Faith first for Folau

April 16, 2019

Rugby Australia has issued a breach notice to Israel Folau:

Folau sparked outrage after posting to his Instagram account last Wednesday night that “hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” — adding they should “repent”. . . 

What he said is not just a tenet of fundamental Christianity, Muslim and Jewish religions would also regard these as sins.

At its core, this is an issue of the responsibilities an employee owes to their employer and the commitments they make to their employer to abide by their employer’s policies and procedures and adhere to their employer’s values,” Rugby Australia said in a statement.

Freedom of expression, outside work, obviously isn’t one of those values.

“Following the events of last year, Israel was warned formally and repeatedly about the expectations of him as player for the Wallabies and NSW Waratahs with regards to social media use and he has failed to meet those obligations. It was made clear to him that any social media posts or commentary that is in any way disrespectful to people because of their sexuality will result in disciplinary action. . .

This is an employment issue. Folau had been warned and ignored the warning. But was what was required of him fair?

In doing ignoring the warning, he’s chosen to put his faith before football:

Israel Folau is sticking to his guns no matter what it costs the embattled Wallabies superstar.

And he is continuing to place his faith in his religion, despite the storm airing his beliefs on social media has caused within both the Australian rugby and society in general. . . 

It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things,” Folau told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”

Folau said he would not mind one bit if his rugby career was done as long as he got to do The Lord’s work.

“First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it.

“In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.” . . 

It’s not that long ago that not doing anything against which Folau is warning, would have been a code of conduct that was generally accepted as the right one and the condemnation of people who didn’t follow it would not have been remarkable.

Even now, while some have used social media to confess to being guilty on several of these counts, how can speaking out against any of them that hurt others be wrong?

But of course it’s not Folau’s condemnation of drunkenness, adultery, lying or thieving that’s caused the furor, it’s the inclusion of homosexuality.

Bob Jones points out:

First, these remarks are totally consistent with the Bible (and the Koran) so why the uproar?

Second, why did the critics, including the Prime Minister, solely complain about the reference to homosexuals? What about us drunks and fornicators? Doesn’t she care about our pain? We know the answer to that, namely unlike fairydom we’re not fashionable at the moment.

I can understand journalists concentration on homosexuals as few are whereas make no mistake, the vast majority I’ve known are drunks, adulterers, liars and fornicators to various degrees, so too heaps of MP’s.  A double-standard here methinks.

My contact with journalists and MPs hasn’t involved drunkenness, lying and fornicating but I don’t move in Sir Bob’s circles.

This whole episode is a classic pack-hunting media contrivance. I have difficulty believing a single drunk, fornicator, homosexual, adulterer or liar reading Israel’s remarks gave a damn. He’s entitled to express his religious beliefs as much as I for example am, to continue pursuing my life-long mockery of religion. . . 

An employment breach is between Rugby Australia and Folau but how many would have known about it if the media hadn’t picked up the post?

Only those who follow his account, at least some of whom no doubt agree with him, and others would be following him because of his footy fame and not be troubled by his faith.

But the mainstream media, as happens too often, picked up the post and broadcast it to the world. They then reported the outrage they’d stirred up and also the concern about people who might be upset by it who probably would have been oblivious had the media not generated the publicity.

The offenderati reacted predictably by condemning him and wanting to silence him.

Why when, as Michael Redell points out,  few share his beliefs?:

. . . If –  as most New Zealanders and a large proportion of Australians now claim to –  you don’t believe in the existence of God, let alone of eternal separation from God or Hell, it is hard to know why what Folau is saying should bother you.   You surely believe he is simply deluded and wrong, as he will discover (or rather not) when he dies.

If you don’t believe what he says why not ignore it, or counter it with rational argument?

That probably is the view of a fair number of people in New Zealand and Australia today.  But it isn’t the view of those holding the commanding heights –  MPs, leader writers, columnists, business leaders and so on –  who have demanded that it be stopped.  They simply cannot abide the thought that someone of any prominence should openly affirm that sin is sin, and that homosexual acts are among the things labelled as sin.

Here I’m not mainly interested in the Australian Rugby Union. I have a modicum of sympathy for their position, even if (as I noted in an earlier post elsewhere on these issues) the problem was partly one of their own making.   Rugby could just be rugby, but that’s not enough for today bosses.

My interest is more in what it says about our society – New Zealand and, it appears, Australia –  that no prominent person is free to express centuries-old Christian belief (views backed, rightly or wrongly, by the law of the land until only a few decades ago) when it trespasses on the taboos and sacred cows (“homosexuality good”) of today’s “liberal” elite.  And if no prominent person can –  and it is interesting to note that not a single church leader has been willing to stand up openly for Folau, and the Scriptures –  how will those less prominent be positioned.   Folau may lose a multi-million dollar contract, but he’ll already have earned much more than many ordinary working people make in their life.   But what of the ordinary employee of a bank or of one of those right-on government agencies.  It might not even be a personal social media account, or a speaking engagement at the local church.  It might be nothing more than a reluctance to participate in celebrations of what (in their belief, in the tradition of thousands of years) sinful acts.   The issue here isn’t someone proselytising across the counter of the bank, any more than Folau’s “offence” involved activity in the middle of a game, but a totalitarian disregard for any view –  no matter of how longstanding –  that doesn’t fall into line with today’s orthodoxy.

This is what concerns me too.

I don’t share Folau’s fundamental version of faith.

I find a lot of the Bible contradictory and when I do I choose the option that shows love and grace – turn the other cheek rather than an eye for an eye, for example.

But Folau’s are honestly held beliefs. They don’t impact on his playing ability, he wasn’t preaching during a game, why shouldn’t he be allowed to express them?

And there’s also the niggling thought that some religions are more equal than others and if his was another faith rather than Christian, he would he have been given a little more leniency.


Rural round-up

December 22, 2018

Alliance chairman queries Govt’s subsidy stance – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart has expressed concern over what he sees as the Government’s apparent determination to subsidise forestry plantings at the expense of low environmental impact sheep and beef farming.

Addressing the co-operative’s annual meeting in Dunedin yesterday, Mr Taggart said it was occurring just when it looked like the ”bureaucratic playing field” was being levelled up for sheep and beef and recognising the sector’s lower environmental footprint relative to dairy.

”The apparent lack of rigour in relation to the social, economic and environmental impacts of this strategy is disturbing,” he said. . . 

Telford future in doubt following liquidation -Chris Morris:

The training institute running the Telford campus in South Otago has been placed in interim liquidation at the request of its board.

Taratahi, a private training establishment and agricultural education provider, runs residential campuses in Wairarapa and Reporoa in the North Island, as well as Telford.

It employs about 250 staff and boasted about 2850 students across all three campuses this year.

Today’s announcement was made by David Ruscoe and Russell Moore of Grant Thornton, who were appointed interim liquidators by the High Court.

The liquidators, in a statement, said Taratahi was facing “financial and operational pressures caused by declining student numbers”, which had resulted in a reduction in funding. . . 

Risk of spreading Wallabies sparks pest action plan – Tess Brunton:

Fears Wallabies are placed to become the possum problem of the 21st century has prompted plans to create New Zealand’s first national wallaby management programme.

A business case has been submitted to the Treasury as part of a collaboration between regional councils, government and crown research agencies in the last couple of weeks.

Department of Conservation threats technical advisor Alastair Fairweather said New Zealand could not afford to wait before acting. . . 

Super cute sheep deliver Christmas lambs – but not for eating:

The sheep dubbed the world’s cutest have given birth to their first lambs in New Zealand.

Wairarapa farmer Christine Reed and her business partners imported Swiss Valais Blacknose sheep as embryos from the United Kingdom about 18 months ago.

Over the past two weeks, Ms Reed’s sheep have brought five tiny bundles of fluffy cuteness into the world, while her business partners had similar numbers of newborn lambs arrive. . .

New agreement to protect fresh tomato industry:

Biosecurity New Zealand and Tomatoes New Zealand have reached an agreement on the pathway forward to better prepare for future biosecurity responses.

Both parties signed a Sector Readiness Operational Agreement today (21 December).

“The agreement demonstrates both organisations’ commitment to strengthen readiness for incursions of specific pests and pathogens,” says Andrew Spelman, Biosecurity NZ’s Acting Director, Biosecurity Readiness & Response Services. . . 

Kiwi investors snap up cherry orchard investment:

Over 60 New Zealanders have invested $10.5 million to become the proud new owners of the largest modern cherry orchard development in Central Otago.

Central Cherry Orchard Limited Partnership will begin development of the 96 hectare bareland block in the Waikerikeri Valley north of Alexandra in autumn 2019.

New Zealand export cherries are recognised for their exceptionally high quality and freshness. This season it’s estimated 1.9 million 2kg boxes of cherries will be picked and airfreighted fresh to China and the rest of Asia to arrive in time for Chinese New Year on February 5. . . 


Rural round-up

March 13, 2017

Red meat needs change – Sally Rae:

Red Meat Profit Partnership chairman Malcolm Bailey has a simple message for farmers – ”nothing changes unless you’re prepared to change something on your farm”.

”You have to be involved and make changes,” Mr Bailey said, referring to the future of the red meat sector during a recent visit to Dunedin.

RMPP is a seven-year Primary Growth Partnership programme working to help the red meat sector increase productivity and profitability. . . .

Rural spirit shines bright as Olympians star:

The third annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games began on The Square, Palmerston North today with Olympians Dame Valerie Adams and Mahé Drysdale making guest appearances in an unfamiliar sport.

The double gold medallists swapped shot puts and rowing oars for Red Bands as they competed as wild card entries in the New Zealand Gumboot Throwing Championship in association with Skellerup.

Mahé finished an uncharacteristic last in the men’s competition that was won by James Kellow of Whanganui with a throw of 42.24m. James just edged reigning champion, Olympic decathlete Brent Newdick into second place but couldn’t take Brent’s national record of 44.97m set in 2015. . . .

Tree climbers, coal shovellers and shearers take centre stage on final day of Hilux New Zealand Rural Games 2017:

The final day of the third annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North saw national champions decided in ‘sports that built the nation’ including speed shearing, coal shovelling and tree climbing plus an attempt on the egg throwing and catching world record.

News of yesterday’s action, including Dame Valerie Adams winning the NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship, brought even greater numbers to The Square in the city centre to watch top rural sportspeople and have a go themselves. . .

Changes made after 2015 bovine Tb outbreak:

Testing and surveillance changes have been made around Mt Cargill, near Dunedin, after a bovine Tb outbreak in 2015.

TBfree has increased the testing requirements for cattle and deer and designated the area a movement control area to avoid the spread of Tb through movement of stock.

As of March 1, all cattle and deer in the wider Mt Cargill area need a Tb test within 60 days before being moved to another property. . . 

Elusive wallabies prompt pest control campaign

A privately owned Otago pest-control company and the regional council are working to tackle the growing problem of wallabies in the region.

Two of the pests had been shot near Ranfurly in the last few months, one on the golf course.

Maniototo Pest Management said the problem was getting worse and the animal could be devastating to farmers’ crops and pastures.

Company manager Ossie Brown said wallabies were mobile creatures and could travel long distances. . . 

Rockit Global Limited Positioned for Significant International Growth

Havelock North Fruit Company (HNFC), home of delicious, miniature Rockit™ apple snacks, today announced exciting and significant company changes. Effective immediately, the Hawke’s Bay based company will begin trading as Rockit Global Limited. Two experienced growth equity investors have taken a significant stake in the new company and Austin Mortimer has been appointed as its Chief Executive Officer. . . 

Seeking new members – Yvonne O’Hara:

Increasing membership in Young Farmers’ Clubs in Otago and Southland is one of the key goals for the new Otago-Southland regional chairman James Heslip.

The Moa Flat farm manager was voted into his new role at the region’s annual meeting on February 19.

He replaced Chris Pemberton, of Teviot.

”I want to make it so Otago-Southland is the best region in the country,” Mr Heslip said. . . 

 


Black to black back to back

November 1, 2015

What a game, what a win – the All Blacks are world history making third-time Rugby World Cup winners.

New Zealand withstood a gutsy Australian fightback to claim victory 34-17 in the Rugby World Cup final and create history as the first side to win three titles.

The All Blacks were given a Halloween night fright by the Wallabies, who battled their way back from 21-3 with two tries to get within four points of Richie McCaw’s side at 21-17. . . 

Well worth getting up early to watch.
All Blacks's photo.
All Blacks's photo.
"532598971JD00382_New_Zealan LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Richie McCaw of New Zealand lifts the trophy after victory during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final match between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on October 31, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)"

 


In a fairy tale . . .

October 31, 2015

In a fairy tale the All Blacks would win tomorrow morning’s match and claim the Rugby World Cup again.

As Gregor Paul wrote before last week’s semi-final, the ABs are the better men:

. . . Results have been hugely important, but he doesn’t want them to be the sole mechanism by which his team is judged. Nearly as important is the manner in which his team conduct themselves.

Whatever the result tomorrow, the All Blacks won’t rush to leave Twickenham. There is post-match protocol to observe and that is not just the media and drug-testing obligations.

The All Blacks post-match protocol looks just like it did 30 years ago, because Hansen has placed considerable importance on his team embracing what can only be called old-school values.

The stakes couldn’t be higher, the pressure couldn’t be greater but Hansen can’t see why that should prevent rugby tradition from being observed.

The game was fostered on a spirit of fraternity and shared experience and to not observe that is to disrespect a core tenet of the game. The third half, as the French call it, has always been rugby’s greatest point of difference.

If no one bothered to engage with the opposition; to put aside the past 80 minutes and realise that everyone involved is chasing the same dream and united by the same beliefs, how long before rugby would morph into football in regard to culture and attitudes?

How long before players would leave the ground with barely a nod and a handshake, jump into expensive sports cars, already having forgotten who they have played and still not certain they know the first name of all the players in their own team?

Hansen has made a stand to preserve the parts of rugby that make it the game it is. “One of the important things to me about rugby is enjoying it,” he says. “When you are in such a big pressure cooker as the All Blacks, it can easily be lost.

“The first thing we had to acknowledge was to stop and enjoy each test. We do that sensibly but we acknowledge we have played another group of men who have tried to do what we have done. So we say, ‘would you guys like to come in? [to our changing room]’.

“Not all teams accept that. Some do and South Africa are one that always comes in. When we are over there we go in. When I played, some of the best moments in rugby were with the guys who you have just gone 80 minutes with and you find out they are just like us. They are ordinary guys and you make lifelong friendships.”

The extent to how the old-school culture pervades has been striking at this World Cup. The All Blacks, tournament favourites and loaded with superstars, have been impeccably professional on the field, proudly amateur in ethos off it. . . .

For the last part of the past decade things were worse because the All Blacks’ schedule was dominated by tests against the Wallabies.

The relationship between the two was strained, awkward and, at times, plain awful. The Wallabies rejected an invitation to join the All Blacks in their changing room after a 2010 test in Christchurch. A few months later in Hong Kong they accepted – after they had won in the last minute and had aggressively and endlessly celebrated. The invitation hadn’t been accepted so they could genuinely reflect on the test but seemed to be more about taking the opportunity to gloat. It was a powerful moment – confirming for Hansen that if he ever landed the top job, he would instil in his players the courage and depth of character to be the same person regardless of outcome.

When you play really well and get beaten you have to accept it,” he says. “You can’t change it – it has happened, you have had your chance and you have to do that with the same humbleness that you do winning. We have got to respect the way we want to be respected ourselves and there is nothing worse than seeing a winner gloating or a team that loses sulking.

“It is okay to hurt but you don’t have to be arrogant and I think rugby is a great game in teaching you some core values of being grateful and being humble.

“I don’t think it is driven by being liked. It is driven by that’s how we want to live. That’s the identity we believe the legacy of the All Blacks has demanded from us. It is really important to us that we live that way – that identity and those values all the time.” . . 

Both teams have so much to play for but the All Blacks have the added incentive of giving captain Richie McCaw a win and several others a win in what is expected to be their final game in the team.

Life isn’t always like a fairy tale but all fingers and toes are crossed that tomorrow’s match will finish that way for the All Blacks.

 


Campaign openings vs All Blacks

August 23, 2014

Political party campaign opening broadcasts start with the National Party at 7:30 this evening.

What’s the bet even political tragics will be tuned to the Bledisloe Cup game between the All Blacks and Wallabies instead?


Schadenfreude

August 18, 2013

All Blacks 47 – Wallabies 29.

Just wondering if Robbie Deans is experiencing schadenfreude and whether Wallabies fans want him back now?


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