A week or so back Israel Folau, the Australian rugby player who’s been ostracised for exercising his religious freedom in a way which displeased the LGBTQ political lobby, decided to set up a Go Fund Me campaign ostensibly to help him with his legal fees. Now I don’t suppose Folau needs the money – he’s been a top-class professional athlete across three sports since he was 18 years old – but he might have done it to gauge how much support he had. Turns out it was quite a bit and the fund quickly passed five figures, leading the Sydney Morning Herald to abandon journalism for activism and ramp up the pressure to get the appeal shut down. After all, the last thing progressives want is for a designated wrongthinker to have an avenue of financial and moral support once the moral gavel has fallen.
Sure enough, once the inevitable mob had formed Go Fund Me dug around in their terms of service and discovered they reserve the right to yank any funding campaign on a whim, which they duly did. The smug grins of the SMH activists probably didn’t last long, though. Within hours the Australian Christian Lobby had set up an appeal which, when I looked this morning, had attracted over $1.9m dollars. That’s a lot of money, and I expect many donors aren’t even Christian but are seeing this as a way to signal their opposition to the increasingly restrictive speech codes being forced on Australians by their employers and with the full backing of politicians.
But the saga doesn’t end there. Via William of Ockham, the Sydney Morning Herald is now urging the government to intervene:
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has been asked to investigate the Australian Christian Lobby over its role in helping Israel Folau raise more than a million dollars for his legal fight against Rugby Australia (RA).
Asked by whom?
A number of complainants, however, have confirmed to the Herald that they have raised their concerns with the charities commission over the fundraising role played by the ACL.
So it’s basically another attempt to sabotage Folau’s ability to raise funds. For all we know there might be no more than two complaints, both originating from the offices of the Sydney Morning Herald.
According to the ACNC, a charity must be able to show that the use of its funds furthers the charitable purpose in which it is registered, meaning the ACL would need to prove it is “advancing religion”, for example, by agreeing to help raise money for Folau’s individual purposes.
I’d say defending an outspoken Christian who is being persecuted for his religious beliefs is doing more to advance Christianity than the combined efforts of the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury over the past twenty years.
“We got legal advice on this before we went ahead with it,” [ACL’s managing director Martyn] Iles said. “Israel Folau is not a member and our charitable purpose is to advocate for changes in law and public policy and the advancement of the Christian religion. This is a religious freedom issue which for law has implications for law and public policy.
Quite, which is why it’s attracted so much support:
“Over 15,000 people have donated and the average donation is about $100 and about 10 donors per minute. That’s pretty incredible stuff. There’s a lot of juice left in this.”
It’s as if a lot of people understand this is a lot bigger than what Folau thinks about homosexuals. Which brings me onto this story:
A disabled grandfather has been sacked by Asda for sharing an ‘anti-religion’ sketch by Billy Connolly on his Facebook page. Brian Leach, who had worked at the Asda store for five years in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was let go by the supermarket after a colleague complained the comments in the sketch were anti-Islamic.
Now Britain is not Australia, but the progressive mindset which dominates the ruling classes and the subsequent authoritarianism is much the same in both countries. We’ve arrived at a situation whereby expressing Christian beliefs on social media gets you fired while disrespecting Islam on social media also gets you fired. I don’t agree with other commentators who say blasphemy laws are being applied in the UK, this is something else. Far from being inconsistent, the two approaches are quite logical once you understand the objective of those in charge is to denounce, undermine, and ultimately destroy what was until recently the prevailing culture in the developed, Anglo-Saxon world. In practice, this means those who rule over us will pick and choose who can say what and when as they see fit, and deprive us of our livelihoods should we speak out of turn. For now, this means Christians cannot say anything mean about homosexuals and ordinary folk cannot say anything which might be perceived as a slight against Islam.
And you can be sure this won’t stop here. I expect Folau will soon find his bank withdrawing their services, sending him a curt letter that he has 14 days to find an alternative (having made sure the other Australian banks will also deny him). What then? Will his phone company cut him off because the Sydney Morning Herald is piling on the pressure, backed by various government bodies stuffed with vinegar-drinking cat-ladies and the sort of men who, when they were in school, told the teacher which kid drew the picture on the blackboard? Nobody should feel too sorry for Folau, but this is about much more than a multi-millionaire sportsman. What happens when they start coming for ordinary people, like a grandad who works in Asda for example? What happens when they come for you?
People, especially politicians, often get asked where they stand on Israel. I think that question may develop a second meaning, and one no less important than the original.