BULLYING claims have been levelled against the Perth Anglican Diocese over its treatment of Father Chris Bedding, who was suspended for “tones of blasphemy” in his social media and theatre performances.
In a show of solidarity last week, supporters spoke in support of Father Bedding, known for his work as a stand-up comedian, an activist for same-sex marriage and asylum seeker rights and his irreverent sermons popular with his Darlington-Bellevue parish.
Uniting Church Minister the Reverend Brenton Prigge said he was “shocked and outraged” by the treatment of Father Bedding.
“Every church leader I have spoken to is appalled at the treatment Chris Bedding has received,” he said. “This is clearly an abuse of process. “Ministry workers on the ground are too easily subject to this kind of mistreatment and bullying by those who have oversight of them. Current systems allow them to hide their lack of transparency and poor processes behind the guise of confidentiality.”
Comedian Paul ‘Werzel’ Montague said the church was “bullying” Father Bedding.
“At a time in Australian history when many Christian leaders have the credibility of pyramid scheme salesmen, Chris Bedding stands amongst the precious few as the real deal,” he said.
“As an artist I find this kind of militant censorship contemptible.
“This bizarre and arcane attempt to silence a unique and valuable voice in our society is reminiscent of the Middle Ages.”
Unions WA president Steve McCartney said he would not stand by and watch Father Bedding be bullied by his boss.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a boss or a bishop; if you are a bully you should not be in the workplace,” he said.