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.
Sent: Monday, 24 February 2014 9:18 AM
EDIT: Reply from Mr Nile:
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