Israel Folau: Faith Is Greater Than Sport

Increasingly, Christians are having to make hard decisions about standing firm in their faith or kowtowing to the secular religion. Israel Folau is stating that his faith is more important than his sport. Notice how the ABC verbals him in the article while showing his actual tweets way down the article.

From the ABC:

Israel Folau is prepared to ‘walk away’ from rugby union over beliefs

Updated 

Wallabies' Israel Folau tackled by All Blacks' Rieko Ioane and Beauden Barrett

Wallabies star Israel Folau has said he is prepared to walk away from rugby if his situation becomes untenable due to his Christian beliefs.

Folau was heavily criticised for a post on Instagram two weeks ago in which he said God’s plan for gay people was “HELL”.

The 29-year-old said he was disappointed in the way Monday’s meeting with ARU chief executive Raelene Castle and NSW Rugby chief Andrew Hore to discuss his social media use was portrayed to the media by Castle.

“After the meeting I went home, turned on the TV and was really disappointed with some of the things that were said in the press conference,” Folau wrote in a column on PlayersVoice.

“I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my comments, and did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia.”

Folau said he has “no phobia towards anyone” but refused to back down on his beliefs, revealing he told Castle he would quit rugby if those beliefs were harming the game.

“I didn’t agree with Bill Pulver taking a stance on the same-sex marriage vote on behalf of the whole organisation, but I understand the reasons behind why he did,” he wrote.

“After we’d all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable — that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through — I would walk away from my contract, immediately.”

Castle called Folau a “strong role model” after Monday’s meeting.

“We are in a negotiation with Israel to extend [his contract] and we would really like him to stay in rugby, that’s hugely important to us, he is a great player, he has delivered some great outcomes for us and has been a really strong role model in the Pacific Islander community and we would like to see he stays in rugby,” she said.

When asked if Folau understood the pain his comments could cause, Castle replied: “Yes, and I think Israel has acknowledged that maybe he could have put a positive spin on that same message and done it in a more respectful way.”

‘My faith is more important than my career’

Folau said he “could never shy away from who I am or what I believe”, and speculation he was looking for a way out of his ARU contract to take up big offers elsewhere was false.

“There have been things written about me angling to get a release from my Rugby Australia deal to pursue an NRL contract. That simply isn’t true,” he said.

“There have been rugby offers from the UK, Europe and Japan that are way above anything I could earn in Australia.

“This is not about money or bargaining power or contracts. It’s about what I believe in and never compromising that, because my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.”

The rugby league and AFL convert said his Instagram comment was to give someone “guidance”, not to cause offence.

“Since my social media posts were publicised, it has been suggested that I am homophobic and bigoted and that I have a problem with gay people,” he wrote.

“This could not be further from the truth.

“I fronted the cover of the Star Observer magazine to show my support for the Bingham Cup, which is an international gay rugby competition for both men and women.

“I believe in inclusion. In my heart, I know I do not have any phobia towards anyone.”

Folau has previously spoken out against same-sex marriage, after the Wallabies expressed support for the Yes campaign last year.

In a tweet posted on September 13 last year, Folau said: “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions but personally, I will not support gay marriage.”

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Gun Control in the U.S. and Australia

There is an interesting article over at The Unshackled this afternoon about the results of Australia’s gun control laws.

It is often claimed that there have been no mass shootings in Australia since John Howard brought in tougher regulations in 1996 following the Port Arthur massacre. Except that isn’t true, unless you change the definition of “mass shooting” to fit the story you want to tell.

Here is the graph I found interesting:

From the graph, which covers all gun deaths per 100,000 population, Australia’s gun death rate was already in decline a decade before the laws passed and, apart from a drop after 1996, the gun laws have probably made no long term difference.

In the U.S. there was a drop from 15 deaths per 100,000 in 1992 to 10 in 1999 where it has stayed at since.

The biggest cause of gun deaths in the United States is actually black on black gang related deaths in inner city areas. No amount of  gun control legislation will fix that problem, which is an ugly mix of long term poverty, poor education and poor public housing policies.

 

 

Israel Folau, heaven and free speech

From The Centre For Independent Studies, a defence of free speech in Australia.

Right to speak threatened

Peter Kurti

13 APRIL 2018 | IDEAS@THECENTRE

Enjoy speaking your mind and sharing your views while you can. The rights to freedom of speech, conscience, and religious belief look set to disappear very soon from Australia.

And it will certainly happen if the corporate guardians of public morality have their way following the grilling given to Wallabies superstar Israel Folau who is a devout, conservative Christian.

Falou holds some very traditional Christian beliefs about sin, heaven and hell, and homosexuality. He expressed his view that gay people should repent in this life to avoid being sent to hell.

You can agree or disagree with Izzy. But either way, if Australia is a genuinely free country, he should be free to express his genuinely held religious beliefs.

And if we are a genuinely tolerant country, we will let Izzy say what he thinks even though many of us may strongly disagree with what he says. Remember: tolerating views you agree with is easy.

We often confuse tolerance with ‘respect’. But real tolerance means putting up with the opinions of others that you think are simply wrong — or even abhorrent and repellent.

After all, we clearly expect Izzy to tolerate all the views bluntly expressed by his many critics, including corporate sponsors such as Qantas and ASICS, who accuse him of homophobia, and worse.

Obviously, when he answered the Instagram question, Izzy wasn’t representing the views of Rugby Australia, or ASIC, or Qantas. Only a fool would have failed to see they were his personal views.

Yet now there appears to be a concerted push to silence Izzy and force him to keep his religious beliefs to himself. But why should he keep quiet?

Freedom of speech means sometimes people will say things that others find disagreeable. And if we truly value such freedom, we will stop trying to silence those who offend us.

We are gradually, but inexorably, tipping towards a new kind of totalitarianism where any controversial or awkward opinion is silenced, and all dissent is crushed into submission.

Now is the time to stop this dangerous slide towards tyranny and intolerance. If we delay too long, it will be too late for us, and we will all be muzzled for good.

This is an edited extract of a piece written for the Daily Telegraph.

The Cricket Scandal

The news reports have been full of the cricket cheating scandal for a week now.

Many people have commented about the issue. The overwhelming response is disappointment and anger at the cricket team.

That’s the surprise for me. When we are daily bombarded with the poor behaviour of politicians, footballers, celebrities, and the banks why would we expect anything else?

We have abandoned any basis for morality with the rejection of christianity and the embrace of secular humanism. The overwhelming popular morality is “It’s OK if nobody gets hurt.”

Nobody got hurt with the ball tampering plot, so what’s wrong? Cricket Australia tried to avoid the “c” word- cheat.

Nobody got hurt when Barnaby Joyce traded in his wife for a younger model- except for his wife and daughters of course, but people move on.

In both cases some people have claimed that the original “sins” were compounded by lying and covering up. Really? We get upset about lies in a post-truth age? Sandpaper or yellow tape, really who cares?

We do care, because deep down we know that there are objective standards of moral behaviour, right and wrong. We might give ourselves a free pass with our own faults, but we expect better of our “betters”.

God has set some rules that are universally applicable. Don’t cheat. Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t murder. Don’t commit adultery.

On the eve of Good Friday some commentators are starting to come around to the idea of forgiveness and redemption.  Real redemption only comes from the cross of Christ and only after we acknowledge our own sin.

There’s the rub. We want forgiveness without repentance from sins we don’t acknowledge and a saviour we refuse to believe in. We think others should set a better example without thinking the same should be true of ourselves.

So after a four day long weekend we will be ready for next week’s scandal and asking ourselves again, “How can this be happening?”

Easter in Australia

Bernard Gaynor writes:

 

‘There’s not much else to do Good Friday’.

These words come from the philosopher extraordinaire, Jack Ziebell, who otherwise passes his time as the captain of the North Melbourne footy club.

He was urging people to get down to the temple of bread and circuses and worship whatever out of pure boredom and idle curiosity this Friday. Apparently the nation has the day off but no one is quite sure why.

Jack Ziebell may not realise it, but his few words speak volumes about the cultural malaise that is eroding away the social fabric of Australia and tearing it apart. We have lost all bearings with our past and so have no idea where we are headed, let alone what we are doing now.

But just to make things clear, this is what Good Friday is all about:

Good Friday

You might think it’s all a bunch of fairy tales. But here is the practical reality of that: if ‘Good Friday’ is meaningless, don’t expect the state to keep it as a day free from work much longer.

Meaningless days are days of work.

And even if you think the Bible is a book of fiction, it is still the story that has transformed our culture and society.

Good Friday is the most epic of epics in human history.

That Man on that cross.

According to the writers He was hung there after being falsely accused. And after the false accusers contradicted themselves. And after the man who sentenced Him even questioned whether truth mattered at all. And after the rabble outside bayed for the release of a murderer instead of the one who had given them bread for their bodies and their souls.

You really can’t make this stuff up.

And to cap it all off, the official crime Christ was convicted of was claiming that He was divine.

Then, to demonstrate the blinding folly of the accusation, He rose from the dead. In other words, the accusation was true and it was because Christ is God that His body was broken.

None of us today would have acted any differently than the central characters of this story because we are all flawed and weak and self-interested.

Just like they did 2,000 years ago, we would have welcomed Christ as King on the Sunday and then cheered as he was executed a mere five days later. And then, just as they did, we would have descended to the truly bizarre: placing a guard over a dead man’s tomb.

That’s the first part of the story.

It, more than any other narrative, captures the truly flawed essence of human nature. We might live in a newly humanist world but the most human of all stories was written two millennia ago.

But it’s the second part of it that makes it so vast, so immense and so far beyond the scope of human understanding that we are only left to wonder.

It’s the fact that the risen Christ died not just by us, but for us. The sequel to the pain of Good Friday is the hope and forgiveness and glory of Easter Sunday.

However, like I said, you might think it is all a load of rubbish.

Nonetheless, that ‘rubbish’ transformed the Western world. All our notions of justice and truth and forgiveness and society and morality come from the story of the cross.

That, in itself, is worth more than a footy game.

But I do believe this story is true. Every word of it.

The twelve men who stood with Christ during His life all gave their own after His death.

One by his own hand. He could not live with his actions.

The rest by the hand of others.

For what the world today claims to be a lie, they gave a life.

And here’s the hard reality: the only alternative to accepting the truth of this story is to believe that these men – every single one of them – willingly died for something that they knew to be false.

That, truly, is too much to believe.

No one dies for a lie. And they certainly did not either. Instead they, like the society around them, were transformed by that Man on the cross.

That, also, is worth more than a game of footy.

But, sadly, Australia has forgotten all of this and thrown in a real epic for bread and circuses.

We are returning to the barbaric paganism of Roman times. They had their games back then too. But until Christ transformed society, the contestants in those games only received the man of the match award if they survived it.

Jack Ziebell might like to ponder that next time he’s out spruiking an event for the culturally dead Australian Football League (which is the true Pontius Pilate in this modern day matter) that thumbs its nose at the glory of our civilisation and demands a return to those dark ages that enveloped the world before the sun rose over that empty tomb.

ABC Continues to Smear Churches With Dodgy Headlines

Either Julia Baird is on a crusade against churches or she has no clue about how to interpret statistics. Judging by her previous articles it is both.

Having said that, the substance of the survey is disturbing.

The authors of the report admit that the respondents were self-selecting. Something along the lines of “Call us if you want to take part in research into domestic violence in churches.” Obviously those who have some experience of the issue are more likely to reply to that invitation.

So we don’t know from this that the figure is one in four of all churchgoers. It could be one in ten or one in twenty.

Having said that, any domestic violence (perpetrated by men or women) within a church is unacceptable. What is scary is their statement that independent or newly established evangelical and charismatic churches are more likely to have DV happening in their midst. This would be especially true in the rapidly growing churches and those with superficial relationships.

Anyway, it looks like I might need to do some research and preventative work at the very least.

From the ABC

One in four churchgoers in abusive relationships, UK study finds

Updated 

A woman prays over a bible.

 

One in four churchgoers has experienced domestic abuse in their current relationship, according to a new study in Britain.

The research, conducted in Cumbria by academics at Coventry University and the University of Leicester in conjunction with Christian charity Restored, has led to urgent calls for churches in Britain and Australia to expose and counter abuse in their midst, with the authors finding more priests need to publicly condemn abuse “from the pulpit”.

Almost half of those who sought help from their church (47.2 per cent) said they were unlikely to do so again, if they experienced abuse in the future.

Only two in seven thought their church was adequately equipped to deal with a disclosure of abuse.

Mandy Marshall, a co-founder of Restored, a global Christian alliance that aims to end violence against women, said: “One of the biggest barriers we have faced is Christians not believing that domestic abuse could happen in their church.”

She added: “My hope is that this research is a wake-up call to all churches to recognise that domestic abuse happens in churches, too, and that we need to respond appropriately and effectively when domestic abuse is disclosed.”

The study comes after an ABC News investigation found women in Australian Christian communities — a number of them clergy wives — were being told to endure or forgive domestic violence and stay in abusive relationships, and that churches of all denominations had too often ignored their reports, failed to recognise the different forms abuse took and did not ensure safety or provide adequate care.and humiliation.

Dr Kristin Aune, of Coventry University, the study’s lead author, said: “A quarter of the people we heard from told us they had been physically hurt by their partners, sexually assaulted, emotionally manipulated, or had money withheld from them.”

The most commonly experienced form of abuse was emotional.

Barbara Roberts, the leader of A Cry For Justice, a website for Christian survivors of domestic violence, said the new research gives Australian church leaders a strong mandate to address domestic abuse more forcefully.

“We need clergy to speak up about domestic abuse,” Ms Roberts told ABC News. “But when they speak without much knowledge, they can do more harm than good.”

Read the full article here