Rugby Player Raises Hell

And the Mob Lost its Mind

By William M Briggs Published on April 19, 2018

What’s the best punishment for someone who says the unrepentant will go to hell?

Yes, you read that right. How should we penalize somebody who says such a hurtful thing that hell exists and that some choose to go there?

That question is being asked in earnest Down Under right now. And Stream readers can be an enormous help in answering.

Into the Scrum

Here’s the story. Israel Folau is a Rugby player for Australia’s Wallabies. By all accounts his performance is unparalleled, “one of the code’s most marketable players.”

Folau is also a devout Christian. He himself tells us what happened after making an Instagram post.

… I was asked a question by somebody about what God’s plan is for gay people.

My response to the question is what I believe God’s plan is for all sinners, according to my understanding of my Bible teachings, specifically 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

I do not know the person who asked the question, but that didn’t matter. I believed he was looking for guidance and I answered him honestly and from the heart. I know a lot of people will find that difficult to understand, but I believe the Bible is the truth and sometimes the truth can be difficult to hear.

Folau said that God’s plan for (practicing) gay people was “Hell … unless they repent of their sins and turn to God” (ellipsis original).

Into Hell

Hell for the unrepentant is also God’s plan for Stream authors — and, yes, readers, too. This news would not seem to be controversial because this has been the well known Christian teaching since its inception. The news shouldn’t be painful, either, because repentance is free and easy. And recommended.

Even more calming is the realization you do not have to believe anybody goes to hell. You are free to dismiss and ignore those people like Folau who say hell is real. There is thus no good reason to become upset by anybody who calls for repentance.

Still, some cannot bear to hear that hell exists, especially when the news comes from a celebrity.

The media reacted to Folau’s “homophobic” remarks as if they were being chased by a machete-wielding maniac. The Guardian reported:

Under pressure from sponsors such as Qantas and anxious to defend policies of inclusiveness, Rugby Australia chief-executive Raelene Castle and NSW Waratahs counter-part Andrew Hore summoned Folau to a meeting to discuss the fallout of what has been interpreted by many as an appalling anti-gay slur.

Thought Crimes

Fellow rugby player Brad Weber was none too happy with Folau. He tweeted, “To think that I play against someone that says they’ll go to Hell for being gay disgusts me.” Weber might be disgusted, but that is not what Folau said or believes, and it is not what Christianity teaches.

Weber’s comments make it obvious what Folau’s real crime was, however. It was not in saying the unrepentant go to hell, which is an old truth. There was his implied disapproval of homosexual acts.

Disapproval of homosexuality is now forbidden in the West. This is why Rugby officials and Wallabies sponsor Qantas tried to force an apology from Folau.

Apologize for what? For his thought crime, of course. For causing “offense” to people who sought out the experience of being offended. Nobody was forced to go to Folau’s Instagram page. Nobody had to listen to him.

Yet still there were immediate calls to “punish” and “sanction” Foulau.

True Freedom

Punish? Sanction? For merely holding a common religious view? Why, yes, of course. Everybody’s expectation was that Folau should and would be punished.

Folau cheated his would-be judges, though. He called their bluff and said “he was ready to walk away from his contract immediately” because “my faith is far more important to me than my career and always will be.”

This was not the mewling subservience Rugby Australia expected. They were evidently making so much money off of Folau they backed down, requiring only that Folau think about what he did.

There is still a clamor for punishing and purging Folau, and demands he show “contrition.” But, at least for the time being, money trumps political correctness.

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  • Craig Roberts

    “…hell exists and that some choose to go there?”

    Will someone please tell me where in the Bible it says that we have a choice to go to hell? Hell is punishment for bad behavior but do we give convicted criminals a choice to go to prison or not? Of all of Jesus’ parables and warnings about hell there is no indication that anybody ‘chooses’ to go to hell. If hell is really a choice than we are in charge and God can’t make us do anything.

    • Bryan

      “Hell is punishment for bad behavior but do we give convicted criminals a choice to go to prison or not? ”
      Not quite. Hell is a consequence for unrepentance. Granted, saying that someone chooses hell is a little misleading. It would be more proper to say that a person chooses to sin or chooses to not repent of their sins and the consequence is hell. Or, using your analogy, the criminal chooses to commit the crime and then justice demands that he go to prison.

      “Of all of Jesus’ parables and warnings about hell there is no indication that anybody ‘chooses’ to go to hell.”
      The parable that comes to mind immediately is the one about the Rich man and Lazurus. In that one the Rich man chose to live his life without God. The consequence of that choice was hell.

      “If hell is really a choice than we are in charge and God can’t make us do anything.”
      We have free will to choose God or not. Could God force us to love him? Sure. But would it really be love if we’re forced?

      As far as your first statement is concerned, read the Gospels. I prefer John but the others work just as well. If it’s not clear from that, read through Paul’s Epistles particularly Ephesians and Romans.

    • Kevin Carr

      Hell is the end result of rejecting Christ as Savior. You have a choice. Christ died an excruciating death on the cross so we wouldn’t have to. You can come to him as you are but he doesn’t want you to stay that way. You can choose to reject the offering of salvation and the result will be an eternity in Hell, still your choice.

    • You have free will. Everything you do is a choice. Good, bad, or indifferent, every voluntary action, every word you speak, is by your own volition. Criminals are punished because they chose to commit crimes. They chose to do evil, and reaped the proper reward.
      If someone can’t understand that, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to wander around without a minder.
      If someone doesn’t believe that, they probably went to college.

      • Craig Roberts

        Hah! Good one.

    • Alice Cheshire

      Your reading is very incorrect. People choose God or not. Not choosing God is choosing He//.

  • Aqua

    “My faith is far more important to me than my career, and always will be”.

    That is the heart of a martyr, there. We should all practice martyrdom in the small things, so when bigger tests arrive, we have strengthened that spiritual muscle enough that it is ready to meet every test; up to and including loss of home, career, life.

    What an encouragement he is!

  • Sylvain_A

    As a Christian Folau use a very funny translation of the bible since that before the mid-1800s the word homosexuality did not exist. The word homosexuelity replace is sodomy which can be practice by heterosexual.

    • Ken Abbott

      Based on the rendition of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Folau quoted, I’d say he was using the ESV, not the KJV, which uses the word “sodomy.” You should realize that for the translation committee that prepared the Authorized Version (1611), “sodomy” was a common term for male-male sexual activity.

      The important point is that when translating from Greek into contemporary English that we capture as closely as possible the meaning of the original words. If a newer English word does the job better, it should be used.

      • Sylvain_A

        Male-female in the back activity was common trough out history and was the favoured way of contraception, followed by killing undesirable babies at birth.

        • Andrew Mason

          And yet science makes clear that sodomy is an unhealthy choice, and abortion is self-evidently hostile to life. Not sure why you think any of this is a problem for Scripture.

          • Sylvain_A

            Science says that a lot of things are unhealthy, yet conservative care very little about what science says. See smoking, alcohol, sugar, trans fat. Not a lot of condemnation from Christian conservatives on those point, even more concerning drunkyards which should suffer the same fate as homosexual

          • Andrew Mason

            That’s a gross and unfounded claim. Sugar and trans-fats aren’t addressed by Scripture true, but they’re also more dietary than moral issues. As regards alcohol, many denominations flat out condemn alcohol, and others promote moderation. If alcohol is discouraged there’s no need to focus on the fact that drunkards and homosexuals face the same fate. I’d say smoking is somewhere betwixt and between the 2 groups.

          • Ken Abbott

            “Science says that a lot of things are unhealthy, yet conservative care very little about what science says.” Prejudicial and false on its face. You need better sources, Sylvain.

        • Ken Abbott

          Be that as it may, whatever the various historical uses of “sodomy” and the practices the term entails, the issue is the accurate translation of the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 6:9. The word Paul employed is arsenokoites, a compound word that he evidently took from the LXX version of Leviticus 20:13 and which means to lie sexually with (another) male, men having sexual intercourse with one another. The same word appears in 1 Timothy 1:10 and requires the same rendering. I suppose it could be translated “male-male sexual intercourse,” but the current term “homosexuality,” used in the sense of the physical actions involved, is less cumbersome.

          By the way, I have to correct my previous post. The KJV does not use “sodomy,” but rather “them that defile themselves with mankind.” Newer translations into English, such as the NKJV and the NRSV use the word “sodomy.”

          • Sylvain_A

            I have read contrary opinion on the translation to homosexuality

          • Andrew Mason

            What’s the source of the opinion though? You have for instance practicing homosexuals who contest the translation of Scripture. They’re not exactly interested in discovering Scripture rejects homosexuality.

          • Ken Abbott

            Yes, undoubtedly you have. There are revisionists out there who would very much like to soften or remove the biblical proscriptions against same-sex sexual activity. Have you another suggestion for a correct and concise English translation of arsenokoites?

        • See also Buggerers.

  • Mxpctlk

    Funny thing is naysayers don’t believe sodomy is a sin and/or don’t believe period. So what’s their issue with someone who believes in something they don’t? They don’t believe in being saved, heaven or hell so what’s the point of their being upset with someone talking about something they don’t believe exists? It’s a very stupid argument to make.

    • Socialism is a jealous god, and will permit no others.

      • gregoryvii

        One hundred million upvotes!!!

      • Alice Cheshire

        Yet I remember no one ever complaining about Farrakhan, the nation of Islam and the mother ship. Why? Because they don’t believe him. They DO believe the Bible.

        • The real reason you don’t hear about people complaining about Farrakhan is that A) The leftist news won’t publish the story, and B) In today’s world, if you say anything bad about a 1) Black 2) Muslim 3) Socialist 4) White-hating 5) America-phobe, you will get fired and be the subject of a two minutes hate. They only protective cloak he’s missing is Gay, and that’s trumped by Muslim.

      • Mxpctlk

        Darn good point. You are so right.

  • Stephen D

    Since same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, a lot of people think it’s wrong to say anything against same-sex relationships. We are ‘inclusive’ now. Many non-Christians argue that Folau must not be a proper Christian because (they say) Jesus was ‘inclusive’ like we are. One prominent citizen said he disagreed with Folau because he (the prominent citizen) had a gay son. If you have a gay family member then it seems to follow that being gay must be alright. If same sex couples can get married then obviously there cannot be anything wrong with same-sex relationships. My impression is that most non-Christians actually equate morality with what is legal. Their default standard of right and wrong is the law of the land. When a Christian like Folau starts talking as if there is another moral standard somewhere – hidden away in a weird little black book called a ‘bible’ – people simply cannot understand what he’s talking about.

    • Alice Cheshire

      This is because parent’s values are based on their children’s behaviors. Parents don’t teach their children morality, the parents adopt the values of the kids. It’s completely wrong and backward.

  • Alice Cheshire

    It seems people DO believe in He// and that homosexuals are headed there if they don’t repent. Otherwise, the outcry would be equal to that of someone posting they believed in UFOs on the page. Many think UFOs are imaginary. You don’t have to believe in them. No one calls to remove a rugby player for saying they believe in UFOs. Yet, mention He// and you are immediately destroyed. THEY BELIEVE. They do. It’s the only explanation.

  • Dena

    Good for Folau for standing up for what he believes. More Christians need to do this. Silence = approval.

  • Andrew Mason

    A former New Zealand immigration minister went so far as to say that Folau should be banned from entering the country. Apparently expressing Christian views, views which have been the norm in society for roughly 2 millennia, “… create a situation where you’re creating the threat of public order, or against the public interest …” and this is illegal. How long will it be before the Tolerant Left move to outlaw Biblical Christianity in the name of tolerance and controlling hate speech?

  • “requiring only that Folau think about what he did.”
    LOL !!! you have been a bad boy now you must go sit in the corner and think about how that made some wittle homosexual fewel! This has become such a stupid world dragging the whole world around by their wittle fewins. Feelings are FICKLE always have been always will be, ITS THE TRUTH that matters and TRUTH is supposed to conflict fewins!!!

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