More than $1.5m raised for Israel Folau
Ex-Wallaby Israel Folau's new fundraiser has raised more than $1.5 million, putting him halfway to his goal to build a multi-million war chest to fund his unfair dismissal case.
The appeal hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby has now amassed more than Folau's successful GoFundMe campaign raised in four days, before the fundraising website shut it down on Monday.
The ACL relaunched the campaign for the star rugby back on its own website at 12.01am on Tuesday and donations flowed in at a rate of nearly $1000 per minute.
By 6.30am on Wednesday, the tally was $1.59 million against a target of $3 million.
Folau been asked for public donations to fund his upcoming legal battle for wrongful dismissal against Rugby Australia, which terminated his $4 million playing contract in May.
RA sacked Folau after he published a biblical passage on social media which said "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters" would go to hell unless they repented.
The post was deemed homophobic by sectors of the community and prompted a backlash against Folau, a committed Christian.
Folau says he's being discriminated against on religious grounds and set up initially the GoFundMe page, which had raised more than $750,000 since its launch on Friday.
On Monday, GoFundMe took it down, citing a breach of its terms of service and announcing it would refund the money to donors.
Folau spokesman has denied his campaign was incompatible with GoFundMe's terms of service and said he was the victim of a campaign of discrimination.
One of Australia's most senior Anglican leaders has backed Folau, saying his right to express his faith was being denied.
"It is of great concern to many Australians that this right is being denied and vilified," Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The way in which Folau's motives have been impugned and his avenues of support have been cut off smacks of a new and ugly Australia where dissent from narrow cultural views is not tolerated.
"It had nothing to do with rugby and it should have been his right as a citizen to speak of what he believes without threat to his employment."
Folau's wife, Silver Ferns netballer Maria Folau, has also come under scrutiny with sponsor ANZ reportedly raising concerns with Netball New Zealand about her support for her husband.
Folau's case against RA which will go before the Fair Work Commission against RA is seeking up to $10 million in damages.
More than 95,000 people had signed an online petition calling on GoFundMe to take down Folau's page.