A Rugby Australia star whose $4 million contract was canceled because he posted the biblical warning that hell could await “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers” is considering a lawsuit over the decision targeting his Christian faith.
The Guardian reported a three-person panel said Friday it was upholding a decision by the rugby league to end Israel Folau’s contract.
The panel called his statement of biblical orthodoxy a “high-level breach” of the league’s code of conduct.
Folau has the option to appeal, or he could turn the case over to a civil court.
Raelene Castle, a spokeswoman for Rugby Australia, said in a statement, “We want to stress that this outcome is a painful situation for the game.”
Castle claimed that Folau, who has been a huge star in the sport, forced the league to take the action.
Folau thanked those who defended his right to share his faith and said his views come from “God’s word,” the Guardian reported.
“As Australians, we are born with certain rights, including the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of expression,” he said. “The Christian faith has always been a part of my life and I believe it is my duty as a Christian to share God’s word.”
The panel had the option of choosing lesser penalties but said it do that because Folau refused to change his beliefs.
BBC reported he posted on Instagram a warning from the Bible about not following God’s laws: “Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators – Hell awaits you,” he wrote.
Rugby Australia is a founding member of Pride in Sport, the BBC noted, which is a program to promote lesbianism, homosexuality, bisexuality and other sexual lifestyles in sport.
DailyMail.com reported that a Folau lawsuit “could financially cripple the sporting body.”
The league already had offered $1 million for Folau to settle, but he instead chose to establish a precedent.
“The Wallabies star, a devout Christian, believed he had been religiously persecuted for his beliefs, with his contentious posting being a largely direct quote from the Bible,” the Daily Mail reported. “He told a Sydney church service last weekend that he had refused the ‘temptation’ to take down the controversial post at RA’s request – indicating he was prepared to take his case further.”
The league already has spent some $350,000 on legal fees, and the Daily Mail suggested that easily could amount to millions should the case move forward.