This latest sabre rattle from the Peebs is exactly what they should NOT be doing! They love to try and immediately discredit anyone who calls them out. Rather than discuss anissue intelligently, they come out fighting with their Queen's Counsels salivating over the potential fees they can charge them. Win or lose.
This latest attempt to sue people who call their actions into question is all about judgment. Or the lack of it. And for ten years now the issue has been about Bruce Hales' judgement. It is about his apparent lack of wisdom. And it has been glaringly inadequate from day one. This is a bloke who has taken his church on a wild ride, which many see as a departure from true Christianity and he has employed every measure to do it.
We saw his herculean efforts to come up to par in the doctrinal stakes in the first months. The thing that was lacking at this point was some element of humility and generosity of spirit. But Hales was having none of this. He was the new 'Elect Vessel and he wanted everyone to know it.
It started with the subservience he introduced into the church itself. Where people must all arrive ages before he does at church. Then they have to rise while he lopes in. And again they must do the same thing as he leaves. What rubbish!
Then Commercial Business Class was not good enough for the Man of God. He needed a Citation jet to fly him around the world at a cost of millions.
Then he figured that important people need body guards so he got some of those too. Worldly ones. Despite there never being a direct threat to him from anyone on this side of the fence. We might like to talk to the bloke but we would never harm him physically. So that's stupid. And obviously he doesn't trust God to protect him just as a side thought on this issue.
Then he introduced a new commercial 'system' to make the Brethren toe the line and forcibly embrace the idea of a giant conglomerate of monitored businesses and as a result, become highly successful.
Then he thought - I need a PR bloke - a spokesman! And he ran with a 27 year old Ex-Peeb, which was crazy on a number of levels. Not the least of which was that his running mate was a 'worldly' at the time - and they hate 'worldly' people. They say so. Now I commend Tony McCorkell for 'coming out' as it were and telling the truth about this. He was after all - the catalyst to what this is all about today. So I won't say a word against him. It took guts and I thank him for it. But what was going on with Bruce's wisdom here?
When issues like child molestation are hitting your church's fan, you need to stand up and speak up yourself Bruce. Not through some mouthpiece. Cardinal George Pell tried to do the same thing initially and it backfired massively.
The reason people who have been badly handled and even molested as children get so mad at the PBCC is because they won't talk. They'll sue you but they won't talk to you. How many past victims of these crimes has Bruce spoken topersonally? I haven't heard of any personally and he refuses to engage those that have advised him of these things, face to face. We know that he sent 'local leaders' to talk to victims in places like Albury and we know that the emphasis of these engagements was to get them to change their story. Read Michael Bachelard's book if you want to know what really happened there. Hales however, just deflects the issue and walks away. He's too important to deal with minor issues like this. Anyone who questions them or him is an 'opposer'. Funnily enough the Church of Scientology brands their enemies the same way as 'suppressives'.
So when a journalist sees these anomalies, his interest is aroused. He doesn't make it up. He researches and talks to people who have been badly treated by this so called church and a story unfolds in all its awfulness. The story of Dr Vernon Sealey for example, was one of the wickedest things any religious group could do to a human being. Especially a man who's life is underscored by benevolence and utter decency. And it's all in Michael Bachelard's book on the Brethren. As it should be. This church is an affront to human rights on so many levels. So when a Walkley Award winning journalist takes interest in them and writes about this, they immediately scream 'unfair' and 'untrue' and 'persecution'.
So what do the Brethren do. Their first response is to lie. To suggest that they are a whole lot of little autonomous assemblies without a leader or known clergy as such, is just a lie.
The latest salvo fired through a Mister Lloyd Grimshaw told The Newspaper, that "his church comprised assemblies, or congregations — each of which is an unincorporated association and autonomous in their functions”.
“It does not have clergy, religious brothers or sisters or any appointed ministers,” Mr Grimshaw said. “Instead, the PBCC is essentially comprised of families who come together in local congregations known as ‘assemblies’ to worship together,” he said.
This is absolute rubbish and a very poor argument. What Grimshaw would have you believe by saying this is 'there has been no cover up from the PBCC as a church, of child molestation cases - because the church does not operate as a church with an overseeing body, but a whole lot of little churches all round the world who are all totally independent. They don't even have any priests or any appointed ministers. This is an outright lie and can be disproven in a heartbeat simply by reading their own ministry. To say they don't have leading brothers telling the rest of them what to do is a complete falsehood. And to say they don't have ONE leader telling everyone what to do - is plain wicked. They do. Let's be clear here. Nothing of any importance happens in this church without the express permission of Mister Bruce Hales.
They are all beholden to the 'Man of God' as he is known andalways have been. That's the fact. If an assembly operated autonomously, it would be withdrawn from on the spot. Be honest! It actually happened after a previous Man of God was found to have compromised the integrity of their church. Several 'small assemblies' spoke out against this and were withdrawn from on the spot. Hundreds and hundreds of people. Why is it that they have a rule book that has Bruce Hales' determinations on everything possible, from the length of their hair to their clothing to the way they run their businesses to morals and music? I have a copy of it! If what they say is true, then surely each assembly would determine its own values and rules. He now even oversees their businesses. There is nothing in their lives that doesn't have his hands all over it. He even sells them their computers and mobile phones.
But the sleight of hand does not end there. We know for a fact that Bruce Hales sent Tony McCorkell to New Zealand to 'fix up' the latest child molestation cases over there. Effectively he wanted it all hosed down and he thought a PR man could do it. His stupidity is mind blowing in this instance. Not Tony McC's fault- he was just doing what his 'boss' wanted. It wasafter all, his job at the time. What Hales should have done - was get into his personal Jet and hightail it over there himself. He should have sat down and tried to gain understanding of the enormity of wrong that had been done to these people and try to put it right in some way. But not Hales. If you are a victim of this wickedness - and have dared to complain about it, you must therefore be an 'Opposer' and not worthy of compassion. Which underwrites just about every response you get from the PBCC when things don't go their way.
These people have treated other people appallingly and they think that is perfectly acceptable behaviour. And they will threaten to sue you if you dare call them on it. They love suing people.
This latest strategy might just provide the spotlight they have dreaded though. The article says -"Statements of claim filed last week in the NSW Supreme Court indicate the church is effectively daring Fairfax (Media) to prove it engaged in an institutional cover-up of child sexual abuse." Well if the truth about the botched NZ interface is any indication, that is exactly what will be uncovered. It was an attempted institutional cover up! Nothing is more crisply apparent. If I were Bruce Hales - I would be hunkering down and not saying a word. But as they suggest, Bruce Hales, although masterminding the attempted covering up exercise in New Zealand, has nothing to do with it. Who sent Tony McCorkellto 'fix' the problem?
Let's also look at some real facts. In recent times, two Brethren men in Australia and NZ have been found guilty in a court of law of child molestation of the vilest kind. One even helped run their schools. And Hales supported him until the bitter end when he had to realise that the bloke was exactly what the court said he was. But they tried to get his victims to change their stories to deflect some of the heat. How wicked is that. These people don't care about the victims of child molesters. They couldn't care less. Just as long as the 'position' is protected. The 'position' is their church. They even welcomed back the NZ offender as soon as he finished his jail sentence. But not his victims. They are reviled because they dared to complain.
But our Mister Grimshaw who is doing all this without the knowledge of Mister Hales ( he would have you believe) is "concerned that Bachelard is not interested in reporting the truth about our small conservative Christian church”.Michael Bachelard does not write lies Mister Grimshaw. Journalists live by a code of ethics in telling well researched truth or they get sued. It is drummed into every journalist from their first day. And every article and his book on the PBCC was researched within an inch of its life.
What the Brethren are in fact doing here is trying to protect their government funding for their schools. And their rates exemptions on their halls. They don't want to lose the tens of millions of dollars that 'worldly' taxpayers gift them worldwide. Historically, they do everything in their power to negate and dilute any criticism and this growing imputation that they as an institution - meaning from the top man down - seek to pour doubt and distrust on these cases of child molestation, by saying that it is a malicious attack on their 'community', is as wicked and unjust a response as they can possibly conceive.
"But other imputations are wide-ranging. If upheld, they could prevent Fairfax and Bachelard from stating in future that the church discourages victims of child sex abuse from speaking out and gives priority to protecting its assets ahead of protecting victims of child abuse."
The Brethren are used to getting their way. They throw enough legal muscle at everything to get what they want. But I do want this to go to court, because these people need a lesson in accepting the truth. They need to understand that what they have been doing is unacceptable. They need to be made to tell the truth and not lies. And above all, they need to stop hurting people. And the first thing they need to do is to stop approaching every question about them as being a lie and an attack on their way of life. Start looking at the facts - and start believing that evil has and does exist among you. That Mister Hales would be the wisest thing to do.