Hillsong royalty Laura Toggs, who is the daughter of founder Brian Houston, has uploaded a lengthy Instagram rant directed at media who *dared* to report on the church’s dodgy youth camp. Because apparently reporting on potential breaches of public health orders is “unfair”.
Two weeks ago Hillsong’s youth camp came under fire after photos circulated of teens partying in what resembled a music festival with no masks in sight.
The images were met with outrage and media scrutiny because of a perceived double standard in the enforcement of public health orders, since at the same time clubs and bars had been banned from dancing.
Enter Laura Toggs, a pastor of Hillsong’s youth ministry, who has now uploaded a lengthy 15-minute video to Instagram slamming the media for apparently dragging Hillsong teens through the mud and turning them into a “national disgrace”, as if this wasn’t a consequence of their own actions.
She claimed that the Australian government gave Hillsong permission to hold the questionable event in private, but then “backflipped” when placed under “media pressure”.
It’s almost like part of the media’s job is to create public pressure that pushes the government into acting on their promises. In this case, not giving free passes to religious organisations to throw concerts while everyone else is under health restrictions.
“The world’s idea of right and wrong has gone completely mad, it’s warped,” Toggs said, defending the gathering of hundreds of teens as hardly a crime.
“We created a positive environment for fun, and for friendship. If you think about the last couple of years they’ve had to endure, the loneliness, the isolation… Is that really so terrible and newsworthy?” she said.
“To suggest that we are above the law and blatantly break the rules is unfair. It’s ludicrous.”
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She then went on to defend the camp by saying she was not aware of recent public health orders — an excuse that would not hold up in literally any other instance of breaking the law.
“I personally was not aware that rules had changed around music festivals,” she said.
“There was very little phone reception and I wasn’t aware of that change.”
She admitted that the music event was “unwise”, but thinks it should still be “forgivable”. And then, of course, she blamed the media for concocting this whole drama as if the photos didn’t speak for themselves.
Toggs claimed that this was never really about outrage around double standards at all, and that actually the media has a clear “agenda” to “drag Hillsong through the mud” and “destroy” its name, which she said was an “insult” to all Australians.
She then went on to describe Hillsong as comprised of “every day Australians” specifically, as if the Aussie nationality of Hillsong church-goers should make them more sympathetic than others. Lots to unpack here.
In an accompanying comment, Toggs continued to accuse the media of lies and said that prevailing with the truth is the Biblical way.
“I have watched the media willingly disregard any fairness for the sake of click-bait and to suit whatever profit they make off their agendas,” she wrote.
“It’s destroying peoples’ lives one cheap headline at a time and it’s heartbreaking to watch people believe the lies.”
“To keep bowing down to the media is essentially to allow them to continue to own the narrative around the world, above the truth. It is the most unwise thing you can do for your mind and soul. Defending truth is biblical,” she said.
“If you want to fill your mind and soul with junk then go ahead and buy into whatever [shit] they spoon feed you. But if you want truth to frame your heart and soul and mind, let the Bible be your source of wisdom and truth and guidance.”
Ah yes. Media reporting on public health breaches = evil. Hillsongers actually breaching the public health orders = forgivable. Classic.