In what I believe is a clever piece of marketing, Teen Challenge Tasmania Inc. (TCT) gives the appearance of being independent of any church but their attachment to the Assemblies of God (Australian Christian Churches) is indisputable.
Fortunately for them, donors appear not to have checked, anxious to believe their money will be spent on something that they think will fix a problem for which someone else is taking responsibility. Few may want to knowingly fund the Assemblies of God (AoG) ... such an extremist, fundamentalist religious faction who view drug use and homosexuality as a sin, cured by complete devotion to their version of God; and who teach creationism.
Individuals may succumb to the heart-rending appeals for money. Government certainly has. The Tasmanian Community Fund and the Department of Health and Human Services have granted TCT about $400,000 over the past seven years. More may follow. Funds have been granted for the TCT conversion centre at Ellendale, which in my view is camouflaged as a drug rehabilitation centre for men.
There must be a risk that similar funding will be provided to other religious extremist cults who happen to offer even the slightest hint of community benefit while improving their roll call.
While there is a vacuum in services for drug rehabilitation, particularly in Tasmania, it is incredible that the only choice is between conversion, imprisonment or death.
The Four Corners program of Sept 12, 2016, warned that private rehabilitation centres operate without regulation or checking. Rehabilitation experts agree that a successful rehabilitation program must be run by licensed, well-trained mental health professionals and addiction specialists.
There should be a collective sigh of relief at the recent announcement that Federal funding for drug rehabilitation has been delayed pending investigation.
Even if donations decline, there is always Centrelink. Entrants to the TCT programs, the “Home of Hope” for instance, like many private rehabs, pay 85% of their allowance plus any rental allowance plus $1500 per adult and $100 for each child (of the mother). So the taxpayer funds what I believe is the indoctrination and conversion to AoG principles. They do this in America, too, so it must be a Good Thing for Australia to copy. Hmmm, maybe better to keep it quiet and claim the treatment offered at the centres is non-denominational.
*Brian Hillman “brought my well-baked hide over from Western Australia about 3 years ago with the now-evaporated idea of retirement. In WA, I was a full-time agricultural adviser before becoming a full-time father. I do not like being forced into any religious organisation or lied to by them, any Council or political party but I confess to being impressed by Jesus’ example. Unfortunately, most of what I see is Krystyanity – something barely recognisable and of little connection to Christianity.”
EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...