DIVIDED NATION: Senior Pastor at Roma Heart Church, Damian Corkett has weighed in on the Israel Folau saga.
DIVIDED NATION: Senior Pastor at Roma Heart Church, Damian Corkett has weighed in on the Israel Folau saga. contributed

Religious freedom of speech questioned in ongoing saga

DAMIAN Corkett believes religious freedom of speech has come under question in the ongoing Israel Folau saga.

The senior Pastor at Roma Heart Church weighed in on the controversy surrounding Rugby Australia's decision to terminate Folau's $4 million contract after the athlete said homosexuals would burn in hell.

Pr Corkett said Folau should not have lost his job based on expressing his religious beliefs.

"It definitely sets a dangerous precedent in regards to freedom of speech and specifically 'religious' freedom of speech,” Pr Corkett said.

"When you consider without the existence of the Instagram post in question, Rugby Australia is happy and accepting of Israel's beliefs. Everybody including sponsors are aware of what he stands for.

"To be terminated on the basis of expressing his belief, which every Christian does daily or at least more openly on a Sunday, makes their decision questionable.”

After Rugby Australia terminated Israel Folau's $4 million contract on May 17, the Australian Christian Lobby came to his defence.

Setting up a fundraiser on their website has seen more than $2 million of donations flowing in to fund his legal battle against Rugby Australia after GoFundMe shut down his original campaign on June 24 for violating their terms of service.

"Whether we agree with Israel's crowd funding or not, it's clear there is as much support for Israel as there is against,” Pr Corkett said. "It's interesting there wasn't much focus on the drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters mentioned.”

With the topic being controversial among Christians and non-Christians across the country, Pr Corkett believes freedom of speech is an important element of the rights we have in Australia but it comes with the personal responsibility of ensuring comments are truthful and not damaging to other individuals or businesses.

"While my delivery of the same belief would have been different, I absolutely support Israel Folau,” he said.

"I believe in the same bible in its entirety and share the same beliefs.

"As part of the local church in Roma, our heart or our mission is simply to love people, wherever they're at. That doesn't mean we agree with everything but we love them all the same.”