Sacked Wallabies star Israel Folau's claim the bushfires that have devastated Australia and left six dead are God's punishment for legalising abortion and same-sex marriage has sparked a furious reaction.
Dumped by Rugby Australia after warning homosexuals and other sinners they will go to hell unless they repent, Folau has doubled down on the stance in a video sermon posted to the Truth of Jesus Christ Church Sydney.
During the 10-minute recording, the 30-year-old says the timing of the bushfire crisis is no coincidence but only a taste of God's judgment should nothing change, news.com.au reports.
"I've been looking around at the events that's been happening in Australia, this past couple of weeks, with all the natural disasters, the bushfires and the droughts," he says.
He then reads from the Book of Isaiah in the Bible: "The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left."
Folau links the passage to the twin disasters of bushfire and drought and, in turn, the legalising of same-sex marriage and abortion.
"The events that have happened here in Australia, in the last couple of years – God's word says for a man and a woman to be together … they've come and changed this law," he says.
"Abortion, it's OK now to murder, kill infants, unborn children."
Folau says he believes the scripture is talking to Australia. "Look how rapid these bushfires these droughts, all these things have come in a short period of time. Do you think it's a coincidence or not?
"God is speaking to you guys. Australia you need to repent and take these laws and turn it back to what is right."
'GOD' RESPONDS TO ISRAEL FOLAU
Folau quoted passages from the bible when making his explosive comments, but the backlash spread far and wide and even reached the man above.
The Twitter account 'TheTweetofGod' hit back at Folau to its 6.1 million followers on Monday afternoon and delivered a cheeky clip at his employment status.
"Don't tell me how to do My job, Izzy. I don't go to your job and... oh wait, you don't have a job anymore."
Hillsong Church Founder Brian Houston delivered a message to all Australians affected by the fires and in a post stated "Pray for your Nation, don't condemn it" in a shot to Folau.
Houston also said in another post he believes "there is hope in Jesus and we pray that God will be your special piece at this particular time and I'm believing for you better days are ahead".
AUSTRALIAN POLITICIANS SLAM 'APPALLING COMMENTS'
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has weighed in and quickly denounced the comments from Folau.
"I thought these were appallingly insensitive comments," Morrison said.
"They were appalling comments and he is a free citizen, he can say whatever he likes. But that doesn't mean he can't have regard to the grievous offence this would have caused to people whose homes have been burnt down.
"And I'm sure to many Christians around Australia for whom that is not their view at all and who's thoughts and prayers, let me stress, are very much with those who are suffering."
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese backed up the thoughts of Morrison by calling out Folau and stating "it's on us to reject this rubbish".
"This is pretty reprehensible," Albanese tweeted.
"Some people might not want to give his comments any more oxygen than they deserve, and I get that.
"But for people in leadership positions, it's on us to reject this rubbish. To call it out.
"We're so much better than this."
Cardiff-based rugby writer Paul Williams slammed Folau as a fool while others sarcastically said "God must be so proud" of the former league star.