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Israel Folau under fire again: Comments 'unacceptable'

Israel Folau is a devout Christian. Photo/Getty.

One of Australia's top rugby players is in hot water – again.

Waratahs and Wallabies player Israel Folau is under fire after making anti-gay comments on social media.

He posted an image on his Instagram account saying "Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" should repent or "Hell awaits you".

On Twitter, he also criticised the Tasmanian parliament about making gender optional on birth certificates, the first Australian state to do so.

It isn't the first time he's expressed these types of views – last year when asked by one of his 337,000 Instagram followers what God has planned for gay people, Folau replied, “HELL … unless they repent of their sins and turn to God.”

Rugby Australia did not discipline him over this, instead saying he had right to his views and did not mean to harm the game.

Read more: Where should we draw the line between free speech and hate speech?Thanks to Israel Folau and Pope Francis, fire and brimstone are trendingReligion the flashpoint in free speech debate

In a statement this week, Rugby Australia called his comments "unacceptable" saying "it does not represent the values of the sport and is disrespectful to members of the Rugby community." Their 'Integrity Unit' is undertaking an investigation. 

A devout Christian, Folau has previously said he would walk away from his rugby career if his faith was a problem with his employers.

Other rugby players have criticised Folau.

English rugby player Joe Marler responded to the tweet Folau made about Tasmania making gender optional on birth certificates, with photos of two men kissing.

Carl Fearns, who plays for France, tweeted:

Former British and Irish Lions captain Gareth Thomas urged people to ignore Folau. He was the victim of a homophobic attack last year.

At a press conference today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned Folau's comments saying as a role model his stance is damaging.

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