by SEAN BURKE – ONE of Australia’s greatest tennis champions, Margaret Court, has been characterised on national television this week as a second-class human and “delusional Jesus freak”.
Melbourne newspaper columnist Justin Smith, who writes for News Ltd and broadcasts on Fairfax/Nine radio, launched his bitter attack just days before the sporting great was to attend the Australian Open for the first time in four years.
The self-proclaimed atheist made his comments on Sky News today, however, was promptly challenged by host Steve Price and another program guest Liz Storer, who is the National Director of Advance Australia.
Since taking her role as a Christian minister post tennis, the 24-times Singles Grand Slam winner has been targeted by Leftist activists who have made repeated calls to rename Margaret Court Arena over her religious views.
“Margaret Court is a first-class tennis player, beyond first class – she is magnificent,” Mr Smith said. “I happen to also think she is a second-class human being.
“She has done some dreadful damage and said some awful things about transgender people and same sex marriage and I think she’s a delusional Jesus freak.”
As he was winding up his on-air rant, Ms Storer interjected saying “shame Justin shame”. At the same time Mr Price cut in with a disagreeing “ah”.
“How can you say that about someone’s religious beliefs,” Ms Storer continued. “That is disgusting Justin. That is religious discrimination.
“She is simply quoting from her scriptures. I’ve not heard you speak out about any Muslims who are quoting from their scriptures.
“Those are her beliefs and they are very clearly laid out in the Bible.”
Mr Price then cut in telling Mr Smith that his comments were “out of line”.
“I mean, seriously, the woman is an evangelical minister in Western Australia, that’s her view – she is entitled to her views. It’s a matter of freedom of speech.”
Mr Smith said he would speak out against Islam if he had the chance.
“As an atheist, I think every religion is silly for exactly the same reasons. If you want me to speak out about Islam, I could do exactly that.”PC