We’ve a lovely little example of a problem with immigration here. Sometimes the immigrants don’t quite share the same cultural values as the people they immigrate among. This is not to be making a BNP point as if we’re fans of the one eyed wonder, it’s actually an observation about Christians.
Both Australia and New Zealand have been recruiting among the Pacific Island nations in order to gain rugby players. Polynesians having a tendency – partly based upon simple physique issues as with East Africans and long distance running – to be rather good at rugby. This then runs into a certain problem when the incomers don’t entirely and wholly share the cultural assumptions of the society they enter.
Australia not, as with most rich nations these days, being a culture that has much religion at all unless we’re to talk of the genuflection to Gaia of recycling. This not being true of many to most Pacific Islanders where Christianity is still of a more muscular and fundamental kind.
That is, Israel Folau might have said something out of order as far as Australian mores are concerned but they’re dead centre mainstream out on the islands:
Several senior Wallabies players, including Michael Hooper, Will Genia and Bernard Foley, have spoken out against Folau, while coach Michael Cheika and Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson have also expressed their displeasure at his latest comments. Last week Genia told a Fox Sports podcast that Folau’s actions had made “it a bit uncomfortable for people within those team environments to relate to him and, moving forward, even to play with him”. Folau has been stood down by the NSW Waratahs after posting a Bible passage last month claiming hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators” unless they repent and turn to Jesus Christ. He will front a three-person tribunal – comprising chair John West, RA’s representative Kate Eastman SC and the RUPA-appointed John Boultbee SC – on Saturday. However, Folau has since received backing from England star Billy Vunipola, who liked Folau’s post and called for people to “live their lives how God intended”. Brisbane-born Vunipola was himself slapped with a warning by his English club Saracens over his defence of Folau’s post and handed a “formal warning” by the English Rugby Football Union.
Note how the dividing line runs – the Polynesians do rather seem to be one one side, the non-Polynesians on the other. This is causing problems more generally:
Rugby Australia is facing a potential player mutiny after one of the Wallabies’ most exciting prospects claimed all Pacific Islanders “might as well just be sacked” because of their religious beliefs. At the same time, there are fears Israel Folau’s recent social media posts could lead to a player boycott if he wins his RA code of conduct hearing and saves his multimillion-dollar career.
It is a huge concern for Cheika ahead of this year’s World Cup – a third of Australia’s last Test line-up of 2018 were Polynesian.
Interesting, eh? How the different cultural assumptions between immigrants and indigenes can cause problems? Here it’s that the immigrants are more Christian than the hosts but we might well think we can have the same basic problem when that’s not the detailed issue….