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Jakarta Post

Australia's Folau says 'hell awaits' homosexuals

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Sydney, Australia   /   Wed, April 10, 2019   /   07:47 pm
Australia's Folau says 'hell awaits' homosexuals Australia's full-back Israel Folau scores a try during the international rugby union test match between England and Australia at Twickenham stadium in south-west London on November 24, 2018. (AFP/Ben Stansall)

Wallabies superstar Israel Folau was blasted by Rugby Australia Wednesday for showing disrespect after an "unacceptable" post on social media that said "hell awaits" homosexuals.

The deeply religious fullback, one of the sport's most marketable players, has long tested the patience of the sport's bosses with his outspoken views.

He sparked uproar last year with a similar tirade, when he said God's plan for gay people was hell unless they repented their sins.

Folau then tweeted a link to a video opposing same-sex marriage by late American evangelist David Wilkerson.

Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle grilled him on the issue at the time and the organisation distanced itself from his views as it walked a fine line between freedom of expression and its commitment to inclusiveness.

But he escaped sanction and recently signed a lucrative new deal.

Despite being urged to keep his views to himself, a defiant Folau made clear he would not be backing away from his staunch religious beliefs regarding homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

And the devout Christian, who last weekend became Super Rugby's all-time top try-scorer, re-ignited the controversy on Wednesday evening on his Instagram account.

He put up a banner that said "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators -- Hell awaits you." It added that they should "repent" as "only Jesus saves".

"Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him," Folau wrote in an accompanying message.

Rugby Australia said in a statement that its integrity unit was examining the post.

"Rugby Australia is aware of a post made by Israel Folau on his Instagram account," it said. 

"The content within the post is unacceptable. It does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the rugby community."

In the wake of last year's scandal, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika refused to criticise Folau and said youngsters should find another idol if they don't agree with their sporting heroes.

Fellow Wallaby David Pocock, a strong advocate of marriage equality, insisted at the time that Folau's outspoken views would not affect harmony within the national team.