If you are not familiar with Israel Folau, you may not follow world rugby.
Folau is a superstar rugby player, who has played on Australia's national team for 73 test matches - and, is also a massive rugby star on the Australian rugby club scene, as well as the world over.
Folau is, moreover, a faithful Christian who has a massive following of over 300,000 on his Instagram account.
This staunchly Christian athlete has just been sacked by Rugby Australia over accusations of 'homophobia' for quoting St. Paul in the Bible on homosexuality.
This petition stands with Folau, demanding that Rugby Australia respect his freedom of speech and religion, and his right to speak about Christianity's admonition against homosexual practice on his personal account.
Folau regularly posts memes on his account which either give credit to God for success, or call on people to believe in Jesus and repent of their sins.
On April 10, Folau posted a meme which paraphrases St Paul's admonition to certain sinners to repent of their sins, or face eternal damnation. These sinners include: Drunks; Homosexuals; Adulterers; Liars; Fornicators; Thieves; Atheist; and, Idolaters.
Some media outlets have characterized Folau's post as "homophobic" or as an "attack against gays", but it is actually neither.
In addition to the meme paraphrasing St. Paul, Folau also posted an accompanying commentary in which he states: "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."
Here, it is clear that Folau is not judging people, but calling them to repentance.
And, it is worth repeating that Folau posted this meme and commentary on his private instagram account, not on a team account.
Since this controversy erupted, Folau has stood firm on his principles, saying in the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday: "First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that's not to continue on playing, so be it...my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first."
But, we believe that it is unjust, in the extreme, for Rugby Australia to sack Folau over speaking his mind on sin and the need for repentance.
Therefore, this petition calls on Rugby Australia to reinstate Israel Folau and respect his freedom of speech and religion.
Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition which stands with Israel Folau.
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