Dear Israel Folau,

We are writing with the utmost respect for you as a human rights activist who has done some good for the community, and in the spirit of reconciliation because initially we were filled with darkness and anger when we read your comments, at first.

We want to thank you for your honesty in expressing your freedom of speech in the condemnation of Australian and Pasefika LGBTIQ Australians.

But brother, we can barely make out what you said because of the noise.

You see Israel, 2018 is a busy day at the marketplace of humanity where thousands of other human rights violations and issues are sold to the highest bidder.

You’ve only just come on board by standing at the bus-stop and yelling and passing judgment about what God would do, but sadly for you, I think God is a little busy right now to be condemning some of his children to hell.

By the way, its not the first time someone of fame and fortune has attacked LGBTIQ in Australia and in the Pacific and indeed the world.

Right now, we are inundated with a gender based violence plague in the Pacific and in Australia (thanks to the heteropatriarchy), we have the West Papua genocide, we have the economic en-slavery of women in third world countries, we have climate justice issues where citizens from countries like Kiribati are sinking yet our own Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton scoffs and makes fun of that “lapping tides” on mike, we have transgender rights to be able to pee and crap in a bathroom in peace (se’i tulou (pardon me), we have Christians and people of faith being killed and burnt alive in sub Saharan Africa and other hotspots, we have whole countries and population sectors being killed on a daily basis in countries like Syria, we have the crises with the Rohingya people from the Rakhine State in Myanma and so many other endless carnage and daily violations against human beings.

This, your telling us Australian and Pasefika LGBTIQ that we will burn in hell for our sins, you’re just having a bad day and saying the common urban vernacular “Go to Hell”!

We know you don’t mean what you’re saying Israel because you’ve been supporting and fighting homophobia in sports for years. Why, you even landed a Sydney Star Observer cover in 2014:

http://www.starobserver.com.au/news/sport/bingham-cup/a-rugby-tournament-to-tackle-homophobia/126524

But whilst you’re waiting and reflecting on that stupid act, allow us to educate you about the meaning of hypocrisy.

And remember last year when you tweeted during the marriage equality campaign:
“I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage”?

The book of Leviticus is what you are using to base your condemnations on – but you forget to mention that Leviticus also bans any marks and tattoos on our bodies. You may have missed that lesson at Sunday School, so no biggie we suppose but let that sink in for a minute.

While you’re thinking about whether you are a hypocrite your not, we want to remind you that it is one thing to be anti LGBTIQ, its another to bite the hands that feed you.

Your fame and fortune is tied to your incredible skills as a sportsman. And sports is big business in Australia. Its why you will be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) with Rugby Australia, because 3 of its biggest sponsors, Qantas, ASICS and Land Rover have weighed in and inadvertently asked Rugby Australia to tell you to “tone it down”, or in other words, “shut up”.

And although Rugby Australia is yet to weigh in on if and how you have, through your comments, violated its values of passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork, you’ve already violated one of the most sacrosanct and founding principles of the Christian faith, a faith you worship on a daily basis, a faith we also worship and hold dear, and we, along with so many other faith activists around the world are trying to reclaim because we believe in a different set of principles and sacraments than you do – we believe that God has no other plan for gay people other than to celebrate their humanity and the deeds they perform in loving unconditionally their fellow human beings.

Which brings me to a long laboured point – you see Israel, you’re nothing to us but another judgmental Pacific sports idol like many before you, that have used God’s words in absentia in order to judge, oppress and vilify the already marginalised Australian and Pasefika LGBTI citizens.

Israel, if only you knew that Jesus, the son of God whose name you invoke, his ministry was not economically rich and overpaid sports players of his time, but with the sinners, the downtrodden, the sexually immoral, the prostitutes, the lepers, and the unwanted and the forgotten. You probably do, right?

We, as Australian and Pasefika LGBTI citizens don’t need your condemnation because deep down, we KNOW Jesus is on my side. Deep down, we KNOW Jesus came for us, and not for some sanctimonious overpaid homophobic sports/muscle gladiator.

The reason why we know this is because Jesus lives in our houses, in our hearts and not in shiny glass houses favoured by people like you.

Ok enough with the banter, you can change Israel. You can, if you really want to.

If you opened your heart, and see Jesus for what he really is, full of light and love and grace and humility and non-judgmental and peace and acceptance, you too can be a part of Jesus’s team even if you sin differently to me.

And just so we are clear, my God and my Jesus are not homophobic. Let me repeat that. GOD AND JESUS ARE NOT HOMOPHOBIC.

Maybe you’re just scared Israel, maybe like us and everyone else we all say stupid things.

But the difference is that my saying Go To Hell and you saying Gay People Will Burn in hell for Their Sins, is not the same thing.

See, you saying that kills people like me. How?

Because a lot of people look up to you Israel. You and your words have power, privilege, meaning. Young kids look up to you as an award winning sportsman.

What you say, stays in the hearts and minds of young Australians and Pasefika children.

And that hatred, that vilification, that condemnation you have for LGBTIQ Australians and Pasefika are now planted as seeds in their young impressionable minds.

And one day, when an Australian or Psefika LGBTIQ person is walking home at night and one of those young minds, now grown up decides to exercise their “freedom of speech” and human right to condemn, will turn that seed into action and end up hurting, injuring, maiming and possibly ending the life of that Australian and Pasefika LGBTIQ individual. Worse than that, it may not even get to that stage when they get older – they will use your seeds to vilify, bully and ostracise Australian and Pasefika LGBTI to the point where those weak souls will have no choice but to take their own lives. #LGBTITeenSuicide

And you may deny that, as “I am only saying what I feel, and I will not be held responsible for the actions of another human being”, but we know better because for over 40 years we have been at the receiving end of that condemnation, hatred, and vilification.

We have been in hospital ICU units in Samoa, New Zealand, and Australia when our faces and bodies have been beaten beyond recognition, we have held lifeless bodies who have succumbed to suicide, we have comforted parents of Australian and Pasefika LGBTI children who have died because of this mindless bullying, all because some sports playing hetero jock decided that we should be taught a lesson for being a fag, a tranny, a cross dresser, a bloke in a dress and so many other un-Christian-like insults.

And think about the Australian and Pasefika LGBTIQ players in rugby – where will they go now? In a code that is doing its best to embrace diversity, that you’ve helped stamp out homophobia, you’ve now turned around and told them to hide, to bury their unique gifts and identities and never ever come out as LGBTIQ because goddamn it Israel says they will be condemned to burn in hell for their sins.

That’s the funny part for us – that you profess to be a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ yet where is that Christ like love for your fellow Australian and Pasefika LGBTI family?

That façade you’ve built for years being the “gentleman” and the “good guy” of rugby, that that veneer is now shattered in pieces.

You are a 3 time John Eales medallist. Act like one Israel.

Support Australian sport and appreciate the values of Rugby Australia – be passionate about the game and what it brings for ALL citizens including Australian and Pasefika LGBTIQ players, show some integrity and remember you are a part of the human race, not planet Israel, have some discipline and learn that the power of your words has the potential to hurt, main, oppress and may even kill LGBTIQ so maybe tone down your social media presence, be respectful that your actions will not bring the game into disrepute and support your fellow rugby players, professional and social, through teamwork.

We share more than a beautiful country Israel, we call Australia home, we share the same Pacific heritage, yours is Tongan and mine is Samoan and Tongan, we share a love of Christ, but most importantly, we are both human beings.

Let us love one another, and remember to do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.

And because you can afford to, help out our fellow Tongans, the Tonga Leiti Association with their appeal:
https://www.youcaring.com/tongaleitisassociation-1100654

Their drop in centre was badly damaged in the recent TC Gita.

Why should you? Not for any reason other than because you can and you are a Christian and that drop-in centre may save the life of one of your relatives who was banished from their family for being a fakaleiti.
#PacificHumanRightsInitiative

Peace out, and Ofa Lahi atu,

Joleen Mataele Brown
Human Rights Activist
Fakaleiti Elder

Fiaailetoa Kenneth Moala
Human Rights Activist
Faafafine Elder

Ymania Brown
Human Rights Activist
Faafafine Warrior

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12 COMMENTS

  1. The truth really hurts. Stand by his word Israel Folau…. God is been glorified on your behalf….let no man change his word.
    Roman 1 26:27 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their woman exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
    Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
    Praying for you brother. Prayers for those who do not know God and may they come to God in due time….for he is the God of love.
    Blessings❤

    • Yvonne – take the time to read those scripture. They say the 6 verses talks about homosexuality but if you really research it you’ll find it’s not about us. It’s about heterosexual married men with wife and children taking pleasure in taking and raping young men. We don’t do that. And I’m a Christian and gay too and I’d appreciate if you stop persisting with your anti stance and you know Jesus have two commands. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as you do yourself. Very simple responsibility and if you can’t do that then what’s the point of being a pretend Christian. For once I’d like to see a change in the attutude and see churches stop hurting the LGBTIQ community. Did you know 85% of us grew up in the church and majority of us when we turned 18 left the church because of the acts of hatred. Some of us worked out that God never had a problem with us but his other children and churches did so we stayed with God and not with man made institutions.

      I’d rather be focused on the injustice that is happening, we won marriage equality last year so that horrible price of history is behind us so now we can focus on aboriginal issues, stolen generation, child abuse and sexual abuse, bullying in society. Elderly people, youth and refugees. So instead of picking on us how about you pick another one that protects and free people from barbaric hideous practices.

    • Thats just a stupid reason to end their life. I think this letter is all from a sulking selfish perspective. If people are truly entitled to their own opinion, then why is everybody condemning this guy for telling us what he believes? Doesnt make sense, and using scripture to fight a truth been spoken is almost like blasphemy.

  2. 9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, [1 Corinthians 6:9]
    14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:15)
    8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

  3. Awesome letter! Someone in a high profile position needs to think carefully about what they are saying and be aware that everyone deserves to be loved and celebrated. ❤️

  4. It all stems from the fear mongseeing heteropatfinancial, religious BS of rhe palagi brainwashing of Christianity!! If you practices the TRUE ways of your ancestors, you wouldn’t have the problems you do!! You dishonor your ancestors by practicing the religion of the palagi OPPRESORS!! That is why many indigenous groups in North America refused to convert to Christianity. It is DEATH worship and destructive.

  5. As a gay man, Christian and deeply focused on following God through Jesus, I want to put to Israel Folau the following: It is important that we read the Bible in its full context – not only a verse here and there that identifies sin and the repercussion of sin in our lives – Israel Folau, as a Christian you need to also read the verses where God clearly states (Rom: 10:13 and many other times in the Old and New Testament) that those who call on His name will be saved. I have not chosen to be gay, I try my utmost best to stay true to God’s word and pray and pray everyday of my life that God will not turn his back on me and that through Jesus’s blood I will be saved – Paul, of all people wrote and states categorically that we will struggle here on earth against the ‘world’ – as long as we stay focused in our believe that Jesus died for us on the cross – if we believe and trust in the Lord we are children of God. I do not turn my back on who I am but am aware of my weaknesses and also aware of my strengths through Jesus – I pray every day (every single day) of my life that I will not stop believing, I will not stop praying and I will not stop trying to be the best person I can be for my God through the Grace of the blood of Jesus. Israel Folau, I am praying for you too – you are a child of God and you will see God one day, but please do not judge those of us who are who we are – we cannot randomly blanket all gay people as one – you do not know the struggle of each – nor do we know the struggle of so many non-gay people, even the struggles you yourself may have. Sometimes we need to be quiet, kind, show love as much as possible and pray that God will show us the road ahead – it is dangerous to take high ground above those of others – the word of God teaches us that in so many ways and through so many verses. Again, as a gay man, I believe so strongly that my God (your God) will save my soul through the blood of Jesus! I hope I will see you, Israel Folau, also at the feet of God one day – God Bless!

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