Israel Folau - a case of employment discrimination?

TukaiTukai Shipmate
Israel Folau is a professional rugby player in Australia, and is arguably the best player in the Australian national team. Certainly he is one of the best paid, as his current contract with Rugby Australia (RA) has him on $1 million per year, not counting endorsements.

However, Rugby Australia are currently trying to sack him , on the grounds that he has breached their code of conduct, which code is a part of his individual employment contract. The alleged "breach" is that he has posted on his social media (widely followed by his many rugby fans) texts that state that all homosexuals need to repent or they will go to hell. RA claim that this breaches their policy that their sport is an inclusive one that welcomes everyone regardless of gender, religion, sexuality, etc. Although RA do not say so publicly, they are also concerned that some of their financial sponsors strongly disagree with Folau's stance.

Folau's defence is essentially that he is merely putting biblical texts into his posts, as an expression of his [indisputably] strong religious beliefs. (He now belongs to a fairly extreme Pentacostal church, having converted from Mormonism). Therefore to deny him that right is a discrimination against him on the grounds of religion (which is, broadly speaking, illegal in Australia) . OTOH, discrimination on the grounds of sexuality is also illegal, at least in Australia.

Although the case is currently going through tribunals set up by sporting bodies, it is almost certain to go into the general legal system, as a case in employment law for unjustified dismissal. I am not a lawyer, but my daughter is one, specialising in employment law. She and many other observers reckon that it is not an "open and shut case". For starters, there is nothing specific about such issues in his individual contract (signed only last year, soon after he was cautioned by RA about a previous similar episode) . And the Code of Conduct, is (like most such codes) very vague and arguably thus unenforceable in law.

To add to the complications, several other international rugby players like Folau come from a background in the Pacific Islands, where the custom of rugby on Saturday, church on Sunday is part of their custom (and one could almost say their religion) . They are making sympathetic noises in favour of Folau, claiming they might walk out in support of his strongly religious stance.

So, what do you think? Is this a case of unfair religious discrimination? Are there similar cases brewing where shipmates come from?

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Comments

  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited May 8
    There's been a bit of discussion on this here.

    I think, as you wrote, with some of the very talented, and well-liked, Pacific Island background players, it will be interesting if more come out in support of Folau. And what impact that has on them and their standing in parts of society.

    Some interesting points were made in the thread linked above re public expressions in a sport environment vs a business. It appears, to me, may be wrong, we're not quite at the same point with sexuality (and religion) as we are on race/ethnicity -- if Folau said Calathumpians were inferior I think the discussion would be different... But I may be wrong. And I realise sexuality is very much a live issue.

    From what I read I am also interested in parts of the right-wing media (Sky "after dark" and The Daily Terrorgraph) supporting him, in what I can only assume is some sort of stand for "Christian" values...

    Interesting times.


    edit: problematic prepositions
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 8
    To discriminate against discrimination is not discrimination.

    He should have the courage of his discriminatory convictions and sacrifice the worldly status that gives him the platform to air them.

    In the meantime the sponsors must be boycotted.

    Aren't there any out gay Oz rugby players?
  • DonLogan2DonLogan2 Shipmate
    Smack on the wrists, don`t do it again or we will sack you, get back to playing rugger as the ozzie squad need you.

    Unfortunately the law doesn`t back up the other groups he said were going to hell or he would be sacked :smiley:
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    He should have the courage of his discriminatory convictions and sacrifice the worldly status that gives him the platform to air them.
    Yes - he damn well should. And you know what? If he had done that, I would actually have an ounce or two of respect for him. But, no - he wants to have his martyr's crown and his four million dollars...
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    There's been a bit of discussion on this here.
    From what I read I am also interested in parts of the right-wing media (Sky "after dark" and The Daily Terrorgraph) supporting him, in what I can only assume is some sort of stand for "Christian" values...
    Alan Jones, earlier today: "The Australia that our Anzacs fought for seems to be disappearing before our very eyes," Jones said. "It prompts you to wonder what kind of society we're living in. Nothing wrong with Israel, it's the society and those who prosecute him who are sick."

    WTF is he doing dragging Anzacs into this - just looking for a handy dog-whistle for reactionary types? Neither World War had anything to do with rugby, homosexuality, or free speech. The man's an idiot of the highest order. (I would style that slightly more colourfully, except I just noticed this thread's in purg, not hell).
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    I don't understand the legal position, but from a human point of view such filth cannot be rewarded, can it? Think of all the young people who have their sporting heroes, and who will copy them. I was relieved to see that he was booed at a game, although no doubt some would cheer.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    if Folau said Calathumpians were inferior I think the discussion would be different

    Or, if some Baptist fundy player had tweeted that Pentecostals are possessed by the devil when they speak in tongues or get otherwise ecstatic, and are all gonna burn in Hell if they don't become "real Christians".

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    I don't understand the legal position, but from a human point of view such filth cannot be rewarded, can it? Think of all the young people who have their sporting heroes, and who will copy them. I was relieved to see that he was booed at a game, although no doubt some would cheer.

    Such filth believed by at least 80% of humanity, being a socially conservative monkey.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    I don't understand the legal position, but from a human point of view such filth cannot be rewarded, can it? Think of all the young people who have their sporting heroes, and who will copy them. I was relieved to see that he was booed at a game, although no doubt some would cheer.

    Such filth believed by at least 80% of humanity, being a socially conservative monkey.

    Citation for that?
  • TukaiTukai Shipmate
    DonLogan2 wrote: »
    Smack on the wrists, don`t do it again or we will sack you, get back to playing rugger as the ozzie squad need you.

    (2) Unfortunately the law doesn`t back up the other groups he said were going to hell or he would be sacked :smiley:

    On (1) , that's what he got from Rugby Australia last year. And they gave him a new 4-year contract with no special clauses about what he could say in public.

    On (2) , among the other groups he condemned to hell were adulterers, blasphemers, and alcoholics. That set probably includes more of his team-mates, and of the public, than does the category "homosexual".

    Apologies for not noticing the tangent about this matter buried in the thread on "I may have been hasty" - a title which tells me nothing about its content.

    Incidentally, my guess about the eventual outcome of this case, is that Folau will accept a multi-million dollar settlement, retire from rugby and become a full-time preacher.

    FWIW I actually met Folau a few years ago, and found him to be polite, sober and humble. Certainly not one to big-note himself, or to get into drunken rampages like too many of his team-mates (esp those from rugby league). .
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    I don't understand the legal position, but from a human point of view such filth cannot be rewarded, can it? Think of all the young people who have their sporting heroes, and who will copy them. I was relieved to see that he was booed at a game, although no doubt some would cheer.

    Such filth believed by at least 80% of humanity, being a socially conservative monkey.

    Citation for that?

    Just a feeling and

    Islam. Christianity. Virtually anyone not WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic) and a silent majority of them, us.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    anoesis wrote: »
    Climacus wrote: »
    There's been a bit of discussion on this here.
    From what I read I am also interested in parts of the right-wing media (Sky "after dark" and The Daily Terrorgraph) supporting him, in what I can only assume is some sort of stand for "Christian" values...
    Alan Jones, earlier today: "The Australia that our Anzacs fought for seems to be disappearing before our very eyes," Jones said. "It prompts you to wonder what kind of society we're living in. Nothing wrong with Israel, it's the society and those who prosecute him who are sick."

    WTF is he doing dragging Anzacs into this - just looking for a handy dog-whistle for reactionary types? Neither World War had anything to do with rugby, homosexuality, or free speech. The man's an idiot of the highest order. (I would style that slightly more colourfully, except I just noticed this thread's in purg, not hell).

    I don't know anything about this Alan Jones guy, but just as an observation, people who these days jump forth to defend some non-white person's right to hold reactionary views are usually the same people who, thirty years ago, would have been pointing to non-whites as the ones who "are betraying everything our country once stood for".

  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    I don't understand the legal position, but from a human point of view such filth cannot be rewarded, can it? Think of all the young people who have their sporting heroes, and who will copy them. I was relieved to see that he was booed at a game, although no doubt some would cheer.

    Such filth believed by at least 80% of humanity, being a socially conservative monkey.

    Citation for that?

    Just a feeling and

    Islam. Christianity. Virtually anyone not WEIRD (Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic) and a silent majority of them, us.

    Surely, that sounds more like 79%?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Pareto baby, Pareto. Our prejudices go to our deeply gut wired disgust reactions. We liberal folk are disgusted at that. We have to be a tad more subtle and cunning. Subversive.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure a white guy stating that women don't have a place in cricket, rugby or soccer would get a slap on the wrist and possibly a suspension. Is the furore about Folau because it is about sexuality and that it is motivated by his religious beliefs (rather than good old-fashioned pig-headed misogyny)?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Yeahhhh. None of the categories intersect.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    sionisais wrote: »
    I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure a white guy stating that women don't have a place in cricket, rugby or soccer would get a slap on the wrist and possibly a suspension.

    If he's said that anyone has no place in a sport that he is paid to promote then there is a case to answer.

    If he has merely expressed private religious belief about what happens in an afterlife, on which the sporting body that employs him has no collective view, then there is none.
  • rhubarbrhubarb Shipmate
    To ask Israel to deny his beliefs would impinge so much on him that he would be unable to be the amazing rugby player he has been. His beliefs and his abilities are part of one person.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Yeahhhh. None of the categories intersect.

    It isn't a matter of specific categories but one of prejudice. Are some forms of prejudice OK (or less OK) while others are not?
  • Read <race of your choice> in place of <homosexual>. How's that work with this?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Russ wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure a white guy stating that women don't have a place in cricket, rugby or soccer would get a slap on the wrist and possibly a suspension.

    If he's said that anyone has no place in a sport that he is paid to promote then there is a case to answer.

    If he has merely expressed private religious belief about what happens in an afterlife, on which the sporting body that employs him has no collective view, then there is none.

    And he is not exploiting a huge following of vulnerable, suggestible youth by virtue of his sponsored prowess with his lack of pluralism, his insane beliefs. At all.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    rhubarb wrote: »
    To ask Israel to deny his beliefs would impinge so much on him that he would be unable to be the amazing rugby player he has been. His beliefs and his abilities are part of one person.

    I can't see that anyone is asking him to deny his beliefs.
  • sionisaissionisais Shipmate
    Read <race of your choice> in place of <homosexual>. How's that work with this?

    I suppose he could cite "Smiting the Amalekites and Midianites" as justification. There's weird stuff in the OT as we all know, and relations between Jews and Samaritans were at best a bitter rivalry as we see in the NT. That doesn't make any of it right.
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    Russ wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure a white guy stating that women don't have a place in cricket, rugby or soccer would get a slap on the wrist and possibly a suspension.

    If he's said that anyone has no place in a sport that he is paid to promote then there is a case to answer.

    If he has merely expressed private religious belief about what happens in an afterlife, on which the sporting body that employs him has no collective view, then there is none.

    Depends on the wording of his contract of employment and any sponsorship agreements * he's signed either directly or indirectly. If those contracts include wording about not saying or doing anything that could bring the sport into disrepute / damage the sponsor's reputation then there is likely a case to answer.

    * The sponsorship agreements are almost certain to contain something. Most companies will drop a celeb representative like a hot brick if they believe that continuing the association is likely to upset their customer base and impact sales. And this is definitely likely.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    sionisais wrote: »
    It isn't a matter of specific categories but one of prejudice. Are some forms of prejudice OK (or less OK) while others are not?
    I think that's precisely the point.

    If two sets of prejudices/beliefs collide, how should the legal system, rather than the holders of the particular sets, decide between them? Are they all of equal status, or is there a cascade of them, so that a 'preferred' set pips a 'less preferred' one?

    If the prohibitions against discrimination come from the legal system, and the legal system doesn't specify an order of priority (few, if any do), presumably that means that there is a presumption of equal status between them. Otherwise, on what basis, if any, does anyone have for claiming one set pips another?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    One does harm, the other doesn't.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure a white guy stating that women don't have a place in cricket, rugby or soccer would get a slap on the wrist and possibly a suspension.

    If he's said that anyone has no place in a sport that he is paid to promote then there is a case to answer.

    If he has merely expressed private religious belief about what happens in an afterlife, on which the sporting body that employs him has no collective view, then there is none.

    And he is not exploiting a huge following of vulnerable, suggestible youth by virtue of his sponsored prowess with his lack of pluralism, his insane beliefs. At all.

    I've never really bought the "suggestible youth" argument for why celebrities should behave better than the average person.

    Quite some time ago, a Korean TV actress, renowned for playing a very wholesome nurse on some historical drama, got fired after it was revealed she
    Martin54 wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure a white guy stating that women don't have a place in cricket, rugby or soccer would get a slap on the wrist and possibly a suspension.

    If he's said that anyone has no place in a sport that he is paid to promote then there is a case to answer.

    If he has merely expressed private religious belief about what happens in an afterlife, on which the sporting body that employs him has no collective view, then there is none.

    And he is not exploiting a huge following of vulnerable, suggestible youth by virtue of his sponsored prowess with his lack of pluralism, his insane beliefs. At all.

    I've started a thread on this here.

  • Colin SmithColin Smith Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »

    I've never really bought the "suggestible youth" argument for why celebrities should behave better than the average person.

    But do you accept there is any argument for why they should behave better than the average person?
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    It's arguable that an employer shouldn't have the ability to hold their employees accountable for their actions outside of work. However, we know that Australian Rugby does hold its players accountable for their non-work related actions, so I guess it comes down to whether or not denigrating a specific subset of fellow players and fans should fall into this category. I can see the League's interest not angering its fans and I've never been a big fan of using religion to exempt yourself from generally applicable rules or laws.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    First off, let me clarify that everything in that post written by me between Martin's two quotes is a rough draf that accidently got put into the post. I didn't mean to discuss the article at all on this thread.

    And on that note, I will reply to Colin on the thread I started.
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    Enoch wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    It isn't a matter of specific categories but one of prejudice. Are some forms of prejudice OK (or less OK) while others are not?
    I think that's precisely the point.

    If two sets of prejudices/beliefs collide, how should the legal system, rather than the holders of the particular sets, decide between them? Are they all of equal status, or is there a cascade of them, so that a 'preferred' set pips a 'less preferred' one?

    If the prohibitions against discrimination come from the legal system, and the legal system doesn't specify an order of priority (few, if any do), presumably that means that there is a presumption of equal status between them. Otherwise, on what basis, if any, does anyone have for claiming one set pips another?

    Using UK employment law as a guide, the Christian arguing that their right to express their beliefs (or prejudices) about various dead equines trumps everything else tend to come off worse.

    This is usually reported in the press as Christians being picked on for just being Christians. (Because the answer to the question WWJD is, obviously, "Be a bigot"). But, when you dig into it, it's usually Christians deciding the usual rules of employment don't apply to them and getting sacked for ignoring warnings / pesky bits in their contract saying they can't do that.
  • Religious belief is not a defence in Canada as far as I understand. You're not allowed to state certain things nor do exclusionary things without violating human rights codes. Which basically means that someone's right to say something has to be balanced with the effects of what they said on those affected. Rules and analysis vary place to place.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited May 8
    Interesting how certain Christians are allowed to stomp on others because of religious freedom, but if these same Christians catch even the least bit of criticism they scream their rights are being violated. I remember a couple of years back when the christflakes moaned that putting a signs in your shop window saying you don't discriminate against gays was infringing on Christian shopkeepers' rights.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    It isn't a matter of specific categories but one of prejudice. Are some forms of prejudice OK (or less OK) while others are not?
    I think that's precisely the point.

    If two sets of prejudices/beliefs collide, how should the legal system, rather than the holders of the particular sets, decide between them? Are they all of equal status, or is there a cascade of them, so that a 'preferred' set pips a 'less preferred' one?

    If the prohibitions against discrimination come from the legal system, and the legal system doesn't specify an order of priority (few, if any do), presumably that means that there is a presumption of equal status between them. Otherwise, on what basis, if any, does anyone have for claiming one set pips another?

    I think that Australian society has already answered that by saying that religious people and institutions can only discriminate against people on the basis of their religious belief in specific areas. So all prohibited discrimination is equally unlawful, but religious people have the privileged position of being able to discriminate on the basis of their beliefs in certain defined areas. IANAL and haven't been for 20 years.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    @Simon Toad that's a different issue because it's the other way round, with the opposite power equation. You're comparing the right to discriminate with the right not to be discriminated against.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I thought I covered both, as the freedom for religious people to discriminate is limited, and other people have no such freedom unless they get an exemption from the relevant Commission. Religious people have no right to discriminate on the basis of their belief outside those limitations, unless they too are granted an exemption. Therefore, Folau in tweeting his warnings to the LGBTQI community is not able to rely on the defence that he is genuinely expressing his religious views.

    From a legal standpoint, you would want to hit the case law. But it works as a statement of principle for Christians in Australia, or other religious groups for that matter. You get very little sympathy for this sort of behavior, and if you raise your legal rights, Australians are likely to (and have) said "what? You can do that? Stuff that for a joke." and the pollies are put under pressure to remove the right in question.

    My knowledge of this stuff is old and outdated. IANAL
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    No one is saying that Israel Folau isn't allowed to believe what he does: but what Rugby Australia are saying are that if he is to fulfil his contractual obigations to them he is not to promulgate his beliefs. Just that.

    It is Folau's insistence on tweeting and posting his beliefs in hellfire for those he considers sinners that has brought about punishment and now a sacking. All he had to do was keep his beliefs to himself - he chose not to: this loss of employment is self-inflicted.

    Of course, we could all go much, much deeper and blame the rabid ultra-conservative fice-bowl evangelical Christians who spread like a growth over the islands of the south pacific and planted the seeds of this in the first place :wink:
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    Tukai wrote: »
    Apologies for not noticing the tangent about this matter buried in the thread on "I may have been hasty" - a title which tells me nothing about its content.
    I originated the other thread, which began as a complaint about another Australian sportsperson, and having attracted an audience of (mostly) antipodeans, who obviously had at least a pass interest in sport, suggested the tangent.
    Tukai wrote: »
    FWIW I actually met Folau a few years ago, and found him to be polite, sober and humble.
    And, yet. One of the many things that irks me about this whole ongoing saga is how non-humble he's been. He's put himself and his conscience above his team, and then been non-graceful into the bargain, by not following all the way through with that, and quitting.

    And, as I noted on the other thread, at the end of the day, whatever the specific outcome for either Israel Folau or Rugby Australia, there will be more division, rather than less, and the cause of Christ is likely to be set back, rather than advanced. Nice work, buddy. Slow clap.
  • anoesisanoesis Shipmate
    It has also come to my attention that Folau's legal team are arguing that all he was doing was quoting from the Bible, and as such can't necessarily be held to be 'actually saying' these things - and that there either are, or ought to be, additional protections on such actions.

    Here's the thing: I've seen the post [Instagram is the relevant medium here], and while it is true that the only text in the 'text' area of the post are verses from the Bible, there are quite some number of words in the 'picture' area. In fact, it's all words, apart from the red chevrons decorating the margins, in the manner of a 'warning/hazard' sign. And those words - which are the words that have actually caused the ruckus, are NOT a quote from the Bible. Undoubtedly, they state a position which many thousands of people do feel can be reasonably drawn from the Bible - but they're not a quote. I'm 110% certain that Folau is 110% aware of this - yet his legal team's pursuing this angle. And liars are on his hellfire list...
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    I’m not allowed to proselytise at work, but then nor am I expected to maintain relationships with clients on social media (and also not permitted to discuss work in any identifiable detail on social media).

    It seems celebs often maintain twitter / Facebook as a promotional aid - but then use it as a diary / private communication.

    It’s where that boundary is blurred that problems arise.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Our alternative PM said (in a debate) last night:
    ...Bill Shorten appearing genuinely torn over the issue of Israel Folau, found guilty of breaching Rugby Australia rules for saying homosexuals would go to hell unless they repented.

    Mr Shorten, speaking on the question about religious freedom, said Folau was "entitled to his views. And he shouldn't suffer an employment penalty for it."

    But there was the other side — the hurtful impact of a public figure putting out such views on social media. "I don't think it's a clear-cut issue when the edges bump up against each other," he said.

    So often, especially in campaigns, leaders talk in black and white, failing to acknowledge nuances. Freedom of speech, especially when it involves religion, is an issue full of nuance, because of the conflicting values in play. Sometimes there is no right answer.
    Not sure if he's trying to sit on the fence, and appeal to both sides; but I don't get that impression from him*; he seems, on all-too-rare occasions, to come across as a genuine thinking, feeling human [I'd give another very recent example Australian shipmates may be familiar with, but it would be off-topic].

    Not sure what others think of the "no right answer" comment.

    * but as a commie leftie I would say that...
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    The right answer is to boycott homophobe sponsors until they're gone.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    No one is saying that Israel Folau isn't allowed to believe what he does: but what Rugby Australia are saying are that if he is to fulfil his contractual obigations to them he is not to promulgate his beliefs. Just that.

    And one of those obligations is to observe the code of conduct - it could be practice, but the name does not matter. The code apparently prohibits statements along the lines Folau admits making. Given that, the result of the enquiry is not at all surprising.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Mr Folaue isn't being punished for his beliefs: he is being punished for insisting on advertising them when they run counter to the policy of tolerance of his employers.

    I would argue that if the notion of respect for gay people riles him so much then he shouldn't wish to work for Rugby Australia: a true believer would walk away.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited May 11
    Israel Folau's case prompts religious leaders to write to Morrison^, Shorten*:
    Israel Folau's clash with Rugby Australia (RA) over his fundamentalist religious social media posts has prompted nine prominent Christians to send letters about the protection of religious freedom to Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten.

    ...

    Folau's name is not mentioned specifically in the letter signed by Australian leaders from Presbyterian, Baptist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Uniting and Apostolic churches, as well as a number of religious school leaders.

    One of the signatories, Reverend Dr Hedley Fihaki, the national chair of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations# of the Uniting Church, said they were worried the Wallaby's case could set "a dangerous precedent".

    "Scripture is the book the whole church is based on, so if we are not free to teach from that, not just in the private but particularly in the public domain, it is a dangerous precedent," Dr Fihaki told the ABC.

    Interestingly also, the letters were different -- but the reasons (in the article) may only be of interest to Australians.

    We are in the final week of a federal election. Despite record pre-polling, this is, to me, clearly meant as a way to inform voters belonging to these churches. I wonder what, if any, response will come forth from both leaders. I suspect none may be as direct as the letter writers may want.

    The private / public distinction, or lack thereof for Dr Fihaki, interested me -- "teaching" in public is an interesting call.

    Anyway. FYI.


    ^ Australian PM
    * opposition leader -- and, please God, our next PM
    # a conservative group in the Uniting Church; the Uniting Church (a 1977 coming together of most Methodists and Congregational Union churches, and a majority of Presbyterians) does have its socially "liberal" wings...
  • KittyvilleKittyville Shipmate
    I think Dr Fihaki was given the title of National Chair of the Uniting Church on Channel 7 news tonight, which startled me. So thanks for his proper title, Climacus - that makes much more sense.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    I am of two minds on this. It calls to mind the treatment of Colin Kaepernick in our country. He was black-balled by the National Football League for having protested police shootings of black men by kneeling during the national anthem. On the one hand, I can see how the owners were afraid that the protest would cost ticket sales among the football yahoos. OTOH, it seems like political speech is imperiled when one's employer has so much control over what a person can say and how. In Kaepernick's case, the protest was at his place off employment and during working hours. Nonetheless, my sympathies are with the worker. I just don't know how to parse that into a coherent policy balancing competing rights.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Institutional Christianity is despised in Australia. Preaching in a public place is regarded as something to be endured, a nuisance, an invitation to commit an assault. Wesley's public activities would not be tolerated by many Australians. The kids (bless them) would be out on the streets ready to protect people's rights. I'm not talking about that arse Graham marketing his fake faith fair to misguided churches, diverting their hard-earned into the coffers of the Trump 2020 Campaign.

    Note that these attitudes are more reflective of people who are born in Australia. Migrants tend to have a close cultural connection to their faith communities. This tends to fade away in the next generation.

    That's the context in which Fulao has acted. His behavior is egregious, unconscionable and indefensible in an Australian context. Where the legal or contractual situation enables prejudice and vilification to be quashed, it ought to be.

    There's a survey due to come out later this year which might prove that I am living in an irreligious bubble. I doubt it.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Of course Kaepernick was speaking up for people, and Folau was attacking people. But same diff really.
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