Sacked rugby union star Israel Folau says the bushfires that have devastated the country and claimed six lives are God's way of punishing Australia for legalising abortion and same-sex marriage.
Dumped by Rugby Australia after claiming on social media that homosexuals and other sinners will go to hell unless they repent, Folau has doubled down on the comments in a video posted to the Truth of Jesus Christ Church Sydney.
"I've been looking around at the events that's been happening in Australia, this past couple of weeks, with all the natural disasters, the bushfires and the droughts," he says in the clip.
He then reads from Isaiah's bible verse titled The Lord's devastation of the Earth:
"The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left."
Folau goes on to link the passage to the bushfire disaster and the legalising of same-sex marriage and abortion.
"The events that have happened here in Australia, in the last couple of years - God's word says for a man and a woman to be together ... they've come and changed this law," he said.
"Abortion, it's okay now to murder, kill infants, unborn children."
Unsurprisingly, the former rugby star’s controversial comments sparked widespread outrage on social media.
Israel Folau— Tony, aka Jon Snow because I know nothing (@AnarchistDicky) November 17, 2019
Thank goodness you no longer play rugby for Australia. At least now my grandkids can try a sport not tainted by religious nutters. Did you ever go to school? Ever learn to read and comprehend the text books or always were the thick as bricks jock? What a disgrace
Israel #Folau looks at the fatal bushfires and sees the murderous hand of an angry God, as payback for same-sex marriage.— Troy Simpson (@TroyPSimpson) November 17, 2019
Yet when I look in the face of the man I’m in love with, I see kindness, gentleness, and unguarded love.
I prefer to see the world my way. #auspol
Can you imagine waking up in the morning, being Israel Folau and genuinely thinking devastating bushfires are caused by legal same sex marriage and abortion?— Nick Dominko (@shreddievedder1) November 17, 2019
Mate, put down the shard pipe, and think about how insensitive that is to people who are losing their lives and homes.
Imagine being as hate filled as Israel Folau, but genuinely believing you’re full of love and kindness?— Amanda (@amandatee15) November 17, 2019
Folau said the scripture was talking to Australia.
‘God is speaking’
"Look how rapid these bushfires these droughts all these things have come in a short period of time. Do you think it's a coincidence or not?"
"God is speaking to you guys. Australia you need to repent and take these laws and turn it back to what is right."
Folau said the fires and drought were only a "little taste of God's judgment" with worse to come if nothing changes.
Folau said he was sharing the message "out of love".
The controversy which saw the dual international footballer sacked in April was his second run-in with Rugby Australia. He was also reprimanded for a similar post in 2018.
The staunch Christian is suing RA and the NSW Waratahs for unlawful dismissal, claiming his firing earlier this year over the social media messages was because of his religion.