Honest thoughts on the CSA Crisis within the 2x2s

By a former believer and Christian

“I’ve been a judge for a long time, I’m on my 38 year. I’m never ceased to be amazed what some people do in the name of religion”. Those were the opening words of Californian judge Ronald S. Coen, that handed down a 16-year term (16 years is way too short) to Pastor Naasón Joaquín García for 3 counts of Child Sexual Abuse. The judge continues “As for the family members that have abandoned the Jane Doe’s. Shame, shame on you.”

These words have been reverberating through my head, like a never-ending sustaining cymbal. I listened to a survivor’s testimony which was the hardest 19 minutes and 25 seconds that I have had to hear. Speaking to the court she wept, screamed in utter pain, and sobbed. While Garcia sat there, motionless with earbuds in his ears. 

She spoke about how she was forced go to a prayer meeting for her abuser by her parents and kneel and pray for Garcia. The survivor spoke about how her mother blamed her for the abuse and the fact that the predator was going to jail for his crimes. She spoke about how her mum gave little to no care for the abuse she suffered. And after all that the church which García pastors, the congregants said, “we will wait for you”.  When I heard those words in an article I read on the case, I just thought to myself “I’m barely surprised”.

My first exposure to the level of abuse was in 2018-19 when 60 minutes released a video about the abuse within the 2x2s in Sydney Australia. Hearing the abuse that Allan Kitto covered up, the person who I thought was a man of God and who I said once “if I can have half of his faith, I would be happy”, who I professed through, had his ugly laundry put out to the world for everyone to see.

I remember the apology tour, where the local workers, one of them I grew up with, went around and lied to me and said it was the only case. Ever since then as I talk with others, as I expose myself to uncomfortable reality of the 2x2s, it was far from the only case. I have never stopped being amazed by the level of disregard from the people I once considered “servants of God”. These people who I saw as the moral arbiters and tried to show themselves as such, was hiding the ugly reality that they are abusers and enablers. 

And I hate to say it, I’m numb, I’m just numb to it all. Now when I see a person in power of a church or religious organisation, I think to myself “what are they are hiding?” “Have they hidden anything horrendous from their congregation?” I remember growing up in the 2x2s and in Christian school, I was taught to be an example of Jesus, to be kind to people to, always loving people and taking care of people. But what I have seen within the church is anything but the love of Jesus.  It is where abusers are protected, and victims are kept quiet.

I’m reminded of a person in Hillsong Church that I knew and went to my school that was charged with sexual assault of a Hillsong College student. This predator lead worship at my school, was seen an upcoming leader for God, he was the prefect captain of my school. He was representing my school that was “building the Kingdom of God”. He was admired by my school community as a Godly person. Then I found out about the sexual assault case, and I just thought to myself “I’m barely surprised”. 

One day I spoke to another person from the abuser’s grade. I asked the individual what they thought of the abuser and the aftermath. I heard the same old excuse, the same old euphemisms. “We all fall short! We all sin! We all live in a fallen world!” When I heard the excuses, I wanted to puke. These euphemisms don’t do anything to lessen the harm, instead they protect the abuser and give the abuser a way out, by blaming their actions on a concept that is known as “sin”. What I haven’t mentioned is that the abuser was rehired by Hillsong and then promoted and now is in a position of power. 

As someone who left the faith for a multitude of reasons and now considers themselves an agnostic atheist, I don’t call out these workers, elders, and perpetrators because I’m angry at God. I call these people out because I’m sick and tired of these perpetrators getting a free pass while the survivors of their abuse must live with the mental and physical scars that was inflicted on them. This is the legacy that the 2x2s will leave behind. A legacy of sexual abuse. A legacy of coverups. Stop using euphemisms to cover up the abuse that was done by perpetrators in your religion.  It is not an issue of sin; it is not falling short; It’s not because of fallen world. It’s a crime.

Alex Chew
Written on the 10th February 2023, but thought about in 2018