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 I’m a sinner too
 Posted: Apr 18 2018, 07:07 PM

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"given our current knowledge and understanding, What would Jesus do ?"

I believe he would say exactly what he said the first time when dealing with sexual immorality; "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.".

Living In An Elected Dictatorship
Flin's opinions and comments reflect his perception of the facts and not necessarily reality
 Posted: Apr 22 2018, 09:51 AM

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As RA deals with Israel Folau, a little understanding would go a long way

Senior Sport Writer

I am about to do two things I never thought I was capable of. The first is to write another Israel Folau/­homosexuals/free speech column when I had vowed that the world had had its fill of the subject. The second is more astounding. I’m about to write a column in defence of Rugby Australia.

The headline on co-columnist Alan Jones’ work in The Australian yesterday, “By taking on Folau, Rugby Australia has alienated many fans”, seems to me to cut to the nub of the problem. It wasn’t RA who took on Folau. It was Folau who took on RA. It may not have been a deliberate attack. It may have been an inadvertent ­attack but by responding to that question on Instagram in which he spelt out God’s plan for homosexuals — you don’t need to hear the details at this stage of proceedings — he was in clear violation of RA’s inclusion policy.

RA initially turned a blind eye, showing an almost gallant optimism that sweeping the problem under the carpet was the best course. Perhaps had it been a young rookie from the Brumbies or the Reds who had chosen to post such a confronting statement, RA might have got away with it. But it was Israel Folau.

There is no bigger name in Australian rugby. Worse, his contract is up for renewal and the NRL sharks are circling as they always circle whenever he is about to go on the market.

RA’s sponsors began making rumbling noises.

I agree with Jones on this point: for Qantas to be taking such a holier than thou attitude with RA while in partnership with Emirates Airlines is just mind-boggling. The airline is a subsidiary of the Emirates Group, which is wholly owned by the government in Dubai. How are homosexuals treated in United Arab Emirates?

But while Qantas chief Alan Joyce ponders that question, here’s another he should ask himself: how would he have handled Folau under the same circumstances? And don’t say “Sack him!” because passengers would desert Qantas in droves.

It has become painfully clear that the community is split down the middle on this. I initially supposed that the popular vote in the marriage plebiscite, 58 per cent for, 42 per cent against, might have conveyed in rough measure the extent of this divide but this question is infinitely more nuanced than that.
People who absolutely insist that people should be free to marry the one that they love have come out in strong support of Folau, not because they agree with him but because they believe in the freedom of speech.

Never has the Evelyn Beatrice Hall quote “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” received more airtime in Australia than in recent days.

But Evelyn had other quotes, too. Principally, “there is always more goodness in the world than there appears to be because goodness is of its very nature modest and retiring”. And while it might be easy to sneer from the sidelines and complain about RA’s handling of the matter, I suspect there is a degree of goodness infiltrating its work.

I barely know RA chief executive Raelene Castle. Certainly I do not know her personally. Work-wise, she has been in office just 97 days, so I am still waiting on a firm lead from her that will give some hint as to her intended direction for rugby. Yet I get a positive sense from dealing with her that she is a thoroughly decent individual and one who, while trying to deal with the Israel Folau problem as best she can in the interests of Australian rugby, is also trying to protect Israel Folau the person.

She called him in, listened to his viewpoint, fundamentally disagreed with it — I presume — but defended his right to his beliefs.

But then she warned that people were being harmed by what Folau had to say and urged him to show more respect.

For this, she was accused of “misrepresenting” his situation — how exactly? — yet even then she cut him some slack. Yeah, yeah, I know, he’s about to sign a new contract so she was pandering to him. What nonsense. If Folau walks because of the way Australian rugby has treated him, well, good riddance to him because he’s not going to find a more understanding employer anywhere, and that includes the NRL.

And, just as a matter of interest, Folau has played 62 Tests for a win record of just 50.80 per cent. Rob Simmons, who has played 82 Tests, has a 55.48 win record. Tatafu Polota-Nau, who also has played in 82 Tests, has a 65.85 per cent win ratio.

No doubt good players can be dragged down by poor teams, just as poor players can be elevated by good ones, but former Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie used to put great stock in such numbers because he believed that winners knew how to win.

Folau can’t attack down the left-hand side of the field the way he does down the right, so guess where teams like the All Blacks give him the ball? His win rate against the All Blacks is 17.85 per cent, two wins out of 14. I’m not saying he is not a world-class player but Castle shouldn’t feel compromised trying to keep him.

How should RA have handled this? Whichever way it acts, it will alienate some significant section of the community so, as my old Latin teacher used to say, “festina lente” — hasten slowly.

It has written to Super Rugby players, ­reminding them of their responsibility to live up to the inclusion policy, which they signed when they became professional players.

And it has written to the sponsors — all of whom, no doubt, are giving thanks that it is RA in this mess, not themselves — asking them to refrain from fuelling the fire by talking to the media. And for that they are complaining they are being muzzled.

Seriously, get a life. RA has a tiger by the tail and its best hope of getting out of this alive is that the tiger decides to take a nap. So it has written to its sponsors asking them not to keep stirring up the issue.

There is reader fatigue where this issue is concerned. Hell, there is journalist fatigue as well. But while sponsors keep airing their agendas, journalists will keep writing about it. Was it really so unreasonable for RA to ask to simply let it rest for a while?

If Folau insists on playing the Old Testament prophet, then this could all escalate anew. Everyone is pushing forward their viewpoint and by implementing one side or the other RA would be cutting off half its following.
Either the Polynesians will go, taking freedom of speech advocates with them, or those who support gay rights. And remember, rugby did not invite this fight. It was thrust upon it.

It’s about respect. Respect for the people who would have been deeply wounded by Folau’s comments. As referee Nigel Owens put it, we have choices to make over so much in life but our sexuality doesn’t appear to be one of them. And respect for Folau, who has the right to his beliefs.

There is not a sport or a sponsor who would wish to be in RA’s position on this issue. A little understanding would go a long way.

Wayne Smith

Senior Sport Writer
After a long stint as rugby union editor, Wayne Smith joined The Australian's outstanding team of cricket writers in 2007. He first covered cricket in 1971, and is also an experienced swimming writer.

This Wayne Smith jerk can't even get basic facts (about what happened and what was said) right.

It seems he is another who thinks that Corinthians is in the Old Testament. Can't even check that.

Below are some reader comments on the article which I pretty much agree with. Common sense really.

4 minutes ago

This article is nothing more than a pile of sanctimonious nonsense written by a sports writer. Rather than reporting on sport (something which he is not that good at) he delivers this PC driven piece of virtue signalling garbage.


12 minutes ago

Where has our right to free speech gone in this country!? If our views are not endorsed by the leftist political correct mob, then you are harassed, and threatened with losing your job. We saw the same phenomenon during the same sex marriage 'debate',
I may not agree with Israel Folau's viewpoint but I sure as heck defend his right to express it. Sadly, it seems, others don't.


26 minutes ago

Wayne, I'm not religious but you wouldn't like my opinion of sodomy either. Stick to sports, and don't ask football players loaded questions. Either that or start asking Muslim sportsmen what they think as well, and then we'll see how we all feel then.


27 minutes ago

Compare RA to the example the example of Cricket Australia where Muslim batsman Usman Khawaja is not even required to where the VB logo, and everyone treads respectfully around his "views" which will be decidedly more assertive than MR Folau's. Now that's inclusion.....and for Qantas to be even using the word is a joke and an insult.


1 hour ago

RA MEMO TO ALL PLAYERS.... if asked what do you think? Answer I am not allowed to think. If asked what do you feel about....? Answer I am not allowed to feel. If asked what do you believe ......? Answer I am not allowed to believe anything... Please refer all questions on what I think, feel or believe to RA. They will provide the “correct” answer. SOUNDS LIKE NORTH KOREA TO ME.


1 hour ago

Don't care about Rugby (or cricket, golf swimming, or anything else in between) but... if a 'game' is a 'game' it is neither owned by the players nor the sponsors nor anyone else. Its rules are the rules by which the game is played and as such is free to operate within the law.
The argument that players are somehow bound by 'rules' of sponsors or other pressure groups unrelated to the game itself undermines the very freedom of our whole society. Throwing Folau out (which is what is you are advocating) for declaring who he is exceeds every decent ideal that 'sport' itself stands for -- much worse than a yobo on the sidelines hurling insults!
Your comments are the supreme insult because they are directly against freedom itself.


2 hours ago

Freedom of speech trumps everything! Israel Folau is entitled to his religious beliefs and to express them when he is asked! If others choose to take offence, then that is their problem! Leave this principled guy alone! I much prefer him to those sorts of drunken oafs that footballers frequently are!


10 hours ago

One can only be offended by Folau's comments if one believes in Hell. If you are gay and do not believe in Hell how does it affect you.
If Mr Joyce does not believe in Hell how does the comment affect him? Please explain Mr Joyce or are you just a plain old bully?
Now if RA has an inclusion policy who does it include and who does it not include? (Are Christians included?)
And Wayne for the record it was 48% in favour 32% against and 20% did not vote in the SSM vote.
Remember it was Labor that would not allow a plebiscite.


10 hours ago

Oh please. Our sexuality and our freedom to express it in varied ways, is a product of choice, influenced by social issues, our psychology and our biology. Stop this censorship of Folau and of every Australian who has independent thought. If freedom to express a view that is sourced from scripture violates RAs "inclusion policy", then it is the policy that needs to change.

Everybody is Willing:
Some are willing to work, the rest are willing to let them!

The older I get, the better I was.
 Posted: Apr 22 2018, 11:17 AM


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I agree with the comments of Troy and Sophie. The writer says that “people would have been deeply wounded by Folau’s comments”. I imagine there are lot of people who have been deeply wounded by the whole discussion. The law has been changed, why can’t we all decide to leave it alone now, and let people just live without the 1984 stuff?
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