Religion and Politics

As I have written before, the Israel Folau case is not about religion.

It is a contractual dispute which he is trying to characterise as a denial of religious rights in misguided attempt to claim the moral high ground.

I was just disgusted to hear about his GoFundMe campaign. A man as wealthy as Israel Folau does not need public support, especially when he’s deliberately conflating the issues of contractual obligation and freedom of speech and religion.

Accordingly, I was delighted to hear that GoFundMe had closed him down for being in breach of their inclusivity policy. They did not want their site to be used to support freedom of hate speech.

Now we learn that another crowd funding effort has been started on Israel’s behalf by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), who are kicking in a hundred grand to get the ball rolling.

My question is why?

The ACL are not entirely stupid. They would fully understand that the substantive issue at stake has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with a refusal to comply with a contractual obligation not to bring the game into disrepute in a manner against which he had previously and specifically been warned.

So why are they buying into the dispute when they ought to know that it really has nothing to do with religion?

Could it be they just want the publicity of being linked with (for the moment) a major celebrity? Like a shirt front sponsor?

Or could it be they are trying to pour petrol onto the linked debate regarding so-called religious freedom in the wake of the marriage equality outcome? Any forum will do, even if it’s likely to be a loser?

As I’ve said before, this also is a conflation of issues. The fact of marriage equality has nothing to do with the freedom of religion. Since when does a couple’s right to marry have anything to do with another person’s right to practise the religion of their choice?

It does not.

What the religious right (of whom the ACL are a major player) really want is the legal right to go on saying nasty things about the people they don’t like and to discriminate against them in the workplace and in schools (and refuse to sell them wedding cakes).

They will take any opportunity to further this crusade, and linking themselves with Israel Folau’s petulant cause sounds like good business.

What this demonstrates to me, however, is the complete hypocrisy of the ACL. They want to further the interests of Christianity, but in so doing they want to spend a hundred thousand dollars on just one rich person’s ill-conceived court case.

I, for one, would have a lot more respect for the ACL, if they gave that money to people who genuinely needed it.

As Jesus himself (apparently) said:

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19: 24

I’ll bet the directors of the ACL are all rich.

Just like Israel Folau.

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