Bible on trial in Australia in Israel Folau fallout

Bible on trial in Australia in Israel Folau fallout, by Jennifer Oriel.

All around the world, Christians are persecuted for their faith. Their houses of worship are destroyed. Their Bible is banned or revised beyond recognition. Their right to exercise religious freedom is denied. In the most publicised cases, they are imprisoned or murdered for their faith.

But in the West, the common forms of Christian persecution are cultural and financial. There are boycotts against Christian businesses, violent protests against Christian groups and a developing culture of complacency about hostility to Christian figureheads. Israel Folau is a test case for the tolerance of discrimination against Christians in Australia. …

The battle between Australia’s sporting codes and Israel Folau looks increasingly like cashed-up bullies hunting a Christian. He has been tried in the court of public opinion and endured false accusations, smears and mobbing by sports chiefs. Colleagues have denounced him. Christian sportsmen who support Folau have been subjected to public humiliation by rabid trolls and the media. AFL star Gary Ablett was berated and booed after liking a Folau post. England club Saracens formally warned player Billy Vunipola, after he supported Folau online, against “publicly sharing his opinion” and told him it “contravenes his contractual obligations”. It’s back into the closet for Christians as PC persecution goes transnational. …

While Islamist and communist regimes remain the worst state offenders for the persecution of Christians, creeping Christophobia is taking root in the West. Folau is widely recognised as one of Australia’s finest rugby players. But merit is not enough to protect him from the unofficial charge of heresy in a time when political correctness is law and social order.