For much of the past year, Brian Houston, the founder and global senior pastor of Hillsong Church, an evangelical megachurch with a number of affiliates worldwide, has been dealing with scandal after scandal. There were the “moral failures” of hipster pastor Carl Lentz of their New York affiliate. And the financial and leadership failures of Reed and Jess Bogard of their Dallas affiliate. And the recent COVID-related death of a church member who happened to be an anti-vaxxer.
But this time, the scandal centers around Houston himself.
Today, police in Sydney, Australia (where Houston is from) arrested him on charges that Houston concealed child sexual abuse that he knew about.
“Police will allege in court the man (Houston) knew information relating to the sexual abuse of a young male in the 1970s and failed to bring that information to the attention of police,” police said.
Houston, 67, suggested the charges related to allegations that his preacher father, Frank Houston, had abused a boy over several years in the 1970s.
The inquiry found that Houston became aware of allegations against his father in 1999 and allowed him to retire quietly rather report him to police. His father confessed to the abuse before he died in 2004 at age 82.
Corruption runs in the family, apparently.
The sad thing is that it’s not news that a prominent religious leader covered up abuse rather than report it and damage the credibility of his name, his church, or his faith. It would’ve been far more surprising to learn Houston did the responsible thing. But you can’t expect church leaders to take the moral route. They don’t deserve that assumption of decency.
Houston is scheduled to appear in court on October 5 to address these charges.
(Thanks to everyone for the link)