What a mess Rugby Australia is in after the Israel Folau dismissal. Nick Farr-Jones is giving away his tickets, Alan Jones has barraged them with critiques of their incompetence and Israel will probably take the matter to the courts for hopefully some common sense to prevail.
I am not one for social media but I would have thought Israel’s social media would only have been of interest to those who are his fans. That being the case, the vindictive trolls must have been searching for an opportunity to bring this rugby genius down. Clearly, they are no fans of Australian rugby and seemingly as foolish as the rugby administrators who, with the encouragement of the sponsor Qantas, dismissed him.
The problems with Israel began when he tweeted that he did not condone same-sex marriage. When some 39% of the Australian population didn’t condone same-sex marriage it seems a little heavy handed to be having a go at the fellow for saying so. Of course, the Rugby Australia might have consulted the players before they went rainbow on everyone. They might also have consulted their supporters, among whom I expect some 39% voted no. This issue is indicative of why businesses should never have invested themselves in the politics of LGBTQ morality.
Of course this fiasco has not done the Rugby Australia sponsor, Qantas, any favours. Qantas chief Alan Joyce, who is openly gay, was, at least in the public’s eye, a key promoter of businesses getting involved in the politics of sexuality. It was of course Mr Joyce who had threatened to pull the plug on the airline's long-standing partnership with Rugby Australia. In that moment Mr Joyce exposed his company to the worst kind of hypocrisy, thus failing the company and the many who work for it and invest in it. This is the same airline who enjoys contracts with Middle Eastern airline companies whose treatment of women and homosexuals is repugnant. This is the same company that would flex its muscles to silence and remove one of rugby’s greatest, cleanest and most respectable players. Israel is not a homophobe but one who is homo-concerned.
What amazes me is the ineptitude of all this. Had the matter been ignored it would not have risen to the serious height that it has, but it would have remained a tweet between Israel and some of his fans. I recognise that Mr Joyce and others may have been insulted by the tweets, but wisdom would suggest that ignoring the issue would have been a better outcome for all. Israel could express his freedom of speech and others could express their freedom to ignore him. There is no ignoring him now. One wonders how this issue might have played in the minds of voters as we went to the polls.
There is a lesson in that for all of us. You can make a mountain out of a mole hill if you respond like a fool. The same Bible Israel quoted from offers a proverb of wisdom “Even the fool is considered wise for their silence.”
Part of me is thankful for all this because Qantas, Rugby Australia and Israel Folau have put hell on the agenda of a nation. For such a long time, Australians, surrounded by all the material comforts of life, were never compelled to consider their eternal destiny and the seriousness of hell. Many a eulogy gives flippant expression to the future of life beyond the grave. Sure, there will be people reading this who simply reject the concept of a hell, but your rejection of the concept does not remove its existence. You can also believe the earth is flat but that doesn’t remove the fact that the earth is a sphere.
As a Christian who believes in hell and loves people enough to not want anyone to go there, I am always glad for the opportunity to talk about Jesus Christ, the one who can save us from such a destiny. I think that makes me guilty of what Israel Folau is guilty of.