FALLING STAR: Former Wallabies star Israel Folau leaves a Code of Conduct hearing in Sydney, where he was fighting a Rugby Australia decision to terminate his contract.
FALLING STAR: Former Wallabies star Israel Folau leaves a Code of Conduct hearing in Sydney, where he was fighting a Rugby Australia decision to terminate his contract. JOEL CARRETT

FACEBOOK FURY: Gympie divided as Folau lights a fuse

ISRAEL Folau has stirred up a hornets' nest, or several, with his social media claim that homosexuals will go to Hell, along with adulterers, liars and other sinners.

Gympie people have not been immune to the national tide of outrage, directed either at Folau's comments or the reaction they have prompted.

No-one seems to have admitted to caring too much, either way, about adulterers or liars.

But responses from Gympie Times readers are far from indifferent on the issues of sexual preference, with hundreds strongly supporting or strongly resenting his comments on gays.

Then comes the sub issue of his plea for public support for the money he says he will need to fight Rugby Australia in the courts, following the star footballer's dismissal from the national side over his social media comments.

MORE: Why 8300 Aussies have pledged to Folau

With his plea for $3 million via a GoFundMe page, Gympie readers did not hold back on their passionate responses.

Ingrid Turner thanked him for fighting for freedom of speech:

"On behalf of all who really do care about that. Yes, it is sad that there are very ill children suffering, and I pray they have their needs met, but that has nothing to do with fighting to keep some freedom.”

Debi Galloway-Richards believed he should be called out on his attempt to get public funding:

”He has a right to his religion as does everybody, his former employers had the right to sack him for breaking his contract with hate speech specifically precluded, and he should be called out for wanting public money to fund his quest for even more millions for himself and not even noticing let alone caring about dying children.

Bruce Devereaux argued:

"He had a code of conduct and thought he could ignore it and say derogatory stuff about some fans of his team and sport without repercussions. He, and you, can think what you like but there are limitations to what you can do or say in public in our society.

"Best to check the crowd first before saying stuff which will get you in trouble, even without a legally binding contract to bear in mind. Another thing to remember is while religion can discriminate under our current laws, the individuals who follow any particular religion can't.

"Also, there is no freedom of speech specifically protected under our constitution.”

Some pointed to his substantial real estate investments as a sign that he should fight his own battles at his own expense.

Others said it was everyone's fight for free speech and that no-one was forcing anyone to donate.

Others said it was everyone's fight against hate speech that mattered.

MORE: Five words that prove Folau is clueless

Still others pointed out the far more desperate causes competing for GoFundMe attention, including people facing death from illnesses they cannot afford to have treated.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Martyn Iles said he was "very happy to support him” in fighting what his organisation called a "smear campaign.”

Here are some random Facebook responses, plucked in a group from nearly 200 lodged on The Gympie Times page so far:

Gail Thompson: "I felt that what happened to him was sad but he's got his own money, probably heaps of it "

Ingrid Turner: "That you Izzy for fighting for freedom of speech.”

Susyn Hoolihan: "”It's not freedom of speech, it's hate speech.”

Mary Asumpta Mulholland: "What a mentally deranged excuse for a human. He is asking for people to hand over their money to fund his brainwashed ideas.”

Debi Galloway-Richards: "He has a right to his religion as does everybody, his former employers had the right to sack him for breaking his contract with hate speech... and he should be called out for wanting public money to fund his quest for even ,pre-illusions for himself and not even noticing let alone carrying about dying children.”

Steve Flint: Just like all other religious zealots.”

Daniel Butler: "Interesting to see so many people willing to give away their free speech.”

Mel Clift: "Who would be stupid enough to help pay his legals for the 'fight of his life' when there are others out there who genuinely need assistance? Shouldn't be GoFundMe, should be 'GoFigure.”

Ann-Maree Paynter: "Have you seen how much money has been donated so far? Apparently plenty of stupidity out there unfortunately.”

Steve Clough: "Religion just another reason for people to hate each other.”

Jaine Jackson: "He is not truly christian.”

Gympie Times


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