While Israel Folau has decided to crowdfund his defence, I believe our focus should be on those who financially support him, and why.
Israel Folau has again irritated the nation with the news that he’s looking to crowdfund his legal defence. On paper, it cuts deep. The concept of raising $3 million to win back his $4 million contract, one that he legitimately lost, reels the mind. As does the idea that organised religion, one that doesn’t pay tax, needs the taxpayer to bail out one of their own. Today is another day where we magnify his message through our anger.
If we’re so opposed to his message, at what point do we stop magnifying it?https://t.co/8h8ViFqlmW
— The Big Smoke (@TheBigSmokeAU) June 17, 2019
However, in solely hitting the lightning magnet, ignores the rest of the landscape. Yes, this is a moronic move by Folau, but he’s free to spend our money however he likes. He believes he has the backing to do so. But today’s point of exposure should be those who classify themselves as members of Folau’s flock. At the time of writing, 2,127 people have donated $200,231 to his cause. According to the funding page, Folau’s crusade is a religious one. He notes that “…my faith is the most important thing in my life. I try to live my life according to the Bible and I believe it is my duty to share the word of the Bible…earlier this year, I uploaded some messages from the Bible on my Instagram page. I believe that sharing the Bible is an act of love and compassion. I know some people do not like or believe in the Bible.”
As someone who follows Jesus, Folau and those willing to donate to his cause, do not represent me. While I’d admit that the text does say some truly awful things, the issue begins when individuals use it for their own ends. Treating the Bible as a context-free zone, transporting the writings of 3,000 years ago to 2019, is not stupid, it’s wilfully ignorant. Those willing to charitably hand over money for this, and ignoring (as one can assume that not every person who has donated to Folau’s page has done the same for others) all the other issues that the truly at-risk are facing (especially those that the same text deem we prioritise), illuminates what they truly value.
Acceptable hate under religious auspices, or because the bible told them so, is the largest issue we face. Those backing Folau because “the bible” and not their own prejudices, are the problem. Yes, without Folau’s crowdfunding platform, they’d have a less public platform to display it, but those prejudices will still exist. Certainly, those views will not be removed when Folau’s case is thrown out of court.
Folau, nor any of those who financially support him, truly follow the text. They’re following themselves. That point should be forever noted. As Proverbs (17:16) notes, why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?