Israel Folau and the Fight for Underdog Status

Over two months have passed since Israel Folau found himself in the media spotlight, and buckets of ink are still being spilt as his story develops.

In recent days, the focus has shifted to Izzy’s GoFundMe campaign. He’s hoping to raise $3.0M for his legal showdown with Rugby Australia.

In this and every other stage of the Folau saga, there is a hearts-and-minds battle taking place. It’s one you may not have noticed, but it’s the fight for underdog status.

The code itself has waged war on one of its own. Rugby Australia have bullied Izzy and rendered him, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the underdog. And this is a problem for them given that Aussies love underdogs.

From the beginning, public support for Folau has been huge. Quiet Australians have already donated $460,000 to his campaign. Some were even persuaded to make their election vote a vote for him and for religious freedom.

Rugby Australia can’t afford a public outcry in Folau’s favour. They could go bankrupt if their crusade against him fails. At the very least, their esteem among ordinary Australians is at stake.

And since May, Rugby Australia have been on the nose. They realise that if they want to save their own reputation, they have no choice but to destroy Folau’s.

Here’s the rub. There’s no way they can paint themselves as the underdog, given their imposing role as his employer and their impressive corporate alliances.

But they can paint Israel Folau as a bully and a bad guy, if they can just find a victim. And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing, with tireless support since May from most of the mainstream media.

When Izzy made that now infamous Instagram post, they hauled him before a tribunal and had him interrogated like he’d actually bullied someone, like someone else was the underdog.

In reality, he’d posted a Bible verse. It was directed at no particular individual, and it simply stated what Christians have always believed about sin and salvation.

When Israel expressed concern in a sermon last week about the transgender agenda in schools, almost every major news outlet smeared him immediately, carrying identical misinformed stories. They said he was on the attack again—this time against transgender youth. Again, as though someone else was the underdog.

In reality, Folau never targeted any transgender youth. His concern was with radical government policies, a concern that many quiet Australians share.

When Izzy took to GoFundMe for support in his legal battle this week, the media swooped again, suggesting this was a “brazen money grab”. They accused him of diverting funds away from sick and dying children on the crowdfunding site. They argued that someone else was the underdog.

In reality, it’s Israel Folau who is the underdog. He has been from the beginning.

He’s lost his career and his only source of income. He’s been banned from both codes of the sport he loves, despite his spotless moral character. He’s faced a relentless and coordinated public smear campaign.

On top of all this, he’s facing millions of dollars in legal fees. The stand he’s taking isn’t merely for his career. He seeks to set an important legal precedent for religious freedom in Australia at a time when this freedom is worryingly unprotected.

As Australians we’re born with the right of freedom of religion, and the right to freedom of expression,” says Folau. “The Christian faith has always been a part of my life, and I believe as a Christian it is my duty to share God’s word.

Rugby Australia tore up my employment contract for doing just that—that’s wrong. Every Australian should be able to practice their religion without fear of discrimination in the workplace.

As the saga continues to unfold, some think they’re taking the moral high ground by opposing Folau. Even Christians are swallowing the spin that Israel Folau is the bully, and someone else—anyone else—is the underdog.

His haters say he should sell one of his properties to fund his legal fees. I wonder if they’d be happy to do the same if they’d already had their career and reputation stripped from them?

Let common sense prevail. Let the quiet Australians decide who the underdog really is.

Going by the growing success of Izzy’s GoFundMe campaign, I think we have might have our answer.

By |2019-06-26T13:55:51+00:00June 22nd, 2019|Australia, Authors, Faith, Freedom|9 Comments

About the Author:

Kurt Mahlburg is a qualified primary school teacher and a freelance writer. He blogs at Culture, Worldviews and Life with Jesus 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.

9 Comments

  1. Yvette June 23, 2019 at 4:09 am - Reply

    Just because he’s put up a GoFundMe campaign to help with his fight with a “Giant” a lot of bad press comes up painting him as rich& arrogant, money hungry etc etc person. He may have worked hard and invest, but he was not prepared to face something huge like this. So, he’s standing for his principle and for freedom of religious beliefs😄 This is like a David going against a Goliath’s fight. You have courage there Isi.

  2. Ali June 23, 2019 at 10:39 am - Reply

    His mistake was he didn’t just post a bible verse he took a bible verse and made it worse.

  3. Monica Bennett-Ryan June 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Excellent article Kurt! Maybe when Izzy wins against Australian Rugby they will, in turn, recoup some of their losses by suing the sponsors who got them into this mess. If they do I will cheer!

  4. Clare Chiarizia June 23, 2019 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Articulate article. The mind boggles at the continual blinkered attitudes of those in senior positions when dealing with the “great un-washed”. ie the Aussie Public.

  5. Kevin June 24, 2019 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    LMAO….. if all Christians where like him. ( unfortunately most are ) short sighted narrow minded judgmental bigots . We would be reliving the crusades….. I thought that the fruits of the spirit were encouraged by Christ. Not judgment and condemnation. … remember folks….take the log out of your own eye before trying to take the speck out of brothers……
    He is an embarrassment to the church and I use to be a Christian and left due to judgmental a…holes like him. And arrogant…can’t believe he wants a handout after his behaviour….. if he has faith……..then God will provide…….

  6. Kevin June 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Ooopps….log out your eye before the speck from your brothers…..

  7. Sarah Ioane June 25, 2019 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Thank you a million Kurt for sharing this with us! GOD bless you and your family abundantly!

    Donations are not mandatory! It’s voluntary! ☝️

    I’m standing with you Israel Folau! GOD bless!

    If our Almighty GOD saved, guided, protected and helped Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Moses, Samuel the seer, John the Baptist and gave His one and only beloved Son Jesus Christ who saved me and everyone in this world including Israel Folau and resurrected in 3 days!…….. It’s a blessing when you put GOD first in everything you do! It might not make sense now however later on it will!☝️

    Always remember we all have different personalities, mentalities, perceptions, interpretations about everything in life physically, mentally and spiritually!

    We are all entitled to freedom of speech personally, professionally and spiritually!

    With all respect just because I stand with Israel Folau it does not mean I hate my Gay Cuzzies, Gay FOB Sisters, Gay Friends and the entire Gay community in this world. They are amazing people, family and friends who I love and have a lot of respect for and do not wish any bad or hate upon them.

    We are all guilty of bigotry!

    Rugby players who have been charged with beating their wives up, taking illicit substances, sexual assault, drinking and driving get a slap on the hand, suspension for 2 weeks and continue playing rugby. Israel Folau puts a biblical post up on instagram which we’re all guilty of and he gets crucified.

    If it does not resonate with you then unfollow, unfriend, avoid, delete, don’t read it or watch it and move on with your life!

    KEEP WINNING ISRAEL FOLAU!
    GOD HAS YOUR BACK NO MATTER WHAT!
    FAITH IT TILL YOU MAKE IT☝️
    #IsraelFolau
    #TeamIsraelFolau
    #FreedomOfSpeech
    #GODandIsraelwinforall
    #StandingWithIzzy
    #FoodForThought

  8. Jean Antill June 28, 2019 at 7:30 am - Reply

    I thank you got the article as l agree totally. But for me there is something much deeper here with RU and the fact he has been banned from every sport by Peter Beattie a failure as a Premier of my state but obviously a real leftie if the ALP. I take two ways of looking at this issue. 1. Stifling Christian Freedom of speech and the hatred has been shown ever so clearly over the months. For some reason this hits a nerve!
    2. Could they no longer afford to pay him if the gay CEO of Qantas with the little man’s attitude as well have forced them into having no funds if he cancelled their funding. It is sad if this the case as he has BULLIED RC into sacking him on the grounds of High Level Code of Conduct. They did not just discipline him but they have gone along every available avenue to destroy him completely ( mentally their focus) so that they can sit back and gloat. Asking where is your God now? Look at you. Has not happened and l say they are slightly annoyed. Then they go for Maria. How corrupt!

    So Ezzy God will not let you down! We will not let you down. I love you for who you are and thank you for bearing this pain for our beliefs in Our Lord Jesus Christ. I have been bullied and lied about by an organisation much bigger than RU and yes it hurt me in many ways. Liars do exist as do haters.

    To those who wish to add their nasty comments please do not. There are heaps of sites out there on fb etc to push your views but please NOT here. This is why! This time l am on about freedom of speech. You do not like ours and l do not like yours. So do as you say!

  9. […] clear that Israel Folau is the latest target of media elites, intellectuals, and woke corporate […]

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