Israel Folau fundraiser paused after outpouring of support

Israel Folau(Photo: Reuters)

A second fundraiser set up to support Israel Folau after the original one was pulled by GoFundMe has raised so much money that it can be paused for now.

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) jumped in to launch a new donation page after GoFundMe closed the Christian rugby player's fundraising page on the digital platform for violating its "inclusivity" policies.

A staggering $2m was raised through the ACL-hosted page in less than two days, nearly tripling the $750,000 donated through GoFundMe before they pulled the plug.

ACL managing director Martyn Iles said the money raised was enough for now to cover Mr Folau's legal battle against Rugby Australia, who terminated his contract after he posted an image to Instagram saying "hell awaits" gay people and others.

Mr Folau is claiming unlawful termination on grounds of freedom of religious expression.  He is seeking to have his contract reinstated and compensation for lost salary.

"Every Australian should be able to practice their religion without fear of discrimination in the workplace," he said.

"I'm not just fighting for my future and my family, I'm fighting for what's right."

Mr Iles said that the fundraising campaign may be re-opened in the future if the case "drags on". 

"The outpouring of support for Izzy and for freedom has been staggering in its size and speed. More than $2 million has been raised in less than two days, from over 20,000 people," he said.

"This means we have raised enough money for now and can afford to hit the pause button."

Mr Iles said the amount of money raised and the speed with which donations came in reflect a movement of "quiet Australians" prepared to stand up for their beliefs.

"Quiet Australians have not just spoken through this campaign – they have roared," he said.

"This is an unprecedented outpouring of support which cannot be ignored. Politicians are watching, Rugby Australia is watching, corporate bullies are watching, and those who think it's ok to make people suffer for their beliefs are watching."

"This has become a movement of quiet people who have found their voice. Many of them serve God, many of them love freedom, all of them stand with Israel Folau."