Folau’s Free-speech

Folau is a Australian professional rugby union player, who was recently sacked for posting the above image on his Instagram wall. He refused to remove it when accused of homophobia and has stated that he put’s his belief even above his own career and wife’s well being. Apparently he is suing for unfair dismissal.

While his meme may sound threatening it is substantially what is written in the Christian Bible. Folau himself is not inciting or threatening violence. It merely says Jesus can save those who repent from Hell, so I think he is within his right to state such beliefs and others are within our right to express disagreement.

Not surprisingly militant LGBT activists have denounced Folau for “hate speech” which they believe should be censored. The success of Folau’s fund raiser OTOH suggests there must be many who share his views with passion. I haven’t heard of any backlash from militant Atheists (nor Idolaters or any of the others), but maybe that’s because we don’t believe there is such a place as Hell, and so we think it is an idle threat of no consequence.

I think the court case is important to establish whether employers have a right to penalize people for their opinions, or whether that should remain a legal issue.

Beyond the law, it raises the question of to what extent we should tolerate freedom of religions that are intolerant of sectors of society. The problem I have with religions is that they are based on immutable ‘holy scriptures’ and while we can tolerate them expressing their beliefs and even excluding us from their church, we are not obliged to tolerate them promoting hatred and persecution of other sectors of society.

The point is that one can’t legislate who we have to like or dislike. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but as long as there is no incitement to violence, or actual violence then it should be tolerated as should our right to criticize them back.

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