Israel Folau and freedom of conscience
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I am writing to express my concern over the approach Rugby Australia has taken to statements made by Israel Folau. That you regard mainstream Christian and Islamic beliefs as beyond tolerable is deeply concerning.
To make it clear, I fall into at least three of the categories mentioned by Mr Folau. I am an atheist, I have been a happy and enthusiastic fornicator, and, like all of us, I am a liar. That Mr Filou believes that something I do not believe exists, my soul, will spend eternity in a place I do not believe exists, hellfire, leaves me supremely indifferent. His view does me no harm, or, as Thomas Jefferson put it when referring to disparate religious views, his opinion “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg”.
On the other hand, that there are delicate snowflakes out there who moan and wail about being offended, absurdly claim that Mr Folau makes them feel unsafe, and demand that he should therefore be punished and have his career and livelihood destroyed for holding an opinion they disagree with, leaves me feeling nothing but contempt for those involved.
What your approach as taken here does, rather than make anyone safer, is add one more mite to the ever encroaching tide of intolerance and control which is seeking to destroy the freedom of conscience and freedom of expression which are the core and central principles on which all other rights depend for their continued existence. That makes me truly feel unsafe.
That your diversity and tolerance policy excludes tolerance towards the mainstream beliefs of the world’s major religions, including but not limited to Christianity, Islam and Judaism, tolerance of dissent, as well as tolerance of the central principle underlying any functional liberal democracy, is nothing more than what I have come to expect from these policies. As you demonstrate here, while presented as tools promoting tolerance, these policies are usually naught bar instruments of control whose purpose is to dictate which opinions are and are not acceptable, quashing the most socially important diversity of all, diversity of opinion.
Your approach, by acquiescing to and cooperating with the further closing down of the right to the free exchange of information, ideas and opinion, a right which is the necessary precondition of any free and open society or of functional democracy, is part of the problem, not the solution.
I would not envisage coming to Rugby Australia for moral guidance; like the overwhelming majority of your target audience I have no interest in your opinions on such matters. Terminating Mr Folau’s contract is but self-righteous posturing and empty virtue signalling by people who have none. Please reverse your decision.
My advice is: Scrap all the political hogwash which is but a distraction and creates not diversity but division, just as this matter has done, and instead concentrate on your core function, providing, encouraging and promoting quality rugby. All else is a distraction which pointlessly alienates those of your customers who disagree and drags your reputation through the mud.
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