Israel Folau is a sad case of a sports star failing to understand his own religion, his role and his contractual obligations all at once.
Israel Folau – I do not fear you, the way you fear those of a different sexual orientation. Nor do I hate you, the way you express your hate towards those of a different faith.
I wish I could ignore you, the way you ignore your contractual obligations. But I do not I condemn you, the way you condemn some of your fellow human beings to hell.
I don’t even despise you, the way you despise those whose only “sin” is to hold you to account for your actions.
It is your actions that I abhor, it is what you say that I decry – how your words serve only to divide us – and harm the reputation of the country that we both love.
Yet I would defend your right to speak your mind with my dying breath. Because that’s what freedom of speech is about – as it is my right to disagree with equal vehemence, albeit devoid of your venom.
But I doubt you would do the same for me, I am atheist, you see. And I believe that every human has a right to exist, to enjoy their own life and practice their own faith in our midst, without being damned to hell for their beliefs.
Because that – nothing more and nothing less – is what freedom of religion means.
Kim Wingerei is a former business-man, turned writer and commentator. Passionate about free speech, human rights, democracy and the politics of change. Originally from Norway, lived in Australia for 30 years. Author of ‘Why Democracy is Broken – A Blueprint for Change’. Follow @ kimwingerei.com / Twitter @kwingerei