Former rugby player Israel Folau has declared that he knew his viral Instagram post would be “offensive” and that he would “absolutely” post it again.
The notoriously controversial athlete attended a conference for the Australian Christian Lobby in Sydney on Saturday where he delivered a speech in front of approximately 1000 people, news.com.au reports.
Folau received a warm welcome at the “Not Ashamed” conference at Sydney’s International Conference Centre, where he discussed his faith and the “crazy prayer” he made before he posted the infamous social media post that ended his career.
“I felt really content in my work, with God and how everything was going,” Folau said. “All of a sudden I wanted to pray a crazy prayer and ask the Lord: ‘Lord, you know I’m feeling really comfortable at the moment, it’s going to test my faith and it’s going to test my trust. Am I going to continue to serve you faithfully?’”
After a fit of laughter from the crowd, Folau continued: “And God prepared this (his current legal situation) for me. So, be careful what you wish for. God can give it to you.”
Folau’s comments have cost him a high-paying position as a professional Rugby Union player, as well as potentially blacklisted him from any sort of professional rugby position in future. But despite all of the backlash, Folau said he “would absolutely” do it again, thus proving that he hasn’t learned his lesson.
He then continued the speech, warning the audience to prepare themselves for a similar reaction if they choose to publicise their homophobic views online.
“It’s very important that you’re ready because I can guarantee you that it’s happened to me now, but it’s certainly going to happen to many other people sitting in this room now,” he said.
Folau elaborated on this, telling the audience not to “compromise and conform to the way that society and culture is,” likely referring to that *horrible* thing we call ‘not being wildly offensive’.
Prior to his appearance, Folau and his wife and fellow athlete Maria shared a video on social media urging fans to support the event.
“We are not ashamed to follow Jesus and we’re not ashamed to follow truth,” he said in the video.
Folau’s rugby contract was terminated after he was found to have violated the professional players code of conduct. However, Israel has challenged this on the grounds of religious freedom of speech.
Israel Folau’s unfair dismissal lawsuit will resume in court for mediation on December 17, before likely heading to trial in early February 2020.