Israel Folau of the Wallabies celebrates after scoring a try in Canberra.
Israel Folau of the Wallabies celebrates after scoring a try in Canberra.

‘Persecuted’ Folau’s cryptic posts amid backlash

ISRAEL Folau appears to be positioning himself as persecuted in the debate around the views he expressed on gay people, before a meeting with rugby bosses.

The Wallabies superstar has tweeted a Bible verse seemingly alluding to being persecuted for his Christian views.

Folau caused an uproar when he said last week gay people were destined for hell "unless they repent of their sins and turn to God."

Israel Folau’s controversial comment on Instagram about gays.
Israel Folau’s controversial comment on Instagram about gays.

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle and Waratahs chief executive Andrew Hore are set to meet Folau on Tuesday over his use of social media, after the now deleted comment, which contrasts to the pro same sex marriage position of the organisation's major sponsor Qantas.

A devout Christian, Folau posted to Twitter late on Sunday the Matthew 5 verse stating, "blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."

 

Castle last week said RA were treating the matter seriously. "Israel's comment reflects his personal religious beliefs, however it does not represent the view of Rugby Australia or NSW Rugby," Castle said in a statement.

"We are aligned in our view that rugby is a game for all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender, which is clearly articulated in rugby's inclusion policy.

"We understand that Israel's comment has upset a number of people and we will discuss the matter with him as soon as possible."

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle is set to meet with Israel Folau.
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle is set to meet with Israel Folau.

It's unlikely either side will easily give up their positions but RA and the Waratahs will certainly hope Folau can be persuaded not to continue expressing such a controversial stance publicly.

Folau expressed his support for the 'no' campaign during same sex marriage plebiscite voting, while RA was one of a number of sporting bodies to back the successful bid for equality.

Off contract at the end of the year, three times John Eales Medallist Folau has seemingly contravened RA's inclusion policy.

"There is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words both on and off the field must reflect this," the policy states.



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