Peter Farthing from the Salvation Army has replied to my request for a meeting, but is attempting to have me agree to have this meeting after the current Case Study 10 hearings are over and at my home.
This is not acceptable.
I hope my email reply just sent to Mr Farthing demonstrates why. If it doesn’t, I’m happy to elaborate upon my reasons and to explain further why I insist on meeting when and how I have specified – this week, in Sydney, with my representatives (who are in Sydney) present.
“Nice try, Peter.
I’m not as bright as my father was, but I’m not that stupid.
You’re just waiting for the media spotlight to go off the Salvos, and you want me alone without all my Sydney supporters around me.
Much the same as you got my Dad alone and without legal representation when you screwed him over after two years of abusive legal manoeuvres from your sharp-practice lawyers that broke him down first before you swanned in playing Mr Nice Guy with your disgustingly pitiful payment to him. A payment only made when the Salvos started feeling the heat from the fallout from the first airing of The Homies. A payment made to a man your organisation instilled with low expectations and low self-esteem. A payment made to a lonely man pitifully grateful for a drop of kindness. A payment made to a man in a desperate position with no other choice but to take the crumbs you threw at him. A payment made to a man so ridiculously gracious in his disposition that he felt, for years, that he couldn’t publicly criticise you because he’d welcomed you into his home as a guest.
No. We meet this week, with as many people as I decide need to be present, including anyone from the media who might be interested in the matter.
It won’t take up too much of your precious time. What I have to say is short and to the point. You, however, can talk as long as you like. I’m easy on that front.
In the meantime, I would like to thank the many people who have sent messages of support and who have been signing and promoting the petition, or writing to the Salvation Army expressing their feelings. Your support means a lot to me. I hope that it will mean that the Salvation Army has to stop treating other people with contempt too, and start acting towards people in the spirit of the Christian values it claims to hold. The suffering of so many has to end now.
In that regard, I have posted below the text of a few emails sent by supporters to the world head of the Salvation Army, Andre Cox, and other Salvation Army heads, that have been greatly encouraging in demonstrating to me that people not directly affected by the matter CAN see the injustice in the way the Salvation Army is treating Home victims and their families, and feel strongly about it.
In the interests of protecting the privacy of these people, I have omitted their email addresses and names. I have received permission from the author of the first email to post it in this form on this blog. The other two do not reveal the identities of the authors in any way.
I hope that for others who are fighting the same fight as I am that these emails give you some heart as well. People DO care about Salvation Army Homes victims and their families. People ARE upset about how they are being treated. And they ARE speaking out.
1. Email Subject Line: An Appeal to the General of the Salvation Army For Justice For Abuse Survivors
“My dear General Andre Cox: I am writing to you as a fellow Christian grandparent and out of respect for the memory of my early mentor and one-time law partner, William J. Moss, who served The Salvation Army very effectively and with integrity as principal USA legal counsel for almost a half century at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York. While I left Cadwalader almost three decades ago, am currently retired and have not had dealings with the Army in almost four decades, other than as a contributor, I have good memories of my work with New York Colonels Schramm and Marshall on a major Booth Memorial Hospital construction financing project. I even got to meet then your predecessor as General.
Mr. Moss was, as I am, Catholic grandparent; hence, he like I, would have been appalled at the priest child abuse and cover-up crisis. This abuse crisis has most recently apparently compelled the Pope to remove Cardinal Pell from Australia. It evidently has also necessitated that the local Catholic hierarchy finally begin to treat Australian priest abuse survivors justly and compassionately as fellow Christians. I infer the Pope is trying to save the hierarchical Catholic Church from sinking further, if not completely, in Australia. It may be too little too late.
I tried futilely four years ago to warn the then ex-Pope that he must face the abuse crisis honestly and justly. He seemingly wouldn’t listen and, in effect, was forced to resign a year ago, as I predicted two years previously he would.
It appears to me that The Salvation Army’s leaders are sliding down the same slippery slope as Pell’s Catholic hierarchy. The Royal Commission will be ongoing for several more years. It is inconceivable to me how The Salvation Army can prosper longer term with its hard-nosed and unChristian approach to deserving survivors applied by some of the same officers who failed in the first place to follow Jesus’ and General Booth’s clear mandates and inspirational examples.
As a fellow Christian and an experienced lawyer, I urge you to take a deep breathe, think harder and reverse course. It is time to bite the bullet, do the right thing and cut your future direct costs in litigation expenses and indirect losses in terms of reduced future contributions. The Army’s only real chance of recovering at this point is by following Jesus’ Gospel message that Salvationists so tirelessly preach.
As openers, I hope you direct your local officers to reach a fair settlement promptly with the family of Lewis Blayse. His daughter, Aletha, in particular, is as determined and as smart as her father was, and also has a solid legal background. If her family were treated fairly, she could become an asset in obtaining a comprehensive, just and cost-effective settlement with all survivors. If her family is not treated fairly, I have little doubt she will at least indirectly end of costing the Army much more in higher legal expenses and worldwide reputational costs than it would have cost the Army to settle fairly with her family.
Since I learned much as a younger lawyer from Mr. Moss, I have little doubt he would join in my above views. He, like me, would be doubly deeply disappointed that the Army first permitted these obscenities against children to occur and then compounded them by treating deserving survivors and their injured families so coldly and unjustly. Somehow. I cannot imagine that General Booth would have stood for this for a minute, and neither should you, General Cox.”
2. Email Subject Line: Moral Responsibility
“[M]y parents always had a an especial good word for the Salvos and donated within their humble means. My father especially as I remember, which is interesting, him being a devout atheist who had little time for hypocrisy of any sort from religious organizations. He would roll over in his grave at the cruelty and cynicism shown by the Salvos in dealing with Lewis & others’ compensation claims. I hope that the negative sentiment towards you generated by the royal commission creates enough groundswell to destroy the Salvation Army as a dispenser of social services. And stop telling your critics that you will pray for them; it is disgustingly patronizing, cowardly and abhorrent.”
3. Email Subject Line: Deliver Justice to Lewis Blayse and His Family
“The Salvation Army “brand” currently enjoys a great reputation world-wide. Your brand is extremely vulnerable.
It appears that there is no point in the victims of the Salvation Armies shocking child abuse appealing to Christian values. Tragically, the actions of the exiting Salvation Army’s Australian business leaders have demonstrated this is a fruitless exercise.
General Cox, from a commercial standpoint it makes perfect commercial/business sense for you to get involved in this particular case. Contact Aletha Blayse and discuss with her how you can ensure her family is fully compensated for the decades of pain and suffering caused by former and existing members of the Salvation Army.
They do not want prayers from any members of the Salvation Army when the Salvation Army have been proven guilty of raping, torturing and abusing so many vulnerable children for so long.
They want and deserve immediate and full compensation.
The Salvos “brand” will be destroyed if the truth is exposed – especially how the Salvation Army is currently working so hard to cover up instead of compensating its victims.
The Salvation Army brand is extremely vulnerable.
Contact Aletha Blayse … BEFORE it is destroyed.”
[Postscript: Today (Tuesday), the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will resume public hearings into the Salvation Army. Last Thursday, terrible stories about the Salvation Army and its treatment of victims and attitudes towards abusers were told publicly (see links below) that are already a damning indictment of the organisation. And there are still two more weeks to go. If you would like to offer moral support to the brave people who have and who will continue to come forward and tell the truth about the Salvation Army and what they’ve endured at its hands, you might like to jump on the Royal Commission’s facebook site (https://www.facebook.com/CARoyalComm) and say how you feel. Witnesses should know that people care.]
Read more here:
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION: HELP OBTAIN JUSTICE FOR LEWIS BLAYSE FROM THE SALVATION ARMY.