Australia Rugby face new religious row
SPOTLIGHT: Australia Rugby is facing a new religious row, as more Pacific Islanders come out proclaiming their Christianity.
Reds and Wallaby prop Taniela Tupou has criticised the fact that Super Rugby and international teammate Samu Kerevi has had to apologise for expressing his religious beliefs on social media.
Kerevi took to Instagram to thank Jesus for “dying on the cross for me” on Christianity’s Holy Thursday over the Easter weekend.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” Kerevi’s post read.
“Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross for me. I love you Jesus #AO1”.
Kerevi received support from most fans on the post, but some questioned its appropriateness given the timing of the post amid Israel Folau’s saga regarding his religious beliefs.
“I know a lot of gay kids and adults in our sport would love to hear a rugby leader like you say you love and respect them for who they are – are you willing to endorse that message?” wrote one fan.
“I hope you don’t support Israel’s comments Samu,” added another.
Kerevi’s post didn’t appear to support Folau’s controversial sentiments, and he even replied to one commenter who stated that “God is a completely homosexual man” by saying: “I’m sorry you believe that but he is a loving God. God bless mate”.
However, a few days after the post was published, Kerevi posted a story on the social media platform to apologise if he had offended anyone for expressing his Christian faith.
“I apologise to anyone that I have offended in giving praise to our God on a weekend that we take off to celebrate his Sacrifice for you and I,” Kerevi wrote.
“I will always give praise to Him.
“To the media, it’s all love brothers & sisters, God Bless and enjoy your weekend.”
In response to Kerevi’s apology, Tupou, often referred to as the ‘Tongan Thor’, shared an article of the news to his Facebook page on Tuesday, accompanied by a heavily-critical caption.
“Seriously,” his emoji-laden post began.
“Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs.
“I will never apologise for my faith and what I believe in, religion had [sic] got nothing to do with rugby anyways #TYJ “.
His post has since received a multitude of support from his followers.
Folau, meanwhile, will face a Rugby Australia Code of Conduct hearing on Saturday for his social media outburst against homosexuals, where he condemned them, along with drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators, to “hell”.
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