This column is not for the faint-hearted. The line here is bold and brass, and this surely is the place where we call succubus by name.

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Sacking Israel Folau – A Dangerous Precedent

Israel Folau

Christianophobia

The sacking of Israel Folau by the Wallabies is a shocking display of Chritianophobia! In this new attack on the freedoms that once underpinned the advancement of Western societies, a man is condemned, simply because he has articulated a contrary view. Israel Folau has not attacked or harmed anyone. He has simply repeated what he has inferred from the Bible in Galatians 5:19-21.

A Faulty Response

The problem with the response by the Wallabies is that it ignores the drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators, but singles out the homosexuals. Does this mean that the others do not have the same rights, or are they immune to offence? If the Wallabies, Australian Rugby and Qantas have a problem with offence to others, they should afford all groups the same protection. In which case, Folau should be asked to apologise to all fornicators and adulterers as well. After all, these are perfectly acceptable ways of life in society today.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

François-Marie Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire, circa 1758

Of Principle and Fairness

But then again, I doubt that this is about fairness or a matter of principle. It is a shameless attack on Christians and the right to be different in a post-moral society. All this would be funny if it was not so vile and dangerous. Do homosexuals, as a group, not individuals, believe in God and Hell? Even if they did, do they have the same perspective on deity as Folau? So why should they care if he has determined that they were Hell-bound; it is obvious that he is not God! Would I care if an atheist said I was deluded and bound for disappointment after death? Of course not, we believe differently and that opinion counts for zero with me. I should not even care to respond to it.

Of Muslims and Other Faiths

Should I be offended if Muslims feel that I am bound for Hell for not accepting the prophet Mohammed as God’s messenger and Islam as the only way to heaven? I know that is what the Koran teaches, and many adherents of that religion will profess this in their words and actions. But, as a Christian, I am not in anyway offended by their belief or their professions of said belief. It is their life and their choice. So long as I am not coerced to accede. That (coercion) would be the Rubicon, and thankfully, Folau is nowhere near it.

Now, it would be easy to walk on by and say nothing, but we must learn lessons from humanity’s previous mistakes. Today it is Qantas, the Wallabies and Australian Rugby that have singled out a young Christian because of his faith. Tomorrow any other employer, authority, or state, could leverage the same argument of offence to proscribe the expression of opinion that is contrary to that held dear by the powers that be.

Pastor Niemöller and the Nazis

In Nazi Germany, the following statement was made by pastor Martin Niemöller, it has since become a popular refrain of defenders of human liberties.

First they came for the communists, and I did
not speak out–
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

The Liberty to be Different

If we all keep quiet on the sacking of Israel Folau, we will be legitimising, or at least rationalising this evil. Any employer could build on this foundation to include prohibitions and contraints in the contracts that employees have to take or leave. For a country with a majority/dominant religion this could be an exclusion of any other religious belief. In a primarily atheist state, this could be a ban on all religious expression. All of course, in the overriding interest of avoiding an offence to a larger or more influential group. But with the express purpose of silencing those who are different.

If we all keep quiet on the sacking of Israel Folau, we will be legitimising, or at least rationalising this evil. Any employer could build on this foundation to include prohibitions and contraints in the contracts that employees have to take or leave. For a country with a majority/dominant religion this could be an exclusion of any other religious belief. In a primarily atheist state, this could be a ban on all religious expression. All of course, in the overriding interest of avoiding an offence to a larger or more influential group. But with the express purpose of silencing those who are different.

While the majority, probably non-religious, have welcomed the sacking, thousands of Aussies have come out in Folau’s support:
https://www.scmp.com/sport/rugby/fifteens/article/3006493/israel-folau-supporters-call-boycott-rugby-and-qantas-after

He is presently considering his options; one of which is to go to court. It will be interesting to see how the court will handle this. Reason being, a secular court cannot consider issues of deity, if it is to remain true to itself.

The Sacred and the Secular

In a keynote address to the first annual conference of the Law Society’s family law section, on the theme ‘The Sacred and the Secular’, Sir James Munby opined that courts, and society as a whole, face enormous challenges in today’s largely secular and religiously pluralistic society. He said: “We live in a society, which on many of the medical, social and religious topics that the courts recently have to grapple with, no longer speaks with one voice,”. And further that, “These are topics on which men and women of different faiths or no faith at all hold starkly different views. All of these views are entitled to the greatest respect, but it is not for a judge to choose between them,”.
https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/the-courts-are-secular-says-top-family-judge/5038456.article

Unity of Abrahamic Faiths

If that is a respected legal opinion, how can a fair justice system found a case on matters beyond the secular? The interpretation of the law can be liberal at times, but I struggle to see how a secular court can determine offence that is founded on the existence of God and Hell. We shall wait and see. But in the meantime, we must complain loudly and speak up for our ever-dwindling rights. We are caught between two advancing, powerful, and exclusivist forces: scientific atheism on the one hand and post-moral indulgence on the other. It is time for the Abrahamic faiths to unite and stand, or continue the in-fighting and be picked off at leisure.


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