Politics

Scott Morrison Is Bending Over Backwards To Avoid Condemning Israel Folau’s Homophobia

On 7.30 last night, he called comparisons to anti-Semitism "extreme".

scott morrison israel folau

Last night on 7.30, Scott Morrison confirmed that a religious freedom bill is indeed in the works. And yet, despite having multiple opportunities to do so, our Prime Minister refused to confirm whether or not such an act would protect people like Israel Folau from facing consequences for saying gay people are going to hell.

In fact, our Prime Minister really bent over backwards to avoid condemning Folau’s homophobia. After 7.30 host Leigh Sales asked him “would you like to see somebody like Israel Folau be able to make the remark said that he made and be safe from being sacked?”, Morrison flubbed around before saying that “there’s a balance that has to be struck in that, and our courts will always ultimately decide this based on the legislation that’s presented”.

Which, sure, but it will ultimately be Scott Morrison who crafts that legislation and passes it through Parliament.

And when Sales pressed him on whether Folau saying gay people are going to hell is comparable to anti-Semitism, Morrison described the comparison as “extreme”.

“If a public figure said, for example, that Jews are going to hell, they would be rightly and roundly condemned for that,” Sales pointed out. “But if a public figure says gays are going to hell, it can be defended as religious freedom. Do you see any problem with that situation?”

“Well, again, I mean, the issue is making sure you get the balance right in the legislation, which respects the same principle of anti-discrimination as applies to many other cases,” Morrison responded.

“We already have anti-discrimination legislation which deals with these sensitivities in other areas, and that will apply also to religious faith. And what I would hope is that we can have a sensible and adult debate about this one — not one that is drawn to extreme examples or things like that to try and derail debates, but one that actually keeps people together and honours the key principle.”

“I mean, religious freedom is a core pillar of our society. And it’s not unreasonable. And I think there are many millions of Australians who would like to see that protected, and I intend to follow through on that commitment.”

This is far from the first time Scott Morrison has avoided condemning Israel Folau’s comments about LGBTIQ people. In April 2018, the last time Folau said that gay people are headed to “HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”, Scott Morrison responded by saying that Folau was a “good man” who had “behaved with great dignity, I think”.

“Good for him for standing up for his faith. I think he wouldn’t have wanted to intend to have offended or hurt anyone, because that’s very much against the faith that he feels so passionately about, but he’s shown I think a lot of strength of character in just standing up for what he believes in, and I think that’s what this country’s all about,” Morrison said at the time.

Anyway, it would be real nice if Scott Morrison clarified, for the record, whether or not he thinks it’s okay to tell LGBTIQ people they’re going to hell. Maybe his new religious freedom bill will include a line about that?