The war on Israel Folau is a war against all of us

Israel Folau

I am not a believing Christian. I don’t follow rugby. I don’t agree with Israel Folau’s social media posts. But I absolutely support Israel Folau’s right to free speech and resolutely oppose those dark forces which are trying to destroy him – and by proxy, every Australian’s right to free speech and a free conscience.

He is an unlikely candidate, but he now battles for all Australians.

All around the world, Christians are being persecuted for their faith. Their houses of worship are being destroyed. Their Bible is being banned. Their right to exercise religious freedom is denied. Many are imprisoned or murdered.

And now, here at home, a young man is under threat for sharing biblical verses…

A gentler individual than Israel Folau you could not meet. He loves the sinner but he condemns the sin. Yet for his beliefs and his Christianity, he faces this Orwellian punishment — he’s had his dignity, his integrity, his employment, his vocation and his income stolen from him, for quoting from the Bible, the same Bible on which the Prime Minister of Australia is sworn into office.

As Mark Latham said two days ago: “How did our state and our nation ever come to this?”

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Some are seeing in this the beginning of a war to remove religion from public life altogether – which is, indeed, the dearest wish of some non-believers.

The backlash against rugby union star Israel Folau’s social media post claiming homosexuals, adulterers, drunks and others would go to hell has been criticised as “the first step to eradicating religion entirely from public life”…Peter Kurti, a senior research fellow who co-ordinates the religion and civil society program at the Centre for Independent Studies, has warned of the precedent Rugby Australia is setting for religious employees, not just in sport but also in the corporate sector […]

“If Rugby Australia can say to one of its contracted players, ‘You cannot say anything about your religion’, it will surely be open to any employer to make, as a point of employment, to have no discussion or manifestation or practise of a religious belief,” Mr Kurti said.

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Kurti is only half-right. If there is a putsch to remove religion from public life, it’s to remove one religion only. Christian Israel Folau is pilloried for claiming sinners will go to hell; Muslim preachers who spout homophobic rants get invited to dinner with former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and fast-tracked visas for New Zealand.

As Jennifer Oriel wrote…last week: “To my knowledge, there is no equivalent case of an employer firing a worker for quoting the Koran, the Torah, or the Communist Manifesto on social media. Christians, it seems, are the PC Establishment’s favourite prey.”

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What’s especially sinister about this fascistic march of intolerant social engineering is that is being imposed less by governments, who at least are elected by their citizens, and more by unelected, unaccountable plutocrats. Fittingly, one of the most odious of the new corporate overlords has spoken.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has broken his silence over the Israel Folau controversy, saying he fully supports Rugby Australia’s tough response to the star player’s posts on social media.

Of course he does: they’re just doing his bidding.

“We don’t sponsor something to get involved in controversy. That’s not part of the deal,” Mr Joyce told Nine’s Australian Financial Review…“We expect our partners to take the appropriate action…That’s the way we approach it in the aviation industry, and we expect these organisations to be the same.”

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Like all dictators, Joyce is a stunning hypocrite. Not get involved in controversy? Qantas’ fervent propaganda for gay marriage wasn’t controversial? As for his sanctimonious preening about “That’s the way we approach it in the aviation industry”, Joyce’s own actions give the lie to his words. At the same time as Joyce is helping destroy Israel Folau for supposed “homophobia”, Qantas is happy to sign business deals with an Islamic state notorious for its brutal punishment of homosexuality, as well as other innumerable human rights violations.

But that’s not the point. With these authoritarians, it’s never about what they do, it’s what they tell you to do.

A message has been sent.

A society in which people are not free to think or to disagree or to debate or to challenge the ­accepted view without fear or ­reprisal.

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