Israel Folau has said he is not worried if the anti-LGBT comments he made on social media last week end his rugby career.
Folau faces being sacked after the Australia Rugby Union (ARU) threatened to terminate his contract unless he could give compelling mitigating factors for the post he made on social media.
The 30-year-old listed homosexuals as one of eight groups of people for whom hell awaits, receiving a tidal wave of criticism for the controversial post, which was not the first made by devout Christian Folau.
Saracens and England No 8 Billy Vunipola was drawn into the issue when he liked Folau’s post and then made a statement of his own backing his rival – he will have to meet the RFU to explain his position.
Folau met with officials from the ARU and the NSW Waratahs on Friday to discuss the post but a statement after that meeting said their joint position was unchanged.
There was no change in stance from Folau when he was interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald after attending a church service in the city’s northwest suburbs on Sunday.
Asked if he was content to walk away from rugby over the issue, Folau said: Absolutely. First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think.
If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it. In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.
It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things. Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.
Folau also thanked people who had supported him, admitting the reaction had been tough and given him more reason not to stand down from his belief.
He added: It’s a beautiful thing. You get a lot of love and support from what I call family … But, most importantly, I think the name of Jesus Christ has been glorified. The one thing we have in common is our faith.
Obviously it’s a tough time but for me I find comfort in obviously what the Bible says.
As we heard today, those that live for Christ will be persecuted for his name. So for me, [the reaction] wasn’t a surprise. I have love towards everyone that might be saying negative things…I choose to love them because God loves me.