Binned rugby player and born-again Christian Israel Folau offered a sermon this weekend blaming the nation’s ongoing bushfire crisis on abortions and the legalisation of same sex marriage, which is, uh… pretty standard doctrine for a lot of churches in Australia, actually.
A Facebook video, shared by Folau’s The Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney, show’s the 30-year-old at the pulpit, offering his (or His) take on the devastating fires ravaging Queensland and NSW.
“The message I want to share today is mainly for people outside [the church], in the world,” Folau opened, directing his statement to you, me, and everyone else with prior engagements during his Sunday service.
Old mate referenced the Book of Isaiah, which has a fun little passage about how people have “defiled” the planet, transgressed against God, brought on an almighty curse, and left the Earth’s inhabitants “burned”.
After rattling off references to the legalisation of same-sex marriage and abortion, Folau said “this scripture is talking to Australia.”
“Look how rapid (sic) these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time. You think it’s a coincidence or not?” he added.
This scripture is speaking to us, as well. We need to open our heart and listen, show humility, and listen to what the word of God is saying. I’m talking about the natural disasters out there, but this message… is for the church also, for the brothers and sisters in Christ here.
You can stuck in to the conspicuously public video below, but avoid going troppo in the comments section:
Folau’s theory about the causes of the fires is pretty full-on, but it’s hardly out of line with many Pentecostal churches, which subscribe to the Gospel with total certainty – including the bits about the end times.
If you’ll allow me to riff on this one for a bit, as some guy who was raised in a Christian household: the New Testament is pretty explicit in many parts about how things are meant to get really shit before the Second Coming of Christ, and many worshippers see natural disasters as scripture proving itself.
Should you be frustrated and hurt by Folau’s eschatology? Yeah, I’d argue it’s a dog act to ignore the actual causes of the blaze and blame same-sex attracted people and women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, but it’s not unexpected.
Folau continues to seek a multi-million dollar payout from Rugby Australia, after the organisation tore up his contract due to his outspoken homophobic views. If that falls through, it looks like he could have a pretty lucrative career as a professional doomsayer already lined up. After all, seeing persecution as a sign of Godliness is another big factor in many end-time doctrines.