Flat White

Fairfax, Folau and FitzSimons

9 April 2018

2:02 PM

9 April 2018

2:02 PM

The Fairfax papers has become so strident in their LGBTIQ advocacy that they cannot tolerate anyone having a view other than their own. And what’s more, they’ll publicly name and shame anyone who does. Just take the recent incident involving Israel Folau who unleashed the social media lynch mob recently, simply for expressing—perhaps a little incautiously—the traditional Christian view that sexual immorality will result in God’s judgment (i.e. 1 Cor. 6:9-11).

As the following screenshot—of the since-deleted tweet—demonstrates, Folau was simply answering a question that was directly posed to him in a completely unrelated thread. And to his credit, he gave a straightforward answer as to what he personally believed.

A couple of years ago a statement like this would hardly have raised an eyebrow, and even been broadly supported by the media, but in this new era of ‘sexularism’, Folau has been publicly condemned by Peter FitzSimons, the self-appointed judge, jury and executioner of Australian sporting celebrities for their offences against political correctness.

Just take FitzSimon’s article where he self-righteously declared that Folau’s comments were “anathema” to the “greatest of rugby’s values”. But I wonder if Fitzsimmons—himself an outspoken atheist—appreciates the irony, or even hypocrisy, in his choice of words? Because the term “anathema” means:

  1. Something or someone that one vehemently dislikes.
  2. A formal curse by a Pope or a Council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine.

For someone as irreligious as FitzSimons, it’s interesting that he has chosen to take upon himself the role of pronouncing religious heresy—with its subsequent sanction of excommunication and ultimate damnation—upon those with whom he disagrees. The question I’d like to ask is, “Who made him Pontiff?” Because I for one certainly didn’t see any white smoke coming out of the Vatican.

In comparison, consider the mature and measured comments of Alan Jones. (Yes, I really did just use those two adjectives to explain something that Jones said in the same sentence) It would have been easy for Jones to have gone along with the crowd and condemn Folau for his comments about practising homosexuals. But he didn’t. Instead, he focused his attention on the real issue facing the Wallabies at present:

All most rugby fans know about rugby’s inclusion policy is that it includes too much failure.

Israel Folau is entitled to his view. Let him express it. He will be judged accordingly and would not expect not to be so judged.

The greatest difference between the perspectives of Jones and FitzSimons is what they perceive as being rugby’s “greatest values”. Because whereas for Jones it’s winning—especially against the All-Blacks—for FitzSimons it’s the virtue signalling of identity politics. As FitzSimons states:

The greatest of all rugby values is inclusion. We want everyone on board: white, black, tall, small, fat, thin, abled, disabled, straight, gay, men, women, young, old, etc.

Good grief. And people wonder why Australian rugby is in such a state of crisis. The next thing you know FitzSimons will be saying that we need to give everyone a go and the opportunity to pull on a jersey? Somebody needs to remind him that this an elite sport that we’re talking about, rather than working for Qantas.

You see, while Fitzsimons thinks that the most important thing to be done is to affirm absolutely everyone under the rainbow spectrum, Jones analyses why it is that the National Team is no longer winning. Because let’s face it, they’re a long way from the ‘halcyon days’ of the eighties and nineties when we actually had a chance against New Zealand.

According to Jones, it all comes down to talent, and in particular, the structures that are needed to develop and keep our best players, coaches and support staff from being pilfered by league. As Jones rightly explains:

If we can’t keep the best, we have no hope of being the best. There’s no room for “average people”.

We can’t allow our young people to be demoralised because they’re drowning in mediocrity, surrounded by mediocrity, coached by mediocrity and, as a result, being dismissed as part of rugby’s mediocrity.

Understandably, the ambitious see a system that doesn’t work and go where their talent can be identified, evaluated and cultivated.

Jones is not afraid to name names in outlining his course of action as to what has to take place if Australia rugby is to be saved. And you also get the sense that Jones still has the passion and the skill to oversee the process to make the Wallabies once again successful.

But not so with FitzSimons. He’s only concerned with passing eternal judgment upon those with whom he disagrees. And as such, it’s FitzSimons really needs to pull his head in, red bandana and all. For if FitzSimons wants to champion the value of “inclusion” then he has to tolerate people having a different opinion to his own.

FitzSimons is, quite frankly, behaving like a bully, especially towards Folau, but also anyone who dares to express an opinion different to his own. Sure, Folau was incautious in the way he expressed his viewpoint in response to an antagonist on his Twitter account, but he is certainly no ‘homophobe’ and has never incited hatred towards LGBTIQ people.

But it seems that we have entered a new era of religious ‘intolerance’, where anyone who disagrees with the current status quo is socially excluded and professionally sanctioned. Or where, even more seriously, the greatest ‘sin’ is to believe that there is such a thing as sin itself. And as such, FitzSimons would be better off listening to Alan Jones—his former coach—and focusing his energy on fixing Australian rugby then culturally reprimanding everyone else.

Mark Powell is the Associate Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Strathfield.

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