Australian rugby player Israel Folau–who was fired earlier this year for writing on social media that “hell awaits” gay people–linked the brush fires plaguing the country to the law legalizing same-sex marriage and abortion.
“I’m doing this out of love, for people to be able to hear this message and hopefully receive it with open hearts, that they may come to know the truth of his word,” he said.
Israel Folau speaks to media following his conciliation meeting with Rugby Australia at Fair Work Commission on June 28, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
“I just want to see the events that have happened here in Australia in the last couple of years. God’s word says for a man and a woman to be together, one man and one woman in the covenant of marriage to be together. Abortion; it’s now OK to murder and kill unborn children and they deem that to be OK.”
Folau’s rugby career abruptly ended in May after he posted an image on social media, saying “Hell awaits you!” with a list of sinners, including “homosexuals, adulterers, liars.” He said these “sinners” must repent to Jesus to be saved.
The Tongan-Australian athlete was a key player for the Australian national side at the time. He has been capped 62 times for his country, scoring 32 tries.
A National Parks and Wildlife crew member fights flames at Half Chain road at Koorainghat, near Taree in New South Wales state Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Hundreds of schools remained closed across Australia’s most populous state on Tuesday, Nov. 12, and residents were urged to evacuate woodlands for the relative safety of city centers as authorities braced for extreme fire danger. (Darren Pateman/AAP Images via AP)
Rugby Australia terminated his four-year contact – 10 days after an independent panel found Folau guilty of a high-level breach of the players’ code of conduct for his contentious post in mid-April.
His firing sparked a debate in Australia about freedom of speech and the right of players to express their beliefs.
Fox News’ Lucia I. Suarez Sang and the AP contributed to this report.
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