RIP Brian Houston
The founder of Hillsong Megachurch goes down in a ball of flames. Let's hope the church goes with him.
One of the most enjoyable games you can play with founders of Christian megachurches is seeing how long it takes for their leaders to be revealed as sex pests.
Such a game unfolded in a truly magnificent fashion over the weekend with Brian Houston, the leader of Hillsong church.
Hillsong was birthed in Australia in 1983 — the brainchild of Brian and his wife Bobbie. From there, the church got bigger — hitting megachurch status — before spreading to the United States, where it attracted celebrity members like Chris Pratt, Justin Bieber, and some Kardashians.
As I wrote about on Webworm last year, things started to go very south for Brian awhile ago.
His father Frank Houston was a pastor in New Zealand and Australia in the 60s and 70s. As well as preaching, Frank would routinely sexually abuse boys as well. In 1999, the mother of one of Frank’s victims reported the abuse to the Assemblies of God organisation.
Who was the National President of Assemblies of God in Australia back then? Brian Houston.
Legally, Brian needed to report that crime — but chose not to dob in his daddy.
That happened ages ago… but it finally caught up to Brian earlier this year:
Mr. Houston, 67, stepped away from all ministry duties in January. He declared at the time that he needed time to fight a criminal charge of concealing child sexual abuse that the Australian police say his late father, who was also a pastor, committed decades ago.
I mean — that was enough of a red flag in January, but of course the church kept doing its thing because they make millions of dollars in tithes — so they just kept calm and carried on.
Then Hillsong ran into another problem: Women started coming forward with stories of “inappropriate” behaviour from Brian.
This put the church in a tricky position. How to explain this behaviour away? Could they ignore talking about it, pretending like it didn’t exist like they had with Covid?
In this case, they chose to put out a press release over the weekend in which they blamed sleeping tablets:
“The first issue was approximately a decade ago and involved inappropriate text messages from Pastor Brian to a member of staff, which subsequently resulted in the staff member resigning.
At the time, Pastor Brian was under the influence of sleeping tablets, upon which he had developed a dependence. He immediately apologised to the person.
We also worked closely with Pastor Brian to ensure he received professional help to eliminate his dependency on this medication, and this was achieved successfully.”
What’s really interesting is that last bit:
“We also worked closely with Pastor Brian to ensure he received professional help to eliminate his dependency on this medication, and this was achieved successfully.”
I put that last bit in bold, because while they say “this was achieved successfully”, it appears it really wasn’t, as later in the press release it’s clear pastor Brian was back on his “medicated” bullshit in 2019:
“Following an in-depth investigation, it was found that Pastor Brian became disoriented after a session at the Hillsong Conference, following the consumption of anti-anxiety medication beyond the prescribed dose, mixed with alcohol.
This resulted in him knocking on the door of a hotel room that was not his, entering this room and spending time with the female occupant.”
“Spending time” is certainly an interesting phrase — but it’s the logic that gets me:
You can’t blame someone’s inappropriate behaviour on medication, then say that problem has been eliminated, then give another example of harassment a decade later in which you then blame medication again.
But then Hillsong — and their leadership — is deranged.
What makes this even more laughable is that Brian Houston’s wife, Bobbie, has been very vocal about how important it is to keep husband’s sexually satisfied.
In 2003, she released a series of CD audiobooks that church members could purchase. They were called “Kingdom Women Love And Value their Sexuality”:
In the tapes, Bobbie encouraged fellow Hillsong members to lose weight in order to keep men happy (for $22, postage not included):
“If I carry weight, I feel like a r—ard, how are you going to do anything to surprise your man when you need a hydraulic crane just to turn over in bed?”
Yes — fat shaming and a derogatory term for mental disability all in the one sentence. All class.
She went on to tell church members that plastic surgery was a good place to start:
“Have plastic surgery if it makes you feel better and it is for the right reasons, and girls, pelvic floor exercise — can you believe I am saying this? You know, I have heard that orgasm is not as strong if you are really sloppy in that area.
When it comes to personal hygiene and maintenance works, for example, get your teeth fixed, a mouth is supposed to be very desirable.
Bobbie Houston ended with a call to truth — “Without being lurid or untruthful; I have a great marriage and a great sex life” — which is, I assume, the same truth Hillsong church talked about over the weekend when explaining Brian Houston’s “inappropriate” behaviour:
“It is important that you hear from us, understand the truth, and have knowledge of the actions of the board during these times and the heart behind these actions.”
I think it’s less about the “heart” and more about Brian’s horny penis, the church’s deep seated misogyny, and their utter inability to explain the cause of the problem: Brian Houston.
It’s not alcohol. It’s not sleeping meds. It’s not anti-anxiety pills.
The cause of the alleged “inappropriate” behaviour is Brian Houston. And I’m couching my language lightly here, as Hillsong has a lot of lawyers, and a lot of money.
And Hillsong wants to keep that money flowing in, as that is literally all they care about: Money and control — with the narrative well and truly in the hands of men.
If you have any inside information on Hillsong or its counterparts, I am more than happy to hear from you, in confidence: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: I’ve emailed Hillsong’s PR team, seeking clarity:
Also — you can share this is you like: www.webworm.co/p/brianhouston