The Australian Christian Lobby cautiously welcomed news today that Australian Wallabies player, Israel Folau, has not been disciplined for making social media comments expressing mainstream religious beliefs.

“It is pleasing to see that Falou has not been overtly disciplined for speaking about his faith,” ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles said.

“ACL is concerned that the so-called ‘ongoing dialogue’ with Rugby Australia about Falou’s appropriate use of social media could stifle his freedom to speak openly about his faith and marginalise his Christian identity into the future.

“The real test will be whether Falou continues to have the same freedom as other players to speak up for his beliefs, which are shared by millions of Australians.

Mr Iles said Falou should never have been hauled before Rugby bosses to explain his actions.

“It is likely that the handling of this incident has set a precedent in Rugby Australia and other sporting codes where the ability of players to articulate mainstream Christian views is chilled. This is discrimination against people of faith in sport,” he said.

Mr Iles said it was particularly disappointing to see Qantas, our national airline, suggesting it may withdraw sponsorship because a Christian player had expressed his views when asked a direct question.