When last we checked on Israel Folau, the Australian rugby star said he would be voting against same-sex marriage. Now, he’s upped the ante by saying gay people who don’t ‘repent’ are going to hell.
Fox Sports in Australia captured the now-deleted Instagram post:
The deeply religious Folau made the controversial comment in response to a question on Instagram.
Folau, who was injured playing for the Waratahs on Saturday, posted an image and Bible verse relating to ‘God’s plan’ which prompted a query from Mike Sephton-Poultney: “@izzyfolau what was gods [sic] plan for gay people??”
Folau replied: “@mike_sephton HELL... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”
The Sydney Morning Herald notes that Folau’s comments seem to violate Rugby Australia’s inclusion policy:
It appears to be in contravention of Rugby Australia’s inclusion policy, which was adopted in 2014 and states: ”Rugby has and must continue to be a sport where players, officials, volunteers, supporters and administrators have the right and freedom to participate regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion and without fear of exclusion. There is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words both on and off the field must reflect this.”
Folau is called the best player on the Wallabies, Australia’s national rugby team, whose one-time teammate David Pocock has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights. The two spoke after Folau came out against same-sex marriage last year, and I would love to listen in to their theological debate about hell.
I wonder what Folau would say to LGBT people who are very religious, many of them pastors, about God’s plan for them. I doubt it includes a trip to hell, should such a place exist.