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Instagram trail shows why Folau can’t win a religious freedom argument

Israel Folau's Instagram account is quite something.

For the past year or so, Folau's posts have focused heavily on religion with a number of recurring themes: hell, judgment, repentance, sin and the Bible.

Collectively, they provide the framework – in Folau's mind, at least – for the anti-gay post that Rugby Australia has alleged is a "high level" breach of his contract.

Making his point quite clearly: Israel Folau's social media posts.

Making his point quite clearly: Israel Folau's social media posts.Credit:AAP

And they show that Folau is going to have an extremely hard time arguing that his employers have impinged on his religious freedoms.

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In fact, March 2, 2018, the NSW Waratahs even "liked" a Folau post that quoted a passage from the book of Matthew. "Heaven and Hell awaits us, where do you want to go?" Folau added in the comments.

That is not to say the Waratahs supported the message, but it certainly could be interpreted as a sign they supported his right to express it.

Battle lines are drawn: Raelene Castle says Israel Folau hasn't heeded her warning.

Battle lines are drawn: Raelene Castle says Israel Folau hasn't heeded her warning. Credit:James Alcock

From that date until his latest controversial comments, Folau posted another 52 times on Instagram, and 43 of these were religious in theme and/or message.

There is some confronting stuff. On October 12 Folau posted a video depicting hell and a graphic crucifixion scene, including the nails being driven into the hands of the Jesus figure on the cross.

"This video might be too much for most people, but believe me hell is a real place," Folau wrote.

These posts, considered collectively, are the classic double-edged sword for Rugby Australia as it attempts to sack Folau.

On the one hand, they show what a risk it was to sign Folau to a four-year-deal. Whatever he might have been telling RA after last year's social media controversy, his Instagram timeline was saying something completely different.

Why the organisation chose to take on a risk such as Folau, on a long-term deal, is something it must look at closely after the case is concluded.

However, on the other hand, it now has a trove of evidence to put forward to the code of conduct hearing to show it was an employer who, in fact, allowed Folau a great deal of freedom to express his religious beliefs.

Somewhat ironically, on September 25, 2018, Folau even posted an Instagram message that read: "We live in a day where Biblical truth is considered hate speech even among those who profess Christ. It is loving to tell the truth no matter how much it might hurt the hearers."

Folau is already walking a thRead More – Source

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