Israel Folau with his wife Maria at Kenthurst Uniting Church.
Picture: Hollie Adams
by Alan Jones
I’ve known Senator Cory Bernardi for a long time.
A finer human being I have never met.
Only this week he ruled out returning to the Liberal Party after having formed, in February 2017, his own party, the Australian Conservatives.
To demonstrate his honour he made the point this week, “If you’ve left an organisation, no matter how well-intentioned the decision was, I don’t think it’s right to say ‘can I come back?’”
This suggests a man with a commendable moral compass.
Against that, it is therefore instructive to note that in relation to Israel Folau, Cory Bernardi has said,
“I find it extraordinary that quoting from the best-selling book in the history of the world is a breach of contract … this is corporate bullying. Alan Joyce wants to weigh into this Folau argument all the time. But he hasn’t weighed in on Emirates or the approach of the Middle East to gay people. He’s happy to do business with them.”
Cory Bernardi summed it up beautifully, “Regrettably, social activists rarely have the consistency gene, choosing instead to back the tribe over the principle.”
As he also said, “Naturally, no one complained about the mention of drunks and adulterers, even though there are legions of them. But the reference to homosexuals sparked an avalanche of outrage from the PC brigade.”
As Cory Bernardi said of Folau,
“… from his perspective, he’s trying to actually help people by reminding them that much of what is considered acceptable today is still considered sinful under Christian teachings … tens of thousands of preachers, pastors and priests say the same thing to their congregations every single day.”
It is instructive to compare an earlier statement by Israel Folau in which he said at the time of the same-sex marriage debate, “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. But personally, I will not support gay marriage.”
Now, I did support gay marriage. I believe that love is very elusive, and if people can find genuine love they shouldn’t have to apologise for it or explain themselves in relation to it.
But Israel Folau expressed an alternative view.
This is what the battle is about; the right to do that without persecution.
As Janet Albrechtsen wrote this week,
“The sporting censors are stifling basic freedoms, be it Folau expressing his religious beliefs about homosexuals, adulterers and thieves or the right of a bloke watching an AFL match to direct a few choice words at an umpire.”
The former National Party MP, John “Wacka” Williams, has also highlighted the absurdity of the situation in which quoting the Bible contravenes vilification laws.
“Wacka” Williams said, “Three times I have been sworn into the Senate on my great, great grandfather’s Bible. If you go to court, you swear on the Bible to tell the truth. But don’t quote from the Bible or you’ll be sacked.”
As Miranda Devine wrote this week, and I concur,
“I don’t agree that homosexuals are automatically bound for hell any more than drunks, fornicators, idolaters or any of the bulk of Australians on his list of ‘sinners’ whom he urged to repent.
But why must Folau be sacked, hounded out of sport, bankrupted and threatened with audits by unnamed tax officials …
why must his netball star wife, Silver Fern, Maria Folau, be attacked for posting a link to his GoFundMe account to the point that the ANZ Bank has expressed displeasure to Netball New Zealand.”
The sheer effrontery and audacity of ANZ sucks the oxygen out of the room. A bank, found at the Royal Commission to have some serious moral and ethical issues is now lecturing others on moral and ethical issues — self-awareness, zero.
The City Journal is a public policy magazine and website that covers a wide range of topics.
In a brilliant piece, recently, it offered an observation into which the Folau episode can be given some context; or anyone else who dares to speak against the settled orthodoxy.
And this is why people are subscribing to the Folau cause — not because they are bigots or even because they are religious; but rather as Miranda Devine has written, “They are donating because they know they are next. How many quiet Australians work for companies like Qantas and have to stay silent in the face of gratuitous, corporate activism that conflicts with their private values?”
Why are they silent and frightened to speak, though social media does provide them with some cover?
Well, City Journal explains:
“Under Stalinism, dissidents were liquidated or vanished into the gulag; the American left could only liquidate careers and disappear reputations …”
Fast forward to 2019 from the 1930s and that is what is happening with Israel Folau.
His career and that of his wife are being liquidated and their reputations are being “disappeared”.
The support for Israel Folau comes not just from the quiet Australians putting their hands in their pockets; people from the left and the right, in the political spectrum, are rallying to the cause.
Gillian Triggs, the former Human Rights Commissioner has said,
“I don’t think employers should have the power to sack someone and I don’t think that one should lose one’s job for putting a view in good faith that you have put, particularly as a reflection, that could be a religious view … it is a very wide view. It encompasses a lot of us. We are all going to go to hell. I think it’s really foolish and disproportionate to prevent him from preaching something that I think he probably believes quite deeply as a matter of religious expression.”
And this is the guts of it.
Thousands and thousands of quiet Australians have donated generously and many of them are the same quiet Australians who stood up for religious freedom at the federal election on May 18.
Martyn Iles is the General Manager of the Australian Christian Lobby and he said Israel Folau’s treatment “speaks volumes” of the religious freedom challenges in society and he argues Australian politicians cannot “wash their hands like Pontius Pilate” when it comes to the issue of religious freedom.
He said, correctly and ominously, “It’s time for our politicians to lead. It’s time for Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese to outline in detail how they will protect people of faith and the important principles of freedom that are raised by Israel’s case.”
Tom Mangan wrote to the newspapers this week, from Woy Woy,
“I’m a homosexual, an atheist and a serial drunk so I don’t know if there is a deep enough circle in hell for Israel to consign me to. However, I don’t give a toss what he thinks, or says, where or when he says it or to whom. I would rather see tough and vigorous discussion than this mealy-mouthed attempt to shut opinion down. I have confidence that the majority has enough common sense and fairness to handle full and open debate to a reasonable outcome.”
One of my listeners made a telling point, “Here is a question for Scott Morrison. The Australian rugby team is only allowed to have the national coat of arms on the jersey with the permission of the Australian Government. Will Scott Morrison, a Christian, allow, the Wallabies to continue as a national team, with the national coat of arms, while it persecutes a Christian rugby player?”
Among the mountain of correspondence I have received, I noted a piece from a, highly intelligent rugby international from the 60s, a magnificent centre, who wrote in part,
“I can’t see why anyone would be offended by his restating the particular biblical text, especially if they didn’t believe in hell, then his beliefs become irrelevant.
As it turns out, I am one of those sinners and I am certainly not weighed down by guilt, nor do I feel that I have been vilified.
I don’t think you can regard this case as a normal one. It is a landmark event with enormous consequences for our society and with so many affected by the outcome.
I think it’s reasonable that all the expense doesn’t fall on one individual.
One of the most famous landmark decisions was started by Eddie Mabo with the case lasting 10 years. He probably didn’t pay a cent. And people wouldn’t argue against that as he was fighting for a principle which deserved financial support.”
Only this week, media-barons were at the National Press Club, in the wake of Federal Police raids, arguing for their freedoms to express views.
But, as one correspondent said, they don’t seem to “give a rat’s about similar individual rights”.
I wrote earlier this year on this matter and cited the words of Martin Niemoller, the German theologian and Lutheran Pastor, best known for his opposition to the Nazi regime during the 1930s. In his widely quoted poem, First They Came, he argued:
“First they came for the socialists and I didn’t speak out because I was not a socialist.
“Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew.
“And then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”
That is where we are today.
This courageous young Polynesian Christian is fighting for all of us. There is a corollary to the freedom of speech and it is the freedom not to listen and the freedom to ignore.
Put bluntly, this Folau affair is simply another excuse to beat up on Christians and their faith; and another example of rule 13 of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.
Alinsky is an American writer and community organiser.
He died in 1972.
Rule 13 is simple.
It’s at work here against Israel and Maria Folau.
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalise it and polarise it.”
And that is why this young man deserves support — Israelfolau.com.au
For those of you who have written to me and expressed your hope that this gifted footballer is in a good place, Israel Folau told me on Tuesday night, “Going really well. Thanks, mate. Faith is strong and nothing to fear or worry about. Thanks for your support.”
There is a good man of moral courage leading as Will Swanton wrote beautifully in this paper on Wednesday, “a deep and meaningful existence that goes beyond himself”.
Think about it. Put to a similar test, would we respond in the same way?
No hate, just calm faith in his God. It is a comfort that seemingly only a deep Christian faith can provide.
Original Source: Date-stamped: 2019 JUNE 28 - Time-stamped: 12:00 am Author: Alan Jones Article Title: Courageous Folau is fighting for all of us. Article Link: www.theaustralian.com.au