A Current Affair reports that a photo shows that Prime Minister Scott Morrison “was a guest of honour alongside C3 founder Phil Pringle and pastor Anthony Shalala at the opening of a new church in 2016.” That’s not surprising. You know what would be surprising? If Scott Morrison wasn’t somehow associated with a weird Christian cult. That would be hard to believe.
The “church,” according to A Current Affair, paid the late Shalala $300,000 to leave after he was accused of sexual misconduct by a number of women. Asked about the payment and whether his accusers were paid any money, C3 said it had no comment.
Like all pseudo-religious organizations, C3 is a money-making machine. Most of that money goes directly to its founder, Phil Pringle, who reportedly uses donations to finance a lavish and decadent lifestyle.
One former member who is now homeless spoke to A Current Affair about her experience with Pringle’s org. She characterized its approach to homelessness as follows:
“If you’re a poor person, you’re basically not trying enough, you need more faith, you just gotta get back up and pray about it.”
Sounds like standard capitalist talking points, minus the praying (which will definitely help you get off the streets).
Praying is also an effective treatment for mental health issues, according to C3 doctrine. The same former member, who joined when she was 15, said she suffered from extreme anxiety and panic attacks and has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia. C3’s prescription was prayer and a “deliverance” ritual in which a pastor extracted the anxiety from her person. C3 also ordered her off her medication, which a professional psychiatrist condemned in no uncertain terms.
“I cannot stress enough that it is extremely dangerous for someone to tell someone who’s prescribed medication to stop their medication,” Dr. Mark Cross told A Current Affair.
For its part C3 denies the medication claim, with a spokesperson saying:
“We have clear policies in this area which are never to advise people to change any medication without clearance from their doctor. If any staff member provided advice contrary to our policies he or she would be counselled and trained to more appropriately manage such a situation in the future.”
Either way, these are Morrison’s kind of people. A comforting thought.