Sacked Australian rugby star Israel Folau claimed the country’s devastating bushfire crisis and record-breaking levels of drought are “a little taste of what’s God’s judgement is like” during a sermon at the Church of Jesus Christ in Sydney.
Folau was stripped of his $4m Rugby Australia contract earlier this year after a string of homophobic social media posts, where he claimed that transgender people were evil and paraphrased a Bible passage saying “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” would go to hell unless they repent. He has since said that he has “absolutely” no regrets over the posts.
Folau is attempting to challenge the verdict in court, seeking $10m in damages, and set up a GoFundMe account which raised more than $750,000 towards legal fees before being taken down by the crowdfunding page due to breaching their terms of service.
Speaking at his local church on Sunday, Folau said: “They’ve legalised same-sex marriage … which is going against the laws that God says... “Abortion – it’s OK now to murder and kill infants, unborn children – and they deem that to be OK. Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things they’ve come in a short period of time – you think it’s a coincidence or not?
“What you see out there in the world – it’s only a little taste of what God’s judgment is like. The news is saying these bushfires are the worst we’ve ever seen in Australia – they haven’t seen anything. God is speaking to us. Speaking to you to repent and to turn away from this.”
Folau then continued to claim that same-sex marriage and abortion are “evil in the eyes of God” but deemed by society as “good”.
“This generation is full of arrogance and full of pride,” he said. “They want to turn their back on God. They don’t want to know one bit of who God is because they’re so immersed in their sinful, wicked, evil ways.”
Folau is the first Australian athlete to be sacked for expressing religious beliefs and, in April, he became emotional as he preached about Bible figures who’d stood up for their faith.
“At some stage, each and every one of us will face our own fiery furnace, and some of us may have already faced that,” he said. “In your workforce, if they’re telling you something that will compromise your faith, this is a test of faith in which you’re going to be put in a challenge, and the question is ‘What are you going to do?’
“With these guys, they were challenged and it was a matter of life and death, physical death. But they understood their treasures were stored up in heaven, not here on Earth.”