Not content with losing his contract with Rugby Australia and Rugby New South Wales because of his hateful tweet about homosexuals being condemned to hell unless they repent1, now the buffoonish Israel Folau has said that the timing of the current round of bushfires was not a coincidence. He stated, in his often confusing way, at Kenthurst church: “Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time. You think it is a coincidence or not? … They have changed that law and legalised same-sex marriage and now those things are okay in society, going against the laws of what god says.”2 Like many modern christians, Folau has played the victim card by continuing: “As a christian in society, the world will look at you like you’re something different. If you speak the truth, they will try to shut you out. To be a Christian and stand up for the truth seems like a criminal act compared to people who do drugs, sexual assault, go and murder, the world will accept you. As soon as you stand up and stand for the truth and proclaim the truth, they will try to shut you out”2. In English, this means: firstly, that god is punishing random people, dogs, koalas, kangaroos, sheep and cattle who happen to live in the bush, because those in assorted parliaments have legalised same-sex marriage; secondly, that Christians are being shut out of society to prevent them from speaking out. This is simply garbage. Everybody, including climate change deniers, knows that the fire season is getting longer and more intense because of climate change3. And as for being shut out of society; religious nutters now run the Liberal Party and one of those religious nutters is the Prime Minister4,5,6. That hardly sounds like they are being marginalised.
Something that makes me shake my head in amazement is the inability of the religious, however small their sect or cult, to realise that other sects or cults have a different interpretation of the same book. Folau seems completely oblivious to the fact that several churches were supportive of same-sex marriage and gave away hatred of homosexuals long ago. He presumably believes his sect or cult the only ‘true’ one? He therefore probably believes his sect or cult the only one that has the correct interpretation of the bible? That sort of attitude is the problem in a nutshell, with all religion.
Folau’s comments were too much even for some who supported him when he was given the Rugby boot over his previous transgressions, with Alan Jones and Prime Minister Scott Morrison chiming in as well. Microphone bully, Alan Jones simply said initially that Folau’s comments “don’t help” and that Folau should just “button up”. It was only later that he acknowledged that the comments were “quite simply silly”. Morrison said that Folau’s comments were “appallingly insensitive” but did not go as far as to state that Folau’s views were silly7. This is because Morrison’s views are not too far away from the those of Folau, as indicated when Morrison praised his “strong character” and his “standing up for his faith” after Folau’s ‘homosexuals will go to hell’ rant of 20188. The Australian Christian Lobby has defended Folau, and lashed the media for attempting to “paraphrase a sermon” because sermons do not “lend themselves to quick soundbites”9. I’d hazard an opinion that Folau’s utterances are so poorly constructed, written and delivered, that paraphrasing is necessary to attempt to understand what the hell he is trying to say.
Morrison is always cagey with his religion. He invited the media into his church so he could be filmed waving his arms and yodelling, to let christians know that he was one of them. However, he will not discuss his beliefs in detail, so he cannot easily be grouped with religious nutters like Folau. Morrison will not tell you that he believes that evolution is a lie, that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that he is unconcerned about the future of the planet, because when the apocalypse comes, all the christians will be ‘saved’ and transported to heaven10. Morrison doesn’t want to talk about this because he knows religion is in decline, and he knows that to talk about it would make him appear just as ludicrously out of touch with an increasingly large part of the Australian population as Folau is.