Is this the UK’s Israel Folau?

The highly publicised treatment of Christian rugby player Israel Folau following his instagram post quoting the Bible demonstrated to Australian Christians the high price that they can now expect to pay for expressing their faith in public. Folau’s contract with the Wallabies was terminated as a result, and he has been prevented from playing rugby for Australia ever since, despite arguably being one of Australia’s most talented rugby players.

Now, a local politician in the UK has found himself in similar circumstances, having experienced his “life torn apart” for sharing “one tweet which gave the Christian and biblical position on LGBT pride events”.

Counsellor (Cllr) King Lawal, a local conservative politician in the UK, published a tweet quoting the Bible’s teaching on the sin of Pride.  He did so because he was concerned about the unchecked exposure of children to naked men participating in LGBT pride parades:

“When did Pride become a thing to celebrate. Because of Pride Satan fell as an arch Angel. Pride is not a virtue but a Sin. Those who have Pride should Repent of their sins and return to Jesus Christ. He can save you. #PrideMonth #Pride23 #PrideParade.”

The post included a reference to Isaiah 3:9 which said “Whatever God calls ‘Sin’ is nothing to be Proud of”.

The reactions to his social media post however, were swift, and the consequences extreme.

He has been cancelled by multiple organisations, and suspended from his own political party pending an investigation. He was even given an ultimatum that unless he was removed as a director from his own family business, a major contract with the company would be cancelled. 

According to Christian Concern, he was forced to resign “from his own company which he had built and grown” as a result of “extreme and potentially illegal pressure”.

Counsellor Lawal’s tweet is reminiscent of the instagram post which ultimately landed Israel Folau in hot water: 

“WARNING: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolaters, HELL AWAITS YOU.

Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”

The excessive and extreme reaction to Cllr Lawal's social media post points to a disturbing trend in Western democracies where Christians are no longer able to freely express their beliefs in public without facing severe repercussions. That this is especially so when it comes to critiquing LGBT ideology is clear.

Cllr Lawal, with support from the Christian Legal Centre, is taking legal action in response, citing multiple violations of his freedom of speech and freedom of religion. He will argue that his biblical stance on sexual ethics is a protected expression of his Christian faith. Cllr Lawal has stressed that his intention was not to discriminate against any individual or group but to express his beliefs sincerely.

What is clear however is that his ordeal is meant to send a clear message to Christians that unless they remain silent on issues conflicting with their beliefs, they also risk being ostracised and marginalised as well as facing significant consequences. The response from so many organisations to cancel him should raise serious alarm bells for those who value fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech, religion and expression. The suppression of opposing viewpoints is a grave impediment to a healthy exchange of ideas and a direct threat to a pluralist and representative democracy. 

Cllr Lawal said:

“It is now almost impossible to say something biblically truthful on sexual ethics in UK society without being cancelled and having your life ruined. 

During Pride month, I was appalled by some of the illegal activity I saw online at these events. I had real concern for the children witnessing it who will grow up believing this is ok.

It is very rare for me to take to twitter, but I saw the pride movement was silencing any questioning or dissent and I could no longer be silent.

What I said was biblically sound and a protected expression of the Christian faith.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Legal Centre has said:

“Where is ‘diversity’, ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusion’ here? We have only a monoculture which requires approval, allegiance and promotion of LGBT Pride no matter what.”

But, as Israel Folau found out the hard way, the penalties for non-compliance with the demands of rainbow ideology are severe. The nature of the ideological conflict and the hostility towards Christianity in our secular society is slowly being unveiled. It is no longer acceptable to merely tolerate the demands of LGBT ideology – instead there is an increasing pressure to affirm and celebrate it instead, no matter how much an individual disagrees with its tenets.