In a sermon he delivered on Sunday, former rugby star Israel Folau said allowing children to be transgender is the work of the “devil” and emphasized that true Christians profess Christ wherever they go, regardless of the consequences.
“You see in today's youths and everything, they are allowing young kids in primary school to be able to have the permission to change their gender if they want to by taking away the permission of their parents,” Folau said at Sydney’s Truth of Jesus Christ Church. “Now they are trying to take control as a government to make those decisions for young kids who are basically 16 years old or younger, they don't even know what they are doing.”
“This is what the devil is trying to do, to instill into the government, into this world, into society, and it is slowly happening. If there’s ever a time to stand up for the Word of God, now is the time.”
Folau, who was fired by his rugby team over LGBT comments, continued speaking out against the "sin of homosexuality" and how it "is taking over within this world.”
The topic of the former Wallabies star’s sermon was “Pleasing God, or Pleasing Man?” and was based on Galatians 1. The chapter reads, in part: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Christians are supposed to be “set apart” in the world, the 30-year-old declared, warning against getting “comfortable” with normalized, sinful behavior.
“You can’t please God and please man at the same time. It’s impossible; you can’t do it,” Folau said. “You’ve got to choose one."
In May, Folau was found guilty of a code of conduct breach and stripped of his four-year $4 million contract for an Instagram post that said “Hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters.” The decision made the devout Christian the first Australian athlete to be dismissed for expressing religious beliefs.
Super Rugby’s all-time record try-scorer, Folau had a contract until 2022 and was expected to represent the Wallabies at this year's World Cup in Japan. In addition to his contract being terminated, the athlete lost sponsorship deals with companies, including car manufacturer Land Rover and sportswear brand Asics, notes the BBC.
On Sunday, the outspoken athlete urged Christians to be bold enough to profess Jesus Christ in their workplace without fear of persecution.
“True believers in Christ, are we going to follow through and profess Him wherever we go?” he asked, adding that many professing Christians refuse to draw attention to their beliefs because they’re afraid they’ll be “cast out.”
“Are we too scared because we might be cast out by our workplace or cast out of somewhere because we're not liked or loved by those around us and don't believe the same thing we do?”
Professing Christ isn’t always easy, Folau admitted, but despite persecution, Christians “should feel blessed … because God has called us.”
“You might be the only born-again Christian in that workplace, you might feel a bit awkward with your co-workers because they are in the world and you're not,” he said.
“As Christians, we must be strong. Don’t ever be ashamed of the Gospel. Stand up, and be bold.”
In June, the athlete launched legal action against Rugby Australia and will seek up to $10 million in damages, arguing that “no Australian of any faith should be fired for practicing their religion.”
The Fair Work Commission and Folau's legal team have ruled to resolve the case on June 28.
Following the news of his firing, the athlete said he believes in a “God that's in control of all things.”
“Whatever His will is, whether that's to continue playing or not, I'm more than happy to do what He wants me to do,” he said. “First and foremost, I live for God now. His plans for me are better than whatever I can think.”
Watch Folau's sermon below.