'Devastatingly Insensitive': Aussies Burn Folau's Claims That Bushfires Are God's Punishment
Politicians and religious leaders are among those who have savaged Israel Folau for linking the deadly bushfires to same-sex marriage and abortion.
Months after being sacked by Rugby Australia for suggesting homosexuals would go to hell, the former Wallabies star claimed the deadly bushfires that have devastated Australia are "God's punishment" for legalising abortion and same-sex marriage.
In a 10-minute video sermon live-streamed by the Truth of Jesus Christ Church Sydney, the 30-year-old said the timing of the bushfire crisis was no coincidence.
"I've been looking around at the events that's been happening in Australia, this past couple of weeks, with all the natural disasters, the bushfires, and the droughts," he said before linking the devastation to abortion and gay marriage.
"Look how rapid these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time. Do you think it's a coincidence or not?" he asked.
"God is speaking to you guys. Australia you need to repent and take these laws and turn it back to what is right."
Radio host Alan Jones, who offered his unwavering support to Folau in the wake of his highly public downfall, has slammed the former rugby player.
“Israel is a lovely human being, I know him well. But, Israel, button-up,” the 2GB host said on Monday morning.
“These comments don’t help."
National's backbencher Barnaby Joyce, who spent last week working to save his parent's property from a fast-moving bushfire, also hit out at Folau and said that it was pointless to engage with the devoted Christian.
"He throws rocks at us so he feels good, we throw rocks back at him so we feel good ... but not one of those actions is making a sandwich for a person fighting the fires," he told the Seven Network on Monday.
"Not one of those actions is actually in a fire truck trying to stop these fires. Israel can concentrate on what he wants to say and I don't really care and we'll concentrate on the fire."
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese took a different stance, saying that it was important not to let these comments go unnoticed.
"This is pretty reprehensible," he posted to Twitter on Monday.
"Some people might not want to give his comments any more oxygen than they deserve, and I get that.
"But for people in leadership positions, it’s on us to reject this rubbish. To call it out.
"We’re so much better than this," he concluded.
Father Rod Bower labelled the comments "damaging" and not at all reflective of God's wishes.
"People died last week Mr Folau!" he tweeted.
"Your comments are devastatingly insensitive, psychologically damaging and theologically ill-informed.
"Climate change is the consequence of human not divine activity," he continued.
The comments came as NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed that six lives and 530 homes have been lost since the bushfire season began several weeks ago.
More than 1.6 million hectares of land have been blackened, FRS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.
Fire crews warn there will be at least two other tough days this week that could result in more destruction.
The biggest risk now, according to Emergency Services, would be if firefighters become fatigued.
Everyday Australians have taken to social media to ridicule Folau and slam his comments.
"Israel Folau is our punishment for ignoring climate change," said one user.
"BOM map forecasts spread of anger and disbelief across Australian Twittersphere as it becomes apparent that Israel Folau has opened his stupid mouth yet again," said another.