Fo­lau’s sack­ing ques­tioned

Lo­cal pastor speaks out about rugby player

The Western Star - - News - Lucy Ruther­ford lucy.ruther­[email protected]­ern­starnews.com

DAMIAN Cor­kett be­lieves religious freedom of speech has come un­der ques­tion in the on­go­ing Is­rael Fo­lau saga.

The se­nior Pastor at Roma Heart Church weighed in on the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing Rugby Aus­tralia’s de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate Fo­lau’s $4 mil­lion con­tract af­ter the ath­lete said ho­mo­sex­u­als would burn in hell.

Pr Cor­kett said Fo­lau should not have lost his job based on ex­press­ing his religious be­liefs.

“It def­i­nitely sets a dan­ger­ous prece­dent in re­gards to freedom of speech and specif­i­cally ‘religious’ freedom of speech,” Pr Cor­kett said.

“When you con­sider with­out the ex­is­tence of the In­sta­gram post in ques­tion, Rugby Aus­tralia is happy and ac­cept­ing of Is­rael’s be­liefs. Ev­ery­body in­clud­ing sponsors are aware of what he stands for.

“To be ter­mi­nated on the ba­sis of ex­press­ing his be­lief, which ev­ery Chris­tian does daily or at least more openly on a Sun­day, makes their de­ci­sion ques­tion­able.”

Af­ter Rugby Aus­tralia ter­mi­nated Is­rael Fo­lau’s $4 mil­lion con­tract on May 17, the Aus­tralian Chris­tian Lobby came to his de­fence.

Set­ting up a fundraiser on their web­site has seen more than $2 mil­lion of do­na­tions flow­ing in to fund his le­gal bat­tle against Rugby Aus­tralia af­ter GoFundMe shut down his orig­i­nal cam­paign on June 24 for vi­o­lat­ing their terms of ser­vice.

“Whether we agree with Is­rael’s crowd fund­ing or not, it’s clear there is as much sup­port for Is­rael as there is against,” Pr Cor­kett said. “It’s in­ter­est­ing there wasn’t much fo­cus on the drunks, adul­ter­ers, liars, for­ni­ca­tors, thieves, athe­ists and idol­aters men­tioned.”

With the topic be­ing con­tro­ver­sial among Chris­tians and non-Chris­tians across the coun­try, Pr Cor­kett be­lieves freedom of speech is an im­por­tant el­e­ment of the rights we have in Aus­tralia but it comes with the per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­sur­ing com­ments are truth­ful and not dam­ag­ing to other in­di­vid­u­als or busi­nesses.

“While my de­liv­ery of the same be­lief would have been dif­fer­ent, I ab­so­lutely sup­port Is­rael Fo­lau,” he said.

“I be­lieve in the same bi­ble in its entirety and share the same be­liefs.

“As part of the lo­cal church in Roma, our heart or our mis­sion is sim­ply to love peo­ple, wher­ever they’re at. That doesn’t mean we agree with ev­ery­thing but we love them all the same.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

DI­VIDED NA­TION: Se­nior Pastor at Roma Heart Church, Damian Cor­kett has weighed in on the Is­rael Fo­lau saga.

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