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The right to free speech

Written By: - Date published: 9:05 am, April 20th, 2018 - 105 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, democracy under attack, journalism, Media, news, Propaganda, racism, sexism, social media lolz, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , ,

The right to free speech is one of the most important rights there are.  The contest of ideas that free speech allows is so vital.  Properly functioning liberal democracies depend on it.

But the principle gets messy when right wing idiots who normally have no time for the concept of rights raise the concept as a shield to allow them to say stupid stuff.

There have been a few examples lately.

There was Israel Folau who said publicly that gays are evil and will go to hell unless they repent.

This sort of homophobic comment is frankly awful.  If you want a recent really poignant example of the effects of brainless homophobia this article by Kim Baker Wilson should cause a tear to well up.

But Folau was not alone.  Just when the firestorm caused by his comments was quietening down along came Bishop Brian Tamaki to pour petrol on it.


The bible also says things about not coveting worldly goods and not judging each other and being kind to each other.  Tamaki’s bible must be missing those chapters.

Then Duncan Garner clearly looking for clicks chipped in by saying all that Folau was doing was quoting the bible.  From the Herald:

Duncan Garner has defended rugby star Israel Folau’s anti-LGBT comments in which he said gay people were destined for hell.

Folau’s comments caused outrage among fans and even prompted him to offer to walk away from his Rugby Australia contract as a result.

But now, The AM Show’s Garner has weighed in saying while he doesn’t agree with Folau’s views, he doesn’t have a problem with him sharing them as he was simply quoting the bible.

“That’s a lesson, a reading, a teaching in the bible – so he just merely quoted the bible,” Garner said. “What’s wrong with that? I support his right to be a church-man and to reply like that.”

The Spinoff published this terrific takedown where Garner’s defence of Folau’s homophobic comments were contrasted with his attack on Taika Waititi for pointing out the racism that still exists in New Zealand.  From the article:

High profile broadcaster and columnist Duncan Garner has this morning spoken truth to power, or more specifically, truth to high profile broadcaster and columnist Duncan Garner.

In a blistering attack on Newshub’s simulcast AM Show, Duncan Garner railed against the poison of “the speech police”.

“The speech police are winning the war,” said Duncan Garner.

“Those who overreact at everything we say and everything we do in society … We need to be careful that we do not lose the precious gift that we have in this country – it’s called the freedom of speech. When you lose it, have a look at that, it is so, so important we keep it. We need a contest of ideas and thought and creativity, so do not bow down to those who want to ring-fence society with their take on our society.”

Duncan Garner’s comments were a clear denunciation of recent comments by Duncan Garner, who last week attempted to ring-fence the speech of Taika Waititi. The film-maker’s observation that New Zealand is racist was “extreme” and “sabotage”, said Duncan Garner.

“This guy, he’s gone too far, it’s too extreme.

“Lighten up, and change the record. Come home and re-introduce yourself to your country. It’s a great little country that’s not without its challenges but we’re not as racist as fuck, OK? Stop selling us out on the international stage. There’s a word for it, and it’s called sabotage.”

Duncan Garner no doubt also had in mind similar remarks by Duncan Garner, who speech policed the bejesus out of Waititi over earlier criticisms of New Zealand last year.

“He was New Zealander of the Year, this year 2017, so he’s an ambassador for New Zealand now,” said Duncan Garner. “You cannot be this treasonous about your own country. You cannot say you’re not proud to be a New Zealander if you’re the New Zealander of the year.”

And to end a week of men saying stupid things Whau Local Board member Derek Battersby was caught out calling Julie Anne Genter a silly bitch and someone who should stay at home and look after her kids, of which she currently has none.

Battersby may not realise it but he neatly reinforced the validity of Genter’s statement that old white men on boards should make way for younger more diverse talent.

Battersby repeated the defence raised by the others, that freedom of speech should allow him to say stupid things.

It really hurts when you feel like you are being urged to join the barricades to protect that most fundamental of rights and then you realise that it is in protection of a right wing bigot’s pronouncements.

But I don’t think the basic principle is that difficult.

What we are protecting is the freedom to express ideas and ideals.  We can let them express their ideas and we can then explain to them in no uncertain terms why they are wrong.  And being stupid.

105 comments on “The right to free speech”

  1. ianmac 1

    Brilliant Spinoff takedown! Of course with Key as a model, Garner will say he was taken out of context.
    There is a conflict between freedom of speech and the need to remain silent. Tricky.

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.1

      Yes, the Spinoff article spells it out with clever humour.

      It’s not so much a conflict between freedom of speech and silence, but between freedom of speech and responsibilities to others: the community a/wp-login.phpnd society.

      The idea that freedom of speech trumps everything else comes from the US and their long time focus on the rights of individuals within a capitalist “free” market. Britain and Europe had a much longer focus on placing individual rights within the context of collective responsibilities.

      So, it’s the (US-influenced) libertarians in NZ who focus solely on freedom of speech (when it suits them). Just as they make claims for democratic process, only when it suits their aims – which generally work to maintain their privilege and power.

      • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.1

        Don’t have an edit function here – don’t know how they stand link got into the middle of a sentence of mine.

        Very good post, Micky.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Folau has about 120k twitter followers. Posting his bigoted POV to 120k people who chose to follow him is his business, I guess.

    Far worse is a click bait trawling, troll obsessed MSM who dredge through social media eager to broadcast to a much, much bigger audience the views of the crazy, the angry, the bigoted, the uptight and the hysterical in order to manufacture outrage and culture war just so they can sell the resulting shitty and polarised audience to advertisers, and fuck the individuals who they may hurt in the process and fuck civil society which they are happy to leave for the worse.

    • Doogs 2.1

      Excellent post Sanctuary. You nailed another aspect of this that isn’t always noted.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Interestingly, Mrs Folau has endorsed her husband’s views but Netball NZ is silent on the issue.

      He can say what he likes as long as he doesn’t have a “bring the game into disrepute clause” in his contract. If he feels constrained by the terms of his contract, he can break the contract and find another job. Rugby league, which welcomes wife beaters, girlfriend beaters and home invaders who terrify children with open arms, willl give him a job I am sure.

      He would have had lawyers look over his contract before he signed it. They would have explained the disrepute and misconduct clauses.

      Part of Folau’s job is setting a particular example to young folk that his employers want adhered to.

      I am also sick of the “quoting the bible” defence. The Bible is a jumbled collection of stories and allegories, not, as some would have us believe, written in stone. In any event, WHICH Bible is Garner referring to, cos they are not all the same.

      I do agree that the media trawl for clickbait. And we constantly reward them.

      • Puckish Rogue 2.2.1

        Part of it is that the Wallabies area bit s**t at the moment so they (their view of thinking, not mine) need him more than he needs them

        He can probably make more money in league and can easily make plenty more in Rugby in either Europe or Japan

        Imagine if someone like Jordie Barret said something similar, he’d be gone burgers because we have: Ben Smith, David Havili, Sonny Bill Williams, Reiko Iaone, Waisake Naholo, Ryan Crotty, Anton Leinert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Ngani Laumape, Matt Duffie, Seta Tamanivalu and Damian McKenzie and thats not counting the guys still to come back from injury like: Nehe Milner-Skudder, Israel Dagg and Julian Savea that can all be used to (in some cases a bit of a swop around maybe need) and thats not counting the first fives or half backs

        Mind you the comments of Brad Weber, TJ Perenara and the Man Sir Michael Jones leads me to think that the attitudes in NZ rugby are heading towards where they need to be

    • ropata 2.3

      Yep the media have turbocharged and inflamed a bad situation and made any chance of rational and reasoned responses hopeless.

      The Bible does teach that sex outside marriage is sinful, so is theft, violence, envy, but the main theme of the Gospel is that God wants to help people not judge them (peace on Earth, goodwill toward mankind…)

      • KJT 2.3.1

        The bible, at least the new testament, which these, self appointed,”Christians”, claim to follow, also opposes violence, and being judgemental of others.
        There are no specific strictures against being gay.

        • In Vino

          Furthermore, I believe the Bible says that the Devil may quote the Scriptures for his own purposes. Now if the Bible is the infallible Word of God, it seems to me that this is a warning that we cannot trust anyone who quotes the bible. Sorry, Israel.. That Devil is just so cunning. In fact, it seems now that maybe I cannot trust myself. No wonder people cherry-pick.

        • mary_a

          And doesn’t it prove the confused minds of those who quote the bigotry of the Old Testament, yet call themselves Christians, or followers of JC, through the New Testament?

          As far as I’m concerned the Judaeo/Christian bible is the most aggressive, bigoted, perverted, cruel, judgemental, evil, intimidating piece of work ever produced. That and being the biggest hoax put on mankind ever!

  3. Puckish Rogue 3

    Its interesting because I don’t believe in god but i quite enjoy the holidays, I also don’t think there should be hate speech as such as to me as thats something that can be used improperly, the whole slippery slope arguement

    I’d also prefer that people say things out in the open rather than keep it hidden so we know what they really like but in regards to Israel I’d only ask him why he cherry picks his bible passages

    I’m assuming that from a Tongan background and living in Australia hes eaten various forms of shellfish, has he mixed linen and wool, the bibles down on tattoos etc etc

  4. Sanctuary 4

    “… but in regards to Israel I’d only ask him why he cherry picks his bible passages…”


    The guy is a rugby player. I don’t give a shit what he thinks about homosexuality, and I sure as fuck don’t give shit as to why he thinks it.

    He plays rugby, he is reasonably good at entertaining people doing it. A seal that can balance a ball on it’s nose is also a successful entertainer, and it’s views of homosexuality are about as relevant as a rugby players.

    • Puckish Rogue 4.1

      Because he has a platform, he has people that look up to him and he has people that listen to him whether you like it or not

    • Carolyn_Nth 4.2

      I disagree. There’s long been homophobia within rugby culture – I grew up with it. In some ways it’s been improved, but there’s still casual homophobia, used to bolster ideals of masculinity.

      Also, it has been clear from many of the responses to Folau’s statements that many in Pacific Island communities share similar views – and that this has a terrible impact on Pacific, and Māori LGBTI young people.

      The up side is that such ideas seem to be changing within some of these communities, as evidence of T J Perenara’s and Michael Jones statements.

      Previously it has been brown lesbians that have stood up and led the way among public figures – Louisa Wall, Anika Moa. And Marama Davidson has been a strong supporter of Māori and Pacific LGBTI people during this debate. See also Tuiloma Lina Samu’s open letter to Folau.

      The sad thing is we can’t deny that many of our people are entrenched in this unforgiving, (un)Christian conditioning and agree with you. The mistranslation and misuse of Bible scripture is the biggest impediment to Pasifika Rainbow people being able to live our lives without fear, backlash and hatred from those who often matter the most to us.

      An unquestioning belief in and holding fast to the Bible is very much a feature of our lives as Pasifika peoples. Our cultures are entrenched in our Christian faiths and this has been central to our modern-day cultures since we were colonised. But our peoples also need to remember that fa’afafine, fa’afatama, fakafefine/ fakaleiti, fakafifine, ‘akavaine and sexually diverse cultures are more ancient and authentically ancestral than our Christian religion is.

      So, to me, this debate has indicated a shift towards a better understanding of some realities. And with the statements from Weber, Jones, and Perenara, it looks like a shift towards a better understanding in both rugby and Pacific cultures.

    • Michelle 4.3

      But does he think Sanctuary cause based on how he expressed himself it seems like he is clueless.( and this is not the first time) I am sure he has many whanau that are gay. Now does he tell them they are going to go to hell because they are gay and does he quote the bible to them cause I’m sure many would give him the one finger salute. I think he needs to shut his big mouth and take a step back he is suppose to be a role model for our young Pacific men and others he is also abusing his celebrity status . So why does he have to be so nasty maybe that is why his wife Maria was missing all her shots ( at commonwealth ) too much standing alone bullshit when many Pacific people are collective people and many Pacific people are accepting and open about their whanau being gay and they love them for who they are.

    • Bewildered 4.4

      To be fair if he said all sinners must repent or go to hell, which is the biblical case at least he would have been seen as an equal opportunist and not picking on the poor gays Likewise no one would have really cared My view is far better wombats are out in the open with their views that are debunked for the absurdity they are than some kind of state thought and free speech police

  5. mac1 5

    Got door-knocked when I kept pigs by a couple from a fundamentalist church.

    The topic got to homosexuality and the Leviticus passage was quoted. I said to the man to please give me the full quote.

    He did. I then pointed to my pigs and said, do you eat pork. He did.

    I pointed out the discrepancy and then simply said that obviously the visitor believed that the Bible is open to interpretation, and that was where we were right then.

    His interpretation, or ‘cherry-picking’ as Puckish Rogue says, was just that.

    I prefer Rabbi Hillel’s statement, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Law. The rest is commentary. Now go and learn.”

    That is wisdom, applicable to the right to free speech as well.

    • ianmac 5.1

      A plump woman friend lived in a rural setting and loved the freedom to mow her lawns in the nude. One day a pair of male “Door Knockers” appeared around the corner of her house, were stuck for words and fled. The ultimate deterrent?

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        You disgusting person.
        Why are you so strongly into fat shaming?
        Even people who may be just slightly over the average weight have feelings.
        Now read this and then wash your mouth out and repent of your sins.
        Otherwise I would suggest that you will end up following the path of all sinners and will end up in Hell.
        Is that about the way someone like Folau would have put it?
        I’m not very practised in this sort of diatribe.

        • Doogs

          Ummm . . . am I supposed to laugh? Sorry, but you just kinda missed the boat alwyn.
          As far as diatribes go, you’re pretty good at other kinds . . . don’t you think?

          • alwyn

            Of course you shouldn’t laugh. Do you think it is funny to poke fun at people because they are fat?
            Aren’t you someone who remembers 60 0r 70 years later how humiliated you were by people at your school poking you? Don’t you have any empathy at all for others who can be equally embarassed?

            • In Vino

              For Heaven’s sake. Alwyn. The Bible clearly condemns fatness in Rich Pricks. “It is easier for a camel (not usually a fat animal) to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’

              OK? If the rich man is fat as well, that logically makes it even harder for him, doesn’t it? It’s in the book, and stands to reason. The poor and starving are usually skinny, therefore more capable of squeezing through narrow places. Look to yourself, Alwyn… Beware the Biblical sin of obesity!

              • alwyn

                I can only propose that you are talking to the wrong person.
                I think that you should get together with Israel Folau.
                I think the pair of you would have a wonderful time discussing the finer points of theology.
                Better still, get Brian Tamaki to join in and you could have a threesome.
                I’m sorry but talking about fairy stories like the Bible isn’t my thing at all.

                • In Vino

                  No, because my logic blew your silly fat-shaming argument to bits.
                  Insincerity is a treacherous feature, Alwyn. Your bating Doogs about being poked at school displays your true nature. And it should have been pretty obvious that I was being less than sincere in quoting from a bible things I find ridiculous. Your constant trolling, for example. You need a healthy pastime.

                  • alwyn

                    I suppose you think this means something, at least to you.
                    The most sensible bit is
                    “I was being less than sincere”.
                    That sounds like a pretty good summary of all your comments.

        • Daveosaurus

          It is very telling that you reserve your offence for someone who tells a mildly amusing slapstick story about a fat person, and not someone who wants all people born differently to how he was born to ‘go to hell’.

          You disgusting person.

          • alwyn

            You should be fair to the fellow.
            He did not say that he “wants all people born differently to how he was born to ‘go to hell’.
            He quoted what is, apparently quite orthodox theology.
            How anyone can believe such stuff is quite beyond me but they do. On the other hand I don’t understand how anyone can believe fairy stories about a god at any time.

      • Cinny 5.1.2

        Lmao that’s funny as Ian, I bet your friend was cracking up for ages after their visit, some people don’t cope well with nudity.
        That’s one of the best things about living rural, the freedom to shed clothes without worrying about the neighbours 🙂

      • Anne 5.1.3

        Now we know what to do when we want to get rid of them. 😀

      • mac1 5.1.4

        I hope she was wearing ear protection!

        • mac1

          If she was a bloke, I’d hope he’d have gear protection.

          For the ‘door knockers’ I’d recommend fear protection.

    • Bewildered 5.2

      Agree with the diss rabbi, Every religion has the golden rule in some form, treat others how you like to be treated yourself

  6. satty 6

    Every “freedom” or “liberalisation” in our society has to be closely linked with “responsibilities”. More freedom leads to more responsibilities mainly towards treating society, people, environment etc. Every article I read about some group/person requesting more freedom without the word (or hint of) responsibility in it is considered rubbish straightaway.

    “Hate speech” can never fall under “free speech”, because it’s irresponsible.
    “Exploiting workers”, “Destroying the environment” etc. must never be allowed under “free market”, because it’s irresponsible.

    In case of Israel Folau, at all the companies I worked for over the years he most likely would have lost his job. You should never hold up people that want to leave (and clearly don’t share your values) anyway.

    • soddenleaf 6.1

      Some loathsome Ozzie tv hack demands that companies should keep backing the sport, that it was an attack on freespeach that sponsors were put in the intolerable position. But wait a moment, companies fearing the general PC consensus would avoid their products and services have a duty to shareholders first not some anti pc prig. Of course it’s only pc correctness when it something the hack detests.

      It’s an all out attack and undermining of democracy for media editors and presenters to choose rabid rightwing thoughts as the alternative consensus opinion and so bung up the public concord with droning dull anti everything no matter how contradictory. Take Hooten, totally bereft of anything sensible to say, every week, on time, on point, shabby squall abuse of the airways.

      It’s the media that’s a fault, lined up with cheap right-wing editors desperately Chase the next outrage spike in the majority liberal progressive world, while the chooser left-wing view is some soft spoken bore boring view that is the status quo veneer for doing nothing.

  7. Chris T 7

    Can you please point out where Folau said gays are evil?

    Because he didn’t

    He said dead gay people go to he’ll.

    Because he is a pretty fundamentalist bible basher.

    He didn’t say he wanted them to. He didn’t say anything actually hateful.

    Just the ignorant ramblings of someone who has been preached certain dead people go to an imaginary bad place.

    What he said was I’ll thought out and derogatory. But religious types would say the same thing about anyone who isn’t their religion if asked directly

    • Doogs 7.1

      You miss the point a bit Chris. The worst part of what he said is in the context.
      a) he is high profile and people might be more inclined to listen and/or agree
      b) he is using the Bible as a weapon or a shield to validate his views
      c) he has been selective in his zealotry, as others have pointed out
      d) his unashamedly biased and vindictive little diatribe will give other like-minded bigots the opening to leap on to the band wagon

      For these reasons, he is dangerous . If you have read the piece by Kim Baker Wilson you will understand how thugs can take up a ’cause’ and follow through with violence.

      • Chris T 7.1.1

        Priests are high profile and influential in their communities and spout this ignorant stuff out every Sunday.

        I don’t see any protests

        The pope is one of the most powerful role model and influential figures in the world.

        He agrees Folau’s stupid stuff and no one bats an eye lid

        • McFlock

          What, Tamaki’s never been criticised for being a homophobe as well as a charlatan? There’s something wrong with the universe.

          If you contrast Folau’s comments with, say, the Pope’s, you can see the difference between expressing largely the same sentiments in a dickish and offensive way versus expressing them with (as Michael Jones put it) a degree of love.

          It’s a bit like that mel gibson movie ignoring the bulk of the new testamanet in order to produce torture porn.

          • Chris T

            Then say your problem with him is the way he articulates his crappy idiot religious ideas and don’t twist it to make out he is some how some gay person hater when he never said he hates gay people.

            I don’t have a problem with people calling him an idiot for his stupid beliefs. It’s the twisting his words I have an issue with.

            • ropata

              Agreed. He was asked a direct question and gave an honest (if misguided) answer. Given his beliefs, don’t know why everybody is so surprised.

            • McFlock

              OK then.

              The way he expressed his religious views showed that he had no Christian love for LGBT people, but was inclined to merely dismiss them in a dickish way to hell rather than expressing his views with care and consideration that he might well reserve for people whom he does care about.

              That better? Wrapped up in enough cotton wool for you?

    • Carolyn_Nth 7.2

      Folau said he’s fine with gay people, but homosexual activities are a sin, and practicing them will mean the gay person will fall down a hell hole. He said there are other sins he and others have committed, but it’s best to try not to fall down a nasty hole by not sinning.

      Saying such things reinforces anti-gay attitudes that can be damaging to people – especially young people wrestling with their sexuality.

      “Love the sinner but not the sin” with respect to homosexuality can just fuck up many young people in religious communities.

      • Ross 7.2.1

        Yes Folau is a sinner, and what does the Bible say about sinners? Let he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. It also says love thy neighbour as thyself. Folau’s Bible must not have those passages. 🙂

    • Bewildered 7.3

      Yep all sinners go to hell if they don’t repent, that’s the fundamentalist view at least Funny thing is if he said that no one would have cared, are some been to precious ?

    • Dialey 7.4

      Even there he is wrong – there is only one judge (on eternal matters), no one else can say who goes to heaven or hell, that’s the whole point of the criminal crucified with Jesus. Self-proclaimed Christians who make any judgment call about other people’s lives are right out of line. That’s my understanding anyway…..

      • Daveosaurus 7.4.1

        yep, that whole “Judge not, lest you yourself be judged” business, and also the “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” business. It’s interesting how homophobes can’t find anything in the words of Jesus son of Joseph to back up their position, and instead run for those of Saul of Tarsus, or whichever illiterate goat-herder in Palestine, 2500 or so years ago, dreamed up that bit of Leviticus in the first place.

        Speaking of Leviticus… I would be interested in seeing Folau’s reaction once somebody points out what Leviticus says about that rather impressive sleeve visible in many of the photos of him that I’ve seen in the last few days…

  8. NZJester 8

    As I have heard others say many a time before; Free speech is a two-way street. They have a right to say what they are saying just as we have a right to call them out on their bullshit. Some people just want to shut others down and silence the criticism and free speech by telling us we have no right to criticise them for it.
    If we do not have the right to criticise you for it then shut up as you have no right to say it, it is as easy as that.
    You have the right to criticise me if you can point out a valid flaw in my argument. But if you try to disprove my argument with a lie I will call you out on it.

    • Chris T 8.1

      Pretty much

      Dumb people can say what they like.

      But everyone else has the right to counter it with what they think.

      The problem I have with this case is the counter side is putting interpretations on what he said rather than countering his actual words

  9. Gabby 9

    I wonder if Izzie’s been asked what the barble says about people with tattoos.

  10. dukeofurl 10

    Sonny Bill Williams had a ‘conscientious objection’ clause get out over the BNZ logo on his collar – during a game

    But not when he associates with controversial Muslim clerics or is photographed giving the Islamic state ‘salute’ – in his own free time like Folau did

  11. Bill 11

    “You” have the right to free speech, alongside the right to have your megaphone smashed/your platform trashed.

    And there’s (maybe) the problem. People being given platforms and ways to amplify their voices. (And all the ‘gatekeeping’ and what not that goes with it.)

    We can’t all be on the platform. Not all views/opinions can be given the same volume while there are platforms being mounted.

    So take away the platforms 🙂

    • Puckish Rogue 11.1

      I’d rather have them out in the open so their comments can be judged, like Derek Battersby probably will be

      • Bill 11.1.1

        Out in the open and aired, yes.

        Amplified and given an air of importance or gravitas by the mere dint of having that manufactured amplification/reach/penetration, no.

    • Ed 11.2

      The Herald lacks the inclination to lead their online news with much serious journalism (hiding their better journalists on the periphery).
      To gain clickbait, it instead acts as a megaphone and a platform for the stone-age thinking of Leviticus repeated by Israel Folau.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    The bible also says things about not coveting worldly goods and not judging each other and being kind to each other. Tamaki’s bible must be missing those chapters.

    Yep. According to the bible ‘Bishop’ Tamaki and his wife are going to Hell. I doubt that they’ll meet anybody there who’s there for just being gay.

    • Bewildered 12.1

      Obviously your not up to date with aspirational Christianity 😊

      Saying that I do feel Christian’s get bagged and openly mocked way more than other religions without riots and beheddings To their credit this is due to their greater tolerance and message of peace, so a plus their at least Took a few 1000 years to get their though

    • mikes 12.2

      “Yep. According to the bible ‘Bishop’ Tamaki and his wife are going to Hell.”

      Geez, I hope not, coz that’s where all the fun’s going to be and can do without their type to be honest. Anything that feels good or is good fun seems to be a sin. Everything to do with sex or nudity is a sin, etc,etc. Pretty much guaranteed that if it feels good, it’s a sin. All the good parties will be in hell.

  13. Cinny 13

    Battersby’s vile comment made me smile a bit…. it was like hang on a minute, while you are claiming that old white men saved the world from hitler, did you forget that hitler surrounded himself with old white men?

    As for brainwashed Israel Folau…. how long will media run that story for? Another year? Far out is there no other news?

    • Ed 13.1

      how long will media run that story for? Another year?

      Until the next distraction arrives.

  14. adam 14

    Poor old testament hacks, next they be saying Jesus is not the son of God.

    At this stage what have they got left, they have thrown the rest of the Gospels out.

    Israel and Brian, how about you stop for a couple of hours a day and just read the Gospels with love in your heart. Because that is what you should be doing. Rather than let hate consume you, and letting Balaam spill from your mouths.

  15. One Two 15

    This subject is fodder for those who want to mould others into their ‘world view’…

    Move past being caught in the delights of what others have said..

    Only take responsibility for our own self…our own thoughts , words and actions…but be true to ourselves…no matter what…remain open to gowing and changing along the journey…

    Folau et al have no obligation to be anything other than who they are…

  16. james 16

    This is really an interesting subject – but I think many on here have:

    a) got the wrong idea of the whole issue and
    b) havnt actually read what he wrote.

    The exchange was as follows:

    “@izzyfolau what was gods [sic] plan for gay people??” user Mike Sephton-Poultney said.

    “@mike_sephton HELL… Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God,” Folau replied.”

    Yep – that’s all that kicked this off.

    So – he is replying to what he believes Gods plan was for gay people.

    He is not saying its his plan, if he agrees with it or not, or indeed is putting any personal commentary on it – he simply answered a question.

    The author of this post said that “There was Israel Folau who said publicly that gays are evil and will go to hell unless they repent.”

    He did no such thing – He did not say gays are evil (in fact if you google (“gays are evil” israel folau) – this is the first post that comes up with it – and the ONLY one attributing with him saying that.

    And again as pointed out – he didnt even say that gays will go to hell – he answered that is what he believed what Gods plan was.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      He is not saying its his plan, if he agrees with it or not, or indeed is putting any personal commentary on it – he simply answered a question.

      Yeah, I think you’re reaching. People who go to church and say these types of things believe them and agree with them.

      The author of this post said that “There was Israel Folau who said publicly that gays are evil and will go to hell unless they repent.”

      Yeah, he actually did – that’s what going to HELL means.

      • James 16.1.1

        If he “actually” said that – then link to the quote from him.

        Bet you can’t.

        Because he didn’t “actually” say that.

    • SPC 16.2

      Much ado about nothing at one level

      1. What’s Gods plan for humans

      2. Christian/Moslem – Hell, unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.

      Next time Folau is asked the question

      Same for gays, as for all other humans, hell unless … .

      At another level, the importance of protecting the well-being of a vulnerable group in the community, who have been discriminated in the past (same for women, slaves and racial/ethnic/religious minorites).

      Thus it is reasonable to call for, or expect, those with a public status (including those with player contracts) in use social media in a way that places value on the well being of at risk groups in the community, so they are safe from bullying.

      I’d be reluctant to call it hate speech and try to ban it though, freedom of speec h is part of freedom of faith and politics would not be democratic if all creeds could not be part of the debate.

  17. Puckish Rogue 17

    Well times do change I suppose


    “Are you saying the Koran is wrong to recommend that gays in certain circumstances be stoned to death?”

    He replied: ” No, no. Certainly what the Koran says is correct.

    “In those societies, not here in New Zealand,” he added.

    • Chuck 17.1

      “In those societies, not here in New Zealand,” he added.

      That is why Islam and sharia can never be incorporated into a Western or any modern nation.

      • Visubversa 17.1.1

        That is why we have the separation of Church and State. Keeps every religious nutter from inflicting their foul views on the rest of us.

      • Daveosaurus 17.1.2

        It’s also why Christianity and theocracy can never be incorporated into a Western or any modern nation.

        Religion, like sexuality, is best enjoyed by consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes.

    • SPC 17.2

      The same person voted in favour of civil unions.

      No discrimination on grounds of race/ethnicity, religion, creed, gender, marital status sexuality or creed protects all minorities, including the one he himself is part of (the arguement put to him so he would do so).

  18. Observer Tokoroa 18

    A big load

    I would have thought that Israel Folau would have had enough on his hands managing in his own penis and testicles, without chasing down all the other blokes on the planet.

    I mean, he is a footy guy isn’t he. And wherever he goes he will be asked now how his genitals are and what has he been doing with them. And so on.

    Quite a lot of men in the world have genitals – and i think he is taking on too much trying to sort out a ruck from a fuck.

  19. Wei 19

    Israel Folau said absolutely nothing wrong. What he said is in complete accordance with many centuries of standard Christian orthodoxy.

    No doubt, he also believes all who are non-believers are also going to hell.

    That is his personal belief and he is perfectly entitled to it. He is not going out of his way to be hateful to gays, but is simply expressing his honestly held beliefs, that are still held by many many believers around the world today.

    That so many express shock and horror is simply incredible, and is indicative of the cultural ignorance and naivety of far too many New Zealanders – the school system of the past 30 years absolutely sucks.

    We also saw on the news the disgusting spectacle of some jumped up reporter standing outside the Destiny Church trying to goad churchgoers minding their own business into embarrassing themselves. That is the type of behaviour that should be roundly condemned – not Israel’s humble honesty.

    [ Seeing as how I’ve caught your comment while you’re likely still around. Whatever turns any exchanges are taking, suggesting physical violence, no matter how metaphorically meant, will result in a ban. So please don’t submit comments again in the vein of the other night. You have seven minutes to think about shit after you’ve hit “submit” in the heat of some moment. Use it. No excuses.] – Bill

    • Matthew Whitehead 19.1

      This isn’t about what he believes, though. He’s perfectly entitled to think me or any other secure, non-suicidal member of the queer community is going to hell, sure. But the minute he puts that out in a public forum, he has started trying to bully (and make no mistake, no matter how sincere his belief, the effect of saying those things in public is bullying) a community that is vulnerable to suicide. It is entirely possible that someone will be pushed over the edge into sucidal thoughts or actions by his comments, and as a community leader he should be better and kinder than that.

      It’s also very revealing that his wife not only publicly supported him, but has been filmed berating her own sports team for “playing like pansies,” a comment that is clearly both misogynistic and homophobic. This is not down to their religious beliefs alone. They have clearly grown up in an environment where homophobic bullying is acceptable and normal, and they don’t get that it’s not okay to imply being queer is an insult. He has publicly endorsed voting against queer civil rights.

      We accept there are reasonable limits to free speech for people trying to cause a panic for no good reason. Anyone who thinks that either negligent or deliberate incitement to suicide doesn’t clear that threshold is, in my opinion, not thinking clearly.

      I’m perfectly fine with anyone being uncomfortable with people like me, or even privately feeling we need to be opposed. But the minute you start saying there is something intrinsically wrong with being gay, or bisexual, or transgender, or any other type of queer person, you have challenged the very existence of my community. And if you think you have a right to complain that I’m not being fair by doing so, you are a very special type of snowflake. 😉

      • Wei 19.1.1

        That’s a fair enough comment.

        The fact is though, Israel did not go out of his way to pass judgement – he answered a question posed to him in the honest way demanded of his religion. The question was possibly a set-up.

        The fact that the media blew it all out of proportion (surely it is hardly newsworthy that Christians, or Muslims for that matter, think gays are going to hell) and made it such big news throughout the English speaking world is what is concerning – particularly from the angle you are looking at it from.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Actually, it’s totally up for debate. There are MANY Christians and Muslims that are totally fine with all different types of queer people, (this is without mentioning that there are queer people of various faiths, including those two, who feel made invisible by this kind of rhetoric) and accept that their texts are open for interpretation, or do not say the things that conservative members of their religion think they say when read in historical context. Those people do not want you or Israel Folau presuming to speak for all members of their religion. (I actually think there’s a very solid argument, for instance, that the bible shouldn’t be read as condemning committed same-sex relationships, and that the one passage in leviticus that everyone currently pays so much attention to is more an extension of its condemnation of “lust” ie. casual sex. Also, those people better not be eating shellfish, mixing fabrics, or failing to forgive people’s debts every seven years)

          Our values as a society have changed. This means that public figures saying things that would have been perfectly normal thirty or fifty years ago will now land them in hot water because they are (rightly, IMO) viewed as an existential threat against the queer community. People will have to keep with the times.

          • Wei

            The fact is the majority of Christians do believe in hell. They believe non-believers go there. The believe unrepentant gays go there. Most of the time they keep their beliefs quietly to themselves. Folau is hardly someone of the ilk of the late Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church fame. He comes across as an unassuming and humble chap who did not troll for the attention he is currently receiving.

            It is the media that is to blame in this case. They are being as stupid as someone going up to some KKK dude and asking ‘what do you think of blacks or jews?’ Then plastering the answer all over the news, and people acting surprised over the answer.

            The media should sometimes just leave people the fuck alone.

            • McFlock

              Going with the KKK analogy, which is a bit harsh, people aren’t surprised at his beliefs. They’re surprised that someone who is paid to be a role model for future players would express such beliefs, and especially in such a clumsy and alienating way.

              • Wei

                Analogy is not being harsh because I did not compare Folau with the KKK. I’m just saying it is equally stupid to be surprised over a Christian’s view of gays, as it is to be surprised that the KKK hates blacks and Jews.

                • McFlock

                  And the point is that people aren’t surprised that those views are held so much as they’re surprised someone whose paycheque rests largely on public inclusiveness would express those views with such clumsiness and contempt for people. Contrast Folau with Jones’ response.

                  • Wei

                    It may simply be Jones is older, wiser, more mature, and perhaps even smarter than Folau. He probably believes the same thing though.

                    • McFlock

                      The guy is just shy of thirty. Getting a bit old for people to offer up naivety as an excuse.

                    • Bewildered []

                      Obviously his conviction is strong as he also believe The bible tells him be proud of his beliefs and not to hide from them, similarly he will be persecuted because of it, so while debate is a little bit self fulfilling, wei hit it on the head of media just left it alone, no more than one guy responding to an individuals question honestly in what he believes with conviction above any other worldly pressure to say different, rationale at least from Israel point of view, however his belief been rationale is another matter

                    • McFlock

                      Michael Jones and the pope seem to share his beliefs, but they also show how to not be dicks about it.

                      I suppose the debate is a learning experience for the poor guy. Maybe he’ll figure out how to express dickish beliefs in a less than dickish way.

                  • mikes

                    “…paycheque rests largely on public inclusiveness…”

                    Bollocks. His paycheque rests entirely on how good he is at rugby.

                    • McFlock

                      I’ll raise your “bollocks” to “bullshit”. In these days of professionalsports, players are walking billboards and much of their worth to their employers comes from advertising contracts.

                      The player’s value to advertisers also depends on how much of the advertiser’s key target demographics are attracted to or alienated from the player.

                      I haven’t ever seen a professional rugby player’s contract. I would assume the player’s manager can negotiate a better deal if the club or code could get more advertising revenue.

              • mauī

                I think he’s more paid to generate income for the rugby union. They would probably prefer his attitudes align with macho australian males thereby making him more marketable.

                Michael Jones not playing games on sundays is probably more alienating for the rugby going public, especially if he couldn’t take part in a big all black test or a super rugby final.

                • In Vino

                  What annoyed me was that he had the hypocrisy to sit in the stand and watch the game of rugby. That is NOT keeping the Sabbath holy. It is no better than actually playing. How did he justify it?

                  • Bewildered

                    Most of that stuff sabbath, dietary laws is old testement, most christians tend to follow the new testement which is less strict and less law based

                • Bewildered

                  Now your attacking or stereo typing rugby fans

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Comparisons with deliberate eliminationism aside…

              Again, the issue is not that we don’t expect that some people raised in conservative communities will have anti-queer beliefs. (ie. not just homophobia, but also biphobia, transphobia, etc…) The issue is that people still do not get or prioritize the reality that these comments are harmful to other people, especially queer people in their own communities- young Takatāpui Māori and queer Pasifika will definitely be hurt by this.

              The media won’t leave anything alone, nor should they have to in order to protect people like Israel Folau. It is their responsibility to think about what they say before they say it- as long as they’re not misrepresented, it’s absolutely fine for people to ask. The respectful thing to do if you can’t say anything nice is to shut up, as we all know. The thing is, people like Israel Folau will have a platform whether or not the media digs into this shit, and that platform doesn’t go away if they ignore it. Better that we have the discussion, even if it’s exhausting.

    • Carolyn_Nth 19.2

      Other Christians disagree with Folou’s statements.

      IMO, the Bible is no guide for behaviour because it’s contradictory and open to interpretation. To me I go with how an individual interprets the scriptures in relation to their lives and behaviour, not by the scriptures.

      The Bible and Christianity have been used as justifications for some inhumane and brutally unacceptable behaviour. It was often cited as a justification for 18th and 19th century colonisation, and for slavery. Bush senior and junior used it to justify some pretty nasty stuff.

      And what Matthew said.

  20. Matthew Whitehead 20

    Free speech is the weakest possible defense for saying something stupid. It’s like making fart noises whenever someone else sits down and then when you’re called on it you say “yeah, but it’s not actually illegal or anything.”

    NOT EVERYTHING THAT’S LEGAL IS A GOOD IDEA, Duncan Garner/Israel Folau/that one guy who resigned from his local board/etc…

    • Carolyn_Nth 20.1

      He hasn’t resigned. I think that’d cause a by election.

      But he’s said he won’t stand in the next election. But, I think he may have decided it was time to finish as a board representative anyway. He’s been in local politics for decades.

      And, yes the resort to “free speech” to defend foolhardy statements is weak, and not helpful for democratic debate.

      • Matthew Whitehead 20.1.1

        yes, excuse me, he “decided not to stand again,” aka. the coward’s resignation. 😉

        • McFlock

          Realises he’s out of touch with the people he’s supposed to represent, will collect the paycheque for as long as possible anyway.

          Like Barclay.

  21. Obtrectator 21

    Just had a look at the Battersby link. Blimey, whoever voted THAT into office? He seems BTW to have forgotten that the “old white men” he views so favourably were actually YOUNG white men when they dealt to AH.

  22. tsmithfield 22

    I agree with the point you are making Micky.

    The case of Folau is an excellent demonstration of why this is important. Folau has expressed a view that most find offensive. Those who have been offended have used their right of freedom of speech to publicly criticise those views. The end result is that Folau has been publicly exposed as an intolerent bigot, and probably wishes he had never made the comment in the first place. Who knows, perhaps he will learn from this and modify his own views.

    This is the way freedom of speech and expression should work.

    Also, it is problematic in trying to arbitrate which speech is acceptable and which isn’t because the evaluation of that speech is filtered through the lense of whatever belief system the person evaluating that speech may hold. Depending on that filter, it could be a problem for any of us who want to express our views on any topic.

  23. R.P McMurphy 23

    onya izzy. you got the lettuce bacon guacomole tomato crowd in a frenzy. all they need now is mayonaisse…pop!

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