An Australian rugby union player in hot water for saying he believes gay people belong in hell.
Israel Folau plays for Australia’s national side the Wallabies and Super Rugby team, the Waratahs.
He made the controversial comment on an Instagram post on Tuesday 3 April.
Folau posted a photo to his Instagram indicating ‘God’s plan’ for individuals would not be as easy as people hoped.
On the post Instagram user, Mike Sephton, asked ‘what was gods [sic] plan for gay people??’
His comment has since been deleted, but Folau replied to him before the comment was removed.
‘HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God [sic],’ Folau replied.
Doesn’t quite fit with Israel Folau’s “I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions” line from last year. pic.twitter.com/A023XnxRBd
— Ben Coles (@bencoles_) April 3, 2018
Folau is a high profile sportsman in Australia and a very devout Christian. He regularly posts Bible verses and other religious messages on his social media.
Last year he came out in opposition to marriage equality during Australia’s postal survey vote on the issue.
‘I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage,’ he wrote last year.
I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage.✌❤🙏
— Israel Folau (@IzzyFolau) September 13, 2017
There was that time he was on the cover of a gay magazine
Folau’s stance has changed dramatically since he graced the cover of Australia’s oldest LGBTI magazine, Star Observer.
In 2014, was featured in an article about ending homophobia in rugby, posing for photos in the magazine wearing a Bingham Cup tank top.
The Bingham Cup is the ‘World Cup of gay rugby’ and includes queer rugby teams from around the globe.
Bingham Cup organizers said having the high profile Folau as a ‘supporter’ of the Cup was a ‘coup’.
‘Israel is a strong advocate for ending all forms of discrimination in sport,’ a Bingham Cup spokesperson told Star Observer at the time.