A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Darren Cain, points out the list of atrocities committed by rugby and NRL players in Australia and Great Britain in recent years that did NOT warrant being sacked from the game. These are all “crimes” committed by footy players in recent years:
- Kicked his pregnant wife in the stomach as she lay cowering on the floor
- Picked up his ex-girl friend and threw her into a garage door at 2 am after an epic drinking session
- Kicked the stuffing out of an unconscious man lying outside a nightclub
- Smashed an opponent’s jaw into pieces in a pre-meditated on-field attack
- Orchestrated the running of an illegal dog-fighting ring
- Unlawfully filmed women in the nude and distributed those videos to friends
- Drink driving with high range blood alcohol
- Man-handled referees
- Stole money from team-mates’ wallets during training sessions
- Tested positive to using prohibited drugs
- Engaged in illegal betting on games he was involved in
- Intimidated team-mates and forced them to take drugs
- Had sex with an unconscious woman without her consent
- Filmed others having sex with an unconscious woman
- Sent unsolicited lewd photos to a woman
- Assaulted various members of the public in an alcohol fuelled rage
All these crimes and more were committed by footy players in Australia and England. These crimes resulted in some form of warning and temporary disciplinary action from the relevant disciplinary bodies. But ALL of these players are still playing the game. NONE of them were sacked.
In contrast, all Israel Folau did was publish a paraphrase of two Bible verses: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. And for this heinous crime, he has been given the highest possible punishment – he has been sacked from the game. He has lost his career. (For my international readers, Israel Folau is an Australian rugby player who was recently sacked for posting on social media some Bible verses about God’s condemnation of a variety of sins.)
If only Israel Falou had kicked his pregnant wife in the stomach, stolen money from his team-mates, assaulted a member of the public or engaged in illegal betting! He would still have his career and would be playing for Australia.
Free speech is being shut down in our society. The right of individuals to voice diverse opinions – ones that differ from the mainstream – is increasingly considered to be unacceptable, and the individuals responsible are being punished. Marten Iles is an Australian lawyer who, in his podcast, says he has a constant stream of cases of Christians who have been sacked because they have simply voiced their Christian views in the workplace. In a recent podcast he stated that, in recent years, his office has been inundated with Christians who have been punished for expressing a viewpoint that only two decades ago was the norm. Doctors, dentists, financial advisors, counsellors, construction workers, council employees, academics, university students. They have been disbarred, sacked, removed from courses – all because they have expressed a viewpoint that differs from Big Brother. They didn’t steal from the office petty cash. They didn’t abuse fellow workers. They didn’t engage in sexual harassment. They weren’t violent. They weren’t ineffective in their jobs or studies. They simply expressed an opinion.
We have never seen this kind of repressive censorship in our nation before, and it is truly alarming. In this brave new world, it seems that the worst crime you can commit is to express a different opinion. This kind of extreme censorship is usually associated with dictatorial regimes, not democracies. This is a much bigger issue than the case of one footy player who was treated harshly. We are witnessing a wave of repressive censorship that is already impacting thousands and will eventually affect us all unless we stand against it.
Like many in the Western world, I am not sure where all this is heading. True tolerance is dissolving and being replaced with enforced uniformity. The relativism of postmodernism, which, for several decades, has championed the right of individuals to formulate and express their own beliefs and values, has, over a surprisingly short period of time, transformed into a form of totalitarianism where only one viewpoint is tolerated on certain moral issues. There are very powerful forces driving these changes, societal and spiritual. I can’t predict what is in store, but I am determined to continue to speak up for God’s standards and the principles of free speech that were once foundational to our society.