A crowdfunding campaign set up in support of former Australian national rugby player Israel Folau has already raised upwards of $750,000, despite the media’s insistence that he is alone in his spiritual convictions and lacking general support.
Folau’s multi-million dollar playing contract was terminated after he shared a Bible verse on Instagram which called on people to repent of their sins.
Since the final decision was taken to kick Folau off the team ahead of the 2019 World Cup, a group called the Australian Christian Lobby has sought to offer support through a crowdfunding campaign as the star full-back announced he was launching a legal challenge against the decision. Folau is seeking up to $10 million damages.
The group’s managing director, Martyn Iles told 7 News that Folau had “lost his job, lost his livelihood and has been dragged through the mud” after being stripped of his $4 million Rugby Australia contract and vowed to back the rugby player’s lawsuit with Australia’s Fair Work Commission.
“It’s more about creating a grassroots support network, raising the profile of the case and giving people a voice to buy into the whole thing,” he said of the fundraising campaign.
“People have been asking me how they can support Izzy, and this gives them a way.”
Fundraising page shut down by GoFundMe
Despite raising an enormous amount of cash, GoFundMe reportedly shut down the fundraising page at the weekend. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the online platform says his campaign “breached its terms of service.”
“As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ+ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity,” said GoFundMe spokeswoman Nicola Britton in a statement, according to the BBC.
“While we welcome GoFundMe’s engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion,” Britton added.
What did Folau’s Instagram post actually say?
The post, which is still live on Folau’s page, declares “WARNING,” before listing a number of sins which must be repented of, pending eternal judgment.
Referencing 1 Corinthians 6:9, the graphic lists “Drunks, homosexuals, drunks, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolaters,” before imploring “HELL AWAITS YOU,” and “REPENT! ONLY JESUS SAVES.”
You can see the original post below:
In a video released last week, Folau argued that “every Australian should be able to practise their religion without fear of discrimination in the workplace.”