Israel Folau has been slammed for linking the deadly bushfire crisis to the legalisation of same-sex marriage and abortion in a new sermon at his church.
The sacked Wallabies player told his controversial Truth of Jesus Christ Church on Sunday the bushfires that have claimed six lives and destroyed hundreds homes are God’s punishment for same-sex marriage and the recent legalisation of abortion in NSW.
“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?
“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.
“Abortion — it is okay now to murder and kill infants, unborn children, and they think that to be okay.”
The former Wallabies and NRL star said the drought was also a sign of Australia’s need to “repent”.
“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,” he said.
The sermon was posted on the church’s Facebook page on Sunday.
It comes after hundreds of homes were destroyed and four people have died as a result of the NSW fires alone. Bushfires continue to threaten homes in both New South Wales and Queensland.
Israel Folau sermon ‘pretty reprehensible’
Even Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Folau’s comments are “appallingly insensitive”.
“He’s a free citizen, he can say whatever he likes, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have regard to the grievous offence this would have caused to people whose homes have been burnt down,” he said.
“Let’s just focus on those who need our help most.
“If people don’t have something sensible or helpful to say, can you just keep it to yourself?”
LGBTIQ advocates, politicians and even Folau’s supporters have hit back at Israel Folau’s “reprehensible” sermon.
Activist Sally Rugg said on Twitter, “Most of us just roll our eyes at this ridiculous statement.
“But for kids who are beginning to figure out who they are and whether they’ll be okay, these horrible comments can have profound, lasting damage.”
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese told Sky News the comments are “pretty reprehensible”.
“I think most people when they think of God or spirituality, they think of something positive and they think of a loving God,” he said.
“They don’t think religion or faith in those terms and his comments are in line with some of his other comments, which are pretty reprehensible frankly.
“He’s entitled to his view but it’s also incumbent upon people who have a bit of common-sense here to reject those comments.”
Nationals backbencher Barnaby Joyce called for everyone to “concentrate on the bushfires” instead of Folau.
“He throws rocks at us so he feels good, we throw rocks back at him so we feel good,” Joyce told Channel Seven.
“But not one of those actions is making a sandwich for a person fighting the fires.
“Not one of those actions is actually in a fire truck trying to stop these fires.
“Israel can concentrate on what he wants to say and I don’t really care. We’ll concentrate on the fire.”
Australian Christian Lobby defends bushfire sermon
Australian Christian Lobby director Martyn Iles defended Folau’s sermon was “perfectly Biblical response” to the deadly bushfires.
“Folau said that the fires and drought should call us to repentance,” he said.
“Many Christians are reluctant to agree that this is a perfectly Biblical response. But it is.
“As just one example, Revelation is filled with a record of God’s judgments on the earth through time.
“Dare I say it’s a more obviously Christian reply to the issue than building solar panels or tearing down power stations?”
But even staunch Folau supporter Alan Jones slammed the former rugby star for the “unhelpful” comments.
“Israel is a lovely human being, I know him well. Israel, button up,” Jones said on 2GB.
“These comments don’t help.”
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