rugby

Israel Folau faced a storm of criticism last month after saying gay people are headed for ‘Hell’ – but he’s showing no signs of repentance

Australian rugby player Israel Folau has posted a video to his social media that demonstrates he has little regret for his comments last month about gay people.

At the beginning of April, rugby union player Folau posted a comment on Instagram saying God’s plan for gay people is: ‘HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.’

Despite facing widespread criticism, he refused to back down, saying he was simply following his sincerely held Christian beliefs. He even went on to compare himself to prophets who had been persecuted in the past for their beliefs.

Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby were quick to distance themselves from the comments. As was, Qantas, which sponsors national side the Wallabies (for whom Folau plays along with local team, the Waratahs).

However, Folau faced no disciplinary action for the comments. In fact, RA CEO Ralene Castle told media after meeting with Folau: ‘We’re proud of the fact that he’s a strong believer and he’s prepared to stand up for what he believes in,’ Castle told media after the meeting.

‘We want athletes in our code who are prepared to do that and that’s really important.

‘But at the same time, Rugby Australia’s got a policy and position of inclusion and using social media with respect.’

David Wilkerson video posted by Folau

Yesterday, Folau posted an 11-minute video to his Twitter with the following message.

‘With great love i wanted to share this video in the hope that people watch it and think about it. Jesus is coming back soon and he wants us to turn to him through repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38) please don’t harden your heart.’

The video features a sermon by evangelical preacher David Wilkerson, in which he implores people to ‘Get right with God.’

He says that we are living in a time of ‘sexual perversions beyond description’, against footage of Christian demonstrators being counter-protested at a Pride march.

Against a clip of the White House lit in rainbow colors, Wilkerson says, ‘Now is the time to get right with God because this generation has lost the fear of God. There’s no fear of God left in the land.

Wilkerson goes on to attack the idea of ‘tolerance’.

‘Tolerance, that’s the key word right now. Tolerant towards same-sex marriage. Tolerant towards there’s no such thing as sin, no such thing as a sinner, no such thing as judgement… they buy into that, many young people buy into that, many young Christian people are saying “We need to be more tolerant.” They believe same-sex marriage is OK.’

As far as he is concerned, the Holy Spirit views it all as lies and hypocrisy.

‘I stand firm in what I believe’

The posting has prompted hundreds of comments. Some, who share Folau’s beliefs, have applauded the message. However, many others have criticized it.

‘The whole video was hateful and judgemental – showing acts of supposed human debauchery and rainbow flags were a prominent part.’

Some question Folau’s fondness for tattoos, given that they are supposedly spoken against in the book of Leviticus.

The video suggests Folau shows no sign of toning down his religious rhetoric. After being cleared to play against Auckland last week, he told the press.

‘I stand firm in what I believe in and that’s something personal with who I am.

‘That’s something that comes truly from the bottom of my heart. That doesn’t interfere with anything to do with my rugby and the guys around me.’