Carl Cleves, Byron Bay
Israel Folau has become Australia’s OJ Simpson without the murder – or perhaps in his own mind, Australia’s Joan of Arc. We have all read about the star rugby player’s sacking from his multi-million-dollar contract with his club for contravening the ethics clause in his contract when he used his fame to tell gays that they will face eternal hellfire and damnation. He is now taking his club to court and a crowdfunding campaign instantly attracted a heap of cash from fundamentalist Christians towards the legal costs of the millionaire Folau, far outstripping the campaigns for the handicapped and domestic-violence victims – money and support the homeless and refugees could only dream of. There was much noise about religious freedom, which is very well protected as is.
I started thinking that I needed to have a chat with you, Israel. Look, mate, you know that life is a challenge for every one of us. There is magic and there are wonderful times. There are, or will be, trials and defeats. The last thing you want is some dickhead god hanging over you, threatening everybody with eternal fire and damnation and sneaking around your bedroom.
I personally feel fine without a god. It teaches me to be responsible for my actions and do my best to face what life throws at me and live in harmony with the ones around me. And like the millionaire who falls for Jack Lemon in drag in the movie Some Like it Hot replied when Jack confessed being a man: ‘No-one is perfect’.
But we try our best. If you and I were chilling with a beer after a footy match I would say this to you as a mate, ‘Israel, fuck him off. If you really want a god, choose one with a more positive attitude, a kinder approach, with less vengeance, guilt, fear, loathing, damnation, and punishment. There are many choices out there. Gods can be nice to have around. Like having a pet dog, they can bring some emotional support. There is a good reason that the two are mirror images of each other. Also, if you have a group of people who like the same god, you can get together and sing songs. It can happen on pews, carpets, or dancing with bells and drums. Some gods come with rituals and costumes too and, though you might not really believe in it, these can be good fun.
‘It is your call, mate. But, please keep in mind that everyone is trying to find their groove as we all walk through the short tunnel that is our life. Let others be who they want to be and we will all be more able to get along.’