Dr Simon Longstaff of The Ethics Centre writes about Israel Folau and the fallout from his sacking and the crowdfunding saga. Dr Simon Longstaff says, inter-alia, Religious freedom comes in four basic forms: freedom of belief, freedom of worship, freedom to act in good conscience (which includes freedom from coercion in matters of religion) and finally freedom to proselytise (which includes the right to educate one’s children in the faith). Folau’s case involves the third and fourth of these freedoms.
What Folau believes and how he worships have not been challenged. Rather, he has been sanctioned for what he has done and said — not as a believer, but in his role as an elite rugby player representing Australia. However, can the two roles of “believer” and “contracted player” be so easily separated? That is the question at the heart of this issue.