Israel Folau may never play rugby in Australia ever again. But one thing the fervent Christian does have, is the love of his devout father, a church pastor... who he just threw under the bus in the ongoing scandal surrounding his anti-gay Instagram post.
News Corp, Australia reports that before the decision was handed down, Folau got on the phone with Eni Folau, his dear old dad, a man reportedly even more dedicated to following their Christian faith than Folau himself, if that were possible.
The son told the father he was preparing to delete his hate-filled message from the internet, in the wake of heavy criticism from national team sponsors, fans and Rugby Australia officials, according to a report by the Star Observer.
And lo, the father told the son, he was displeased to hear of this plan.
According to the report, the elderly Folau, now 84, told the younger Folau that if he did that, “You’ll go to hell, son.” Which, by the way, is ironic, since the rugby player’s original post warned gays along with drunks, adulterers and liars that they needed to repent to avoid the fires of hell.
Folau changed his mind immediately, so says the report. He chose instead to follow the fourth commandment, according to the Christian bible —Honor Thy Father — and sidestep the threat of potentially eternal damnation, fire and general unpleasantness.
In other words, he took no action to delete his post, and decided to fight for his right to express his views. Folau faced the consequences, which ultimately led to him being fired from the team and RA ripping up his $4m contract.
A politician in Australia is demanding an investigation into the investigation that led to Folau’s firing and also the subsequent investigation that ended his contract. That’s a lot of investigating that will require an investment, but liberal Senator Eric Abetz says the “vast bulk” of Australians find the termination of Folau “completely unacceptable.”
Not sure anyone explained to the senator that personnel decisions are not typically handled by popular vote. Still, Abetz is a politician who knows a surefire way to gain publicity is to call something unpopular “a huge injustice.”
“The fundamental point of the need to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion is in the DNA of every true Liberal and that is why I am seeking to pursue it.
“I thought about these issues [regarding Folau] during the election and then after the election was able to devote my time to it a bit more and give some considered thought [to it].
“In this parliament, we’ve got a majority in the lower house and, in the Senate, depending on how things fall, there may be a very real opportunity to bring about some fundamental reform to protect individual freedoms.”
Abetz claims Folau’s termination may be in violation of an Australian labor law which prohibits employers from engaging in adverse action and discrimination against an employee.
We’ll keep you posted.