Hello. I’ve been super reluctant to write about the recent Australian election win by Hillsong devotee, Scott Morrison because my knowledge of politics is not sophisticated. I can’t handle office politics, much less the Australian voting system. But yesterday, Fairfax announced that “Religion was the sleeper issue we didn’t see coming.” In it, the writer describes the PM’s use of the term “Burn for you” is a part of modern Pentecostal jargon, whereas my sources, all of whom are well connected, long standing members of this denomination, say they’ve never heard of it.
The information that is coming out is slow and inadequate and incorrect. The Conversation published a lightly analytical piece about ‘Pentecostalists’, demonstrating the overall lack of understanding out there of who these people are with no insight into what this will mean for Australia over the next 3 years and beyond.
So, I’m going to have an unsophisticated political stab at outlining some ways he ended up in office and how his beliefs will impact Australia. Religion was never a sleeper issue. For Scott Morrison and his supporters, it’s the only issue, and there won’t be any compromising when it comes to God’s will.
SO HOW DID HE WIN OFFICE?
My mechanic, a devout Baptist whose wife has friends in Hillsong, says his wife’s auntie is friends with Jenny Morrison. (true story), Scott’s long-suffering wife. Apparently, Scott called Jenny at lunchtime one day and told her to get a nice dress ready because the leadership was up for grabs and he could be it. Apparently, Scott Morrison was not expecting to win the job last year.
But you can absolutely guarantee that from the moment he did, every single Pentecostal Christian in the country, including the Prime Minister of Australia himself, believed that God had put him there for divine reasons. Romans in the Christian bible says “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. “
Scott Morrison doesn’t think that God made him Prime Minister. He knows it.
There’s no doubt that Labor’s candidate, the generally non-charismatic Bill Shorten, made the campaign a lot easier for the PM. He’s not alone. The unlikeability of the Left’s offerings is appearing to be universal. In Shorten’s case, the death of the man he’d hoped was his predecessor, Bob Hawke, two days before the election may well of backfired due to the onslaught of modern righteousness. The comparison of Labor’s two union boss philanderers with the high school sweetheart middle-class devotion that the Morrisons offered served to strengthen the cleanskin appeal of the latter. In the age of Tinder, the Morrison family stereotype, with their first and only marriage, weird Christian beliefs or not, is harder to come by than ever.
In his maiden speech to Parliament in 2008, which will get closer examination, Morrison thanks various supporters before redirecting his audience.
I turn now to the most significant influences on my life—my family and my faith. He goes on to say that he has “been greatly assisted by the pastoral work of many dedicated church leaders, in particular the Reverend Ray Green and pastors Brian Houston and Leigh Coleman. My personal faith in Jesus Christ is not a political agenda.” While all three men need closer examination, the now Global Senior Brian Houston of Hillsong Church is the man to watch.
Global Brian is visionary who has always wanted for Hillsong to take over the world. From the moment having his self-described prodigy in the Lodge was a possibility, every resource would have been provided to him, every strategist, ever marketing idea, all tax free care of Hillsong. This was Brian’s opportunity to shine brighter than ever before, and finally get the political influence and power he so desperately craves, no matter how much he says otherwise.
16 years ago, though, there was a different election of popularity in Australia. It was the first Australian Idol, and Hillsongers were all over it. Gospel is where a lot of the great voices are found or made and Hillsong is so named after its music conference. Their amateurs are professionals by virtue of the training they get with world class music studios and arenas.
The first winner in 2003 was Guy Sebastian, a former member of Paradise Community Church now known as the Influencers Church. Yes, really. It used to be independently run by the Evans family, one of the only previous competitors for Pentecostal greatness in Australia, but is now known as a ‘Hillsong family church’. Sources recounted Paradise’s pastor being chained to Sebastian, who had immediately become the poster boy for evangelical success. With enough hard work, an out and proud Pentecostal could make it in the big world of showbiz.
Sebastian managed to extract, distance, and untangle himself from the movement by 2012, apparently distressed about gay rights and feeling alienated from the belief system, a smart career move for an artist wanting greater reach. He’s not too alienated to speak at Hillsong seminars as late as 2 years ago though. Probably something to do with being all things to all men.
Hillsong was accused of inundating Australian Idol and catapulting Sebastian to success by encouraging congregants to spam the text-message method of voting. Hillsong denied it, of course, and even threatened to sue when they were accused again in 2007; and in 2009 when two of the contestants were from Scott Morrison’s own church, it definitely wasn’t true then either.
Did Hillsong have the power to determine those Australia-wide elections? There’s no proof, but it was concerning enough for the producers to deny it as well. Every time.
Sebastian’s former church, Influencers is run by Pastor Ashley Evans, son of Pastor Andrew Evans, who was elected to the Upper House from 2002-2008 for the Family First party. And it was Ashley Evans who sent an election-Eve email out to Pentecostal members urging them to
"Please pray for Scott Morrison and our Prime Minister as 2 Timothy tells us to and vote like your freedom depends on it."
It’s 1 Timothy, but whatever, and it’s in order “to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”, not because a vote for Labor or the Greens was "the next step in the assault against the Church, Christianity, and Christians in Australia", as the pastor states.
This is a beautiful example of how this religion works. The Christian bible serves as a prop to further their own belief system which may or may not resemble Christianity as you know it. The speaker asserts their agenda, they find a bible verse to back it up and claim that it came from God and this is how Scott Morrison will enact policies with some legislation and numbers to back it up.
As the stories start to filter in about churches doing favours for local councils, families moving to support Morrison’s efforts, and statistics show who voted why, according to Fairfax: Pundits identify correlations and overlaps between the seats that swung heavily to the Coalition in Queensland and western Sydney, the census data showing higher than average rates of religious affiliation and the electorates that registered significant “no” votes in the same-sex marriage plebiscite, it’s clear this was NEVER a sleeper issue.
Hillsong has replicated like a virus around the world. The practice of “church planting” is an evangelical method of ‘branch stacking’. Sending people into targeted locations to infiltrate the local community with the religion of Hillsong and other Assemblies of God churches (if there are any left) is an age-old technique to boost numbers and take over towns purposefully.
Why would there be any doubt that Hillsong would enact the old formula for a challenge like the Prime Minister’s Office?
Just over a month ago, Global Brian’s son Joel’s band, Hillsong United, debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard charts. Out of all genres, not just “Christian music”. Sales of books and albums have always been dubious, as it is traditional for mega churches to buy billions of copies and give them away, which still count as bestsellers. You can’t go to a Hillsong conference without being thrown a Houston book, and it’s not because they want you to read them.
I was also told by a former ARIA employee that Hillsong had been accused of infiltrating ARIA charts in Australia the same way and by strategically placing their people in staff positions to wriggle with the numbers. But who knows?
Below is our old favourite, Sometimes Pastor/Sometimes Wealth Coach, Mr Millionaire Mindset, Pastor Pat Mesiti, who seems to be very interested in church of late, which happens every time he gets a new wife. He was one of the original pastors at the church that became Hillsong, until Global Brian threw him out for bad behaviour. Poor Pat has been left out of the loop again, celebrating ScoMo’s win on Instagram, but wondering why he wasn’t told about the support of the nation’s pastors. He couldn’t see them, because most of the work was happening behind the scenes. Seems odd that even though Global Brian and Mr Millionaire Pat have known each other for more than 35 years, but they communicate ideas via Instagram.
So, just to be clear, even though Scott Morrison preached at Planetshakers, Ashley Evans’s brother Russell’s church in Melbourne, and Ashley instructed his Adelaide based people how to vote, and Pat is confused as to why the pastors weren’t campaigning in solidarity when it seemed so obvious to him whose side they’re all on, Brian insists “we are not called to be politicians.” Just so that all the leaders he has placed around the nations are aware.
I mean, except for the time he urged everyone in Hillsong not to vote for same-sex marriage. Or the time he stated that he won’t be changing his opinions in light of the new laws. Apart from when he’s interested, he’s completely neutral. Apart from that time when future PM Morrison preached at Hillsong, and former Liberal PM, Tony Abbott was beamed in on Anzac Day. Or when former PM John Howard was there. just visiting and the time he opened their new centre right after the Bali bombings.
Apart from those kinds of little things, Hillsong and Global Brian have NOTHING to do with anything political.
Politics is celebrity for the ugly and Global Brian wants no part of that. But if the history of Hillsong is anything to go by, the Prime Minister’s election win was just the beginning of a thinly-veiled Australian Pentecostal theocracy in the makings.
This election had nothing to do with franking credits and everything to do with Hillsong and the willingness to sacrifice whatever is required to spread the message of Brian Houston that Hillsong is the answer.
And that their contestant for Australian Idol is the only one worth voting for.