So, this happened today. Hillsong founder, Brian Houston was charged by the NSW Police over concealing child sex offences in the 1970’s. The child sex offences that Houston is alleged to have covered up relate to his father, Frank. It is alleged that Frank Houston had a thing for young boys. In fact, he has admitted to it.
I do wonder what Jesus would have thought. “Let the children come to me and do not stop them…” (Matthew 19:14) perhaps? I’ve often wondered whether that was the Christian justification.
Hillsong believes in Creationism and thinks it should be taught in schools. Hillsong does not believe in abortion because it thinks life begins at conception. Paedophilia though? That, it might appear, can be condoned.
There’s a lot of singing and clapping and general good times in a Hillsong church. In fact, most of their money seems to come from the sale of albums. Not that I have a problem with that. At least you actually get something for your money rather than the usual evangelical prayers for $100 that suckers buy in the US.
Not that Brian Houston and his family live without vast piles of money. Tax exemption for the church means the accountants can ensure that the church leaders maintain a lavish lifestyle.
Along with the child abuse, this is something else I don’t understand. How do people who believe in Jesus and his charity and goodness, justify the leaders of their church being ridiculously wealthy off the back of the church? Not just Hillsong or other evangelicals, that also goes for the established churches of Rome and England.
According to bible.org, money and church is a thorny subject. Steven J Cole wrote in 2017 that the money thing is something that a lot of ‘non-churchgoers’ complain about. He says there are some bad eggs but, basically, a church needs finances in order to function. And, if you really think about it, paying for prayers is probably the most honourable thing they do.
Let me explain my reasoning.
One of the main tenants of any religion is talking to whatever god is being worshipped. The job of a pastor or priest or vicar or pope or whatever, is to serve as an intermediary between the praying and the prayed to. The church official is there to guide the brethren in the correct way to talk to god.
So, given that’s their job, it only stands to reason that, as a service, it should be paid for. And the price? Well, that’s whatever the person is willing (or coerced) to pay.
However, there can be no such justification for child abuse. By anyone. But it’s worse when it’s someone who preaches a perceived holy word.
The Catholics get the worst press, but they continue to ignore the cries of the little children and their parents. This piece in the Guardian from 2019, for instance, shows how pathetic god’s man on earth is when it comes to protecting kids.
But it’s not just Catholics and Hillsong. This piece from last year shows that if you are a vicar with the Church of England, all you have to do is express a bit of remorse and swear not to do it again and all will be okay. You even get to keep working with children.
I guess the thing that really surprises me is how religious people, the ones that attend church services and profess to believe in the supernatural, don’t seem to mind that their children, without any choice in the matter themselves, are sent along on the path to possible abuse.
Still, I am (and always will be) a confirmed atheist and can’t hope to understand how these things work. Though, I do know that abusing a child is not a good thing and should be punishable in this life and not the imaginary one coming after.
On the other hand, what people do with their money is their own business, no matter how stupid they are. As someone said a very long time ago: “A fool and his money are soon parted.” I guess the fools are just living up to expectations.