Australian rugby star Israel Folau.
Australian rugby star Israel Folau. Nev Madsen

Bundy pastor backs Folau, levels blame at media, minorities

A BUNDABERG pastor has backed sports star Israel Folau, questioning Go Fund Me's decision to ditch his fundraising bid, accusing the media of sensationalising and lamenting how much influence minority groups have.

Folau (pictured) has been trying to build up a $3 million war chest from public donations to fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia, which terminated his $4 million contract in May.

The decision by RA came after Folau posted a biblical passage on social media saying "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" would go to hell unless they repented. Folau said he had been the victim of discrimination on religious grounds and set up a GoFundMe page, which raised more than $750,000 in about four days.

But GoFundMe shut it down on Monday because it breached its terms of service and said it would issue refunds to the more than 7000 donors.

A fresh fundraising effort was launched on Tuesday morning by the Australian Christian Lobby, which by 2pm had received more than $736,000.

 

POST FLOOD: Heritage Christian Centre pastor Errol Buckle is hopeful that plans to replace flood damaged buildings go ahead soon. Photo taken on Wednesday, 15 October 2014.
Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
FOLAU FURORE: Bundaberg pastor Errol Buckle has backed rugby player Israel Folau (above). Max Fleet BUN151014ERR5

Bundaberg's Heritage Christian Centre pastor Errol Buckle yesterday answered the NewsMail's questions on the issue that's gripped the nation.

Q:What are your thoughts on the Go Fund page being removed?

Under the guise of "inclusivity" to exclude someone? Sounds like a conflicting statement. Here they draw a boundary to their inclusivity which excludes others so they are not fully inclusive.

Q: How do you think this whole saga is reflecting on religion and religious perspectives?

It is challenging people about the need to consider questions like "does someone's feelings make it true?"

Is hate speech determined by the heart and intent of the speaker or by the interpretation of the hearer? If it is the latter then we are all in trouble. They usually call that being paranoid.

Israel included a number of different activities that the Bible describes as sin but only one group have reacted as if this is discriminatory or hate speech targeting them.

Who made it a big issue on one topic? Israel or those who reacted so vehemently to it, because it certainly was not Israel Falou. He did not single out any one group.

Sensationalising only suits two groups; the media who have been clearly biased and the ones who reacted.

That means that the problem was made a bigger problem by one of these two groups.

In footy those who escalate the problem are penalised as much as those who may have intentionally or inadvertently started it.

Q: Did you expect it to happen or were you surprised?

I am not really surprised. I expect the media to sensationalise and not let the truth get in the way of a good story and I expect people with an agenda to do the same when it seems to enhance and further their cause.

Q: What are your thoughts about the amount of money that had been donated to the page before it was removed?

No one really complains about the amount of money raised or government granted to run the gay Mardi Gras so the amount is a non-issue but it does show the level of concern.

As did our last national election. People are concerned at the level of influence a minority has to force the majority to behave in a way they the minority think is acceptable.

Q: Do you think it is a matter of freedom of speech?

There are a number of issues to be considered; free speech, freedom of religion; balanced debate about ideas without attacking people, workplace control, the balance between feelings and facts, resilience in life issues and much more.

We will always draw boundaries about life issues so no one is completely inclusive and no one is completely non-discriminatory.

Death and God's love may be the only fully inclusive, non-discriminatory realities of this life.