Australia international Israel Folau remains unrepentant about his controversial social media posts and is willing to stop playing rugby if that is “God’s will”.
The devout Christian sparked outrage this week with an anti-homosexual post and caused a stir with his stance on the Tasmanian Parliament passing a legislation to make gender optional on birth certificates and allow people 16 years and older to legally change gender without parental contest.
Folau posted a message on Instagram that stated “hell awaits” drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters, along with “REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES”.
Last year, the Waratahs full-back avoided punishment for a similar statement in which he said homosexuals should go to “hell” unless they “repent their sins and turn to God”.
But Rugby Australia responded to his latest posts by stating their intention to terminate his contract and he has been stood down by the Waratahs until further notice.
Breaking his silence to the Sydney Morning Herald, Folau insists he would have no qualms about quitting the sport.
“Absolutely [I’d walk away],” Folau said. “First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think.
“If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it. In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”
Folau was guarded on whether he would pursue a legal case for religious discrimination against Rugby Australia if his contract is torn up.
“It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things,” Folau added.
“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”
While Folau’s comments have been widely condemned, he insists he does regret his stance.
“I’ll stand on what the Bible says. I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people’s reactions are the total opposite to how I’m sharing it,” he continued.
“But in Ezekiel, chapter 33, verse 11, it says that ‘God has no pleasure in the person that’s living in sin’. He’s a loving God and he wants people to turn away from what they’re living in and he’ll give them life.
“That’s the message that I’m trying to share, even though it comes across as harsh. I can’t change what the word of God says.”
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