Israel Folau claims his comments that tied same-sex marriage and abortion to Australia’s bushfire crisis were not a direct message to the people affected – just a ‘timely reminder’.
The devout Christian, who had his $4million Rugby Australia contract torn up over homophobic social media posts, was filmed during a sermon at his Church of Jesus Christ in Kenthurst, Sydney’s north-west.
‘They’ve legalised same-sex marriage… going against the laws that God says,’ he said in footage posted earlier in November.
‘Abortion – it’s OK now to murder and kill infants, unborn children – and they deem that to be OK.
‘Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things they’ve come in a short period of time – you think it’s a coincidence?’
Israel Folau (pictured) claims his ‘timely reminder’ comments that tied same-sex marriage and abortion to Australia’s bushfire crisis were not a direct message to the people affected
Folau addressed his controversial comments in a video shared to his personal website on Saturday, following widespread criticism.
‘What I was referring to in terms of the natural disasters that are happening now wasn’t a direct, I guess, message to the people that are affected,’ he said.
‘In actual fact it was a timely reminder God’s word and trying to point people onto the path of righteousness.’
Folau began speaking about the bushfires in the newly released video after an overlay question on the screen read: ‘Are natural disasters sent by God?’
The 30-year-old went on to extend his ‘thoughts and prayers’ to those impacted by the bushfires.
‘In saying that, my thoughts and prayers do go out to the people affected,’ Folau said.
‘It’s horrible to see and you never want anyone to go through that sort of stuff but, as a Christian, you are always praying for people.
‘You see the droughts today, you pray for rain and things to be restored, and that’s ultimately as Christians what we’re driven by and what we’re bound by is God’s love.’
Folau also answered the question ‘is God a loving God?’ to justify why he chooses to share his messages.
The devout Christian, who had his $4million Rugby Australia contract torn up over homophobic social media posts, was filmed during a sermon at the Church of Jesus Christ in Kenthurst, Sydney’s north-west (pictured)
‘God is full of love, the scriptures say God is patient and he’s not willing that anyone should perish but come to repent,’ he explained.
‘So that’s why I’m so passionate about sharing God’s word. Even if it comes across really harsh and people take it in the wrong way.
‘Like I said, I really care for their souls and the state of where that will be in eternity.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 2GB presenter Alan Jones both condemned Folau’s comments in the wake of his recent sermon.
‘Now, Israel is a lovely human being, I know him well. Israel, button up. Button up,’ Jones said.
Folau (pictured centre) leaves a conciliation hearing at the Fair Work Commission in Sydney on June 28
Mr Morrison described the comments as ‘appallingly insensitive’.
‘If people don’t have something sensible and helpful to say, can you just keep it to yourself,’ he said.
Folau’s contract was torn up by Rugby Australia in May after he shared a social media post saying homosexuals were going to hell unless they repent.
He is the first Australian athlete to be sacked for expressing his religious beliefs.
Folau is suing Rugby Australia for unlawfully terminating his contract because of his religious beliefs.
He is seeking $14million in damages.
Folau’s contract was torn up by Rugby Australia in May after he shared a social media post saying homosexuals were going to hell unless they repent (Folau is pictured with his wife Maria)