“I got a legal threat from Brian. My original Facebook article on Hillsong was pulled.”
Source: Steve West, ByDialogue with a former Believer who renounced Faith in God, Christian-Faith.com, http://www.christian-faith.com/dialogue-with-a-former-believer-who-renounced-faith-in-god/, Published 30/05/2013. (Accessed 2/06/2015.)
BRIAN HOUSTON: THE BULLY
The question is often asked why we remain anonymous. This article shows what happens to those who ask too many questions publically. Quite a while ago, we looked at Steve West (formerly involved in ministry at Hillsong) and how the Australian media exposed the problematic behaviour found in Hillsong and its leadership.
What came out of this media saga are the personal responses from other high profile Hillsong leaders:
In Aghajanian’s response above George stated,
“This matter has been referred to our solicitors and any decision we make going forward will be made after prayerful consideration.”
We also found that Brian Houston of Hillsong tweeted back in 2010 the following:
Have been talking to lawyers
Source: Brian Houston, Twitter, https://twitter.com/brianchouston/status/19724455742, 1:05 AM – 28 Jul 2010. (Accessd 15/05/2015.)
What did Brian Houston hope to achieve by publicly tweeting this? Is this as an act of intimidation towards Steve West?
We recently came across this letter that Steve West received from Hillsong’s lawyers back in 2010. The articles that Houston has personally responded to in the letter are the articles we have posted from Steve West (listed above).
The letters reads,
Mr. Steve West
HILLSONG CHURCH & BRIAN HOUSTON
We act for Hillsong Church and Pastor Brian Houston.
Our client has referred us to Facebook postings lodged by you and in particular a posting made on 9 July 2010 at 11.45 pm. That posting has prompted significant further chartroom dialogue from others.
In very broad terms the 9 July posting by you contains allegations that:
1. Hillsong loses half of its membership every five years;
2. The Hillsong culture is one of intolerance and it behaves in an un-Christian manner;
3. Hillsong is exploitative of its members of its Church;
4. Brian Houston personally profits from gifts by members of the Church to it in a dishonest and improper way;
5. Hillsong is dishonest about its financial dealings;
6. The dishonesty practice by Hillsong Church is deep and systematic;
7. Brian Houston behaves deceptively in statements he makes as the leader of Hillsong;
8. Hillsong “dupes” people;
9. Hillsong is a “con”.
The allegations contained in your post are defamatory of both Hillsong and Pastor Houston. The allegations are extremely serious as they contend that both Hillsong Church and Pastor Houston behave dishonestly and disreputably in their conduct.
Adding to the damage suffered by the making of the allegations alone is the repetition of them in chatroom discussions by other visitors to your Facebook page. The very content of your posting prompts the further defamation of our clients effectively at your request.
Further, we understand that you have been speaking to media organizations in relation to Hillsong and that in part you have repeated some of the allegations contained in your blog posting.
The allegations referred to above are all false as we are instructed. We understand that the material posted by you has prompted further publication of allegations in media outlets in relations to our clients. These further publications are at least in part based on the matters set out by you. Your conduct in the publication of these false allegations has prompted further false matters to be published by media organizations.
Our clients have suffered and continue to suffer significant reputational damage from the post made by you.
We are instructed that both Hillsong and Pastor Houston do not seek to censor or otherwise limit you making observations or criticisms about Hillsong, the Church, the principles it espouses and its conduct generally. Hillsong and Pastor Houston acknowledge your right to disagree with the Church and its followers.
However, both Hillsong and Pastor Houston do not accept the publication of false allegations about them by you in the terms set out above or at all.
We request on behalf of our clients that you immediately withdraw the post of 14 July 2010 and to the extent possible remove any further reference to that post in any response you have received on your Facebook page so that none of this material is available on the internet or at all.
Further, our clients instructs us to demand that you refrain from repeating these allegations in the future. You should not repeat these allegations either in matter you post on the web or in any interview or conversation you have with a journalist or member of the media.
Again, our client does not seek that you make no further comment about Hillsong or Pastor Houston, but that you make comments that are factually accurate and do not contain false allegations.
Whilst our clients reserve their rights in relation to the matters published by you in the past, they have instructed us to send this letter in the expectation that you act appropriately in the future after having these matters brought to your attention.
If you have any questions or require further information please do not hesitate to contact Damian Ward on 61 2 8289 5862 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9