English Super League fans have embraced Israel Folau cheering and chanting his name during his debut for Catalans Dragons.
According to Fox Sports, supporters first broke out in cheers for Folau when his name was read out over the sound system prior to the match. The crowd then began chanting, “Izzy! Izzy!” after the former Wallaby scored with his first touch, just five minutes into the game against Castleford Tigers.
— Dragons Catalans (@DragonsOfficiel) February 15, 2020
A female protester draped in an LGBTQ rainbow flag soon became the focus of media attention. 7 News interviewed the woman who said, “Rugby League is an inclusive sport” and Folau should publicly recant of his Christian beliefs.
“The problem is that he hasn’t come out and apologised for what he said,” the woman explained. “He’s left his social media posts up, so he has no remorse for what he’s said.”
The woman claimed she was asked twice by officials to remove the flag, however, a Dragons club official told 7 News that “another banner that was more aggressive was removed.” The official went on to say he had no issue with people wearing the rainbow flag.
We spoke with @CTRLFC fan @alisongrey91 who was previously told to remove her rainbow flag at @IzzyFolau’s debut match for the @DragonsOfficiel in Perpignan last night. @chris_grey___ @7NewsAustralia #folau pic.twitter.com/G2AzJ0wOnR
— Hugh Whitfeld (@hughwhitfeld) February 16, 2020
What the entire Folau-saga continually highlights is that true intolerance is often cloaked in the language of inclusivity. If we were to simply reverse the ideologies, and imagine a Christian protesting the inclusion of a player for subscribing to a different set of beliefs, would anyone suggest his protest was advancing inclusivity in the game?
And yet despite the rainbow brigade’s zero-tolerance for diversity in thought, belief and opinion, they’re only ever portrayed as beacons of unconditional acceptance and love. But introduce a person who does not necessarily affirm their ideology, and we soon discover how intolerant of “diversity” they truly are.
What we have here are two ideologies that contradict one another. So, the question is, how should individuals with contrary beliefs interact in a harmonious society?
Should LGBTQ advocates be forced to abandon their beliefs and disown their opinions because they are at odds with the Bible? Should LGBTQ advocates be compelled to apologise for their ideas and forced out of their careers because they don’t affirm the Christian worldview?
No one has suggested this, much less Israel Folau, whose never once called for the exclusion of a player based on sexual ideology, practice, or personal belief. And yet Folau is consistently portrayed as an example of intolerance and hatred, not for excluding people who think differently, but for thinking differently himself.
So, would LGBTQ advocates accept it if Christians adopted the very same approach? What if Christians began treating LGBTQ advocates the same way LGBTQ advocates treated Christians? After all, Jesus said, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
Despite what these sorts may say, there is no genuine commitment to diversity or inclusivity within the movement. The treatment of Israel Folau makes that abundantly clear. What they’re really after is absolute ideological submission. And nothing less than complete uniformity of thought and opinion will be tolerated.
In the name of inclusivity, diversity and tolerance, the very opposite of these things is being applauded and propagated. Because, as Douglas Wilson once rightly said, “diversity” has two fundamental tenets: (1) Absolute commitment to free expression; and (2) Shut up.