The Folau Saga

21/06/2019

I find the constant reporting on Israel Folau’s actions tiresome. With that being said, I’ll paraphrase The Simpson’s Sideshow Bob by saying: “By the way, I am aware of the irony of writing about Folau in order to decry it, so don’t bother pointing that out.” But this has gone on for far too long and it’s become, quite simply, pathetic. And yes, admittedly this is more a rant-like piece, I was out most of the day and a bit tired.

I’ve not written about Folau for the simple reason that I did not care (still don’t, really) and because the coverage is just boosting moronic controversy – religious man has a tiff with homosexuals? How surprising.

So it is not his opinion that I have an issue with. Sure, it’s a despicable and narrowminded opinion, and his knowledge of the LGBT+ community seems limited, but he is free to say whatever he pleases. Whether him being fired was fair or not is for another discussion, but for this, suffice to say that he broke the terms of his contract and was let go as a result. If that is where this whole scenario ended that would have been fine. But it didn’t.

Not only did Folau continue to post derogatory content, the media has fawned all over it for months now, fuelling divisions over freedom of/from religion. Now, I don’t see anything particularly wrong with him posting – again, he can post and say what he wants – but his newfound insistence that he’s on some “mission of God” to speak about this issue publicly and using his athletic platform to do so is wrong.

Telling gay people they’re going to hell is not spreading the word of God, that’s preaching bigotry. Spouting nonsense about children being allowed to change genders at will isn’t “opposing sin”, it’s revealing your ignorance. Just because you have the right to speak your mind does not mean what you have to say is sound or acceptable. I don’t care what religion you follow, you do not have the right to harass others with it.

Despite disagreeing with his views, I supported Folau’s right to say what he did (and, obviously, supported the rightful criticism of him afterwards), but seeing as he is now seemingly going off the rails by taking legal action and asking the public for funding, well… that’s no longer a matter of free speech, that is courting controversy and pure greed. That he has raised over $250,000 (as of the last headline I saw about it) is beyond baffling.

What was initially a defence of his beliefs has now turned into an extended publicity stunt to enforce them onto others, which the media has happily campaigned for him with outraged headlines. Basically, hold your beliefs, speak your beliefs and expect criticism if they’re offensive, but the moment you begin preaching to those who either don’t care or are in some affected by your apparent hatred, you’ve earned yourself the badge of top bigot.

Rather than cash, send the religious con artist your thoughts and prayers – they seem to suffice for those who are suffering, right?

Liked this? Read my piece of the separation of Church and State (wonder if Folau supports Pell, too?): Pell and the Pollies: Why Separation of Church and State Is A Must

Previous piece: An Unholy Union: The Privatisation of War

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