The New Zealand Herald

Will Folau play persecutio­n card following hell-for-gays backlash?


Israel Folau appears to be positionin­g himself as persecuted in the debate surroundin­g the views he expressed on gay people, before a meeting with rugby bosses.

The Wallaby has tweeted a Bible verse seemingly alluding to being persecuted for his Christian views.

Folau caused uproar when he said last week gay people were destined for hell unless they repented their sins.

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle and Waratahs chief Andrew Hore are to meet Folau today over his use of social media, after the nowdeleted comment, which contrasted with the pro-samesex-marriage position of RA’s major sponsor, Qantas.

Folau posted to Twitter late on Sunday the Matthew 5 verse stating, “blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousn­ess’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

Castle last week said Folau’s “personal religious beliefs” did not represent the view of RA or NSW Rugby.

“We understand that Israel’s comment has upset a number of people and we will discuss the matter with him as soon as possible,” Castle said in a statement.

It’s unlikely either side will easily give up their position but RA and the Waratahs will hope Folau can be persuaded not to continue expressing such a controvers­ial stance publicly.

Off contract at the end of the year, three-times John Eales Medallist Folau has seemingly contravene­d RA’s inclusion policy.

“There is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimina­tion in our game and our actions and words both on and off the field must reflect this,” the policy states.

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