We’ll never find out if Christians and other supporters of Israel Folau would have reached the target of $3 million on the GoFundMe site as his fundraiser has been removed by the platform.
According to the Nine Network, donations had topped $800,000 despite largely negative coverage about Folau’s efforts to fund his legal costs in appealing against his sacking by Rugby Australia.
“Today we will be closing Israel Folau’s campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors. After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,” said Nicola Britton, GoFundMe’s Australia Regional Manager, News.com.au reports.
“As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity. While we welcome GoFundMe engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.”
It is clear that Folau’s donations had continued to climb over the weekend. At this stage Folau has not established an alternative route, although it is possible that the Australian Christian Lobby, a strong supporter, will help him.
Christian leaders, as reported by Eternity, have different responses to Folau.
Eternity will establish a poll on Facebook to gauge the levels of support, although if the speed of donations to the defunct GoFundMe campaign is a measure, it indicates that many Christians do support Folau.
Here are seven different responses we have detected among Christians:
1. I stand with Izzy. Israel Folau deserves absolute support. His Instagram post was fine, and he should not face adverse consequences for posting it.
2. I stand with Izzy, but he is rich. Israel Folau deserves support, should not have been sacked but he does not need my money.
3. I stand with Izzy (sort of). Israel Folau’s post was badly done, and he should have said more about the love of God and his grace as well as judgment. But he should not be sacked for speaking out.
4. Israel Folau botched his post and made gospel ministry harder. He was right to warn about sin, though.
5. Pity that Israel Folau’s post brought on the fight, but free speech is important and we need to fight for it.
6. I don’t stand with Izzy. He should not have picked on the LGBTI community.
7. I don’t agree with Izzy at all, but I don’t think employers should be able to sack people for legal activities in their personal time (including gay teachers at Christian schools).
Our poll has now closed.