Two days ago, Neil Erikson (renowned Australian right-wing activist, publicity stunt actor, and general gadfly to police, commies, and mainstream media) attended the West Hawthorn Uniting Church, which waves a rainbow flag at its door (at least it did on this night) and preaches that the Christian God approves of gay marriage, and that because the triune Godhead can be expressed as masculine (Father), feminine (Holy Spirit), and child (Son), then therefore God is essentially trans, and maybe even female sometimes, and that God made us in his image, which is… you guessed it: trans. 😂
Neil attended with Dia Beltran, who is a fellow YouTube content creator and a personal friend of mine. Dia is a practising Christian. Neil is (evidently) not a practising Christian, though I don’t doubt he values orthodox Christian values in others. You can watch what happened in his video (if it doesn’t get removed):
I started to do a live stream today that was going to be a commentary on this incident, but due to tech errors I had to abort after a short time. It gave me a little time to think more about what I wanted to say and to have a long phone conversation with Dia about her involvement. I won’t recommence the live stream on this subject. This will be my only writing on the matter, hopefully.
It was exactly as I suspected; Dia thought they were going to film the (most definitely heretical) sermon and critique it afterwards, or get involved in some mutually consensual discussion. She didn’t think Neil was going to jump up and start using foul defamatory language and imprecise slogans to interrupt a privately hosted community group.
While I totally agree that the Uniting Church has abandoned the orthodoxy in favour of social justice, and the sermon itself being preached was ridiculous, and I agree that these views should be exposed, and thoroughly debated and debunked, the manner in which Neil approached it was ill-prepared, completely devoid of syllogistic or theological argument, and given all that he could muster as a verbal argument in that moment was “youse aren’t Christians”, he had to resort to raising his voice, using provocative slurs, and then refusing to leave when asked.
Dia reported to me that she was subsequently fired from her job, because activists (presumably from the political left) targeted her workplace with demands for her dismissal over this incident. I empathise with the employer. When the mob is baying for blood, you have a bottom line to consider. Not every businessperson is ready to be crucified. While the employer made their self-interested choice, and the mob won, it was ultimately Dia who lost here, at the knowing expense of Neil Erikson. Do we really expect he didn’t think this behaviour and his cheerful introduction of Dia at the start of the stream wouldn’t drag her into the inevitable backlash? If he didn’t realise, he should have. Either way, Erikson demonstrates once again that he is capable of just about anything if a camera is rolling.
Even the most vehement defender of free speech can see in this video that what Neil did was more akin to a home invasion than a public debate. No, Neil doesn’t have a right to show up at people’s private residences of places of business, or rented community spaces (in a Church or anywhere else) and pretend to be a curious and well-meaning listener, only to (6 minutes into the sermon) stand up, hijack the event, and start calling the attendants despicable names because he didn’t take the time to study up and offer a cogent theological argument. But that’s not what Neil appears to be about. He’s all about the spectacle. Whatever gets the outrage Likes and Shares, perhaps.
It wasn’t too far into the past that I heard from a distressed mutual friend that my dear friend and brother in Christ, Dave Pellowe, had been set upon at his private family home in the middle of the night by Neil and some of his mates for the purpose of starting up such a “debate” as the one we see in this stream (though it was about a business matter in this instance, I believe). Understandably, the Pellowes felt quite violated. I was later bewildered to see that Neil had filmed and posted the home invasion online! I remember my first thought being (and bear in mind that this was the first time I’d ever heard of Neil Erikson) that this guy must WANT to get arrested.
In this live stream from the church incident, which at time of writing is still being publicly displayed on Neil’s Senator Slayer YouTube channel, it is clear that Neil believes he has a right to be there. That being asked to leave doesn’t apply to him. Because… free speech? He also seems to believe he is the genuine victim of assault, when (as he claims, though it is not shown in the video) he is punched or shoved by one of the church attendees. Perhaps Neil doesn’t realise that if you refuse to leave a private space when asked, you are already committing a crime and using your body and voice as a disruption to a space into which you were not invited. Neil’s lucky they were Christians. He likely wouldn’t do that inside a Mosque, I suspect (not without a large gang of men and camera crew with him).
Some of what Neil has done in the past has been of value. And we will always need those slightly crazy (i.e. high in trait disagreeableness, low in politeness, and highly open to experience) men and women at the edge of the Overton window pushing outward, and trolling the masters, so the rest of us can enjoy greater freedom from tyranny. But this church-invasion debacle is simply not the Australian way. Moral arguments aside, disgust with the corruption of Christian doctrine aside, and the immeasurable detriment the social justice movement has been to our society aside, this stunt succeeded at neither the thorough exposure of heretical doctrine being preached, nor at stirring any significant outrage at the foolishly misguided souls in that church. The only real outrage was caused by Neil.
He frightened these people. They probably didn’t know him, or what he does. He looked poised for violence. He was belligerent, calling them “cucks” when they turned their backs in a manner obviously intended as threats. They were probably afraid he was demon possessed. And for what? To embarrass them on YouTube. Sad.
It wasn’t even genuine outrage at what they were preaching. He planned to make a scene, and as he declared outside before entering the church, his main ambition was to get a chance to speak. It was all a big IRL trolling.
It could have been a fine exposé if Neil hadn’t jumped the shark. Imagine if he had let the speaker finish, then in question time asked some hard questions back, and presented some solid and hard-to-argue-with Biblical reasoning. Hell, Neil could have simply quoted Genesis 1:27 and dropped the mic!
So God created mankind in his own image,Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
It was an ill-considered and ugly stunt, not unlike many others Neil has done, and although I vehemently agree with Neil’s right to debate and protest and speak in a public space, this was not in a public space, and it served no purpose for his cause or anyone’s. If anything, this will garner more sympathy from the atheist radical left towards the “Christian” radical left.
All that aside (Neil and the spectacles he causes are more amusing to me than anything usually), the most important thing to me is my friend, Dia, who like many of us is prone to make bad judgements of character and intent, and as such occasions herself into the way of drama and scandal, but is also someone from whom I have never witnessed an iota of malice, and from whom I regularly witness genuine humility. This error of judgement has cost her her job, and perhaps that’s a just cost in God’s view, that is not for me to say. But I believe that she has already (and can continue to) learn from this.
Many on the right in Australia have been enamoured with Neil Erikson and his stunts, but given that my first impression of him was as a home invader against a friend of mine (over a matter that they apparently later resolved with words, thanks to the mighty courage that Christ puts into Dave Pellowe and his outstanding capacity for forgiveness), I have always looked at Neil with suspicion. I’ve never met Neil, I don’t know him, have never interacted with him, but I have seen enough of his videos to get a sense of him. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I don’t think he’s reprehensible, though he has done some reprehensible things. I think he’ll be on the right side of history with many of the things that he stands for. But it is evident that he is impulsive, and perhaps a little more concerned with reactive publicity and garnering outrage than carefully campaigning to expose and critique the horrors and depravity that are so abundant in our culture and law right now.
So, to Neil (if you read this), I hope that you can cool off for a while and consider what your plan is, and what you’re doing it for, and how best to serve the higher cause of our country for which you hold such love and patriotism. Yes, wrong ideas need to be beaten to a pulp, but only figuratively, with words. Nobody has a right to force anyone else into a debate. If you allow your enemy no retreat, you will exhaust your own resources needlessly, and gain no ground. And you don’t have a right to show up on other people’s property or at other people’s events uninvited, and stink up the joint. If someone asks you to leave, learn to be a gentleman, and leave. It’s pretty simple. In a public space, Fed square or the like, go for gold mate! We pay taxes and rates to maintain such places so that you can exercise your right to annoy, cajole, ridicule, and criticise any public person or group you like. More power to you when you do. Just don’t take a dump on other folks’ lawns!
I don’t like participating in gossip, but public actions demand public criticism. This is not an attempt to start a new fight, nor make an enemy, but rather to try and offer some calm and balanced criticism that might help everyone involved in future. Normally I don’t get involved in this kind of stuff at all, but when a real (and unplanned) decision is being made by grown man that leaves a woman they call a friend without employment, it’s probably time to speak up.
I hope Neil can reflect on this incident with some humility, learn the inherent lesson (as Dia appears to have), and continue to push the boundaries, without destroying all bridges in the process.
Around the precise moment I finished writing this article, I was directed to an additional video by Neil on the matter, which appears to be self-explanatory. I’ll only add this: Neil is admitting explicitly that he can’t be trusted, and I think we should take him on his word.
The response from Neil…
17th March 2019
Following my above post criticising Neil Erikson’s action at the gay church recently, he asked for the opportunity to air his grievances with my article on The Uncuckables, and we had a very spirited conversation to try and sort it out last night. Not the last conversation, I’m sure. I think it went well. Hopefully folks can draw some value from it one way or the other.
James Fox Higgins is an author, blogger, podcaster, musician, and social commentator who believes firmly in the power of wisdom, truth, courage, and historical/political literacy, and above all else, CHRIST to transform your ability to not merely cope with the depredations of the fallen world, but to also revel in the adventure of life in Creation! War is coming; face it smiling.