Folau ‘not ashamed’ to speak out
Israel Folau has again declared he is "not ashamed" of his actions or views in the wake of the scandal that cost him his lucrative Australian Rugby Union contract, and he now plans to share them with Australian Christians.
The former Waratahs and Wallabies star has surfaced to support Australian Christian Lobby chief Martyn Iles and announced he will be speaking at their 'Not Ashamed' conference on October 19 in Sydney.
Folau, wearing the same striped T-shirt he was last photographed in while watching wife Maria play netball, appeared on a video that was posted to YouTube and sent out via email to ACL members.
The high profile sportsman introduced himself before confirming he would be a keynote speaker at the lobby's national conference.
"Hey guys, it's Israel Folau here, looking forward to being at the Not Ashamed conference on the 19th of October, see you all there," he said.
His cameo was then followed by a plug by Iles for a discounted rate on tickets to the event, which are going for $90 for the full day.
Details of the event agenda were not released, with the messaging focusing on the need to "speak truth against lies".
"Not Ashamed is an event to equip Christians in this generation to grow in our knowledge of the truth, especially in its application to this changing world around us," the website reads.
"We live in times when once again we must boldly, unashamedly, shine the light in dark places and speak truth against lies. It is time to stand firm.
"This conviction, boldness, and confidence in the truth fuelled the efforts of the early Church, spreading the Christian faith like wildfire through a pagan world.
"As our own culture changes, truth is stumbling in the public squares, and the light of the Gospel itself is growing dim.
"Our desire is to recover that same conviction, boldness, and confidence that Paul spoke of when he declared he was 'not ashamed' to share God's truth and the Gospel."
In terms of Folau's commitment to the event, the lobby is promising that he will "share his story in person" - but what that story is remains to be seen.
With his unfair dismissal case against Rugby Australia set for February next year, his hands are tied when it comes to publicly commenting on that dispute.
That potentially means his speech could be another controversial sermon - he has delivered a few of those in the past, notably and most recently in June when he again took aim at homosexuals and the LGBTQ community in general.
Folau believed that "the devil is trying to instil" homosexuality and gender fluidity into the world.
Folau spoke about a Christian function he was recently invited to where he claimed a politician spoke "about what the parliament is trying to instil into the government going forward".
"He spoke about nine points, one of the points … he is talking about the work of the sin, homosexuality, is in disguise to try and take over within this world," Folau said.
"You see in today's youths and everything, they are allowing young kids in primary school to be able to have the permission to change their gender if they want by taking away the permission of their parents. Now they are trying to take control as a government to make those decisions for young kids who are basically 16 years old or younger, they don't even know what they are doing.
"This is what the devil is trying to do, to instil into the government, into this world, into society, and it is slowly happening. The sad thing is why a lot of people out there that are non-Christians say bad things about the church, is because a lot of the churches allow those things to happen.
"They say that a man and a man should be able to be married and there is nothing wrong with it. This buys into the theme of pleasing man rather than pleasing God and standing up for the truth."
In that sermon Folau also referenced his sacking.
"True believers in Christ, are we going to follow through and profess him wherever we go," he said.
"Whether … through our actions or by our mouth. Are we too scared because we might be cast out by our workplace or cast out of somewhere because we're not liked or loved by those around us and don't believe the same thing we do?
"You might be the only born-again Christian in that workplace, you might feel a bit awkward with your co-workers because they are in the world and you're not. We should feel blessed … because God has called us."
Currently, his court case with Rugby Australia is set for February 2020 but he and Rugby Australia will head to mediation on December 13.
If that fails to produce an outcome, a three to five-day trial will start on February 4.
Folau's contract was terminated by Rugby Australia in May after he posted to social media that homosexuals, among others, would go to hell.
It was not the first time he had done so on social media after two posts in 2018, one in which he responded to a user's question on what God's plan for homosexuals was and answered "Hell, if they do not repent" and a second one where he posted a sermon containing elements of hate speech by a deceased American Evangelist.
Rugby Australia said his latest post breached its professional players code of conduct, a decision that was upheld by an independent tribunal.
In his initial application to the Fair Work Commission, Folau stated he would seek about $10 million in compensation for the remainder of his contract and lost commercial opportunities.
The Australian Christian Lobby raised more than $2 million in donations to support Folau's case after his controversial GoFundMe page was shut down.
News.com.au have contacted the Australian Christian Lobby for comment.