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SYDNEY (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Australian rugby player is still under fire two months after stating Christian beliefs on homosexuality.
In early April, New South Wales fullback Israel Folau, considered one of the best athletes in Australia, responded to a question on social media about his views on same-sex attraction. An Instagram user asked him, "what was gods [sic] plan for gay people???"
Folau replied that those who engage in homosexuality will go to "HELL... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God."
There was uproar in Australian and British media in the wake of the rugby star's reply on Instagram. Two months later, the uproar continues. Most recently, there were reports drumming up potential drama between Folau and David Pocock, who are now teammates on the Australian national rugby union team, the Wallabies.
Pocock is a vocal supporter of gay "marriage." Heterosexual himself, he and his female partner decided they would not get married until after same-sex "marriage" was written into law in Australia — which happened in December 2017.
Folau and Pocock's own response to the drummed-up drama was that they are getting along perfectly fine.
"There's nothing personal towards each other," Folau said on Sunday.
"We're both grown men and talk about things openly," he explained. "We just had an open chat about our different beliefs."
"It won't change anything when we step out onto the field," Folau added. "I'll be there to cover him and same with him. We're 100 percent behind each other."
Pocock confirmed that he and Folau were getting along fine despite their opposing views on homosexuality.
Pocock said, "I just don't see who wins if we aren't able to relate to each other as humans and keep talking about things, rather than having these really nasty, polarizing debates to decide who is and isn't part of our tribe based on their beliefs."
He also told the press, "We all lose something when we aren't able to engage with people just because we disagree on something."
When the controversy over Folau's Instagram post broke in April, many in the media were quick to condemn him as "anti-gay" and "homophobic." Folau said he recognized that people were upset about his comment, but he did not recant his position that sodomy is wrong. Rugby Australia leadership met with Folau to discuss his Instagram statement, but he was not reprimanded.
Folau had previously caused controversy about six months prior, around the time of Australia's same-sex "marriage" vote. The rugby star said publicly that he was opposed to so-called gay marriage.
Originally raised Mormon, Folau is now a Protestant.