Christian group’s new donation site for Folau’s legal bid
THE Australian Christian Lobby will launch Israel a new donation site for Folau after GoFundMe deleted his page. But Canadian Christian preacher David Lynn (pictured) has raised over $49K in donations after his arrest over comments against LGBTI people.
It comes amid revelations that while GoFundMe has banned Folau, it has kept in place a donations page for a Canadian preacher who was arrested for making "disparaging'' comments about the LGBTI community.
"The success of the Folau fundraiser was giving 'quiet Australians' a voice," he said.
"By launching an alternative fundraising site to GoFundMe, we are ensuring that the voice of quiet Australians continues to be heard and Israel Folau continues to know that he is not alone.
"Folau's supporters will only be emboldened in their commitment by what has happened. They were concerned about their freedoms, and GoFundMe has yet again reminded them that their concerns are real.
"Israel's case is our case if we want to live free and embrace our beliefs without fear of being marginalised or discriminated against."
All the funds raised through the new website will be deposited into a legal trust account "to be used exclusively for legal expenses incurred by Israel Folau", Mr Iles said.
The Daily Telegraph can also reveal that Folau's camp investigated taking legal action against GoFundMe on the basis of religious discrimination but has decided not to proceed "at this time".
Folau's fundraiser was canned after GoFundMe was engulfed by a social media backlash, including a change.org petition signed by 95,000 people who argued the footballer was "not entitled" to commit "disgraceful behaviour" and "blatant discrimination". There were also complaints that Folau's substantial personal wealth, including a $7 million property portfolio, meant he should not be accepting donations using a website where the parents of sick children raise funds for operations.
A GoFundMe spokeswoman said Folau's campaign violated the website's terms and conditions which forbid funds being raised for 'the promotion of discrimination or exclusion".
"Today we will be closing Israel Folau's campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors," she said.
"After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service. 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."
GoFundMe claimed Folau's fundraiser breached their terms and conditions but the website has also accepted money to fund the legal battle of Canadian Christian preacher David Lynn who was arrested earlier this month after allegedly making "disparaging" comments to the LGBTI community in Toronto. More than $49,358 was raised to cover the preacher's legal fees in the past two weeks and the fundraiser was still active last night.
"The execution of the arrest and statements made by the Toronto Police Department has publicly slandered Pastor David with false allegations of 'hateful and derogatory statements being made toward LGBTQ people'," the fundraisers wrote on the GoFundMe Page.
There was also one fundraising campaign for right-to-life abortion activists which received thousands of dollars.
A spokesman for Folau has released a statement describing the emotional toll the ordeal has had on his family.
"Unfortunately, GoFundMe has buckled to demands against the freedom of Australians to donate to his cause," the spokesman said.
"There appears to be a continuing campaign of discrimination against Israel."
Folau also revealed he had been the victim of a cyber attack and claimed his wife had been targeted just for standing by him.
"Since requesting public donations to help him with his legal action against Rugby Australia, Israel and his supporters have come under intense scrutiny in the media," the spokesman said.
"Further, Israel's website has been the target of what we believe was a sustained cyber attack and there has been a deliberate attempt to vilify his wife Maria for supporting her husband. While Israel does not intend to respond in detail at this time regarding the accusations thrown at him or his family, he wants it known that these attacks have hardened his resolve. Thankfully, several organisations have already expressed interest in supporting Israel's (legal case).''