Open Letter to Fred Nile about bullying Charlotte Dawson

Dear Mr Nile,

I was disgusted to open Facebook this morning and see your post linking Charlotte Dawson’s death to her decision to have a termination. In your original post you said:

“Many I am sure are now aware of the tragic ending to Charlotte Dawson. It highlights how depression and self-harm can affect anyone.

Left unmentioned in many obituaries, is the poignant story faced by Charlotte in 1999. Charlotte Dawson revealed in her autobiography how she aborted her child with swimmer Scott Miller because he didn’t want any distractions in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics.”

The conflict between your two statements is problematic; on the one hand you are saying that ‘depression and self-harm can affect anyone” but then you immediately follow this with a statement which implies you believe Ms Dawson’s suicide was a direct result of her decision to have a termination. So you are not saying this can happen to anyone, instead that this tragedy was self-inflicted.

I commented on your post stating that this was an inappropriate time for this discussion and that it showed a lack of empathy and compassion. I also said that ‘Christian’ behaviour like this was what drove me away from organised religion. You chose to remove my comment while leaving intact comments like Shirley Braggs’s who said “Who made her a victim? She made the decision to allow her husband’s lack of humanity and utter selfishness to dictate her decision to murder her child”, Brenden Connelly’s “Murder then self murder” and Viola Espinosa Moran’s “The word ‘bully’ is used so loosely now a days [sic], it’s ridiculous […] the problem is people getting overly sensitive to just about anything. Any opinions are hate speech?…Get over it!”

Since you choose to remove my dissenting comments on your Facebook post I am writing to you here to ask why you think it is appropriate to continue the bullying of Charlotte Dawson after her tragic death.

Your post linking her suicide to a termination that she spoke about in an autobiography is untimely, unfair and a disgusting example of everything that is wrong with your ‘faith’. It demonstrates a lack of humanity, empathy and understanding of mental illness. It shows that your core motivation is to drive forward your agenda, regardless of any harm that may cause her family and loved ones, or the impact it may have on anyone facing the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. It also shows your absolute lack of regard for anyone struggling with mental health issues.

Your concurrent decision to allow comments on the post which call Ms Dawson a murderer and imply she deserved depression and suicide, while deleting those which draw attention to your own post (and those of your supporters) as ongoing bullying, demonstrates your lack of willingness to examine your own actions or accept reasoned and rational criticism of your stance.

I, personally, have struggled with shame and guilt inflicted on me throughout my childhood by you and your followers. I was the victim of serious and ongoing child abuse, meted out by a member of your flock who quoted you as justification for spiritual, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I have both considered and attempted suicide, believing the lies I was told by you and your followers that implied I was of less worth to humanity because of my actions. I told your late (EDIT – it was brought to my attention that Elaine Nile is deceased) wife that my mother was brutalising me and she reminded me (as so many other ‘Christians’ did, before and after) that my mother was following the biblical adage ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’.

And here I am again, being silenced on the topic of abuse because the ‘authority’ given to you by God makes your hateful speech more ‘valid’ than my measured rebuttal.

So I will repeat my statement here. It is pitiful and pathetic that you have chosen this moment and this situation to drive forward your own nefarious agenda to own and use the bodies of Australian women. You do not have the right to tell Charlotte or me or any Australian woman what we can do with our bodies. You do not have the right to encourage and highlight your followers calling her a ‘murderer’ and ‘sinner’ while silencing voices like mine that call for compassion and understanding.

Regards, 
Angela Williams

Sent: Monday, 24 February 2014 9:18 AM

EDIT: Reply from Mr Nile:

Dear Angela

Charlotte’s death is a tragedy as she like many is a victim of depression.  Her story needs to be told because it could happen to a strong and successful woman like Charlotte, it could happen to anyone.  May she finally be at peace.  Our sympathy and prayers are with her loved ones.

Angela, I pray you too may find peace.

God bless you.

Rev Fred Nile

Sent: 24 February 2014 12:23

***

Dear Fred,

If you are so concerned my my peace and well being then why was I banned from you Facebook page and denied the space to participate fully in public discussion about this? Open and honest discourse is one of the strongest tools of healing available and by denying my truth in this matter you have (briefly) interrupted that discourse.It seems like your social media people have stopped removing the dissenting opinions from the post but I feel it would demonstrate your goodwill towards Charlotte if you found the space within yourself to apologise to her and her family for using her story so egregiously and to those such as myself who were banned from your page for shutting down our opinions on this topic.
If you read through the comments you will see that many who share your faith are also expressing disgust and concern over your use of this topic. Might be time to own this one.
Regards,
Angela
Sent: 24 February 2014 13:56
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10 thoughts on “Open Letter to Fred Nile about bullying Charlotte Dawson

  1. after many years of agreeing with Rev Nile and being his supporter I have to say today I am horrified!
    I cannot believe that My Heavenly Father is smiling abut JUdgementalism, in any way at all.

    I am the above mentioned mother and YES I was a hopeless mother, full of fear guilt and shame, put into my life by judgmental, christians …… I was taught from childhood that Christianity was the only way. I was also taught, to be judgmental and manipulative, and not to listen to others opinions.

    It took many years of counselling to see me free of all the lies i was taught to be very afraid of any who questioned what I was taught.
    This led me to live a fear filled, guilt ridden, anger filled life, and the toxic emotional results were poured out on my family.
    I have since learnt there are different types of Christians.
    Those who have learned to be compassionate loving and kind, as well as gracious and merciful, living in and under grace mercy and then there are those who choose:

    To use Gods’ word as law, apparently, willing to receive mercy grace and compassion for them selves, but ready to stand in judgement on others.

    I don’t claim to know the truth but I do know that The Lord Jesus Christ, made it very clear that as we judge other so we will be judged, and that if we don’t forgive others, showing them compassion mercy and love, we cannot be forgiven.
    There is a very fine line to be walked, but erring on the side of love compassion and support, is always to be the answer.

    Angela Many times I’ve told you privately I am sorry, now before others, I say I am sorry, also sorry that it took me 40 years to, work out I had so much toxic baggage.
    My life is different now I no longer believe I am right , or admitting I am wrong is a weakness. amazing how our outlook changes when we start to rid ourselves of toxic leftover baggage from our past.

    I am really sorry Rev Nile’s actions, at this time are not reflecting the loving caring man I’ve known for nearly 30 years. Yes! we need to carry a standard of righteousness and Holiness
    BUT
    we also need to be compassionate and merciful, I remember telling Fred and and Elaine I had had a termination when you I was being considered as a parlaimentery candidate, for The Christian Democratic Party, I was immediately told I was ‘unsuitable’, I accepted the decision, that was fine .

    I cannot accept that God writes us off for one mistake. He looks upon our hearts and knows our heart motives, today i try and question many things and am able to admit when I am wrong. I don’t know if this is right or wrong but I do know that I cannot standby and let this pass without, as some sort of comment
    another conversation we needed to have Angela
    Kathleen Emslie

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  2. […] Facebook discussions on popular public pages are, of course, a bit of an ugly beast. Pretty much anyone can say anything, and moderating or guiding any discussion there is a bit like herding cats. But one person in particular took considerable umbrage at the fact that Mr Nile dared to make this comment in public. One Angela Wilson wrote an open letter to him about it. OK, no big deal. People criticise public figures all the time. But because this person was offended by a comment on Facebook, a news website, followed by others, started running with the headline that Mr Nile’s comment had provoked “outrage” and “disgust.” This is a news story? Apparently it is. So I found and read the open letter, which you can read here. […]

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  3. Hi Angela 🙂

    You may recall that there was a discussion about this and link to your blog in our thread – http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=11206&page=2, and that our members’ comments were broadly supportive of your stance on this.

    Well, there has been a bit of a postscript between Glenn and ourselves, regarding this, which anyone is free to visit and/or comment as they wish – http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=21888

    Hope to see you back at our forum soon.

    Kind Regards
    Logic please – AFA Forum

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