Announced today, the founder of the Australian megachurch Hillsong, Brian Houston, will be stepping down. Announced in a message from the church’s board, they notified their audience that “Pastor Brian Houston has resigned as Global Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church and the board has accepted his resignation.” On Friday of last week, the board announced that there had been two complaints made against Houston, one “involved inappropriate text messages from Pastor Brian to a member of staff, which subsequently resulted in the staff member resigning.” The message clarifies that this occurred over a decade ago and that Houston was “as under the influence of sleeping tablets, upon which he had developed a dependence.” The next complaint, from 2019, “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.”
More Scandals at Hillsong
"I do not relish Brian Houston’s now imminent demise. But I have to point out that no anti-anxiety medication lists sexual harassment as a possible side effect." https://t.co/CVpdCfST4n
— Michael F. Bird (@mbird12) March 22, 2022
In January, Houston had stepped back from pastoral duties when he was charged for hiding information having to do with child sexual abuse, allegedly that was committed by his late father, Frank Houston. For all of these reasons, many were not surprised to see that Houston was resigning. But, that does not mean people were not angry and upset with this news. Many online were not only upset with Brian Houston, and the language that was used to defend his actions in both cases, many also found issues with Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister.
Hillsong blames Brian Houston's harm done to women on sleeping pills, anxiety medication, and alcohol.
Listen. I take anxiety medication. I drink.
I haven't made advances on people without consent. I haven't abused my power over someone.
Predators do that. Not medications.
— Julia (@thatlouddecon1) March 19, 2022
Morrison, who stated he did not have connections with Hillsong and had not even been to the church in 15 years, was called out, as there was evidence of him being at a Hillsong preference and photographed with both Brian Houston and his wife, Jen. This is not the first time the church has had a scandal, either, as they have also been accused of evading taxes in the past as well.
2019 – Morrison prayed at Hillsong conference with Jen, & Brian Houston on stage
2020- Morrison finally admits he sought White House invitation for Brian Houston
— Julia Banks (@juliahbanks) March 24, 2022
As stated earlier, the news of Brian Houston’s resignation did not come as a surprise to many, but several on Twitter tweeted their sadness and abuse of power when it comes to this megachurch, which does not only exist in Australia but in the United States as well. One person on Twitter commented that “Hillsong was always a Ponzi scheme. It has always been a scam and a lie.” Many also found it odd that Houston was not removed from his position, even temporarily, when it came out that he might have covered up a child’s abuse, creating even more anger and discomfort towards the situation.