‘Persecuted Are Righteous’: Israel Folau Responds To Anti-Gay ‘Hell’ Furore


Rugby union star Israel Folau has responded to the furore around his anti-gay comment last week by tweeting a Bible verse, appearing to suggest he is being persecuted for his Christian views.

Folau came under intense criticism for writing a now-deleted comment on Instagram that “God’s plan” for gay people was “hell” unless they “repented for their sins”.

Folau, who is a devout Christian, posted a highlighted Bible verse to his Twitter account late on Sunday with the hashtag “#allglorytoGod”.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” the verse read.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle and the NSW Waratahs chief Andrew Hore will meet Folau on Tuesday to discuss his use of social media, according to reports.

“Israel’s comment reflects his personal religious beliefs, however it does not represent the view of Rugby Australia or NSW Rugby,” Castle said last week.

“We are aligned in our view that rugby is a game for all, regardless of sexuality, race, religion or gender, which is clearly articulated in rugby’s inclusion policy.

Folau’s “appalling” comment also drew criticism from Sydney Convicts founder and Pride In Sport co-founder Andrew Purchas.

“In a country that loves sport, we know that remarks made by sporting figures can impact on our culture, as well as influence young people,” Purchas said.

“We are particularly concerned with the effect that these homophobic comments can have on younger sporting fans.”