Bob Katter has claimed the backlash against Israel Folau for linking the deadly bushfires to same-sex marriage amounts to “intense Christian persecution”.
In a lengthy statement on Monday, the outspoken Queensland MP admitted he “disagrees with Folau on some elements of theology and fundamentalism” without elaborating.
“But the intense persecution that he has been suffering to me is just continuation of the religious persecution that is taking place against Christianity almost everywhere in Australia,” Bob Katter said.
“Is [Folau’s sermon] any different to blaming the greenies for the fires? And is there any logic in the greenies blaming the people for the fires?
“They listen to the scientists with a different point of view. The scientists can argue, the theologists can’t.”
Katter claimed Folau is “clearly a preacher” and said he was “inspirational” to him for putting his “moral convictions over his personal income… whether I agree with what he is saying or I don’t.”
The Queensland MP went on to compare the backlash against Folau to convicted child abuser Cardinal George Pell and disgraced former Archbishop Peter Hollingworth.
“Whether you agree with [Folau’s comments] or not, rest assured they will come after you,” Bob Katter said.
“They managed to take out Pell and Hollingworth, and now they are going after the most prominent spokesperson for the Evangelic church.
“The great Thomas Jefferson said: ‘I do not agree often with what you are saying, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.’”
Bob Katter has entered the chat…it’s an even more cooked take on Folau than you’d ever imagine pic.twitter.com/t0Or6xLVD0
— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) November 18, 2019
Prime Minister Scott Morrison slams Israel Folau
Even Folau’s conservative supporters have backed away from Israel Folau after his bushfire sermon on Sunday.
In it, Folau said the deadly fires and drought are God’s punishment for legalising same-sex marriage and abortion.
“You have changed the law and changed the ordinance of these things. Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time,” he said.
“You think it is a coincidence or not? God is speaking to you guys, Australia.
“You need to repent and you need to take these laws and turn it back to what is right by God.”
Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies wrote on Twitter, “I urge all Christians to continue to show compassion for #bushfire victims, pray the threat will ease and be thankful to God where it does.
“We should not describe any tragic event as the direct judgment of God on individuals.”
Folau supporter Alan Jones downplayed his bushfire comments as “quite simply silly”.
“Israel is a lovely human being, I know him well. Button up. These comments don’t help,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison blasted Folau’s comments as “appallingly insensitive”.
“He can say whatever he likes, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have regard to the grievous offence” felt by bushfire victims, Morrison said.
Bob Katter’s allegations of Christian persecution come as the Morrison government prepares to introduce the controversial religious discrimination bill to parliament.
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