Israel Folau and the Hypocrisy of His Haters

Australian rugby great Israel Folau is two days into his kangaroo court trial for quoting the Bible on social media. Rugby Australia has confirmed that the code of conduct hearing will continue for a third day on Tuesday, with experts tipping that a final verdict may be weeks or even years away if a settlement isn’t reached.

Izzy is in hot water for expressing beliefs that corporate giants Rugby Australia and Qantas say aren’t inclusive enough. What these corporations should explain is how tearing up Folau’s $4 million contract, simply for expressing a tenet of his religious faith, is somehow consistent with their own inclusion policies.

In the words of Alan Jones, former coach of the Australia national rugby union team,

“How odd that Rugby Australia preaches ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusiveness’ when what they really mean is uniformity or exclusion.”

Media personalities and other stakeholders are scrambling over each other to express their outrage at Folau’s Christian beliefs.

Even the boss of Sport Australia, Kate Palmer, has praised Rugby Australia for targeting Folau, urging other codes to follow their example, saying, “divisive and discriminatory beliefs [are] harmful to sport and the broader Australian community.” Ironically, she’s unable to see that her beliefs about Folau fit the same description.

This is only the beginning of the astounding hypocrisy of Israel Folau’s haters. Consider three more examples that should be making headlines.

1. The Qantas and Emirates Partnership

It’s 2007. Alexander Robert, a 15 year old from Switzerland, bursts into tears as a Dubai police doctor, having inspected him, insinuates that he has had consensual gay sex. In truth, he was kidnapped by three men, held at knifepoint in the desert, and raped.

UAE authorities discouraged Alexander’s family from pressing charges, and they also failed to inform him of the HIV status of one of his attackers. This is just one of a string of stories of injustice in the emirate city of Dubai.

In 2008, two women were arrested and jailed for a month each for kissing on a Dubai beach. In 2011, two expats in Dubai were given a year in jail for having sex in a car. A year later, another gay couple received a six month jail term after being seen by a cleaner having sex in a public toilet.

More alarming still is that any of these people could have suffered the death penalty, given that homosexuality is still punishable by death in Dubai.

All of this points to a staggering hypocrisy on the part of Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, who is a gay man himself. Qantas, the national flag carrier of Australia, enjoys a formal partnership with Emirates, the flagship airline of Dubai.

Since the beginning of their six-year partnership, Joyce has voiced no concern over Dubai’s abject violation of human rights towards the gay community. Yet he was one of the first to throw Israel Folau to the lions merely for voicing his beliefs online, saying the star’s social media comments “clearly don’t reflect the spirit of inclusion and diversity that we support.

Sports columnist Mark Reason summed it up well when he said,

“It seems very peculiar that Rugby Australia can partner with Qantas, whose sister airline is Emirates, the flagship of a state where homosexuality is a jailable offence, and yet cast Folau out into the wilderness.”

Even gay activists have labelled the hypocrisy of it all a kind of “queer fascism”.

It’s tempting to speculate that Qantas doesn’t hate intolerance—it just hates Christians. But let’s be charitable and assume that they just love profit more than their own principles.

2. Racial Prejudice Against Pacific Islanders

The untold story in the Izzy saga is the racial prejudice that Rugby Australia has shown towards its pacific islander players. One third of last year’s World Cup team were Polynesian—many of them considering their Christian faith central to their identity.

One of these is “Tongan Thor” Taniela Tupou, part of the national squad, who last week took to social media with these brave words:

“Seriously might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs. I will never apologise for my faith and what I believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby anyways.”

This was after Billy Vunipola was given the sack by the UK’s Channel 4 as the face of their European rugby coverage for defending Folau’s Instagram post. Vunipola plays for the English national team but was born to Tongan parents.

But the witch hunt didn’t stop there. Vunipola was issued with a formal warning by the UK’s Rugby Football Union, a mark that will remain on his disciplinary record for five years and may impact the future of his career.

Over Easter, another wallaby, Samu Kerevi, quoted John 3:16 on Instagram with the words, “Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus”—and then spent the next few days in the spotlight trying to work out whether he should apologise for his post or stand by it.

If Rugby Australia are successful in tearing up Izzy’s $4 million contract, they may win the battle but lose the war. Some commentators warn of a Polynesian revolt from the national team.

Not only will this risk their own financial ruin, but it will expose Raelene Castle and Rugby Australia’s hypocrisy further as they seek to colonise Pacific Island players with their predominantly white, demonstrably narrow, queer-normative viewpoint.

3. “No” Voters in the Postal Plebiscite Betrayed

When same-sex marriage was debated in the lead-up to the postal vote, many Australians of faith were genuinely concerned about the impact it would have on religious freedom in our nation— in particular, freedom of speech.

While the more moderate voices in parliament took these concerns seriously, many dismissed this fear out-of-hand, labelling it a red herring, a scare tactic, or even a trojan horse to advance discrimination against minorities.

Labor leader Bill Shorten told a press conference that same-sex marriage posed no threat to religious practice, saying that all such talk was a “distraction” and a “separate discussion”.

Fiona McLeod, President of the Australian Law Council, long-standing supporters of the “Yes” vote said,

“Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples will not impact upon another fundamental right, freedom of religion.”

Alex Greenwich, co-convener of Australian Marriage Equality, proclaimed with confidence that

“There are clear, strong and robust religious protections in the draft legislation.”

Even members of the Liberal party lined up with their reassurances. “You can have religious freedom and you can have same sex marriage and by Christmas we’ll have both,” George Brandis, then Attorney-General, famously declared.

Malcolm Turnbull himself reached out to Aussies of faith, promising,

“As strongly as I believe in the right of same-sex couples to marry, even more strongly, if you like, do I believe in religious freedom.”

Where are they all now?

One of Australia’s greatest sporting heroes is having his career shredded simply for challenging the new (eighteen-month-young) orthodoxy, and they stand by in silence—or worse, join in the “crucify” chorus.

Hypocrisy doesn’t even begin to describe it.

You might dislike Folau’s faith or the way he expressed it. But regardless of your religious views, it’s time for all concerned Australians to stand up and defend free speech while we still have it.

By |2019-05-07T08:15:40+00:00May 7th, 2019|Australia, Authors, Freedom, World|51 Comments

About the Author:

Kurt Mahlburg is a qualified primary school teacher and a freelance writer. He blogs at and writes for the Canberra Declaration and occasionally The Spectator Australia. He has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same. Kurt has also studied architecture, has lived for two years on a remote island in Indonesia, is fluent in several Indonesian languages, and among his other interests are philosophy, history, surf, the outdoors, and travel.


  1. Kate May 7, 2019 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Exceptional piece of writing, well done for speaking the truth! 🤲🙏❤️

  2. Kate May 7, 2019 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Exceptional piece of writing, well done for speaking the truth 🤲🙏❤️

  3. Kym May 7, 2019 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    They apparently offered a $1million settlement to Izzy to walk away – not happening – RA are so scared.

    RA will lose and RA will go bust unless they pull their heds in; the board must go now!

  4. Graham Cartwright May 8, 2019 at 10:49 am - Reply

    A superbly narrative. Thank you Kurt.
    Australia and Australians alike have been brazenly lied to and betrayed from the very beginning.

  5. John Zukowski May 10, 2019 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Our freedom of speech has the greatest advocate in platforms like yours
    Raise your voices o righteous people, lend a hand ,God bless you for all you do

  6. Joyce May 10, 2019 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    How fitting that his name is Israel.

    And how striking that he is going through exactly what Jesus warned we would go through.

    Going forward beyond izzys case, we will all be tested in days weeks andontgs to come. Let a person in Tassie who has changed their LABEL from he and she come to work in the mainland and there will be hellish screams of offence because they are mislabeled according to self.

  7. Cyril Muller May 10, 2019 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I have said it before and I will say IT again. How long before these people seek to ban the Bible or at the very least all the parts that refer to sin and hell that make them uncomfortable.

    • Kurt May 16, 2019 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Sadly Cyril that does seem to be where this sorry saga is headed.

  8. Raine May 10, 2019 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your clear writing on this matter. I am amazed that all the drunkards, adulterers, liars or one of the other 6 sins named in the passage are not also up in arms.

    This is so bizarre, especially the revelation of the Emerites connection and the Dubai policy on homosexuality. It’s all okay if there’s money involved, let’s not worry about integrity…

    • Kurt May 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm - Reply

      Thank you Raine. Yes I’m surprised about that too. I guess that list describes all the other rugby players who hit the media for their sins but kept their jobs. Only Christianity seems to be a lynchable offence to RA. Sad times.

  9. Megan May 10, 2019 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your story. I wonder what would happen if Israel Folau’s supporters were to stop flying with Qantas….

  10. Francis Colosimo. May 11, 2019 at 1:33 am - Reply

    It is so very sad, that the ignorant do not know that they are ignorant, they just keep on flouting rubbish and indictable lies, which is sin that without a shadow of doubt will take all who chastise a true son of God (Israel), are chastising God (Jesus Christ) himself, as per Matthew chapter 25, regarding the parable of the sheep and the goats. Oh, AND incidentally, no sodomite, “poofter” “queer”, etc can ever be married because it is a creation and command of our Creator Jesus, and as he ordained it, that sexual relations are between a man and a woman only, and to co-create the greatest physical miracle, a brand mew human life. But the answer as to why governments are corrupt and mankind is also utterly corrupt, let me quote from (the Royal, emphasis mine) The Authorized King James Bible, ” Finally my brethren Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”, Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-12. Murders, homosexuals, rapists, armed robbers, deceitful politicians etc. are Satanists or are under the influence of Satan. Francis Colosimo, Chairman: Central Highlands Economic and Law Reform group, A private gathering of concerned Australians/Christian minister/Evangelist. God bless you, and he will if you let him.

  11. Rod Tickle May 11, 2019 at 7:53 am - Reply

    If Izzy was a Muslim and qouted the Koran would this hullabulloo have happened at all?

    • Pamela Waller May 17, 2019 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      I have been saying the same thing – what if he quoted confucius or a Hindu tenet… isn’
      t this discrimination? and isn’t discrimination on any grounds illegal

  12. Stan May 11, 2019 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Thank you for the article Kurt
    I would add
    Rugby Australia can never win this fight because they have attacked a faithful servant of the one true God, and God will not abandon his servant. RA and their supporters may enjoy a short time of pleasure, but God is not mocked, and he will have victory and his name be glorified.
    Stand with Issy and watch how God blesses him. Woe to RA

    • Kurt May 16, 2019 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome Stan. Yes, Joseph, Esther and Daniel all come to mind.

  13. Steve May 11, 2019 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    A great article that summarises the key issues succinctly.

    My view is that Israel Folau should not be held to account for making a social media post that is lawful and reflects his devout religious worldview. Indeed, the quote comes directly from 1 Corinthians 6:9 (ie. the Bible, which underpins his Christian faith). That some wish to exert power over Israel Folau to retract, apologise or face the wrath of his accusers for saying something that is lawful and well within his human rights is itself reprehensible. Rugby Australia and those supporting RA’s actions are the ones who should apologise to Israel Folau and the wider Christian community for being intolerant and divisive.

    It’s ok for people to disagree with Israel Folau’s posts – but to do so they need more than dislike if they seek to punish. The vast majority of the criticisms I have seen have been ignorant, bigoted, inaccurate and uninformed. None have justified the termination of Folau’s contract. The code of conduct is not the only issue here – the issues are freedom of religion and the role of corporations when it comes to any restriction of free speech as a human right.

    Having read RA’s code of conduct, I find it astounding that their independent tribunal has concluded there is a high-level breach of the code. To my mind, their findings are prejudicial. Folau’s post was not directed at any rugby player specifically, or any administrator, nor the game of rugby and its rules, or any competing team. Instead, it was to the world at large. It would appear that the mere utterance of anything remotely perceived to be negative towards homosexuality is offensive to RA. But Folau’s post was one of hope for those engaged in destructive immoral behaviours.

    While a “turn or burn” message is not seen by some to be effective, it does encapsulate the Christian solution for a broken world. When taken in context with the rest of Jesus Christ’s teaching, the message is not offensive at all. That some do not see homosexuality as immoral is not a reason to take offence at something they neither believe nor understand. How can those who don’t believe in God, read the Bible, don’t believe in Sin, don’t believe in Hell take offence at Folau’s post? And if they do believe in God, the Bible, Sin and Hell, then the post certainly can’t be offensive.

    RA, to me, sounds like they are overly delicate and lack the fortitude to at least just ignore the posts, or if acknowledged make a personal statement from the CEO to express their disagreement. Instead, the CEO has misrepresented what was said and also misrepresented what has been said between RA and Folau.

    RA will be the only losers here, whatever the outcome, You cannot claim to be tolerant and inclusive when the fundamental expression of Christian love (sinners can be saved through acknowledging God and repenting) causes you concern. To punish that says you are intolerant and uninclusive. Shame, RA, shame!

    • Kurt May 16, 2019 at 12:17 pm - Reply

      Great articulation of the issues Steve!

  14. Gloria Delahunty May 15, 2019 at 1:31 am - Reply

    It’s a sad day for Christians and freedom of religion and speech. Thank God for Israel Folau and his integrity when RA tried to get him to walk away by offering him a payout. Allen Joyce and RA may have won the battle but God will have the final say. It’s a sign of the times and a very big line has been drawn in the sand between freedom and lies. We need to keep/start speaking out against the lies and stand up and be counted. We want to be sheep who hear the Masters’ voice and follow wherever He leads us. A very well written article.

  15. Stephen Tierney May 15, 2019 at 5:39 am - Reply

    I don’t know Israel Folau, I have never met Israel Folau, I have never played Rugby and I am not a Rugby fan.

    All I knew about him was that I had heard the name Israel Folau mentioned on the radio a few times, so I knew he was “some Rugby player” – but I had little interest in him.

    However now, due to the “outrage” over him sharing his beliefs and quoting from The Bible,
    I know a lot more about Israel Folau.

    Israel’s “crime” is because he is not ashamed to declare that he is a Christian, and that he gave a quotation from The Bible.

    I am a born again Bible believing Christian, and I strongly support Israel’s right to share his beliefs as a Christian.

    It should be noted that Israel was not expressing his personal opinion – nor was he directing this against any one individual, or one group of people – he was quoting from the Holy Bible, the Words of God Himself – the God that that both Israel and I are not ashamed to say that we believe in.

    It would appear that giving a quotation from The Bible is regarded as being a much more serious offence than being involved in a drunken brawl and physically assaulting someone.

  16. Kaye Minnett May 15, 2019 at 6:58 am - Reply

    I stand with Israel!!

  17. Ann May 15, 2019 at 7:08 am - Reply

    This is a well written and thought out article

  18. Jenny May 15, 2019 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Steve, you said it all!

  19. Jan Baker May 15, 2019 at 8:05 am - Reply

    Abraham Lincoln said “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Israel Folau has honoured God. Now God will honour him. The truth makes many people uncomfortable.

    • Kurt May 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      Jan we need less snowflakes today and more Abraham Lincolns!

  20. Kym Ivory May 15, 2019 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Well said and thank you for your articles, they say the things that are not said.

  21. Monica Bennett-Ryan May 15, 2019 at 8:37 am - Reply

    How wonderful that God is using his servant Israel Folau to bring the whole ‘religious freedom’ issue into the light at this particular point in time – just prior to the election. It has motivated so many to prayer and to action. It has made this issue a priority in this election. Hallalujah! Our God is wise and powerful and beyond the comprehension of people!

  22. Ian Sarah May 15, 2019 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Israel was not speaking on behalf of the ARL. There should be no rule to prevent freedom of speech. They select only one of the offences – homosexual – and accuse him of homophobia, hatred,etc. But the truth is he is actually being loving and caring in an effort to save them from hell. We all need to speak up while we still have time because truth is being trampled in the streets.

  23. Kathy May 15, 2019 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Why isn’t Israel entitled to his opinion?

  24. David Riddell May 15, 2019 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Make no mistake. This attack on Israel Folau for quoting scripture, is an attack on true Christianity. We live in a society that indeed has a false Christianity and a true Christianity and that has always been the case since our Lord was crucified.
    There is a false Church and a true Church and it takes spiritual discernment to know the difference. Those of us who have been born again by the Holy Spirit belong to the True invisible Church, those who believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God to all humanity.
    You cannot,by nature of the case,be a true christian and not believe in the Bible and what it says. Only false [worldly] christians believe this. Folau quoted scripture and he is correct when scripture says that no practising homosexual will enter the Kingdom of God. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, and along with other sins, all of humanity must turn back to God, who forgives our sins through Jesus Christ. Yes, God loved the world so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to save the world from the coming judgement. the Bible says,turn to Christ for the forgiveness of your sins or face the consequences.
    The consequences are………unless we believe in Jesus Christ, we will stand condemned of our sins, and this condemnation we bring upon our self. God condemned His only Son, so that we may be set free.If we reject Christ, we have no excuse, we have condemned ourselves. This is the Word of God. No one will enter God’s Kingdom except through through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for you, that you may escape the coming judgement.

  25. Colleen Cranston May 15, 2019 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    We stand with Israel and for all freedoms we have inherited, we will to fight to uphold them in this hour of impending darkness. Christians should be able to voice as our beliefs which are a personal right, and when voiced they are not of full hate but of love.

  26. Mark Elvery May 15, 2019 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    My stomach is turned when I think about a) the hypocrisy shown by different people listed here (obviously the love of money has opened the door to evil and people are so blinded to their own contradictions!) and b) how we were assured that there would be no changes or danger to freedom of speech and religion. – Where are they all now? Probably hiding under a rock somewhere!

  27. Lea Johnson May 15, 2019 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    Thanks Kurt for your article bringing in sharp relief what is at stake – freedom of speech and religion.
    The irony of it all is that those who loudly proclaim tolerance become the most intolerant,
    exclusive and hateful. Izzy Folau has been a wake up call and a tremendous encouragement
    to us all. Speak up and be faithful to Jesus. Go Izzy, faithful man of God!
    Will Australians take heed what is at stake and consider carefully when voting. I hope so and pray so.

  28. John Mathai May 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I am facing the same issue with the medical board. Conform or lose your licence to practise.

  29. Karen Crossley May 15, 2019 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Israel Folau only spoke the truth and spoke it in love and concern for his fellow man. May God protect and bless him as he stands.

  30. Peter Whitby May 15, 2019 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I admire Israel Folau for his unwavering stance, and steadfast belief in Gods word no matter what the cost, and it appears to be substantial and not just financial but at great personal cost (persecution).. It is painfully obvious that freedom of speech exists only if you agree with the gay lobby and those who would try to extinguish our right as Christians to proclaim what God has laid down in the Bible as the way we are meant to live our lives.
    It is time we as Christians stood up to be counted and express our Christian views and beliefs.

  31. Dennis Castellarin May 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    That article shows the truth Kurt.
    Deception and mind control are at the core of the socialist elite.
    Truth has been thrown to the ground.
    Pity their followers cannot see it.

  32. Dianne Holyland May 15, 2019 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    An excellent and thought-provoking article. I agree that it’s time for all Australians to stand up and defend free speech while we still have it.

  33. John May 15, 2019 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Izzy has presented a section of the New Testament which millions of people would never have otherwise heard, and which you will never hear even in many churches. What a witness! Well done Izzy. Stay strong.

  34. Jenny May 16, 2019 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Concerning revelations. Thanks for the insight into such staggering hypocrisy.

  35. Nancy Chambers May 16, 2019 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Israel Folau listed a range of different types of sinning, all denounced many times throughout the Bible but the focus throughout has been exclusively on homosexuality. To my mind this shows up the hidden agendas of the LGBT groups. They don’t just want to be accepted but to foist their lifestyle on as many as possible. Such issues have been the downfall of other empires through history – we do need to beware & fight such agendas strongly. .

  36. Roger May 16, 2019 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I support Israel, here is a young man who is not afraid to stand up for Jesus. We must continue to fight for freedom of speech. Thank you for your article.

  37. Bethany Day May 16, 2019 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your informative article. It shows the complete hypocrisy of those who would seek to destroy Israel’s right to express a Christian viewpoint.

  38. Angela May 16, 2019 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    Very well written and very truthful… Especially the part about those people who were defending freedom of speech and protecting religious rights
    where are they now defending Israel and his right to religious freedom …. no answer was the loud reply!

  39. Barry Turner May 17, 2019 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Following is a letter sent to the sports writer at the SMH on the 4th May in response to a thoughtful and respectful article he wrote on the Israel Folau issue.
    Thank You for your Article.
    For many of us in the community, it is amazing that a man can be at risk of loosing his job in Australia for telling the truth.

    Mr Folau has called out behaviours that are the scourge of Rugby League – alcohol abuse and sexual promiscuity. His comments around homosexuality are those held by a very significant proportion of the Australian population that holds the view that homosexual practice is unnatural sexual perversion and should not be promoted as normal behaviour – a view held by many cultural and religious groups and particularly by many senior Australians for whom such behaviour has been considered reprehensible and illegal and totally contrary to normal Australian family values for most of their lives.

    As far as I am aware Mr Folau has not targeted any particular person, he is a great role model for young people in the community, has represented his country internationally with distinction and is the sort of player that is a great example of what Rugby League should be about – clean hard football and a decent life in the community outside the game and off the field. In the light of the appalling behaviour of some Rugby players over the last year or so, it is amazing that Mr Folau could be under any threat of sanction when his life demonstrates exactly the sort of off field life Rugby League aspires to for its players.

    That such an individual should be sanctioned for stating traditional family values, telling it like it is from a Judeo-Christian moral perspective – which provides the moral and legal foundations on which Australian society is based – is simply inexplicable and contrary to Australia’s fair go ethos.

  40. Sakura May 17, 2019 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    joyce is nothing more than a hypocrite and bully. He hasn’t got the guts or the character to take on a whole country, so stoops to picking on one person just because he can. rugby australia and its equally hypocritical ‘head’ as well as the head of sport australia are all spineless apologists for the marxists. Israel Folau has more integrity in his little finger than all of these hypocrites have collectively. joyce’s use of his bully pulpit is the sole reason why I go out of my way (sometimes, quite literally via stopovers) to choose any airline but qantas/crapstar.

  41. Nicole May 18, 2019 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Thank you to Israel for being an excellent sports role model for young Christians, just because you are in the world you do not have to bow and conform to the world. We stand with you Israel.

  42. Sandra Wysman May 18, 2019 at 4:30 am - Reply

    Israel Falou is not ashamed of the gospel because he knows it’s the power of God unto salvation.

  43. Mary Zepina May 18, 2019 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Israel…l support you and l love you, as showing you are a normal human being.
    l thank you for showing courage in the eye of the savage lion. V: Daniel – Old Testament.

  44. Nissen Youhan May 20, 2019 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    I actually posted my comment last week and it doesn’t show it is there!! why?

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