Israel Folau courts controversy again after suggesting Australian fires are result of God's wrath

Israel Folau (Photo: Reuters)

Rugby star Israel Folau has been criticised by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison after suggesting that the bushfires raging across parts of Australia are God's judgement upon ungodly laws.

Folau, who was dropped by Rugby Australia earlier this year over a controversial Instagram post telling gay people to repent, linked the Australian bushfires to the passing of same-sex marriage and abortion legislation.

"God's Word says for a man and a woman to be together, one man and one woman in the covenant of marriage to be together," he told members of the Truth of Jesus Christ Church in Sydney during a recent visit.

"Abortion — it's now okay to murder and kill unborn children and they deem that to be okay."

He continued: "Look how rapid these brushfires, 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 into following what is right by God."

Although himself an evangelical Christian, Mr Morrison told reporters that Folau's comments were "appallingly insensitive" and suggested that while he was free to have his own opinions on the matter, he should be more sensitive to people who have suffered loss as a result of the fires.

"That doesn't mean he can't have regard to the grievance [and] offence this would have caused to the people whose homes have burnt down," Mr Morrison said.

Major cities including Sydney and Adelaide have been blanketed by smoke drifting from the fires burning nearby, prompting health officials to issue air quality warnings.

At least six people have been killed as a result of the fires, which have hit the eastern states of New South Wales and Queensland the worst.

In New South Wales alone, at least 577 homes have been destroyed.