Folau claims bushfires ‘God’s judgement’
Published: Nov 18, 2019 06:13 PM

Photo: IC

Sacked Wallabies rugby star Israel Folau on Monday sparked outrage by suggesting destructive bushfires and drought ravaging Australia were "God's judgement" for the legalisation of same-sex marriage and abortion.

The devout Christian, who is pursuing legal action against Rugby Australia after being fired in May for posting on Instagram that "hell awaits" gay people and others he considers sinners, made his latest outburst in a Sydney church sermon on Sunday.

The comments were slammed as "appallingly insensitive" by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, himself an evangelical Christian.

Folau said the devastating drought and timing of fires across swathes of New South Wales and Queensland, which have left six people dead and destroyed hundreds of homes, were no coincidence.

"I've been looking around at the events that's been ­happening in Australia, this past couple of weeks, with all the natural disasters, the ­bushfires and the droughts," he said.

Folau, Super Rugby's record try-scorer who has played for Australia 73 times, then ­talked to the congregation about same-sex marriage and abortion.

"God's word says for a man and a woman to be together, one man and one woman in the covenant of marriage," he said, while adding, "Abortion, it's OK now to murder, kill infants, unborn children."

Folau continued: "Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time. Do you think it's a coincidence or not?

"God is speaking to you guys. Australia you need to repent and take these laws and turn it back to what is right by God."

Same-sex marriage became law in Australia following a referendum in 2017 while New South Wales became the last state to decriminalize abortion in September this year.

In the sermon posted on The Truth of Jesus Christ Church's Facebook page, Folau said he was sharing his message "out of love" and warned the fires were "only a little taste of God's judgement coming."

While Folau has gained the support of prominent conservatives in the past, Morrison was quick to criticize.

"They were appalling comments and he is a free citizen, he can say whatever he likes. But that doesn't mean he can't have regard to the grievous offense this would have caused to people whose homes have been burnt down," said the prime minister.