The Israel Folau furore continues

I have stayed away from the Israel Folau issue until now.

A rugby player saying something silly doesn’t sound very newsworthy to me.

Someone with religious beliefs saying someone else will go to hell if they have different beliefs – or sexuality – is not new or unusual.

Religious people have long claimed that everyone who doesn’t share their beliefs will go to hell – that has been a basic teaching in churches and schools for a very long time. Folau just made a mistake of narrowing down the condemned target to homosexual people.

If he had suggested that the All Blacks, or atheists, or old white men should go to hell few would have cared.

Religiously motivated statements that I think are crap have always been fairly common.

Sure if people don’t like what Folau said they have a free speech right to point out what they think.

Some statements have been passionate and fair criticism.

Many seem too be simply on the bashwagon, trying to shut up anyone they disagree with or don’t like.

Some like Duncan Garner have defended the right of free speech and the right of people to say stupid things – in a free speech world that means people are also free to criticise.

He has been strongly criticised – that’s the right of the indignant, as much as it his Garner’s right to say his bit.

In general I think that ridiculous religious comments are best just ignored, but it’s hard to ignore the frenzy.

The Folau frenzy has seemed to me to be a furore over f all.

But there is a positive – a sort of Streisand effect, where rugby players have started to speak up and defend and support homosexuality and homosexual people. This is long overdue and sounds very Christ like – perhaps Folau was inadvertently doing God’s work in highlighting the right to be different to the majority sexually.

31 Comments

  1. Ray

     /  April 19, 2018

    If homosexuals are going to hell then here are 14 other reasons to worry
    https://www.yourtango.com/2015275704/15-reasons-we-are-all-going-hell-according-leviticus
    Tattoos are a one way ticket as well, who knew?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  April 19, 2018

      I notice that when Brian Tamaki quotes the Old Testament, he doesn’t quote all of it, especially the bit in Deuteronomy about bastards and the church – his oldest son and a grandchild were little baskets !

  2. Missy

     /  April 19, 2018

    Pete, I think before you dismiss the furore over Folau’s comments as F all, you should read this column from Nigel Owens. In this he explains why comments like Folau’s from people like Folau (in the public eye who have a huge social media following) can cause harm.

    https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/news-opinion/nigel-owens-column-comments-like-14501453

    Now, I am a believer in Free Speech, but I also believe that comes with consequences, and when the person making the comments is someone that young people may look up to then comments they make that are discriminatory, or have the power to cause harm and hurt, the comments should be called out, and there should be outrage, and any calling out or outrage should not be dismissed as being a furore over F all.

    Folau’s words could have a devastating affect, they could give permission to bigots to act on their bigotry, they can cause hurt in young gay rugby players who may look up to him and now feel worthless, they could also put off young gay men (and women) from playing the sport. Some of these consequences can be seen as minor, others can lead to other issues.

    Either way, I don’t think it has been a furore over F all.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  April 19, 2018

      But as with all free speech, the reaction should be to attack the message, not attack the messenger or his right to speak.
      There have been numpties over here suggesting Falau should be banned from entering NZ.
      Falau’s comments are patently absurd and are rightly being mocked by people using other biblical verses and counter arguments.
      What should not be condoned is the push to suppress his ability to speak his views freely.

      I heard Owens interviewed on this and thought he spoke very well and was very clear that Falau was quite entitled to his views.

      Hurty feelings and feeling insulted is not a reason to ban speech.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  April 19, 2018

        If Folau had said that he believed that homosexuality was a sin, that would be his business, but the going to Hell is incredibly judgemental.

        He may believe that being gay is a choice, and there is reason to believe that the homosexual acts condemned by St Paul were done by straights looking for a different thrill, but anyone who believes this should ask why men, in particular, would risk so much in the past.

        I know several gay men who have tried to go straight, it didn’t work. I didn’t like the girl one went out with for a while – and she knew what he was – but the hurt and shame of it when the inevitable happened must have been terrible.The scars would never really heal.

  3. David

     /  April 19, 2018

    I am a firm believer in free speech but this guy is just a cock, its 2018 does he think men eat the wrong breakfast cereal and become gay or just decide to “jump the fence”. One good thing is its just not really a big deal for most young persons, they just accept and get on with things in most cases.
    No prizes for guessing his religion.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  April 19, 2018

      I saw two boys holding hands in the street in Hamilton once. They were both incredibly good-looking, beautiful, really, and there was a glow about them that set them apart like an aura around them. They were radiant. Nobody could think that such obvious love was wrong, surely. I have never forgotten it.

  4. Griff

     /  April 19, 2018

    Haggard’s law
    The louder and more frequent one’s objections to homosexuality are, the more likely one is to be a homosexual.

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Haggard%27s_Law

    One wonders about all that rather personal contact in thugby.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  April 19, 2018

      Falau is parrting what he has been taught in church. He is by all accounts a very nice and gentle person who happens to hold strong religious convictions.

      NZ players such as Brad Webber and TJ Perenara have spoken strongly against Falau’s views. The Australian Gay international team have also invited Falau to visit a training session to see the impact of his words.

      Being bigoted against rugby is not a helpful stance.

  5. Gezza

     /  April 19, 2018

    He is a Pacific Islander and, from my experience, like many of them he will most probably have a childlike understanding of the Bible, and would unquestioningly accept whatever some pastor told him is sinful because the Bible says so. Unfortunately the Pastor will be the same in his understanding of the Bible and his religion.

    I’m not even sure if the Bible even mentions hell (I forget) but its not central to the stories & I don’t think it’s in Judaism (although it might depend on your sect) which Christianity tries to u[date & improve on.

    I’ve got no problem with Folau being slammed in media and social media for his nonsense. Even the Pope’s just recently admitted there’s no Hell. Folau’s unlikely to critically examine either the bible or his beliefs but he might learn to keep that sort of nonsense to himself and other suckers who believe it.

    I don’t think he should be disciplined or get the boot for his stupid beliefs but if sponsors want to say goodbye, fine. Might help him think. Maybe rich churches will make up the losses.

  6. artcroft

     /  April 19, 2018

    I think he has a year on his contract, so it will be interesting to see what Rugby Aus do. Keep him on the field? Sit him on the bench? Sack him? I can’t see him playing much rugby again.

    • Blazer

       /  April 19, 2018

      offers from France,U.K,Japan…the guy is an x factor player.Aussie rugby know this.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  April 19, 2018

      They’ll do nothing and he’ll still be the first name on the team sheet for province and country.

      • artcroft

         /  April 19, 2018

        Interesting because there was a vet lecturer in Palmy who stated women vets were worth a some fraction of a male vet cos they went off to have babies. He also stated female vet students were much better than male students, but he was gone, sacked, see you later (not). I can only imagine the uproar if he suggested lady vets were going to hell. He was of course male, older and white.

  7. Callum

     /  April 19, 2018

    His comments only affect those who follow his religion. If they chose to follow a religion that specifically excludes them then they are obviously picking and choosing what bits they want to believe already (just as Folau is with his tattoos), then they can also choose to believe they won’t go to hell for being gay.

  8. Zedd

     /  April 19, 2018

    Im pretty sure the Bible does say (Deuteronomy ?) ‘for a man to lay with another man, as he should with a woman.. is an ABOMINATION to God’ (paraphrase)
    Most ‘Bible Thumping Christians’ who believe it IS ‘the word of God’ should agree with this Anti-Gay sentiment.

    Personally, Im not a BTC, so I reserve my opinion to myself. :/

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  April 19, 2018

      Yes, it does say that men who lie (not lay, they’re neither hens nor bricklayers) with men as they do with women are an abomination and should be executed, but not that they will go to Hell.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  April 19, 2018

        It doesn’t say that they will in the Bible, anyway.

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  April 19, 2018

    His right to say what he believes and everyone else’s right to say it’s a stupid religion and he is a dick-head.

    • Zedd

       /  April 19, 2018

      all fair points AW

    • Agreed, Alan. However, I do think it should be noted that he has his opinion, and so do his detractors. Neither side has incontrovertible proof that the other is wrong. Unless someone has been to that place and taken a census.

      Real debate consists of listening to the other’s viewpoint and responding intelligently to it, not simply shouting it down from a self-assumed position of moral authority. Another rugby player may have the right to say: “I can’t stand that I have to play this game that I love with people, like Folau, who say what he’s saying”, but it is hardly a rational argument.

      And these responses do seem to be rather selective. How often do celebrities criticise Moslems for saying that homosexuals should be thrown off high buildings? And there is, of course, incontrovertible proof that they frequently are, in the lands of the Religion of Peace.

      • phantom snowflake

         /  April 19, 2018

        You just couldn’t help yourself but bring Islam into it, eh? Your website looks better without the piece that described Islam as being satanic; that was pretty wack!! As much as you may pontificate about “rational argument”, some of your diatribes against Islam could be rightfully described as “emotional claptrap” in my view.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  April 19, 2018

          Not all or even many Muslims or agree with this, and not all Christians are like the Westboro Baptists. I have read a lot of condemnation of the extremist Muslims’ treatment of gays.

          • Zedd

             /  April 19, 2018

            I see ‘Bishop Tamaki’ has jumped into it too (siding with Folau).. getting media attention, looking more like a ‘Hells angel’ rather than one of Gods !

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  April 19, 2018

              It’s tempting to make the obvious response to that; yes, it is an odd look for a ‘bishop’ . 😀 Did you know that the greedy sod has seven (!!!) Harleys (probably more by nowz) ? One is fair enough. It’s a man’s reward to himself after years of keeping a family. I know a few older men who have one. But seven ! There are many Bible verses about greed and covetousness that Bishop Brylcreem seems not to have read.The riches that are a blessing in the OT don’t refer to that sort of thing, they are in the context of keeping a family and not starving in the days when social welfare was not in existence (and people were expected to tithe and give to charity; Jews leave Gentiles nowhere when it comes to that sort of thing)

            • phantom snowflake

               /  April 19, 2018

              “God’s Gangsta”!

            • Zedd

               /  April 20, 2018

              If you noticed I put Bishop Tamaki in inverted commas.. reminds me of a line by Bob Dylan ‘robbing in the name of religion.. theres a slow train coming’ not a gang on Harleys 😀

              I think the bible says ‘It is not money that is the root of all evil.. BUT the Love of Money !’

  10. Kitty Catkin

     /  April 22, 2018

    Zedd, a bishop has to be appointed by his peers or the title is meaningless as it is with Brian Tamaki. His followers don’t even know that one doesn’t refer to a bishop as just ‘Bishop’ when it’s the third person. They keep saying ‘Bishop says/does…..’ How ignorant. No real bishop would ever be referred to as anything but ‘the bishop’ when people are talking about him.

    You are right about the love of money in the Bible.

    • phantom snowflake

       /  April 22, 2018

      I’m speculating here; but perhaps use of the term ‘Bishop’ on its own reflects a mindset that ‘Bishop Tamaki’ is the only true bishop.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  April 23, 2018

        I took it for granted that they are such ignoramuses that they don’t know any better.

        I can’t understand how anyone can derive any pleasure from a title that means nothing. How can there be a bishop in isolation ?

        I have heard of people saying ‘Doctor is blah blah’ and that always sounds silly, too.

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