A popular Anglican priest in Gosford has publicly spoken out against Israel Folau in the wake of his latest attack on gay and transgender people.
Father Rod Bower of Gosford Anglican Church is well-known for the controversial and provocative signs he displays outside the church, which cover everything from social issues to politics.
His latest targets the embattled former rugby star, and reads: "LGBT friends, Folau is wrong. Don't listen to him."
"Israel Folau is the price we pay for free speech," Bower wrote on Twitter.
He added: "He has the right to say it and I have a responsibility to oppose what he says."
Bower was an active supporter of the 'Yes' campaign during the same-sex marriage postal vote in 2017, and has posted pro-LGBT signs outside his church in the past.
Last year he announced his intention to run for Senate as an independent.
"This nation has been diminished by the policies that have led to what's now happening on Manus Island and Nauru," he said at the time.
"In the Senate I would hope to be able to encourage our politicians to adhere to our international covenants and refugee conventions."
The bid proved unsuccessful, but he said he wants to continue to advocate for people "from all faiths, politics and traditions".
"After the election, I think the sector is a bit more conscious of the need for our work in the community, and if anything is even more dedicated to it," he said at a conference earlier this year.
"It's on us collectively to create belonging where people from all faiths, politics, traditions, and views are able to flourish."
Folau had his $4 million contract torn up by Rugby Australia after he was found guilty of a code of conduct breach for saying "hell awaits" gay people in a social media post earlier this year. He has since launched legal action, reportedly seeking $10 million in damages, believing he has been discriminated against because of his religious views.
Speaking to his church congregation, Folau said homosexuality was a "sin" and the result of trying to please man rather than God.
He also told an anecdote about a politician at a Christian function speaking about what "the parliament is trying to instil into the government going forward".
"A lot of the points are, he's talking about how the work of the sin, homosexuality, is in disguise to try and take over within this world," Folau said.
"You see a lot of things in today's news and everything. They're allowing young kids in primary school to be able to have the permission to change their gender if they want by taking away the permission of their parents.
"Now they're trying to take control as a government to make that decision for kids that are basically 16-years-old or younger. They don't even know what they're doing.
"This is what the devil's trying to do to instil into this government, into this world, into this society and it's slowly happening."
Folau criticised some churches for accepting gay marriage and called on his fellow Christians to stand up for God's teachings.
"The sad thing is while a lot of people out there who are non-Christians say bad things about the church, a lot of churches today allow those things to happen," Folau said.
"They say that a man and a man should be allowed to get married and there's nothing wrong with that. This ties into the theme of pleasing man rather than pleasing God and standing up for the truth.
"If there's ever a time to stand up for the word of God, now is the time.
"Otherwise the truth of God will be slowly taken out and it's our job as born-again Christians to stand up for God, not be scared of persecutions, sufferings."
Folau, whose bitter dispute with Rugby Australia has cost him a place with the Wallabies at this year's World Cup in Japan, alluded to his stoush with his former employer as he talked about the "awkward" position born-again Christians are put in when their beliefs differ to those of their families and colleagues.
However, he said it was important to stay strong in your faith.
"You might be the only born-again Christian in that workplace, you might feel a bit awkward with your co-workers because they are in the world and you're not. We should feel blessed … because God has called us," Folau said.
"If we're true believers in Christ, are we going to follow through and confess it wherever we go, or are we going to be too scared because we might be cast out of our workplace because we're not liked by those around us?"