A former rugby league player has suggested that Christians, like Israel Folau, who express a biblical view of sexuality “can and do” push kids to commit suicide.
Ian Roberts, an openly gay former rugby league player, appeared as a guest panelist on Channel Nine’s Sports Sunday, where he condemned Folau for posting a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9 on his personal Instagram account.
“I do feel sorry for Israel, but there are consequences for your actions and reactions, you know,” Roberts said. “And I don’t say this lightly, what I’m about to say, the language I use is hard and it’s for a point, it’s to get that message across. There are literally kids in the suburbs killing themselves.”
At this point, Roberts seemed to backtrack just a little, suggesting that Folau is only partly responsible for kids committing suicide.
“I say that with the greatest sense of respect and I’m not implying that Israel’s responsible solely for that, please don’t take it that way.”
Roberts then went on to say that “these types of remarks”, that is, Folau’s public citation of Scripture, “can and do” push people to kill themselves.
“But it’s these types of comments and these off-the-cuff remarks — when you have young people and vulnerable people, kids in the suburbs, who are dealing with their sexuality, confused, not knowing how to deal with it — these types of remarks can and do push people over the edge.”
Ian Roberts' powerful message on the Israel Folau issue.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) May 5, 2019
This is a new low for the “tolerance brigade”. They’re all about “inclusion” and “acceptance” until somebody steps out of the approved ideological line. True to form, they won’t debate the issues at hand. Instead, they’ll now accuse you of having blood on your hands and imply that subscription to your faith is a heartless act carried out at the cost of vulnerable children.
It’s an old tactic, really. It’s the ‘Poisoning the Well’ fallacy. You don’t need to deal with your opponent’s actual arguments if you prime your audience with dishonest or adverse information about your opponent from the start.
These days, it’s often done with the ‘phobe’ insult. Anyone who questions the benefits of redefining marriage is quickly dismissed as a homophobe and his arguments rendered irrelevant. Raise concerns about gender theory and you’re a transphobe. Criticise Islam and you’re an Islamophobe. Discuss immigration and you’re a xenophobe.
As Brendan O’Neill said, “The ‘phobe’ insult is used to demonise and silence anyone who thinks differently to the new elite.”
During the discussion, Roberts went on to say, “There can’t be any tolerance for bigotry.” Ironically, according to the Oxford Dictionary “bigotry” is defined as, “Intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself.”
What the “tolerance brigade” fail to understand is that simply slapping the label “bigot” on someone you disagree with doesn’t make you any less of a bigot yourself. There’s only one group of people who want to expel those with different opinions from the game. There’s only one group of people who actually fit the definition of a bigot and that group doesn’t include Israel Folau.