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Israel Folau blames Australia's bushfire crisis on Australia's same-sex marriage and abortion laws
18 November 2019, 12:11
Rugby player Israel Folau has been furiously criticised for linking Australia's bushfire crisis to the nation's same-sex marriage and abortion laws.
The Australian sportsman has described the bushfires that have been raging across the east of the country as "a little taste of God's judgement".
Six people have died in the blazes.
Folau was sacked by Australia in May after making anti-gay remarks on social media.
His comments have been condemned by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who called the remarks "appallingly insensitive".
"He is a free citizen, he can say whatever he likes but that doesn't mean he can't have regard to the grievance and offence this would have caused to the people whose homes have burnt down," Mr Morrison said on Monday.
Folau, who is a Christian, said in a sermon at his Sydney church on Sunday that Australia's decision to pass abortion and same-sex marriage laws was "against God's word".
He also said that the nation needs to "repent".
"Look how rapid, these bushfires, these droughts, all these things have come, in a short period of time. You think it's a coincidence or not?," he said.
Folau, who used to play for the Wallabies, was sacked by Rugby Australia in May after saying on Instagram that "hell awaits" gay people.
The 30-year-old fullback has been widely condemned for his homophobic comments, as well as others targeting transgender people.
He is currently suing Rugby Australia for his "unlawful" dismissal, after claiming his contract was terminated due to his religious beliefs.
Rugby Australia has stood by its decision to sack Folau, saying he breached their players' code of conduct.