After Christian rugby player Israel Folau was sacked for verbalizing his opposition to homosexuality, the Rugby Players’ Union (RUPA) set up a committee to review how players can express their faith and beliefs.
On Monday, RUPA called the decision to terminate Folau’s four-year contract “a sad outcome for Israel, his family, friends, teammates, opponents and all associated with rugby in Australia and around the world.”
“RUPA’s first and foremost priority is the wellbeing of all professional Rugby players in Australia, past and present. RUPA will continue to support Israel to ensure that he, Maria and their broader family receive any personal support they need in this difficult transition from Australian Rugby,” the statement continues.
Rugby Australia (RA), RUPA said, had not yet provided any clear parameters to the players specifying how it expects them to express their faith and beliefs in a way it considers acceptable.
“To address this, RUPA will immediately establish and undertake an Expression of Faith & Beliefs Review alongside its’ players, incorporating advice from those with and without strong religious beliefs,” RUPA said.
The group said it plans to hold the first meeting of the review committee when the Super Rugby and World Sevens series seasons ended.
“We will also invite both a Rugby Australia and a Super Rugby representative to participate in this RUPA-led Review, and we wholeheartedly urge them to take us up on this offer of collaboration and to contribute to a landscape with clearly established guidelines for players, which players can have confidence in.”
The controversy over Folau’s faith erupted on April 10 after he shared a scriptural message on social media that Hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, [and] idolaters” who do not repent.
“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 shared on Instagram, along with a series of Bible verses on sin and repentance.
Folau refused to back down amid backlash, stating: “I’ll stand on what the Bible says. I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people’s reactions are the total opposite to how I’m sharing it.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett