Most people would have heard of Israel
Folau’s transgression on Instagram, where he stated: “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves,
Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.” This caused
him to lose his contract with Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby, because it
breached the Professional Players Code of Conduct1. This was not so
much because he denigrated drunks and others who more or less choose how to
behave, but because he also stated that homosexuals will go to hell. This is
what tipped his comment from admonishment of behaviour to hate speech, because
homosexuality is not a choice, and as Mungo MacCallum states, “demanding
repentance for what cannot change is both cruel and pointless – as silly as
telling Folau to repent for having Polynesian heritage.”2 I cannot begin to imagine how a young
Christian trying to come to terms with their sexuality, would react to being
told by Folau that they are comparable to liars and thieves. I also cannot
begin to imagine the silly thought processes behind Folau threatening people
with hell, nor can I understand his inability to grasp the concept of irony in
threatening atheists with it.
Now, many religious nutters have come out is support of Folau. They say
he is being attacked for being a “blunt defender of the classic, conservative
Christian faith” and that this is done out of love3. This is not
quite correct. He is being punished for being a bigot and demonstrating that in
defiance of a code of conduct. Kel Richards, in The Australian (where else?), firstly
conflates being a Christian with being able to ‘speak their faith aloud’3.
If this was so, then why does Richards not echo the words of a Christian
apologist for slavery in the latter’s belief that black Africans deserved to be
enslaved because they were “subhuman and brutish, ignorant, idle, crafty,
treacherous, bloody thievish mistrustful and superstitious” as well as “incestuous,
savage, cruel and vindictive, devourers of human flesh, and quaffers of human
blood”. He compared blacks to orangutans and claimed that African tribes had
had sexual relations with primates.4 Could it be that we as a society have grown up
and realise that because a person is black, does not mean they are subhuman?
Could it be that the religious will eventually realise that homosexuals are similarly
Next, Richards asks “why should the rights of one group trump all other
rights?” He states that the right of homosexuals not to be offended trumps the “right
of Christians to be as Christian as Jesus intended”3. He then goes
on to state that the “homosexual community…appears not to be willing to accept
disapproval” and will not “settle for anything short of complete approval”3.
This is dishonest. All they ask is for tolerance, not approval, and certainly not
bigotry. A further dishonest claim by Richards is that Folau lists eight ‘behaviours’.
As MacCallum states (see above), homosexuality is not a choice; it is a matter
of a person’s sexual orientation, just like being of Polynesian descent is not
The hypocrisy of so many Christians never ceases to amaze me. To get an
understanding of the behaviours Folau actually does list, and the hypocrisy of Christians
who indulge in these, all you have to do is to look at people like Tony Abbott,
Barnaby Joyce, Scott Morrison and others5,6,7. They demonstrate so
many of the behaviours that according to Folau, make them all hell-bound.
All you have to do to be a decent human being, is to adhere to the golden rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you do also to them for this is the Law…”. Richards, like so many other Christians, especially those in parliament, has apparently forgotten this. It is from Matthew 7:12, in that book they all pretend to follow. However, before you let Christians tell you it was their idea, the concept of such reciprocity goes back to ancient Egypt, India, Greece, Rome and Persia, as far back as 4,000 years ago9. I think a quote from comedian George Carlin is appropriate here: “Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ‘til the end of time! But he loves you!”
It is sometimes difficult to distinguish religion from comedy.