Israel Folau is a committed Christian and an exceptional role model. He is not a drug cheat or a drunken bar brawler. He doesn’t fix games or cheat on the salary cap. He is just an outstanding sportsman, a gifted player with a strong set of values that he actually follows and lives out. Furthermore, his values are shared by many other players in the game, and many fans.
Israel has quoted a well-known passage from the Bible, motivated partly out of concern for those around him. The passage does not condemn but gives a warning about consequences and a way to avoid them through the gospel. Quoting the Bible like this can upset people at times. Rugby Australia is upset. Qantas CEO Allan Joyce is upset. They want to dismiss him and tear up his $4 million contract. They say he’s violated their ‘inclusive’ code and logically therefore he can no longer be included!
Some people don’t agree with what Israel has posted or about his right to post it. Others applaud his actions. Either way, it’s called free speech. Yes, it might make some fell uncomfortable, but it is his right to speak freely and that right is foundational to Western freedoms. Free speech is under attack, right here, right now.
Israel has quoted from the same Bible used every day in our court rooms and in our Parliament, as a symbol of truth and integrity. The same Bible found in most hotel rooms around the country. The Bible is the number one best-selling book every month across the globe. It’s so popular in fact that they have taken it off the list of best sellers because it’s always on the top.
Israel reflects the Christian values of concern for those around him. He does not want to persecute or punish any of these people, unlike some of Qantas’ business partner’s extreme laws. He has spoken a well-known word of warning, part of the gospel that has been preached for 2000 years and is indeed preached in most schools where rugby players learn to play the game. And now they want to nail him! Let’s stand up and be counted for Israel and for free speech in the Great South Land.
John 10:32 (NIV) but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”