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The Australian Goes into Bat for Folau: A Response

I thought I was done with this Folau nonsense, but the Un-Australian has printed a piece of breathtaking propaganda which screams out for a dissection. The source piece is long, so this will likely be a monster. Perhaps put on a pot of tea?

Part One: Not a Good Start 

Even the headline of this piece is a cracker:

No forgiveness for Folau’s sins against the PC church

Sigh. Folau did not ‘sin’ against ‘political correctness’. The company for whom he worked responded to his bigoted views (as they would have to anyone else) and sacked him. That is what happened. Nothing more. This explains the financial action against him by Rugby Australia. As for the blasting he received from the general public, this is called free speech. Contrary to recent conservative orthodoxy, free speech does not mean you say whatever you want and everyone else has to STFU.

The opening lines of the piece is not much better

The take-home message of the Israel Folau scandal is as clear as it is terrifying: Christians are no longer welcome in public life. If you adhere to core Christian beliefs about sin, hell and damnation, you will be purged from polite society

The Prime Minister of the nation is a pentecostal christian who recently attended a religious conference and actually said ‘Australia needs more prayer’. Mr Morrison is, to the best of my knowledge, still welcome in public life. The first claim is a demonstrable lie. As for ‘adhering to core christian beliefs about sin, hell and damnation’, these people are not purged from society by any means. Mr. Folau was not fired out of a cannon to the other side of the country for what he said. Rather, he was simply held to account for views which, in light of recent social progress, are now not as accepted as they once were. Christians who say bigoted things using your precious ‘free speech’ being responded to by others using free speech? The cheek! The outrage! The gall!

Part Two: Religious Misinterpretation and False Equivalence

The author continues with one of the more popular anti-gay passages from the christian new testament, that of Romans 1:26-7. He misinterprets it by ignoring the context that it was the christian god himself who forced the people to behave as they did. Compounding this gross misinterpretation is the suggestion that the men had been turned away from ‘the natural use of the female’ – seriously. Barbaric nonsense.

The author’s point here is that if you hold to what the hebrew and greek bibles say about homosexuality, you are ‘branded a moral transgressor’. No, you are not branded as a moral transgressor. You are simply called out for the unevolved, bigoted clown that you are. Your morals are, quite literally, not from this millenium (or the previous one for that matter). Society has moved on. We no longer burn witches, stone or burn heretics or keep slaves. This idiot then adds

critics of christianity now use the tactics that christianity itself once used in its darker moments in history

Unless and until ‘critics of christianity’ are burning people alive for the crime of public disagreement, or perpetrating other acts of violence against ‘transgressors’, you can leave the room and not come back. The very idea that the tactics of modern society in not allowing hate-speech because book are comparable to those of the church itself in medieval times is laughable, and offensive to all the victims of actual violence carried out by the medieval church. Get off my lawn you intellectual midget.

Part Three: False Persecution

In what is fast becoming a tired aspect of this narrative, the author turns to the persecution card. They believe this is a trump card, since disagreement with the premise is evidence for it. So they believe. But like any other form of begging the question (which this is), you did not prove the premise from which you are extrapolating. Back to the piece though. This next part has to be quoted in full to be believed. The author says

 

Yet I find the persecution of Folau repulsive and an alarming sign of the times. It demonstrates how far PC intolerance has gone and how thoroughly anyone who doesn’t slavishly subscribe to contemporary orthodoxy can expect to be punished.

The crap is strong in this one. He is not, as I just said, being persecuted for his beliefs. He is subject to responses, both rhetorical and financial, because he said bigoted things with which people, including the company for whom he works, disagree. Now, the fact that his religion motivated him to say said bigoted things is not relevant. Linking the action taken against Folau to his religion is a non-sequitur and a red herring.

Let us translate the phrase ‘slavishly subscribe to contemporary orthodoxy’, for this is a doozy. Contemporary orthodoxy is conservative code for social progress, otherwise known as living in the modern age. Contemporary orthodoxy is a world that has evolved morally from the teaching of a bronze age book. This is a world where gays are accepted, blacks are not kept in chains and women are not property. In short? A world where christians no longer rule. Clinging petulantly to your beliefs as the world moves on is the equivalent of standing on the platform as the train leaves the station. You get left behind.

Part Four: Doubling Down

The author then recaps the facts in the Folau case (suitably spun). He then proceeds to double down on the persecution narrative. Rugby Australia had, in the name of tolerance, ‘vilified Folau because of his religion’. See above. Sigh.

Referring to the statement put forward by Rugby Australia which effectively said Folau’s bigoted views were at odds with their desire to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone, the author said this

This Orwellian statement translates as follows: “We will not tolerate vilification on the basis of religion — unless your religion is traditional Christianity, in which case we will vilify you.

Once more for the impregnably dense: the responses which Folau has received have nothing to do with the brand of BS in which he believes. It is fair to say that anyone who behaved as he did, regardless of why, would have been treated the same way. If it seems like you have read this before in my earlier articles on this topic, I apologise. They make the same tired arguments, I wield the axe in the same way. Like sands through the hourglass.

The use of George Orwell, to describe the response from Folau’s detractors is a new one. However, the irony does appear lost on this author. The ‘religious freedom bill’ is the ultimate example of Orwellian language. Now, all legislation to some extent is Orwellian: the title either means nothing or is framed in such a way as to be politically expedient. Examples include the infamous PATRIOT Act in the US. Who was going to vote against that? But back to the point. This author bitches about Orwellian language in the age of the ‘Religious Discrimination Act’? Seriously!

Part Five (a): The First ‘Lesson’ of the Folau Scandal

This clown extracts three lessons from this Folau nonsense, and it is on these that I want to end

First, it confirms that PC is the new religion. Political correctness now does what pointy-hatted priests used to do: seeks out thought criminals and moral transgressors and punishes them for their wicked beliefs

Ah yes, political correctness, the go to buzzword of the right that describes social progress made since Patrick Troughton was The Doctor. What this Australian propagandist calls ‘political correctness’ is essentially society-wide politeness. This we often express as tolerance and acceptance of those who are different. Well that is way too christ-like for these modern christians, so screw that.

Part Five (b): The Second ‘Lesson’

His second ‘lesson’ is

The left will turn a blind eye to the use and abuse of capitalist power if it serves their purposes. So, just as leftists have cheered Silicon Valley oligarchs as they have expelled from social media anyone who has an anti-PC point of view, so they have applauded GoFundMe’s shunning of Folau.

Complaining about the use and abuse of corporate power when you write for Rupert Murdoch is the height of lack of self-awareness! SERIOUSLY! You work for Rupert Murdoch! What he means, of course, is that corporate power was used to target someone on his team. The issue is not the use of corporate power itself, but rather who the targets are. THis fact exposes the author as an unprincipled hack!

Also, anti-PC advocates are expelled from social media? Donald Trump, Paul Joseph Watson and Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) all remain on social media. Next. Also, while the left may have applauded GoFundMe’s decision to close Folau’s campaign, that does not change the fact that it was the right decision. If their platform was the basis for a bigot defending himself against legitimate employer reaction to breach of contract, their reputation would have tanked. This was an act of financial self-preservation.

Part Five (c): The Final ‘Lesson’

The third and final ‘lesson’ from this flaming garbage is

that Christianity is one religion it is acceptable to mock and persecute these days. If you were to criticise Islam, you would be branded an “Islamophobe”. You would be accused of stirring up racist sentiment. You would be denounced and harassed and censured.

Any and all religions are subject to mockery by those who do not believe them. The christian faith is subject to greater mockery in Australia because it is more prevalent. It also takes itself way too seriously, and Australians are always up for a good laugh at anything that does that. But even so, it is not mockery to which Folau and his not-so-merry band of bigots have faced. It is scorn! It is outrage! He is being treated like the hateful, intolerant religious zealot he is. That he and his fellow conservatives do not like the fact that you can’t use religion as a sword and shield anymore is not my problem.

As for the suggestion that criticism of islam is called islamophobic, this is limited to the authoritarian left; the so-called purple hair brigade. Frequently, when the mainstream left uses the term, it is in response to claims that all muslims be banned from entering the US, or all muslims are terrorists. These are bigoted generalisations that do, in fact, suggest an irrational fear of muslims.

Conclusion

Let us hope this is the last time we have to deal with this nonsense (unlikely). The christian community needs to learn and accept that speech has consequences, particularly when you work for a company that values its reputation.

The final, and most important actual lessons from this are as follows

  1. Society has evolved past the point where they require a book to tell them how to act.
  2. Disagreeing with, and legislating away, your ability to discriminate against people is not discrimination against you!
  3. As Anita Sarkeesian said ‘When you are used to privilege, equality seems like oppression’

17 comments

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  1. Kerri

    Excellent article.
    Why do we have to keep pointing out to these pretenders that their outrage is not justification for their fantasy?
    I really want a country free from religion but instead we are speeding closer and closer to the Pentecostal Caliphate Morrison envisages. Hey did he want to be PM? (Why did he skewer so many to get to where he is?) simple!
    He is not a preacher but he does want to preach.
    This will not be the end of religious outrage and hypocrisies.

  2. Florence Howarth

    The PM is wrong. It is not more love & religion we need. It is more compassion, honest & fairness. What we don’t need in having his neoliberal ideology imposed on us. We need his government to government for us, not the corporate world.

    PM you don’t need prayers, even love to deliver a fair, civil society.

  3. Alpo

    The Folau brouhaha is a distraction. Murdoch, ScuMo et al. know that we progressives are sensitive to the right-wing love to impose Christian Religious rule on the country, and we are likely to react to any provocation in that area….

    A distraction from what?…. A distraction from the sinking economy and increasing real unemployment. A big international mess is coming and this government is completely unprepared… So, better to distract everybody as they desperately try to work something out…

  4. Kaye Lee

    Yup, that covers it.

    Or in another language, Romans 14:

    Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

    5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

    10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

    “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
    ‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

    12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

    13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

    19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

    22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

  5. terence mills

    Clearly the message has come out from Newscorp HQ in New York : How Good is Scomo with a banner headline in the Weekend Australian today,Scomo Goes to Washington and a large photo of Scomo in full battle gear on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan off the Queensland Coast participating in the war games Talisman Sabre.

    I have no doubt that he will be anointed by Rupert in New York after paying homage to emperor Trump and probably committing us to participate in another coalition of the stupid with the imminent destruction of Iran.

    Oh dear. what have we done ?

  6. Andrew J Smith

    Alpo, agree. Republican reptile PJ O’Rourke describes it as one those irrelevant cultural issues used by govt. to distract and deflect to allow their real business to fly under the radar.

    Other uses for Folau and useful idiots is to help shore up conservative and evangelical political support and encourage some authoritarian tendencies over or against those more tolerant and secular (in a nation with declining Christian beliefs and active observance).

    Again, it’s another knock off and import of GOP Republican tactics and strategy encouraged by Kochs et al. for whom a loose coalition of Conservative and/or Evangelical Christians, white nationalists, pro-lifers, gun lobby, regional voters etc., are used to support unpalatable and/or libertarian legislative changes through deflection and ignorance e.g. reducing environmental protections, lowering high income tax rates, breaking trade agreements etc.

    According to Nancy MacLean of ‘Democracy in Chains’ fame, it’s part of a stealthy long game that’s being played by the radical right libertarians (one could suggest Brexit was same and also used well, playing up immigration with white nationalist tendencies, via Murdoch et al. over decades, to eventually trash EU Customs and related agreements, leading to a closer dependency or vassal status with the US for the UK, before it simply becomes little England, brilliant).

  7. Jack Cade

    Kaye Lee.
    Islam can match all of those.
    ‘Thou shalt not eat the meat of a donkey that has been recently sodomised.’
    Endorsed by the Ayatollah Khomeini, no less.
    But you CAN give the meat to the people in the next village.

  8. David

    I can’t pour a cup of tea. All the cups were wrecked in the storms

  9. Zathras

    Donkey meat?
    Likewise, the Talmud says that if you want to perform evil or mischevous acts, go do them in another village where nobody knows you. It’s typical bronze-age thinking shared by all Abrahamic belief systems.

    911 is only remembered for the Muslim attack on the Twin Towers yet it’s also the anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre where Mormons slaughtered about 140 innocent emigrants passing through their Utah territory in 1857.

    Far more than other religions, Christianity has always had a persecution and martyrdom complex, from it’s beginnings with mythical tales of executions in Roman arenas right up to the (now) traditional USA annual outrage over the seasonal decoration of Starbucks coffee cups.

    This is in spite of the historical fact that no other religion has been more oppressive with as much blood on it’s hands through conquest and war and overcame opposition through sheer ruthlessness and cares more about itself than any positive messages it likes to think it portrays.

  10. Stephengb

    This case is much more important than religious crap.

    This is a case where an employer wants to control the behaviour and words of an employee in the employees private time.

    Think about that?

    If Folau loses it sets a precedence for every employer to dictate the private life and time of their employees.

    Think about that?

    I hope that Folau wins

  11. New England Cocky

    A few ideas from a thoughtful friend.

    Dear Israel Folau,
    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from you, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.

    When someone tries to defend the homosexual/transsexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.

    I do, however, need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

    These are:
    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations.
    A friend of mine claims that this applies to Papua New Guineans, but not New Zealanders. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own New Zealanders?

    I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24.
    The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offence.

    When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odour for the Lord – Lev.1:9.
    The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odour is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.
    Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

    A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

    Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot………
    ….. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

    The bible clearly states Leviticus 19:28, which says,”You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.”

    Why do you have tattoos Israel Folau ? Am I now morally obliged to now stone you to death ?

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.

    Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    PS: It would be a real shame if we couldn’t own a New Zealander

    [Just think the ARU could purchase the entire All Blacks team for the cost of your annual remuneration and simultaneously solve the declining public popularity of Australian Rugby caused by ‘star’ players being paid exorbitant remuneration for underwhelming game results -added NEC]

  12. Terence Mills

    stephengb

    You are right, this is an important case for our courts to determine. As with all contracts, there are rights and obligations and RA players freely enter into a playing contract for substantial consideration and they agree to abide by the conditions of that contract.

    This player breached his contract and this brought about his termination ; have a look at the conditions that a specific to RA and this contract :

    1.3 Treat everyone equally, fairly and with dignity regardless of gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, cultural or religious background, age or disability. Any form of bullying, harassment or discrimination has no place in Rugby

    1.6 Do not make any public comment that is critical of the performance of a match official, player, team official, coach or employee/officer/volunteer of any club or a Union; or on any matter that is, or is likely to be, the subject of an investigation or disciplinary process; or otherwise make any public comment that would likely be detrimental to the best interests, image and welfare of the Game, a team, a club, a competition or Union.

    1.7 Use Social Media appropriately. By all means share your positive experiences of Rugby but do not use Social Media as a means to breach any of the expectations and requirements of you as a player contained in this Code or in any Union, club or competition rules and regulations

    Potentially, the findings of the federal court will have a significant influence on employment contract law : it has nothing to do with freedom of speech or religion.

    Have a good day !

  13. Josephus

    Cocky I like the irony- have seen this text elsewhere, but it makes its point well. To be fair, the monetheisms have been forced to modernise, else the steeple houses et al would be even emptier. Alas, modernity is yet to reach some places: eg some Eastern Europeans retain the primitive belief that Jews killed their man- god . Bigotry is not confined to the Old Testament, or to one faith system: eg Hindu and Buddhist attacks on Moslems.

    One of the article quotations makes no sense by the way – ‘GoFundMe’s shunning of Falau’ – surely the opposite is true. ‘Funding’ of Falau?

    The PM is not very bright, which is why his lot were voted in by 43% – he does not threaten those voters’ self-esteem.

    The Falau matter rests on contract law only. How can anyone do other than laugh at the bigotry of the footballer. He has no status! I assume he has not done the tourism thing in hell and reported on the entry conditions . If I say the Martians are coming, the significance of my utterance is zero. Why are some so insecure about a midget? He has presumably read his contract, and was paid a fortune in consequence. You join a club, you obey its rules.

  14. Keitha Granville

    Thanks Terence for pointing out the bleeding obvious. He breached a contract, simple. What a pile of bs stephengb, he AGREED to a contract setting out what was expected of him. His employer isn’t telling him what he can do or think, it is expecting him to abide by a contract for which he is more than obscenely remunerated.

    If he wins, we all lose.

  15. Kaye Lee

    “This is a case where an employer wants to control the behaviour and words of an employee in the employees private time.”

    Are you equally perturbed when footballers get suspended for videos of private parties posted online? Or how about Jamie Briggs getting sacked for trying to kiss a colleague in his private time? What about gays being sacked by church organisations? How would you feel if your child’s teacher posted racist stuff online?

    For many of us, required standards of behaviour do not end when we leave work for the day.

    Israel was warned after his previous homophobic posts and he agreed that he would not cause them any further grief, that he would walk away if they felt his views incompatible with RA philosophy. He was still free to practice his religion as he wished and to continue playing. He deliberately chose to break his word. He could have had an anonymous handle and posted away to his hearts content but he chose to use his official site and the platform and notoriety afforded him by RA. It was a very deliberate smack in the face to his employers and their sponsors after they had previously come to both a verbal and written agreement. RA are entitled to protect their sponsorships. ASIC dropped Issy like a hot potato.

  16. Bill Gee

    As a child I was warned about fire and brimstone, but fortunately never encountered it. Now, some 70+ years on I discover it right here! Fortunately not as deadly as I thought, but fortunately I can shut it down with a single tap of a key.

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