Australian rugby star says gay people will go to hell

Australian rugby star says gay people will go to hell
High-profile Australian rugby player Israel Folau has sparked controversy on social media after saying that God's plan for gay people is “hell.”

The Wallabies star shared an Instagram post on Tuesday in reference to the injury he sustained on Saturday while playing for the New South Wales Waratahs.

The post, which contained the Biblical quote “consider it all joy when you encounter various trials,” also had two pictures above the scriptural message showing that “your plans” and “God’s plans” don’t always coincide.

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

Folau, who is followed by 337,000 people on Instagram, made a controversial comment in reply to a question from someone who asked, “what was gods [sic] plan for gay people??

HELL... Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God,” Folau responded, causing uproar on social media, with many people accusing him of intolerance and homophobia.

It is not the first time the deeply religious Folau has shared his views on sexual orientation. Last September, he was criticized for comments on same-sex marriage.

"I love and respect all people for who they are and their opinions. but personally, I will not support gay marriage," he tweeted.

Folau’s statements contradict Rugby Australia's inclusion policy introduced in 2014, which states: "Rugby has and must continue to be a sport where players, officials, volunteers, supporters and administrators have the right and freedom to participate regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion and without fear of exclusion.

“There is no place for homophobia or any form of discrimination in our game and our actions and words both on and off the field must reflect this."

Folau is one of Australia’s most recognizable rugby players, and was one of the five finalists shortlisted as World Rugby’s player of the year last season.