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2 hours ago, Howl said:

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

There's a new article on that (again paywalled), dot point summary in spoiler.

Spoiler

* they've engaged international law firm Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan to conduct an independent review of how they handled the case.

*this was after a petition from Hillsong College students about how the case was handled. Hillsong responded with an email in April saying they were launching the investigation

*Mays got a 24 month good behaviour bond and was re-employed about 12 months into that

*Also in April The Christian Post published an article (not paywalled) about the assault. Houston then published - and later deleted - the following tweet:

 “A number of things in the article are factually wrong, but abuse is NEVER OK. My understanding is Anna was originally abused in her father’s church in Pennsylvania. That makes it sadder. Whether abuse happens in Pennsylvania or Australia, it’s tragic.

Crenshaw's father saved and republished it, Houston apologised for including information about the prior abuse. I have no idea if that information was in the public domain before that or not.

*Hillsong has made no apology to Crenshaw about how the matter was handled.

I think at least part of it is now flat out personal in that Brian Houston feels attacked by Ed Crenshaw, and part of that comes down to this statement in The Christian Post article:

Her father, Pastor Crenshaw, contends that the focus on the East Coast scandals under Lentz has taken the spotlight off what he sees as a broader problem in how the denomination, in general, has handled abuse.

“They’ve developed a habit of self-protection. And, I think, when it comes to dealing with somebody like my daughter who had an accusation against the son of Hillsong’s top HR guy, and she reports it to the wife of Hillsong’s chairman of the board … that they tend to slip into self-protection mode, and I think they are still in that,” the Pennsylvania pastor said.

“Even with their comments about HR changes and how they dropped the ball … It gives too much blame to Carl Lentz and doesn’t take responsibility for how, in their own situation, they have failed victims, even going back to the victims of Frank Houston,” Crenshaw told CP.

That tweet response was lashing back at Ed Crenshaw, and (why am I not surprised?) using his daughter to do it.

The Christian Post article is quite interesting, and goes into more detail. Again, dot point summaries in spoiler:

Spoiler

*May's wife wasn't present at the time, and didn't find out about the allegations until quite late in the piece, ie after the charges were filed. Three months after Crenshaw had made the complaint to Hillsong, and apparently before they had spoken to Mays (and before the police charges were filed), they moved his wife to a position where she was leading the volunteer team Crenshaw was with. That there is a total dick move, I'm sorry. 

*Crenshaw dropped down to one volunteering session per month at the church. After his wife went to a service she was volunteering at Mays called the police to report that she was harassing his family.  Crenshaw raised it with the pastoral care team and was basically told "how do you think Jason and his wife feel?"

*At a recent Hillsong Church staff meeting, a clip of which has been reviewed by CP, Houston explained that Mays was kept on staff because “the Lord has forgiven Jason,” and he is just not a “sexual predator.”

I had to quote that bit because... wow.

*apparently this is because Mays diligently adhered to the conditions of his good behaviour bond, and served a 12 month suspension from any role at Hillsong. The good behaviour bond hasn't finished yet I think.

*Crenshaw doesn't feel that he has expressed any remorse, not least due to him challenging her story (about an incident he allegedly can't remember). Hillsong did talk to other people who were present, and apparently their stories matched hers.

This feels like it could get messy.

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9 hours ago, Ozlsn said:

*At a recent Hillsong Church staff meeting, a clip of which has been reviewed by CP, Houston explained that Mays was kept on staff because “the Lord has forgiven Jason,” and he is just not a “sexual predator.”

I had to quote that bit because... wow.

@Ozlsn, thanks for this summary. These people are horrible.  Hillsong is just a cesspool of evil. 

This "Jesus forgives him" BS is the get-out-of-jail-free card (literally, for this guy) for so so many white Xtian male abusers/predators. 

 

 

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I'd be fine with the Jesus forgives him part if he actually had showed remorse through his actions. He apparently hasn't apologised to Crenshaw (my husband pointed out that this would leave him open to civil liability, which is true - but even so), he hasn't been open about it in the church - the whole thing feels like it was treated as a "Oh he was drunk, not his fault, boys will be boys" incident, which it shouldn't have been. (I'm curious if she could have sued Hillsong College over providing an unsafe environment actually given it appears to have been an official event). 

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Posted (edited)

Another church/ministry/denomination retaining a law firm for a so-called "independent" investigation. That's not independent. If you want independent, you get an organization like GRACE that has experience with abuse, and then you promise to make the results public come what may. Retaining a law firm to do it ensures you can control the dissemination of the results, the PR spin they're given, etc. It's an act that says you're looking out for the organization, not the victims (past and potential-future).

Edited by Antipatriarch
clearer wording
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  • 1 month later...

This is off topic, but it concerns Hillsong church.

Stephen Harmon, 34, was against being vaccinated for Corona virus. He tweeted about not deliberately not getting the vaccine. He got COVID and he died. Here is an article about him.

From the article:

Quote

Harmon was a graduate of Hillson College and attended Hillsong Church in Los Angeles. In an Instagram post, Hillsong founder Brian Houston called Harmon one of the most generous people.

In a written statement provided to CBS Los Angeles, Houston said:

Quote

“The death of Stephen Harmon was a sad day for those who knew him and called him a friend. Any loss of life is a moment to mourn and offer support to those who are suffering and so our heartfelt prayers are with his family and those who loved him. As a church, our focus is on the spiritual well-being of the people in each of our local communities. On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors. While many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals.”

 

 

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A healthy anti-vaxx congregant got COVID and died.  He probably infected others before crossing the rainbow bridge.  

St. George at the pearly gates: "What the actual f**k, Stephen."

The Hillsong statement was obviously crafted by corporate (lawyers + PR = damage control)

Using creative editing to convey a common sense message: 

"As a church, our focus is on the spiritual well-being of the people in each of our local communities. On any medical issue, We strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors. to get vaccinatedWhile Many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Going forward,  only those who have been vaccinated may attend in person services and other activities and events sponsored by the church.  we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals.”

This was a missed opportunity by Hillsong, based on this twitter thread.  The poster uses sociology research to explain how respected leaders can influence their followers, to, for instance, get vaccinated. 

Unroll of this thread: As news stories drop about COVID+ pandemic deniers & anti-vaxxers ranting defiantly from ICU beds, let's review what fraud research suggests abt the responsibility we should attribute to them for their condition & the ms they send.

Edited by Howl
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On the same note, this one came across my Twitter feed the other day. It's so sad, and so senseless! I know we are politically hyper-polarized in this country, but I can't believe masks and vaccinations became a tribal marker.

 

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  • Coconut Flan changed the title to Hillsong
22 hours ago, gustava said:

Even after young parishioner dies of covid, Hillsong supports choice for vax and dying dude rejects idea of vax 'cuz.....Biden.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/24/us/hillsong-church-stephen-harmon-covid-vaccine/index.html

I really wonder if it's different in Sydney and other non-US churches because frankly Biden and Trump don't have the political influence here, and our PM - who is a member of Hillsong Sydney - is encouraging people to get vaccinated. Brian Houston, as nominal leader, and the other leaders need to pull their heads out and risk a split by actually leading. Getting vaccinated, loudly and publicly. Encouraging their congregation to protect the vulnerable (which is everyone, but it might help some of the Hillsong BroDudes if they can frame it as them protecting the weak, rather than being protected.) I really liked the thread linked above, because it showed a way forward that might help to get past this ridiculous politicization.

Also I put up the screenshots of Harmon's tweets  in the Covidiot thread in Quiverful of Coronavirus - they are both frustrating and very sad. Why does Hillsong attract and promote these BroDudes?

Edited by Ozlsn
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Brian and Bobbie Houston preached in Mexico and the USA.

Normally I wouldn't care. But at at time when you need to get a permit to leave Australia, and a permit to return I am wondering why "preaching" is considered an essential enough reason. And the answer is of course because they're managing a business. You can preach remotely, but checking the books is easier in person.

Given that we still have roughly 34,000 Australians and permanent residents who are trying to get flights and spaces in the quarantine system to return home I am fine with them going to the end of the queue, and waiting 2-3 years to return.

Except you can bet they'll be home next month, and that is really annoying me.

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  • 2 weeks later...
4 hours ago, haras1972 said:

finally, charges filed for historical coverup of his fathers abuse. Will he return to Australia?? 

Australia can extradite from the US...does Brian Houston have dual Australian/US citizenship?

 

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11 minutes ago, Howl said:

Australia can extradite from the US...does Brian Houston have dual Australian/US citizenship?

Not sure if he has dual nationality - quite possibly not US/Australian, but something else. Certainly might explain some of the activity around Hillsong recently, I'll be interested to know what comes next. 

Also seriously - I am so glad charges were filed. Even if they don't get to court - and they may well not, depending on what happens - they are a clear precedent.

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  • 1 month later...

Brian Houston quits Hillsong boards, will remain "global pastor".

He's due to face court in Sydney on October 5th over allegations of failing to inform police when he became aware of historical child sexual abuse allegations against his father, Frank Houston. 

"Records show Mr Houston, 67, stepped down as company director on August 17. A fortnight later, Stephen Crouch, an existing board member and husband of pastor Donna Crouch, was appointed director, according to records lodged with ASIC one week ago.

The Corporations Act forbids anyone from being a company director if they are convicted of a crime involving dishonesty that carries a jail term longer than three months. Under the NSW Crimes Act, the maximum penalty for concealment is five years’ imprisonment."

Interesting. Wonder whether that will change the direction of the church at all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Something I didn't know until about half an hour ago and just thought I'd mention........

I'm currently dog (and house)-sitting for someone who has Foxtel. I haven't seen Foxtel since forever (it's a ludicrously overpriced streaming service available in Australia and I suspect the homeowners have it for the Sports channels). Anyway, turns out Hillsong has a channel that is available in the Foxtel Plus package. I think Plus is the entry level package, which means everyone who gets Foxtel will get it. I do wonder what is going on behind the scenes to make this a thing. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Unsurprisingly, Brian Houston is pleading 'not guilty' to the charges against him. He didn't appear in court.

LInk to Guardian article.

Court listing details below spoiler.

Spoiler

 

1620524644_ScreenShot2021-10-08at6_41_09pm.thumb.png.fa71c84c1f9ff49c16dd44f02341aa3e.png

 

 

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Good thought short article over at the Guardian by what seems to be a specialist religious reporter, she points out that a lot of what has made Hillsong numerically successful is the formula of finding charismatic younger leaders and then giving them a mostly free rein with the results we are now seeing.

She's fairly pessimistic about the future: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/03/in-reckoning-with-its-demons-hillsong-will-be-forced-to-move-away-from-what-made-it-powerful

Quote

A more bureaucratic Hillsong makes it ripe for disruption from competitors – after all, it plants churches in large cosmopolitan cities and is competing against a host of other churches, both in person and online.

Alternatively, Hillsong may turn away from reform and oversight. Houston’s church is all about the good vibes, but at the same time it lives in an evangelical media ecosystem which feeds on conspiracy and feels increasingly under attack by secular forces around it.

 

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