had just subjected me to an almost hour-long barrage of criticism and approbation for what I believed, that I taught it to my children and so on. Many times that week I made the same point – that I could cope with them consistently attacking the most cherished part of my self-understanding, and almost always with contempt. So why were they unable to cope with the same when it was expressed clearly but with no obvious malice?

I stick my neck above the parapet a lot and I get called a lot of names for it. Fair enough. But I’ve long learned that it’s just people letting off steam and that throwing insults around is the sign of a long-failed argument. So what is it about the gay thing that causes people to not only lose it but try to destroy those who won’t toe the line?

It’s almost a narcissism, this excessive need for the affirmation of others. It’s an inability to cope with any description of the self that isn’t utterly affirming. Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will crush me. But it’s more than that. Names may crush me so I must crush anyone who would dare to say that I’m wrong, that what I do is wrong. But only in this area.

So Izzy said that the gays were going to hell. I wouldn’t put it as crassly as that, not by a long shot. The Christian seeks to defend their hope with gentleness and respect (1Pet. 3:15) and wants to have all their conversation full of grace (Col. 4:6). As the dust settles there’s a need for those questions to be asked about how Folau went about things.

But what the hell, Australia? Are we really so fragile that we can’t cope with somebody saying “I think that’s immoral and I think God does too”? If that’s the case then we’ve got some corporate growing up to do.

Or are we actually only fragile in one particular area – sex? In which case we are in a real mess because it’s taken over. It’s an obsession, an addiction, an idolatry, that nobody is allowed to question.

Yes, Izzy might have found a million better ways to make his point. But he exposed something very broken and ugly about Australia in 2019 and we need to see it for what it is rather than blaming him for it.

For the Christian this should be chastening. We point people to Jesus but part of that communication is joining Jesus in calling for repentance of sin. For Australia’s sake (which was, I suspect, part of Folau’s motivation) we need to not lose courage to speak the truth when we need to.

It’s vital that we do because Australia really is going to Hell.

Leave a Reply

23 comments on “What the Hell, Australia?

  1. I’d be surprised if the negative reaction is limited to Australians. While the other rugby nations would be delighted to see one of the best of the current Wobblies booted, there will be an echo of outrage about his tweet from other countries too. It’s probably a western societal lack of maturity, not exclusively Australian…

  2. Breach of contract. Simple as that. He was warned to not denigrate nor insult people last year – yet he persisted.
    He has the right to Freedom of Speech, just as his employer has the right to terminate his contract for breaches such as this.
    And your article seems to conviniently ignore the constant harrassment that the GLBTQI community suffers EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
    We face far more than just ‘sticks and stones’ my friend – and often, we actually do end up with ‘broken bones’.

    • hi Greg. Not denying that gays and others have faced and continue to face horrible treatment. Not denying that in any way. But surely you’re not arguing that one mistreatment merits another?

      • Hi David.
        No not saying that, but after similar incidents over the past few years, he was specifically warned that his post were in direct opposition to his employers expected standards.
        He breached the terms of his contract – simple.
        My work place has a policy of non-aggresion written into our standards. If I continually went round punching other staff in the face or even just being constantly verbally aggresive towards them, then quite rightly, I would be dismissed.
        All I am saying here is, that even after multiple warnings, his employers had asked him not to post such divisive posts on social media – yet he persisted. As others have said, his actions were tantamount to a resignation letter.
        The GBTQI community, as you acknowledge, face hatred and discrimination every single day of their lives. More than just ‘sticks and stones’ and that attitude is the one that needs changing.
        Folou’s actions here do nothing to encourage more acceptance and can do actual harm to those more vulnerable in that community – not just emotionally, but physically as well.
        How can our community learn acceptance when attitude’s like this – the approach of because you are being who you were born to be, then you are somehow ‘less than’ everyone else – simply is counter productive to that lesson.
        It is one of the strongest things that Christ supposedly said “Love one another, as I have loved you”, after all.
        Not much love in these tweets, if you ask me.
        And before you bring up the old Leviticus thing and that Folou is expressing his love by his ‘warning’ to us sinners – I would refer you to Levitcus 19:28.
        Cherry picking of the Bible is not really a good arguement, when looked at in that light, is it?
        Seems Folou forget to add those who had tattoos onto his little list of sinners there, eh?
        Rugby Aus recognised the speech for what it was, observed that this was against their inclusive policies and acted accordingly and perfectly correctly.
        As I said orignally – he breached his contract in a very deliberate way, has had multiple warnings to cease, and he refused.
        Dismissal was really their only option.

        • happy to agree on the principle of the contract issue. My argument is that the requirement itself is the issue.
          As for Leviticus, I refer you to the commenting rules and ask you to not repeat such silly arguments. (Yes, I use the word deliberately).
          On the question of love, I would simply note that the instagram post in toto is a call to repentance and to turn to Jesus for forgiveness. Standard Jesus stuff, as He himself tells us (e.g. Mark 1:14-15)

    • The underlying assumption that an employer can tell a person what to think and say is the fundamental problem here. Not a breach of contract. There should never be a contract that limits people to express their views.

  3. Doubtless Alan Joyce is behind this. He’s getting in before expressing religious belief is protected by law just as Age, Disability, Race & Sex already are. Let’s see if Joyce supports religious freedom legislation as fervently as he does the Sex Discrimination Act.

  4. Fair enough re the comment on the contract and whether that standard should be there David – but it is and that is the reason as to why he has been let go.
    And my apologies re the Leviticus thing – I admit I did not read your guidelines carfeu;lly enough – even though it is rather blatently obviously there! (I now have read them fully) and again say sorry for my error – you are prefectly correct in calling it silly, now that I have actually read your guidelines properly. It’s just one of those arguments that gets to me sometimes, due to the blatent hypocriscy of those that love to quote it.
    As for turning to Christ, I would point out after all that Christ himself never said anything re homosexuality, for or against – that came from Paul (or Saul, whichever name you wish to use).
    I don’t think we would – on either side here – really end up agreeing with the other’s stance, but I am genuinly interested in discussing (politely and respectfully) why these kinds of attitudes are often presented, even after being shown the very real harms that such speech can cause.
    I’m not saying that you nor anyone else does not have the right to these viewpoints, but you did ask, what real harm do they do?
    My point here is that for some, they can be very harmful indeed. More than just ‘words can never hurt me’.
    Trust me, in a very real, physical way, they can.
    I try and remain respectful – and am not trying to ‘convince’ anyone here, I know that we are probably worlds apart – but am sincerly curious as to how these attitudes persist.

    • Hi Greg, I think we need to make a distinction between an attitude and a belief/truth.
      Let’s be clear: Israel doesn’t have the keys to heaven – it is not as if Falou himself wrote the rules – in fact, none of us has the right to declare who’s ‘allowed in’ and who isn’t.
      If you believe in heaven, and you want to go, you need to check the rules and standards of the One who made it. Heaven isn’t a ‘choose your own adventure’ situation – we can’t make our own. As much as humankind like to protest that they are basically ‘good people’ and will therefore be granted admission, the question that follows is: ‘by whose standards?’
      The truth is, only God gets to decide. His admission standard is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength; and to love your neighbour as yourselves.’
      This is not an easy ask!! It’s impossible, in fact, because the truth is, we’d ALL rather suit ourselves.
      Loving God so fully means denying yourself (of envy, alcohol, slander, theft, lust and adultery), and I don’t think there’s a person alive or dead that could meet that standard – except Jesus Himself.
      No alcoholic would stand up and say that this is ‘how they are made’, and that they are simply ‘living their truth’! Who would accept that alcoholism is not destructive to the person themselves and to their family and community?
      We ALL have our struggle or temptations – EVERY one of us! No single struggle or sin is worse than another – some are just more obvious than others.Same sex attraction is only one of many struggles.

      Israel is therefore simply communicating a truth, not an attitude. It’s not just his truth, it’s GOD’S truth – israel didn’t make it up!
      He and I (and every other Christian) fall well short of heaven’s standards. BUT: we regularly repent of our sin (and usually, despite our best efforts, continue to sin). The difference is that we try and turn away from our sinfulness rather than indulging it, trusting in Jesus’ saving work on the cross.

    • no problem, Greg. I’m sure now that you’ve seen the arguments you’ll not use that line.
      Like you, keen to have good conversation and you’ve done nothing but model that so far.
      Jesus not speaking explicitly on something isn’t, of course, the same as him endorsing it. He never mentions rape, nor substance abuse etc. So we assess his position in a number of ways.
      First, he endorses the “traditional” view of marriage as being between a man and a woman, grounded in the creation of humanity as essentially binary. See the argument here.
      Second, he also endorses Biblical language that includes homosexual behaviour as sin. For example in Mark 7:20-23 he includes in a list of sinful behaviour “sexual immorality”. The underlying greek word here is “porneia” which was widely understood to refer to any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage (i.e. outside the bounds that he himself endorsed from Genesis 1 & 2).
      So all the evidence that we have sees Jesus affirming the long-held position on human sexuality with zero evidence in the other direction. That coupled with the consistent approach of his apostles (viewed as directly appointed by him and speaking on his behalf) in the New Testament leaves a very difficult argument to be made contrary to the “traditional” orthodox position.

      I affirm what you say at the end. I think it’s also important to note that Folau has made no call to violence of any sort and the little I know of him does indicate that he would be appalled if anyone did.

      • Understand what you mean that just because Jesus did not mention something does not mean he then condones it. And agree with you on that. It is a valid point. But the other side of that concept is that he did not condemn it. You use the words ‘widely understood’, but I have to say it is also ‘widley cotentious’ within various theological circles.
        Your discussion on Jesus’ comments on marriage are interesting – I did read that link, but there are many points there that I would contend with, but also acknowledge that this is how see see the ‘truth’ in his message – which is perfectly fine and is your right, but not one that I can agree with.
        One of the items you mention is ‘sexual immoraity’. This is why the marraige equality debate was such an important one. It is true that he said man and women shall become one flesh (not man and mand or woman and woman), but as you have said, not mentioning something does neither condone nor condemn it and I would also contend that marraige was not a ‘god given’ concept – othewise, how can one describe those marriages that occured in nearly every other civilisation that did not hold any such believes in momotheism or that are ‘of the Book’? Zeus and Jupiter did not ‘invent’ marriage, yet ancient Greeks and Romans held that institution dear and one of the bases of their societies as well.
        Whether you consider the very act of homosexual sex – for want of a better phrase – as ‘immoral’ does depend on a point of view. For someone like myself, being who I am, being as God created me and living my honsety, is as natural as is your inate heterosexuality. Mu communit will always be in the minority on this Earth, but I have often seen it said that it is not ‘natural’ – despite the many examples im nature of such ouplings occuring.
        You also mention there the concepts of just how people read and interpret the Bible – and this goes a long way to my beliefs around what Christ was saying and how the original belief has been twisted to suit a range of societies and people’s individual viewpoints.
        In other words, Man has intruded into Truth and ‘massaged’ it into concepts that they can feel comfortable with.
        But how do you know that your interpretation of what the Bible states is right and all the others are wrong? Like any proclamations from ‘on high’ and large volumes of work, there is much in the Bible that is contrdictary and open to a number of interpretations – how does Man determine which is the right interpreatation and which is the wrong one?
        The current version of the New Testament was, after all, invented by the Council of Niceae, where many other versions of the Gospels were dismissed as Agnostic and therefore invalid.
        Man again deciding just which concepts they chose to accept or reject. Perhaps that bit also goes somewhat to replying to Kris’s comment above, She places same sex attraction on the same level as an alcholic – whereas I see it as how I was ‘created’ and therefore, not a ‘struggle’ to contend with, but perfectly natural to someone like me to simply be who I am and find the ‘truth’ in being honest in my existance. Her concepts are very much based on interpretation, as indeed, are mine – bit who are we to say which is right and which is wrong?
        Again, the following is something you may not agree with – but at the heart of nearly every religion is one simple concept – that of love. As I said previously, Christ himself said that his most important lesson was to ‘love one anothe as I have loved you’ – and he expressed hate for no-one – sinners nor saints. Why then, do so many in our modern Western churches so vehmently express their hate towards people like myself (please note here, I am not referring to Falou’s comments – see below)
        Nearly all else around the various belief structures in the world, at least in my eyes, have been perverted by Man’s intrusion into this basic and simple concept and have changed or added various other ‘laws’ that have fundementally changed the original inent of that structured belief system.
        It’s one of the things that I feel about the various religions around the world – that Man himself have often perverted the original concepts of a faith based system to suit their times and societies – Christianity has done this, no more and no less than all the others.
        And I would agree with you here that Folou’s intent was not one to incite violence and that his comments did extend from his love of his fellow man, but I would return to the original question in your article here of ‘what harm can such words do?”.
        I suppose my point is that they can and still do cause a great deal of harm to many vulnerable people – as has been demonstrated many times in history – and it is this particular point that I contend that Christ himself would not agree with.
        Indeed, he spoke against Adulterers and fronicators and yet, was happy to have a prostitute by his side (as some see Mary Magdelaine) and even to defend a fallen woman with the words “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. None did then throw those stones, nor could they.
        Anyway, I will leave off any more at this moment. Not ending the conversation, but unfortunatley, have to do other duties. I look forward to more discussion on this and thank you for your responses.
        As I said, I doubt we will ever agree but do find such discussion stimulating and of great interest to me as I make my way though life. Thanks again David for such a respectful approach.

  5. Hi Gregll. Your first post asserts Folau’s dismissal is because he breached a requirement of his employment contract despite a number of earlier warnings. David Ould agrees with the principle but argues the requirement itself is the issue i.e. the requirement that Folau desist from publically expressing his religious views. Both assertions are correct. When/if parliament legislates a religious discrimination act (I’m not holding my breath), it will be unlawful for employers to put such a requirement in work contracts. A year on from a religious discrimination act, that prohibition will be seen as no more remarkable than the present inability of employers to write contracts forbidding employees to speak out in their own time on age, disability, race or sex issues. TBC

  6. In a later post, Greg, David brings up Christ’s endorsement of “traditional marriage” & you then lament that many people bring “sexual immorality” into their opposition to SSM. I agree with you, that is totally irrelevant & contextually misplaced. May I ask please what was/is your understanding of the postal survey question – “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. In my opinion it was poorly written but mine is not a trick question. One consideration could be which law are they talking about? LN

    • Hi Linda.
      In relation to your 2 questions, can I firstly say I am not looking to have long term discussions here, nor really to be confrontational, but am definitely and seriously trying to understand an attitude that seems (from my point of view at least, but fully understand and accept, not by others) to express harm far more than it does one of love and how I find that puzzling in a religion that I was born and raised into, where love of others was the paramount lesson.
      It is for this reason alone that I first started my comments here, but to briefly reply to your questions (and meaning no offence):
      Firstly, I believe I did agree that the question as to whether the conditions on the restriction of Falou’s right to place commentary such as he has on social media is a valid one in a contract, but not the point. His employer currently under the law does have that right, did so and informed him of that fact. He broke the terms of said contract and Rugby Aus acted accordingly and rightly. As to whether a Religious discrimination law is needed, I think you can understand when I say that I feel that there are ample protections aleady in law for the free practicing of faith and feel that such an act would be unneccesary, but can see the other side of that arguement, especially in relation to this event involving Falou and the consequences he now faces.
      That being said though, I do believe that it is a recognised fact that no-one is asking you to stop your beliefs, nor restricting you from practicing your faith, but when that then enters into the Civic sphere, such as commentary from high profile people – then that is a different question altogether. Tricky one, I know and I am certianly no theologan nor lawyer, so don’t pretend to know where the answer lies.
      But may I add, I do sincerly hope that some middle ground can be found in this debate – both sides have very valid viewpoints and it is a matter of balancing the rights of both communities.
      Secondly, in relation to which law the marriage equality issue involved – that to me is a simple one – the Civic Law and the Civic Law only.
      No-one is saying that churches MUST now marry same sex couples, although, some denominations seem to now be happy to do so.
      I have no issue with someone wishing to believe that a same sex marriage is a false one, but when that belief is placed into our civil based society – not a theological based society, then there are ther considerations that neccesarilly come into play. By this, I mean those that refuse to simply recognise that this is the law as it stands.
      The refusal of a business, for example, to not service someone in the community in relation to a same sex marriage is a good case in point (i.e. – photographers, cake suppliers, etc). Replace the words same sex with Muslim or Jewish wedding, and I must ask, do you believe that a Christian should have the right to refuse such a service to those couples, because you cannot agree with their faiths and beliefs? For me, it is as fundamental as that.
      Again though, all the above being said, how the balance of religious faith and Civil rights interplays with each other is an are full of dangers, pitfulls and some very nasty folk – on both sides of the equation.
      I hope that this helps you understand where I sit on these issues – and as I keep saying, I am not trying to convince anyone here – I know that not only would that be a futile effort, but also not really my right to try and do so – that would be an infringement on your freedoms, which is something I do not intend to do – even if my way of expressing my words, poor as those efforts can be, may sometimes appear that way :-).
      Cheers.

  7. Good for you Gregll, I understand you fine. Of course the law in the survey question “Should the law be changed …. ” is the civil marriage law, the Commonwealth Marriage Act. The question could have been worded differently to make that quite clear i.e. “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to be legally married?” but that is a minor niggle.

    The real problem Parliament caused was to change the legal definition of marriage to “the union of (any) 2 people”, perfectly logical, BUT to then proceed with a number of extraordinary “exemptions” in the Sex Discrimination Act which enables ministers of religion (+ a new category of religious marriage celebrants) to carry on marrying opposite-sex couples exclusively & not face discrimination charges for doing so.

    Who asked Parliament to do that? Certainly not the public who responded to the postal survey. Certainly not the marriage equality people who asked for civil marriages, nothing else. The answer can only be that the churches asked for “exemptions”.

    That was 16 months ago & the churches are realising the bind they have put themselves in.Their gay parishioners are pushing to be married in church because SSM is legal. They are demanding their churches come out from under the cover of “exemptions” and marry them, as they do for opposite-sex couples.

    If the churches had told the government when the Marriage Act was changed that they were pulling out of performing civil marriages immediately and offering religious marriages only, they would not be in the position they are in. (Read, for example, the other story on this blog about the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle). I find it hard to feel sorry for them! Rgds LN

    • These are not minor niggles, Linda. The problem is that there is now no marriage equality in the Marriage Act. None at all. A young woman and her fiance who wish to be wife-and-husband and to have that confirmed in a civil marriage ceremony cannot have a ceremony that unambiguously announces the law’s unequivocal respect for wife-husband marriage. They are required, as the ARU is requiring Folau, to privatise their beliefs (in this case about marriage, in Israel’s case about football) and simply assume that life under such rules as may pertain is a religiously neutral matter and can be disposed of by requiring such beliefs to be kept private. But the beliefs of “heterosexual couples” who go through a civil ceremony and who believe that marriage is what the marriage act (erroneously) publicly defines as marriage their beliefs are respected in the civil ceremony. Not so those who wish to be husband and wife. Instead it is presumed that they will be willing to go through some convoluted mental gymnastics merely to “get a piece of paper”. So much for a marriage equality. So much for marriage equality in civil weddings. And why aren’t the Christian churches speaking up about this anomaly an injustice to those who want a civil wedding and who will not go near a church? Is it that too many church leaders are simply content to preserve their bogus niche in the wedding market?

      • Hi Bruce. The young couple, today or forty years ago, have never had what many consider a marriage when they attend a registry office. The 2017 changes to the Marriage Act make no difference there.

        I am firmly of the view that Parliament’s changing of the legal definition of marriage from the union of a man and a woman to the union of 2 people, means the end of Christian churches’ offering combined civil & religious solemnisations. How can they be true to Christ’s teaching on the subject AND administer Caesar’s ungodly law?

        When they have thought it through & have come to the realisation that their churches are letting them down badly, men & women of faith will THEMSELVES opt for a civil marriage first (the “piece of paper”) and a solely religious one after that. Holy Matrimony in the Anglican context.

        What a sorry lot our church leaders have become!

        • Linda, I am sympathetic with your lament about the lack of Christian leadership of church leaders.

          We should be able to go to the Marriage Act and see therein how the public governance of this Commonwealth is constrained by the law’s requirement that unequivocal respect be given for those already lawfully married as husband-and-wife (i.e. for the marriage institution) and that is what the Marriage Act no longer does.

          The history of the serious jurisprudential undermining of marriage by the assumption that marriage is a civil right is another matter and we can’t go into that here. But I cannot see how the Ruddock Panel has properly responded to the Parkinson & Aroney paper on “The Territory of Marriage”. The entire discussion of the Ruddock report is entirely weighted in terms of office-bearers – celebrants, ministers – and now the subsequent highly convoluted and incoherent public discussion of ‘freedom of religion’ is focused upon OFFICE-BEARERS and employees in churches, schools, and associations and effectively ignores such freedom for PERSONS seeking to be married in civil ceremonies with their BELIEFS ABOUT MARRIAGE.

          What I am saying is that IF there is to be a monitum as part of civil wedding liturgies, as the Marriage Act now requires, then the one-size-fits-all of the current monitum confirms that there is no MARRIAGE EQUALITY and that discriminatory exclusion is what the Marriage Act ensures. It exclusively favours those with a “two person” BELIEF about marriage and discriminates against those who BELIEVE their marriage is to be a husband-wife affair.

          Moreover, we should also not ignore the manner in which support for the December 2017 change came with Parliament’s rejection of the Brandis “conscientious objection” amendment, and that actually means that the amended Marriage Act is subordinated to provisions derived from the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status) Bill 2013. It all is predicated on the view that marriage is a civil right. In fact if there was any political honesty in the Labor Party, those leading the charge on this issue would now admit that their policies AND THEIR ALREADY UNFURLED LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME are predicated on the assumption that those of us who believe marriage to be a bond for life between husband-and-wife given by God is a BELIEF that must only be expressed in private, if at all, because it ACTUALLY violates human rights. THAT IS WHAT THE LABOR PARTY NOW BELIEVES and it is what their major opponents are unable to address. In other words for someone to publish what Israel published is to be smitten with a “phobia”. Will the Labor Party deny that? To deny it will mean they have not been paying attention even to the private member’s bill that has been supported in the Parliament by their members.

  8. It’s a pastoral care issue about the way a young Christian fellow has deemed fit to nail his colours to the mast IN THIS CONFLICTED SITUATION (brought about, it must be said as much by churches prevarication as by political parties’ deceit.) and what he should now do about it. Simply trying to safeguard his ridiculous contract ($4m) is, to my way of thinking, to blur the matter unnecessarily. Has any other player come out in support of Israel Folau? Isn’t it quite feasible that a Christian player within the ARU might have the ARU’s best interests at heart by referring to New Testament teaching about God’s judgement? There’s plenty of other professionals – I can think of clergy – who should be “coming out” like Folau – and putting their jobs on the line. A Christian can hardly weasle out of it and on-field a player should not stand idly by when a player on his own side utters blasphemy. It is not simply a matter of “standing up for Jesus” when an opponent uses his name as a swear word, or when the coach or the team management implements rules that mean he must keep his allegiance to Jesus quiet. My advice to Israel Folau is to call it a day and say that since the ARU has announced that Jesus would only be welcome on the ARU playing field if he desisted from adhering to his own teaching on marriage then he’s not going to go on the field any more either. There’s the “Eric Liddell moment” in this.

  9. I had this on my Tablet and saw a load of comments (not these ones here ) that were also interesting to follow but they dont show on the P.C why?

    • Marje, David can answer with authority but my guess is that it has to do with social media sign-ins … my posts, for example, have only been on this (WordPress) site, not via Google, Twitter, or Facebook. (At least I didn’t enter davidould.net via those routes)

      You raise a technical point that is part of a much larger issue, about how appropriate it is for “Christian discussion” (like this) to be launched on social media – for some Christians, i.e. as with Issy Folau and Gary Ablett, that also comes within the activity of “Christian witness”.

      If I were a professional footballer and as a Christian wanted to keep on playing in this context, that is now so highly compromised by political, religious and commercial deceit, and if I were willing to take it up with the compliant “code corporation” (ARU, AFL etc), then I would try to publicly ask why it is that the “management” was interpreting its code to tell me that I am unable to publicly discuss Jesus Christ’s teaching when I’m not playing football? They don’t own me, do they? Or is ARU’s ethic a return to slavery in a new subliminal form? (ref here also the Labor Party’s foreshadowed legislation on “freedom of speech”/freedom of religion – you qualify for public funding in schooling, hospitals and social welfare on condition that you do what you are told and comply with our legislated morality even if it contradicts what you believe!).

      When I studied Anthropology in the late 1960s we were repeatedly told that “ethnocentrism” was a no-no in our ethnigraphic examinations that included indigenous communities and South Pacific Polynesian/Melanesian communities. If the ARU had made a ruling then like it has made with Issy now we would have been told that this ruling is “ethnocentrism” pure and simple just like the laws imposed in South Africa’s apartheid. After all, they are now saying that Fijians and other South Pacific islanders (like Billy Vunipola, the Tongan, who is also under interdict of the UK Rugby Union) are being required to tell their families back home to stop viewing marriage as they do and instead get westernised, left-liberalised, if not social mediated with the ethics endorsed by our major media outlets and the all too compliant corporate capitalism. That’s why I say the ARU needs to ask itself why it is so confident that it’s player contracts on this matter are fully compliant with the UDHR. Their ruling implies an updated individualistic version of old-fashioned colonialism!

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