I cast my mind back to 2003, I was at home with my family watching the Rugby World Cup final in Australia.
The whole family was cheering for Australia, except my mum. My mum is a British citizen. My whole family are dual nationals. We could choose who to support.
We were giving my Mum heaps for supporting England, but as the old saying goes, “he who laughs last laughs the longest” and when Johnny Wilkinson sunk that field goal in the last kick of extra time to sink Australian hearts, she well and truly laughed the longest.
This time things have changed.
My heart was devastated for the Wallabies; I genuinely wanted them to win for Australia against the country of my birth. Even though I am English, my heart was broken seeing England Captain Martin Johnson lift the William Webb Ellis Trophy (AKA Bill).
Now I will be cheering for England just as hard as I was for Australia that night. In fact, I will be heartbroken if the Wallabies do the same to England in the final.
In light of the Israel Falou case, I now have absolutely no connection, no affinity with this Australian Rugby side. I could not care less if they win or lose now.
They do not represent me or my values or the values of this nation that I love.
You’re probably thinking, “So what? I bet the Wallabies won’t miss you.”
You would be right to think that. They won’t miss my support because the values of me and my faith are not welcome in their sport.
I believe the values of Australia are not welcome in their Sport
We take oaths of office in every court in this land.
The Prime Minister was sworn in with his hand on his Bible—the same Bible which Israel Folau has quoted and he has now had his dignity, his integrity his vocation and his income stolen from him.
This is hypocrisy at it’s worst. It is so ironic that the same country where the Bible is sworn upon in a Court of Law, you quote that same Bible publicly you can lose your job.
It’s not Folau’s views that are in the wrong, it’s Rugby Australia’s for not having the same values that we in Australia hold dear.
The International Covenant of Civil and Political Right could come into this
Rugby Australia have also broken the International Covenant of Civil and Political rights. Australia is part of this covenant; this covenant is legally enforceable.
It is stated, ‘a person has the right to express their religious beliefs, orally, in writing and in print.’
To my knowledge Rugby Australia cannot enforce a contract on someone where they can be dismissed for stating their religious beliefs on Instagram.
Are the rules that govern humans supposed to be ignored because a company can just bully their views onto us? And we must accept their ideals over our own?
What about the Wallabies?
Now, just because Rugby Australia ignores International Covenants, does that mean I should take that out on the Wallabies? Yes it does.
Because I think the conduct of Captain Michael Hooper and Coach Michael Cheika was equally outrageous.
They both said they did not want Folau back in the team (even before he had his hearing by that Rugby Australia panel that had about as much credibility as Donald Trump commenting on Robert Mueller).
Anyone that has played sport would know that while you might hold differing views to your teammates, you are teammates, you come together regardless of religion or political persuasion and you get the job done.
If the leaders of the team hold the same bullying values that Rugby Australia have, then this team does not share my values and quite frankly I hope they get belted in the tournament.
As for Rugby Australia
Their double standards are sensational.
You can break a person’s face, take illegal drugs, assault your partner, rape someone, be a convicted criminal and still play, but if you read from the Bible you get kicked out.
In their effort of “inclusiveness and diversity” they have excluded Christians—that is hypocrisy.
All Folau did was read a passage (Galatians chapter 5 verses 19-21) and explained it in a simple manner. Said what the works of the flesh are and which kind of people they apply to. Obviously if you don’t inherit the Kingdom of God which is Heaven you instead go to Hell.
Folau nor myself does not want anyone to go to Hell and wants us all to be saved by Jesus Christ—that is a positive and uplifting message. It’s not bullying, harassing, hate speech, homophobic, discriminatory or negative in anyway.
The media and RA do not understand the passage and say what they think it means. They have ignored the other sins listed and isolated “homosexuality” using it against Folau as a means to advance their political objectives.
This crooked organisation will never have my support until it respects the rights of all individuals to state their religious beliefs.
Ben Kruzins is the Campus Pastor of The Hub Baptist Church in Ocean Shores on the North Coast of New South Wales. He is also a Journalism graduate who has written articles in The Canberra Times and The Sydney Morning Herald.