Folau Derangement Syndrome

It is official. The pile on by Australian Rugby and the media has now made it to the level of Folau Derangement Syndrome. Some commenters have referred to the Streisand effect but it is much more than just that.

The latest development is that those who seek to stop Israel Folau from raising funds to fight a legal battle over his right to religious freedom have now gone after the Australian Christian Lobby.

The attack on the Australian Christian Lobby makes as much sense as the attack on Maria Folau for the crime of being Israel Folau’s wife. Which is to say that it makes no sense at all. It is 100% Folau Derangement Syndrome at work.

I suspect that Rugby Australia is behind the attack on the Australian Christian Lobby as well as the push to take down Folau’s GoFundMe page. They have much deeper pockets than Folau and it is not in their best interests for the legal battle be a fair fight. Often in legal battles, it is not the person with the winning argument that wins but the one that can keep the appeals going until the other person is made bankrupt.

The pile-on is so bad that Australia’s largest crowdfunding platform, MyCause, refused Folau’s request to relaunch his fighting fund after it was removed by GoFundMe.

Now that the Australian Christian Lobby has stepped in to provide a fundraising platform and have themselves donated $100,000 towards his legal fund, they have painted a large target on their own backs but they and Folau are not without support.

[…] The renewed support for Folau comes as Gillian Triggs, the former Australian Human Rights Commission president, said she believed it was important to protect the rugby union star’s right to freedom of speech.

“I don’t think employers should have that power [to sack someone] and I don’t think that one should lose one’s job for putting a view in good faith that you have put, particularly as a reflection that could be a religious view,” said Ms Triggs on ABC News.

“It is a very wide view. It encompasses a lot of us – we’re all going to go to hell. I think it is really foolish and disproportionate to prevent him from preaching something that I think he probably believes quite deeply as a matter of religious expression.”

A number of complainants, however, have confirmed that they have raised their concerns with the charities commission over the fundraising role played by the ACL.
In a statement, the commission said it “expected all registered charities to meet their obligations under the ACNC Act and the Governance Standards”.
“The ACNC can investigate concerns that a charity has breached the ACNC Act or the Governance Standards,” the statement said. “This may include not pursuing its charitable purpose, not operating in a not-for-profit manner, or providing private benefits to members.”

Silver Fern Maria Folau has received support from Netball NZ in the wake of the recent saga involving her husband.

Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, said he was concerned that Folau’s right to express his faith was being “denied and vilified”.

“The original post on Instagram canvassed some basic tenets of the Christian faith,” Dr Davies said. “It was not the entire Christian message but it was posted without malice and from a place of deep conscience and concern. It encompassed all people, for we are all liars. It was posted with respect and with urgency. It had nothing to do with rugby and it should have been his right as a citizen to speak of what he believes without threat to his employment.”


Currently, there is no evidence at all that the Australian Christian Lobby has done anything wrong but they may have to undergo an investigation because of the malicious (in my view) complaints against them. The message to the public is very clear. Anyone or any group that publicly supports Israel Folau is going to be a target for those with Folau Derangement Syndrome.