Hillsong Church, currently holding its conference in Sydney—ft. Justin Bieber, no less—has locked horns with Channel Nine’s ‘A Current Affair’ overnight, following the program’s report on the Church and its patrons’ donations, titled ‘Hillsong Uncensored’.
Yesterday, former Hillsong member, now outspoken author and critic of the Hillsong Church, Tanya Levin, was reportedly arrested for trespassing, after taking part in an interview with ACA reporter Ben McCormack outside the conference venue – Allphones Arena at Sydney Olympic Park.
Levin’s spat with Hillsong Church has been ongoing for ten years – in 2005, the 43-year-old was banned from attending Hillsong events or setting foot on the Church’s premises, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
SMH reports that Levin didn’t believe she was “doing anything wrong” by being outside the conference’s entry – but was arrested by officers for trespassing shortly after her ACA interview, and a “brief conversation” with a young patron of the conference.
Hillsong uncensored!TOMORROW NIGHT on A Current Affair, what they’re NOT telling star recruit, Justin Bieber.#ACA9
Posted by A Current Affair on Tuesday, 30 June 2015
In a statement released last night, Hillsong criticised the ‘A Current Affair’ story and its reporters, saying,
“They [A Current Affair] have also been outside our conference today harassing minors in an unethical manner. Furthermore they have engaged in a cheap publicity stunt by bringing a so called “Hillsong insider” who has not been to our church for 20 years, to our conference today.”
In her interview with ‘A Current Affair’, Tanya Levin drew comparisons between the Church of Scientology and Hillsong Church, claiming that Justin Bieber’s appearance at the conference would bolster its mainstream popularity. “Just like in Scientology they’ve got Tom Cruise, now Hillsong has Justin Bieber,” Levin said.
Hillsong labelled the ACA report as a “grab for ratings” in their statement, urging patrons to tune out. The Church also branded ACA’s behaviour as “reprehensible” and the program as one that pushes their “anti-Christian agenda and hate“.
“We urge Christians and all who stand for truth in reporting to refuse to even watch or record this tabloid trash, and not give them the reward of ratings, because in the end this is no more than a grab for ratings.”