Former rugby star Israel Folau has spoken out again about the Australian bushfire crisis, calling it “sad” that it has taken tragedy for people to turn to religion.
He was recently slammed for claiming the fires were related to same-sex marriage.
“We look at this country here and all these devastating bushfires that are happening,” said Folau in a sermon on the weekend, Sporting News has reported.
“I see on the news and the mainstream media there’s a lot of people out there, because of the things they’ve lost, and it’s been a tragic event for this country.
“You see people saying they’ve never prayed so hard in their life.
“Why does it take something so devastating like the bushfires for people to humble themselves and get down on their knees and ask God for help?
“The scriptures say God turns his face against the wicked and doesn’t hear their prayers.
“But for us, as born-again believers, Christians in the faith, we need to pray that because of what’s happening now in this nation with these devastating fires, that this event can cause people to turn and come to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“That’s what our prayer is. It needs to be that.”
Outspoken Folau was sacked from the Wallabies last year for his repeated homophobic and transphobic remarks on social media, in breach of his contract.
Among his posts were comments that gay people were destined for “hell”.
Folau last month said he was “looking forward” to potential stronger laws allowing discrimination on the grounds of religion, following news that he had reached a settlement with Rugby Australia over his firing.
“We now look forward to the federal government enacting the legislation necessary to further protect and strengthen these rights for all Australians,” said Folau in a video on his website.