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Is it Ethical to be fired for stating Christian beliefs

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by Zoii, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    Now before you jump onboard and say 'Of course its ethical' consider the current case that has dominated Australian media and Australian sport in particular.

    Israel Folau is one of Australia's (if not the world's) greatest Rugby Union players. He is a match winner. He is talented beyond belief and has won an array of national and international sporting awards. He is currently in the Australian Rugby Union team called 'The Wallabies'.

    Despite Israel's strong physical appearance, he is a highly personable, gentle and kind individual. He is extremely likeable. Israel is a Christian of the evangelistic ilk.

    Rugby Union has as a very strong code of conduct. You will rarely see referee abuse from players - it prides itself on respect for all players, the referees and supporters. International players have particular responsibilities as so many people, particularly juniors, see them as role models. This added responsibility to acknowledge that whats said publicly must accord with the code of conduct, whether its said on the field or off it, is reinforced in player contracts.

    Israel, despite being a very nice person has repeatedly made the following types of statements:
    That those that are gay, unmarried people having sexual relationships, those that drink to excess....[the list goes on] are sinful and all going to hell.

    Now Israel, of course, is making biblical references inline with his christian beliefs. He's not saying terrible things per se....HOWEVER - it has clearly been a breach of his contract and despite just recently signing a four year contract and despite being Australia's shining star - he has been sacked.

    Israel Folau to be sacked by Rugby Australia over homophobic comments

    Australian rugby's position is that it goes to great lengths to be inclusive. It is not concerned with who you choose to love, or that your mother is a single mother, or your father is in some sort of defacto relationship. It does not want those representing the sporting code to alter that perception with statements indicating that those following the sport are lesser individuals and are in some way bad for their sexual choices or marital status.

    So the debate - religious freedom of speech versus the right of a sporting to code to insist its code of conduct is followed.

    This has cost Israel Millions of dollars. He has lost sponsorship worth millions and his International rugby career is ended unless he can change his public statements.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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  2. No Username Found

    No Username Found Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think the point where he crossed the line was saying that they are "all going to hell." Yes, homosexuality, premarital sex, and any form of addiction is sinful, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are hell bound. If that is the case, what would that mean for other sins?
     
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  3. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    Even if he had not said they were going to hell - to say that they are all sinful (AKA Bad if you looking at it from outside of christianity) - The issue is that he stated his religious conviction publicly regarding this cohort. Was that ethical to do given he signed a contract that bound him to a code of conduct.
     
  4. Heavenhome

    Heavenhome Well-Known Member

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    I don't think he should have been fired for his beliefs, he was only stating what the Bible says.
    Personally I think this is more what Christians are going to be up against more and more. He wrote this on his twitter account, he is openly Christian so if people don't want to read what the Bible says, well stay away from his twitter.
    As for the word "homophobic" having a phobia means you're scared of it so that word is so misused now.
    Is God homophobic? NO He simply says its wrong which I do also as a Christian and I have family members who identify as gay and I love them dearly but still pray for them and they accept my belief on the subject.

    Israel should not be fired but as I said this is just the start.....
     
  5. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    What makes you think this is just the start??

    The other question I have then is: If as you state, stating his christian views publicly is right and proper, was it ethical of him to sign a contract to continue his international rugby career, knowing full well he would be making these statements publicly in breech of the players code of conduct.

    I should point out that it has created issues with his fellow team-mates who work very hard to be inclusive of anyone playing or following rugby.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  6. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    He signed a contract. Did he violate the contractual obligations he agreed to?
     
  7. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    It shows that those who live godly in Christ shall suffer persecution. He is being fired because he refuses to offer his pinch of incense on the altar of homosexuality. Christians in the first century went to the lions because they wouldn't offer their pinch of incense in worship of the Roman Emperor. In that sense Mr Folau got off lightly!
     
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  8. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    That is certainly the view of Rugby Australia and the International body.

    How does a christian reconcile that.
     
  9. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother?

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    It's ethical to enforce terms of the contract. Israel had to know the consequences of saying what he said. That obviously wasn't enough to stop him. More power to him.

    But even doing the right thing sometimes has consequences. He will have to pay them.
     
  10. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    I doubt he has got off lightly - He loses his international career and his multi-million dollar sponsorship.

    To be clear he has breached the code of conduct. All players, whether junior amateurs or International stars are aware of this code. Was it ethical he ignored it?
     
  11. Oscarr

    Oscarr Senior Veteran Supporter

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    If he had said that in Saudi Arabia he might have got his head chopped off!
     
  12. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    I lead a not-for-profit dependent upon the largesse of donors. I hold certain beliefs with which some of my donors would vehemently disagree. Is it my right to voice those beliefs on social media? Certainly. Would doing so be in the best interest of my agency, my employees, and their families? Probably not.

    Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
     
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  13. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    Well thats unlikely - Saudi has strong feelings about homosexuality that are reinforced in law. Some Islamic based nations have capital punishment. In all likelihood, while he may not be applauded for being christian, his views would have been accepted.
     
  14. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your take on this. Is it your view then that if you have sponsors and contracts, Christian views concerning homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, abortion, male headship, gun ownership etc - should NOT ever be placed in the public domain and particularly social media platforms?
     
  15. Strathos

    Strathos No one important

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    Many people have many different ideas about what qualifies as a 'Christian belief'.
     
  16. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    I agree - but what is your position on the topic?
     
  17. No Username Found

    No Username Found Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Does Australia have a freedom of religion similar to the United States?
     
  18. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Staff Member Supporter Staff on LOA

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    I read a very thought-provoking piece a few days ago - which I can't find now, of course - which argued that in a way, Mr. Folau's church had failed him, by telling him that this is the only way to be a good Christian with a high public profile, and not equipping him to be an effective evangelist in ways which are appropriate in his context.

    Should he have said it? Well, I don't think it's an effective proclamation of the good news of Christ, but maybe that's not the point. Should he be fired for it? I can understand why it happened; and he knew the consequences before he did it.

    All around, it seems to me we need to find better ways to have difficult conversations, and perhaps the choice of medium here is a big part of the problem.

    @No Username Found, no, Australia does not have the same legal underpinnings for freedom of religion as America.
     
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  19. Zoii

    Zoii Well-Known Member

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    Im not sure - can you expand on what that entails?
    I can say that we have anti-discrimination laws that forbids discrimination on the basis of religion.

    We also have laws protecting freedom of speech - but there are limits - you cannot incite a crime for example eg that religion is evil so kill them all.

    Contract law is separate again - many workplaces have clauses preventing you from publicly criticising that company, for example.
     
  20. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    First of all, it's my view that if you make an oath (i.e. sign a contract) you are obligated to keep your word. Simple as that.

    Secondly, if it is so important that you make a public statement on a controversial topic, you do so knowing full well the risks and implications, and if you go on with it you have made a decision you're willing to accept the consequences.

    My question in this matter is what purpose did it serve for this statement to be made? What made it necessary to be said now by him and why? Many people hold the same belief and many of those who do not hold that belief already know the conservative Christian position. It's not like it's been kept a secret until now. So what was so compelling that he had to throw himself on his sword for this? I don't get it.
     
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