Israel Folau stays silent after telling gay people ‘hell awaits them’
Rugby star Israel Folau has refused to comment after making homophobic comments.
The 30-year-old used Instagram to tell gay people that “hell awaits” them this week, shortly after Tasmania passed sweeping reforms to increase transgender rights.
He posted a meme which issued a “warning” to “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” that “HELL AWAITS YOU.”
Next to the message, which ends: “REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES,” Folau wrote: “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.”
On Friday, the player was spotted arriving at the head office of Rugby AU, where he is reported to have had a 15-minute meeting with officials, according to Australia’s 7 News.
Earlier in the day, he was spotted at a cafe in Little Bay with his wife, Maria, and two other men, where he was asked by reporters to respond to criticism over his comments.
“Do you regret what you said?” a reporter asked, to which Folau refused to comment and drove away.
Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby announced on Thursday (April 11) they intend to terminate Folau’s contract, saying their repeated attempts to contact him had been unsuccessful.
The joint statement read: “Whilst Israel is entitled to his religious beliefs, the way in which he has expressed these beliefs is inconsistent with the values of the sport. We want to make it clear that he does not speak for the game with his recent social media posts.
“Israel has failed to understand that the expectation of him as a Rugby Australia and NSW Waratahs employee is that he cannot share material on social media that condemns, vilifies or discriminates against people on the basis of their sexuality.
“Rugby is a sport that continuously works to unite people. We want everyone to feel safe and welcome in our game and no vilification based on race, gender, religion or sexuality is acceptable and no language that isolates, divides or insults people based on any of those factors can be tolerated.
“As a code we have made it clear to Israel formally and repeatedly that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action. In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract.”
Earlier this month, video footage of Folau giving a sermon at church denouncing those who celebrate Christmas and Easter emerged.
In the video, Folau reads one Bible passage about “heathens” who partake in Christmas and Easter-related customs that are done “in vain”.
“That’s another tradition that is man made and we always have to go back to what the Bible says about what He (God) says,” he said.
“God is clearly saying, ‘Do not follow the way of the heathen’, which is what he’s speaking of these people here, the custom. These people do it in vain. There’s no point to doing it.”