From the 'Fairfield Kid' today:
I am quite incensed at two things in the wake of this latest disclosure. Not that there was any great news in Tony's'coming out' and his decision to simply tell the truth about the way that the PBCC ducks and weaves when the subject of paedophiles in their midst raises its ugly head.
The thing that is at stake here is credibility. Their first instinct- their first reaction is not to treat this awful matter seriously,but to enlist another of their professional bullshit artists (Tony's successor) to come up with a rebuttal that highlights their charitable gifts including the dollar amounts. I know plenty of true philanthropists who have given to people and organisations most of their lives and they never - NEVER - reveal any dollar amounts. It's crude. It's rude and decent people don't do it. But the Brethren do. Which is funny given that it is a most recent development in their course of history,having been expressly forbidden to give to charity for 50 years or more. It's almost as rude as them paying donations to political parties. And then refusing to vote. If you don't vote because God picks our leaders Mister Hales as you say he does, then let him! Don't try and strengthen his hand with your hundreds of thousands of dollars for political campaigns, to parties you feel will treat the Brethren better.
But here's the thing. Many, many people in what is now the PBCC were horribly abused as children - generally by an older person in the church. This has scarred them for life. I know. I was one of them. And Hales won't even sit down, have a discussion with them, ask how he can help them to move on and offer to do something by way of retribution for these sins. Not Bruce. No- he listens to the stories of some girls who were abused in New Zealand for example, and all he can think about is getting the evil bastard who committed these crimes back into church after he finishes his jail term. He's welcome. The girls? Who cares.
Worse- he sends a 27 year old spin doctor - a disaster mitigation wiz-kid (apparently) from Sydney to 'sort it out'. Which he couldn't. Not his fault. It was Bruce's fault for even having the audacity to suggest such a thing. What immaturity. What a lack of vision. What a complete lack of judgment.
The inference has always been with cases like this - to question the child deeply, but not the perpetrator. Is the child to be believed? Probably not. Can we talk the child around to convincing them that they may have made it all up? Can we get them to put it in writing to cover our behinds?
It is not the Brethren's fault that they have bad eggs in their midst. They - like every other walk of life are a slice of society. So there are creeps in the mix. They will have wife abusers. And their most hated of 'evil perverts' - homosexuals - albeit probably latent. And they have paedophiles in their church. It's a fact. We had them in the localities I circulated within as a child. There was one fellow who was a screaming cottager. Look it up. That's what he confessed to numerous times. Couldn't stay away from public toilets. And they forgave him and when the next purge came around, there he was again confessing to the same old stuff. He was attracted to the porcelain and there was nothing anyone could do about it. He died 'IN'. Search me? I don't understand it. And then the Brethren get all twitchy about Governments supporting Gay marriage. Homosexuals may be loathed in the PBCC but they don't seem to be as worried about paedophiles going by this latest response. The abusers of their children.
If there is one sin that is completely unforgiveable today - unforgiveable in any era - it is the sexual abuse of a child. Children don't know what is going on. They don't like it. It's horrible because generally the people who do this stuff make threats when they have finished. Vile threats. Trust me I know. And in the case I have experience in, most of the kids went quiet and have not said a word about it to this day. They are so repulsed - so violated- that they do not even want to relive the details. They don't want to relive the horror.
And what did the Brethren do about it? Well they threw the paedophile I knew about, out. And then they sent the kids to their bedrooms 'to think about their sins.' Heartless bastards! They looked sideways at them in church. They made snide remarks. And this is a caring loving environment? Stop it!
I'm going to give Hales some good advice that Haslem won't give him - because there's no money in it for him. What about Bruce- you put the hundreds of thousands of dollars you pay your PR consultants towards counselling and justice for those who have been violated in your Brethren world. What about you come out and make a statement. An honest statement that doesn't waffle on about your silly charity which hands out hot dogs and bibles and sings to people in Nursing homes. Let's just address the bad stuff here and stop putting lipstick on it. Say - We acknowledge that this sort of behaviour has gone on in our midst and it seems, we were powerless to stop it. But we want to try and put things right. We want to provide help and support. We want to redress the evil that has gone on before. We are deeply sorry that this has happened. We are more vigilant today about this type of evil and we will not tolerate it for a second. We will do everything in our power to protect our children and anyone else who is being abused in our group. How's that for starters?
I can confidently tell the PBCC that approaching this thing as arrogantly as they have, will not auger well with any commission. You can protect your position all you like, but all you are doing in front of the real commissioners is digging a grave for yourselves. Commissioners don't care for your 'position.' As missionary based as it might be, it won't cut the mustard with them.
Why don't you come to the front of the pack Mister Hales and talk like a man. You are not illiterate. You are supposed to be a religious luminary. So act like one and tell it like it is. It can only count in your favour if you do. You don't need the Ben Haslem's of this world to craft your rebuttals. You can do it. All you have to do is to be honest. And have some compassion. That's what is lacking here. Compassion. And from a group of people like the EB's, that is something you should have in spades. Can you see where I am going with this?
So what's it to be. The position or your bottoms? If Ben Haslem gives the answer, we will know.