2017 Rugby Championship, Bledisloe, Australia vs New Zealand, 19th August, ANZ Stadium, Sydney. | Photo: www.davidmolloyphotography.com / Wikimedia Commons
Australian rugby star Israel Folau has today (14 April) doubled down on his anti-gay remarks from last week.
The 30-year-old rugby union player said ‘hell awaits’ homosexuals on Instagram. He also said people need to ‘repent’ for a new Tasmanian law allowing parents to opt out of putting their child’s gender on birth certificates.
In a new interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Folau said he stands by his comments.
When asked if he would reconsider his views, he responded: ‘Absolutely not.’
He then added: ‘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.
‘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,’ he said.
He attended church service today (14 April) and said he has everyone in the congregation’s full support.
God or rugby?
When asked if he would walk away from rugby over his anti-gay views, he responded: ‘Absolutely’.
He then added: ‘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,’ he said.
The choice over his sporting career or his faith comes about after Rugby Australia threatened to terminate his contract for the anti-gay comment.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle and NSW chief executive Andrew Hore released a joint statement on the issue.
They slammed the rugby star for his post and his refusal to return their calls.
‘In the absence of compelling mitigating factors, it is our intention to terminate his contract,’ they said in a statement.
Folau reportedly informed them he would be seeking a code of conduct hearing, according to the Daily Telegraph. He told them he would be exercising his right to defend himself before his employment can be ended.