Israel Folau Cries While Defending His Faith In Easter Sermon
One day before the Rugby Australia hearing to save his career, video has emerged of Israel Folau's emotional Easter address.
The footage shows Folau at his Truth Of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney, breaking into tears while delivering a sermon on Easter Sunday.
Wiping back tears, he shared a Bible story of three men who stood up for their Christian beliefs under the threat of death.
Throughout the story, Folau took long pauses to let waves of emotion pass before continuing. He constantly wiped tears from his face and was even passed a tissue by a member of the congregation .
"This life that we live in is pretty hard," Folau said during the sermon.
“The God of this world, Satan, has deceived many. But the one that lives inside us is all powerful. He can deliver us from anything.
“I encourage us all to store our treasures up in heaven, where it all counts.
“Just because we’re believers in Christ, does not mean we’re not prone to the temptation or challenges that we’re going through.
“There’s nothing special that would keep us from that -- in actual fact, we probably go through more challenges than anything else.
“We’re going to be hated by the world, persecuted by the world.”
The Wallabies player delivered the sermon after he was dismissed by Rugby Australia for posting homophobic comments online. Folau has vowed to fight for his $4 million contract at a code of conduct hearing which starts at 9:30 am on Saturday and could spill into Sunday.
Folau found himself facing widespread backlash after posting an image to Instagram that read: "WARNING Drunks Homosexuals Adulterers Liars Fornicators Thieves Atheists Idolaters, HELL AWAITS YOU. REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES."
Last year, Folau appeared to refer to gay and transgender people as having been "blinded" by "the devil".
He also copped backlash when he claimed, in a Twitter post, that gay people are "living in Sin" and that they "will end up in Hell unless you repent".
"Jesus Christ Loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him".
After a spate of controversial comments, Rugby Australia bosses served Folau a termination notice, saying he was "unapologetic" and "showed no remorse" for his comments after a number of warnings.
In mid-April, the Rugby Australia Integrity Unit said Folau had committed a high-level breach of the Professional Player's Code Of Conduct. This was grounds to terminate his employment.
"Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations," Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle said.
"It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action."
Just days after the announcement, Folau responded to Rugby Australia, requesting a code of conduct hearing.
The hearing is set to take place on Saturday.
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