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I know the list is long, but this story was released in Australian news today. 

The worst, imo, was giving a victim of rape a ‘red flag’ that meant she couldn’t work with children due to her sexual immorality.

I think the glitzy facade and trendy songs which Hillsong have relied on in the past are going to crumble even further and they will be exposed as an abusive cult. I hope so anyway.

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/hillsong-students-share-stories-of-the-most-traumatic-years-of-their-life/news-story/dcccd6880b0cd9c240ae0ce5d3fcf355

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I hope so, too. They’ve been immune up on their glittery Jesus pedestal for far too long. 

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Mildly curious about Hailey Bieber's take on all of this. She notoriously votes Dem despite being from a conservative family and marrying young. They go to Hillsong and on the one hand I understand why, it's definitely compelling (totally guilty of owning a ton of their music) but at the same time you knew that it was at least as bad as Mars Hill, if not worse because of the scale. Hillsong is HUGE. And so many celebrities are at least loosely affiliated with it.

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21 hours ago, adidas said:

The worst, imo, was giving a victim of rape a ‘red flag’ that meant she couldn’t work with children due to her sexual immorality.

I think the glitzy facade and trendy songs which Hillsong have relied on in the past are going to crumble even further and they will be exposed as an abusive cult. I hope so anyway.

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/hillsong-students-share-stories-of-the-most-traumatic-years-of-their-life/news-story/dcccd6880b0cd9c240ae0ce5d3fcf355

Scratch away the sequins and there's always a layer of patriarchal asshattery underneath. 

Reed and Jess Bogard stepped down as leaders of the Dallas branch of Hillsong because of scandals and inappropriate behaviour. That particular branch has now been closed and it's not clear if it will reopen.

I wonder if the Houstons have already started squirrelling money away in anticipation of further closures.

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For anyone more familiar with the actual functioning of Hillsong, is there a type of caste structure, with special treatment and roles for celebrities, like in Scientology?

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On 4/21/2021 at 4:28 AM, Howl said:

For anyone more familiar with the actual functioning of Hillsong, is there a type of caste structure, with special treatment and roles for celebrities, like in Scientology?

Those at the top are untouchable so it wouldn’t surprise me if there were other levels of it, too. 

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20 minutes ago, Giraffe said:

Those at the top are untouchable so it wouldn’t surprise me if there were other levels of it, too. 

From a couple of the articles there is definitely a hierarchy among the volunteers - the more in favour you are the closer to the stage - and people were definitely being bumped in favour of higher ranking/more famous members.

On 4/17/2021 at 9:12 AM, Katzchen24 said:

wonder if the Houstons have already started squirrelling money away in anticipation of further closures

Doubt it - they have that much wealth I doubt the closures will register that much. 

I wish the ATO (and equivalents) would start taxing items being commercially sold by "churches" - items sold at cost to churches/temples/mosques/religious groups or by those groups for the purpose of religious ceremony I have no issue with being tax exempt but if you're selling CDs, books and conferences at commercial rates then I think you should be taxed as a business.

Edited by Ozlsn
Typos, always typos
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13 hours ago, Ozlsn said:

I wish the ATO (and equivalents) would start taxing items being commercially sold by "churches" - items sold at cost to churches/temples/mosques/religious groups or by those groups for the purpose of religious ceremony I have no issue with being tax exempt but if you're selling CDs, books and conferences at commercial rates then I think you should be taxed as a business.

I totally agree, but then the grifters will start claiming that reading their book ior attending their conference is a form of prayer or some bullshit like that and it counts as a religious ceremony.... I can only imagine the mental (and legal) gymnastics.

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5 hours ago, NQJasmine said:

I totally agree, but then the grifters will start claiming that reading their book ior attending their conference is a form of prayer or some bullshit like that and it counts as a religious ceremony.... I can only imagine the mental (and legal) gymnastics.

If they're making a profit, tax it. If they're a not-for-profit or a non-profit then they should be able to show that they have covered costs or everything has gone to charity - and if their charity is their church, fine, but their books are public and they can show that the money was spent for charitable purposes. If they are making a profit and their charity books are dodgy then a please explain from the ATO or IRS would help. If your charity is buying high end cars for pastors you need to be able to sufficiently justify it, more so if the pastor's children are also getting cars.

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They’re dropping like flies.  This one’s accused of sexting  a woman and she called him out on his “oops! I didn’t mean to send that to you!” 
https://people.com/human-interest/hillsong-pastor-darnell-barrett-quits-following-scandal-after-sharing-revealing-photos/

Edited by Giraffe
Plural of fly is flies, right?
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7 hours ago, Giraffe said:

They’re dropping like flies.  

I'm guessing not in the Jerry Falwell Jr sense of the term though.....!

How many more of these creeps have to be publicly exposed as creeps before people stop automatically treating them like demigods and hold them to account? It's infuriating. 

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SRSLY: "sharing revealing photos"? 

WTAF -- it's abusively exposing oneself -- visual assault.  Like, if a guy did it in public, he'd be arrested. 

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6 hours ago, Katzchen24 said:

I'm guessing not in the Jerry Falwell Jr sense of the term though.....!

How many more of these creeps have to be publicly exposed as creeps before people stop automatically treating them like demigods and hold them to account? It's infuriating. 

This is what I don’t get. At what point will people wake up and, instead of blaming the devil for working overtime, will finally place blame where it belongs - the institution of Hillsong itself! But no, this is just proving how godly the institution is by how many attacks there are from satan.

:5624797b0697e_headbash:

Edited by Giraffe
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5 hours ago, Giraffe said:

But no, this is just proving how godly the institution is by how many attacks there are from satan.

Yeah... nah. Satan doesn't need to do much to Hillsong to get them in trouble apparently.

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5 minutes ago, Ozlsn said:

Yeah... nah. Satan doesn't need to do much to Hillsong to get them in trouble apparently.

For sure. I just wish their supporters would admit that! 

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Unroll of a twitter thread by Kristin Rawls. 

I can't tell if there was sexual predation or abuse in any of these cases -- or if they all had consensual affairs.   It's a problem when your culture doesn't understand there's a difference between the two.  

Kristin Rawls is part of Christian Rightcast twitter, "In which @kristinrawls and @eaton explain the authoritarian American Christian Right to help you understand US politics today"  and also Christian Rightcast on substack here

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  • 1 month later...
14 minutes ago, Howl said:

The bit that really gets me is this:

According to Kimes, Lentz and his wife Laura addressed the harassment and abuse on two occasions: First in 2016, when they "blamed and silenced" her, and in 2017, when Lentz "took full responsibility for taking advantage of me."

"He said he’d thought about confessing to leadership, but after talking it through with his wife, they decided they didn’t have to because it wasn’t necessary, and we could just move on," Kimes wrote. "I was told that if his reputation was ruined, my reputation would be, too. He said his wife would come and talk to me about the boundaries we would have moving forward."

I am just amazed at the absolute bloody arrogance of it. Not particularly surprised that that is what they did, but the sheer arrogance of deciding it was nothing and they could all just "move on" - nothing quite says "I am striving to follow Christ's path" like that really.

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13 hours ago, Ozlsn said:

The bit that really gets me is this:

According to Kimes, Lentz and his wife Laura addressed the harassment and abuse on two occasions: First in 2016, when they "blamed and silenced" her, and in 2017, when Lentz "took full responsibility for taking advantage of me."

"He said he’d thought about confessing to leadership, but after talking it through with his wife, they decided they didn’t have to because it wasn’t necessary, and we could just move on," Kimes wrote. "I was told that if his reputation was ruined, my reputation would be, too. He said his wife would come and talk to me about the boundaries we would have moving forward."

I am just amazed at the absolute bloody arrogance of it. Not particularly surprised that that is what they did, but the sheer arrogance of deciding it was nothing and they could all just "move on" - nothing quite says "I am striving to follow Christ's path" like that really.

Sadly, many in power believe they are above all consequences and history has shown us that many have gotten away with horrible atrocities. (I know I am preaching to the choir.) Sadly, a person that needs the paycheck or reference for the next thing in their life is dependent on the abuser and the abuser knows it. It takes so much mental and physical strength (and often money) to stand up to the goliaths in the victims world. I am glad so many of these are being exposed. Sadly, we are still finding these issues out years after the events because of power difference between victim and abuser. :( 

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8 hours ago, quiversR4hunting said:

Sadly, many in power believe they are above all consequences and history has shown us that many have gotten away with horrible atrocities.

I am very curious as to how much the church leadership knew about Lenz before he was fired for "adultery". Also in these structures it's a pretty safe bet that if it's happening in New York and Sydney then you need to take a pretty hard look at every other church and listen to the gossip to get an idea of who you should be focusing on. I'd be surprised if no one in the church had heard rumours about Lenz before it all blew up.

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Meanwhile in Sydney Hillsong has lawyered up with crisis management lawyers after complaints about how they (mis)handled a 2016 sexual assault complaint (article is paywalled, quotes in spoiler)

Spoiler

Hillsong has brought in a high-powered firm of corporate lawyers specialising in crisis management in the wake of an indecent assault case at the church’s bible teaching and leadership college in Sydney.

The church is also dealing with what it calls a “lengthy” letter setting out concerns from current and former students of the college. The concerns relate to how Hillsong handled allegations made by a young international student, Anna Crenshaw, who was indecently assaulted at a 2016 gathering attended by Hillsong students and staff in Sydney’s northwest.

The church has switched to crisis-management mode following months of mishandling the allegation. In an email signed by Pastor Brian Houston and obtained by Inq, Hillsong’s senior executives have assured students that “we hear your concerns loud and clear”.

The church’s unprecedented action has come in response to claims from Crenshaw that the church did not take her allegations seriously at first, failed to provide proper care and had been slow to act after she informed a senior administrator of the assault, committed by Jason Mays. Mays is the son of a senior Hillsong employee who has worked with the family of pastor Brian Houston for more than 30 years.

Mays pleaded guilty to the assault at the beginning of last year and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond. Hillsong has since allowed him to return to work on the church’s staff as creative director at Hillsong’s music publishing arm. The decision to reinstate Mays was the breaking point for Crenshaw, who said she could no longer remain with the church. She has since moved to another bible college in Sydney.

Crenshaw, now aged 23, was only 20 years old when she reported the assault to Hillsong, a step which she found “scary” and “intimidating” as a young foreign student confronting a network of established relationships at the top of Hillsong.

She told Inq that she has since been contacted by more than half a dozen other young women from Hillsong campuses in Sydney, Melbourne and overseas with similar stories.

“They have left the church and most are too scared to say anything,” she said.

I can't say I'm particularly surprised that these allegations have surfaced, or that they were so poorly managed. I am kind of surprised that they let Mays return to work there - but he's (a) male, (b) high in the hierarchy, and (c) was obviously tempted, so how could it be his fault, right? /s

The fact that he pled guilty and was convicted is interesting though - there was obviously enough evidence to go to court (and that is not a given), and without knowing the specifics of the assault it has to have been serious enough for the victim to go to the police (also not a given, sigh).

I wonder how long before more allegations come out.

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Quote

Mays pleaded guilty to the assault at the beginning of last year and was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond. Hillsong has since allowed him to return to work on the church’s staff as creative director at Hillsong’s music publishing arm. The decision to reinstate Mays was the breaking point for Crenshaw, who said she could no longer remain with the church.

WTAF! When you welcome the perp back into the fold in a position  of any kind, no progress has been made, there is no awareness of what they did wrong, different day SAME SHIT.  

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On 6/3/2021 at 10:49 PM, Ozlsn said:

The bit that really gets me is this:

According to Kimes, Lentz and his wife Laura addressed the harassment and abuse on two occasions: First in 2016, when they "blamed and silenced" her, and in 2017, when Lentz "took full responsibility for taking advantage of me."

"He said he’d thought about confessing to leadership, but after talking it through with his wife, they decided they didn’t have to because it wasn’t necessary, and we could just move on," Kimes wrote. "I was told that if his reputation was ruined, my reputation would be, too. He said his wife would come and talk to me about the boundaries we would have moving forward."

I am just amazed at the absolute bloody arrogance of it. Not particularly surprised that that is what they did, but the sheer arrogance of deciding it was nothing and they could all just "move on" - nothing quite says "I am striving to follow Christ's path" like that really.

"The most important thing is that I never face any consequences for my actions, make any real amends, or take accountability. We can move on and nothing has to change! You were there too, I guess." - These people, every single time

28 minutes ago, Howl said:

WTAF! When you welcome the perp back into the fold in a position  of any kind, no progress has been made, there is no awareness of what they did wrong, different day SAME SHIT.  

Yes.

And like, I think giving people second chances is good, and that people should get the opportunity to atone for what they've done. But so often, they never really face consequences, or they haven't realy made amends, or things are arranged behind the backs of the people who were hurt or victimised. It's just badly handled

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So I have read more on this. Quick summary in spoiler - has some details:

Spoiler

* Anna Crenshaw is the daughter of Ed Crenshaw, who in turn brought in Boz Tchividjian. This was after the church seems to have dealt with the complaints by interviewing her multiple times after she made the complaint before taking 3 months to talk to Mays, and then no action past that for a further 2 months. Apparently they didn't think it was serious until she made a formal complaint to police four months after informing Hillsong. At that point they consulted lawyers.

*the church categorised it as "as a drunken hug gone wrong: “He was seated and leaned in to give Ms. Crenshaw a hug goodbye,” it noted. “As she stood up, he touched her inappropriately over her clothing.”" Crenshaw's statement to the church included "Jason grabbed me, putting his hand between my legs and his head on my stomach and began kissing my stomach. I felt his arms and hands wrapped around my legs making contact with my inner thigh, butt and crotch”. 

Um yeah. Those two statements are quite different, and "drunken hug" is not being described in the second.

*one of the other male students saw that Mays was drunk and being inappropriate (he had his hand on her leg, she was obviously uncomfortable) before this happened, and offered to drive her (and the other students) home. She stood up to leave and Mays grabbed her. This happened in public, at an evening event - she was seated next to Mays. To quote again:

Crenshaw told Inq that “the saddest part of the story” for her was that nothing would have happened to her attacker if she had not reported it — even though there had been several witnesses.

Not only that but a friend of May's asked her to keep quiet shortly afterwards because "he was a good guy" and "this was not normal behaviour for him". Mays claimed not to remember it the following day.

Oh yes, the "good guy" defense. Sigh.

*Margaret Aghajanian is head of pastoral care oversight and was apparently running this "internal investigation".  She is married to George Aghajanian, who has been Houston's business manager for a long time. So no conflict of interest there.

Mays pleaded guilty to "assault with an act of indecency", Hillsong has focused on the magistrate deciding not to record a conviction, which has more to do with a lack of previous legal system involvement and the ongoing issues around sexual assault cases - I am still pretty surprised it got to court in some ways, and that it did is a tribute to the courage and strength of Anna Crenshaw.

Two things really stood out to me about this. While alcohol is not forbidden in this group drunkenness - particularly to the level of being unable to remember things the following morning - is really frowned upon. That Mays could get so wasted at a Hillsong College sit down event surprises me. That he could do this in public, with his wife presumably also in attendance, with apparently no follow up by anyone also makes me wonder what else has happened. 

Secondly there is obviously no independent process for complaints against members of the church to be made internally. Which makes me wonder just how many other complaints are waiting in the wings, and why Hillsong is apparently hiring crisis management lawyers.

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8 minutes ago, Ozlsn said:

and why Hillsong is apparently hiring crisis management lawyers.

A crisis management crew on scene is evidence of issues raging out of control, i.e. threatening access to a) money and b) power. 

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  • Coconut Flan changed the title to Hillsong

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