England’s Rugby Football Union has been caught pursuing a discriminatory agenda – punishing a Christian for his biblical view of marriage but ignoring a subsequent attack on the Bible by another player.
In response, the U.K.’s Christian Institute has writtento the RFU, questioning “its impartiality.”
It was player James Haskell who declared in a social media post that taking an orthodox view of the Bible is a “road map to killing people.”
The RFU so far has taken no action.
“But another English player – Billy Vunipola – has been disciplined for expressing Christian views,” the institute said.
The dispute erupted when Vunipola “liked” an Instragram post of Australian rugby player Israel Folau that featured a poster inviting repentance and declaring “Only Jesus Saves.”
It included a list of sins, taken from the Old Testament, saying: “WARNING: Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you.”
Rugby Australia said it intends to terminate Folau’s contract unless he can prove there were “mitigating factors.”
When Vunipola “liked” Folau’s Instagram post he included the Christian view that sex should be reserved for opposite-sex marriage and was disciplined.
Writing to the head of discipline at the RFU, institute Director Colin Hart said: “Vunipola believes himself to have fallen short of God’s standards. He holds to mainstream Christian teaching that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).
“He holds to the Easter message of hope that sins can be forgiven through trusting in Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead,” the letter said.
“The belief that sex is only for marriage is a belief worth of respect in a democratic society,” Hart wrote, pointing out that was “recently re-affirmed by the Supreme Court [of the United Kingdom] in Ashers bakery case.”
He noted Vunipola’s discipline and pointed to Haskel, who “responded to the Israel Folau post with vituperative, foul-mouthed abuse aimed at Folau personally.”
Haskell further, according to the Christian Institute, “then followed up calling the texts of all religions ‘out dated,’ asserting that Folau’s interpretation is a roda map to killing and singling out ‘some team mates’ for scorn.”
The organization asked: “Hardly moderate. Does the RFU propose to take no action against Haskell?”
DailyMail.com reported other attacks on Vunipola.
For example, former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio lashed out with, “We’re seeing homophobia and racism far too much in sport and it needs to be stamped out.”
“Dallaglio said he was disappointed Vunipola didn’t use his platform on Sunday to make amends for the social media backing of Israel Folau’s extremely divisive comments made on Instagram,” DailyMail.com said.
Dallaglio attacked Vunipola for not apologizing for a religious perspective with which Dallaglio disagrees.
“Billy Vunipola had the opportunity to defuse the situation, apologize to people, which he didn’t do,” he stated.
Vunipola wrote on Instagram: “This is my position on it. I don’t HATE anyone neither do I think I’m perfect. There just comes a point when you insult what I grew up believing in that you just say enough is enough, what he’s saying isn’t that he doesn’t like or love those people. He’s saying how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be. Man was made for woman to pro create that was the goal no? I’m not perfect I’m at least everything on that list at least at one point in my life.”
Vunipola was reprimanded under a requirement in his contract that he be a “role model” and behave on social media as if he were on children’s television.
He was given a formal warning.
Dallaglio, on the other hand, said sports needs to “stamp out” the ideas promoted by Vunipola.