Philip Brookes, stealth christian and #stopNSCP troll

Over at Mike Stuchbery's blog, a comment fight is going on over Peter Garrett's letter to Evonne Paddinson, head of ACCESS Ministries and self-admitted winner of souls for christ through the NSCP.

Garrett, of course, is a stealth christian, as I've pointed out previously, but oddly enough so are many of his defenders around the blogosphere. Take, for example, Philip Brookes.

Philip is a prolific commenter over at Mike Stuchbery's blog, and in fact anywhere the NSCP is mentioned. Philip avoids any reference to christianity in his posts, and cultivates an outward image of the unbiased onlooker, all the while accusing opponents of the NSCP of red-herrings, strawmen and all manner of other rhetorical tricks. Oddly, he always comes down on the side of ACCESS and the NSCP in his conclusions.

Philip sometimes goes so far as to mention that he himself is not a christian, notably on this ABC piece entitled "Teach Don't Preach: How to Do Religion In Schools".

This comment, of course, is emblematic of Brookes's style. Attack credibility of critic, avoid point at hand, play the part of unbiased outsider. It's like an odd variant on concern trolling.

 Of course, what Philip won't tell you is that he's an evangelical christian himself, playing the stealth game to further the agenda. Here's a post from Philip's own blog, in his own words.

Click to enlarge

 And I quote:

[...]Since arriving here on Thursday 21st September, I’ve had the privilege of
  • Dining in style at GreenBelt on the finest Filipino fare
  • Worshipping at Victory Christian Fellowship, Robinson’s Mall – a dynamic, mission-focussed, vibrant and growing evangelical Christian church
  • Walking and talking with a lady and her son who had no money to return to San Pablo, so I was able to purchase the bus ticket for them to return home
  • Debating with a security guard whether I really wasn’t allowed to photograph a particularly prominent building
  • Visiting Kids Hope Ministry and meeting with a group of street kids hanging out on a vacant block, where we prayed with them, told a story about (King) David working in the fields and obeying God to fight Goliath, and finally feeding the children.
  • Meeting with a lovely Christian programmer who’s just as inspired as me (even more??) to be a channel of God’s love to these people, and thus see the country turn to God and receive His richest blessings. Only God knows what this valuable relationship may lead to in the future…
Find all my photos at

P.S. While I’ve been sitting here, the Rating 3 Tropical Storm ‘Milenyo’ has snapped trees in the street outside, which have taken out street signs and power lines. The wind is virtually bowing the trees to the ground! Through Him we live and breathe and have our being!!!

It's almost as though there's a whole bunch of christians who were, in recent times, vocally and openly committed to spreading the gospel, but who have adopted a kind of radio silence to hide their beliefs. Stealth Christians.

I say "almost as though" sarcastically, of course. We know this to be the case. People like Fred Nile, who are openly idiotic about their christian beliefs, tend to do more harm than good. Better to achieve the goal without the obvious signs of affiliation. Better to hide one's true intention. Better to attack secular principles while making it look like they've fractured from within.

Sure, this paragraph can be attacked as paranoia. That's the whole point. Yet we see it time and time again around the world, in Dominionist ttempts to infiltrate political parties by stealth, in Opus Dei politicians who remain silent on their beliefs and affiliation until uncovered, to creationist lunatics who manage to keep their beliefs covered up until the end of a four year PhD programme in order to "Bring down darwinism from within". We even see it in radical antivaxers who attempt to don the cloak of "impartial whistleblowing scientists" or "vaccine safety advocates". Lying about one's agenda is commonplace, though I don't see a lot of secularists, skeptics and atheists doing it.

So what to do? Well, first, expose them wherever you find them. If someone is making an effort to conceal their aims, deny them the luxury. Then make sure everyone knows about the lies. If they find it unpleasant to be branded with their true labels, make damn sure life is unpleasant for them. Secondly, Don't become like them. Lying to achieve a goal taints any victory you might achieve.

Honesty, I was once led to believe, is a virtue. The truth has a value greater than gold, and if you're compelled to conceal the truth in your quest for a goal, you need to ask yourself: is your objective really that noble if you have to lie to attain it?

posted @ Saturday, July 30, 2011 2:39 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Philip Brookes, stealth christian and #stopNSCP troll

Left by Craig at 7/30/2011 3:15 PM
I first encountered evangelical christian's around 10 years ago. Before then I only knew Catholics, Anglicans and other garden variety. One thing that strikes me with the evangelical's as I met more, and became friends with many, is how dishonest, deceitful and downright ordinary people they are.

# re: Philip Brookes, stealth christian and #stopNSCP troll

Left by cheese maker at 7/30/2011 3:32 PM
Like their "covert evangelical" counterparts, such as the Bridgebuilders who worm their way into schools on false pretences.

# re: Philip Brookes, stealth christian and #stopNSCP troll

Left by Philip Brookes at 8/1/2011 8:15 AM
Interesting post. You don't want to mention my response to you about my change of faith in the past few years?

As I freely pointed out on Mike Stuchbery's blog, I was previously a Christian, and have changed my views in recent years. Your reference to an old post of mine I have no problem with - it's part of my history, and I'm not ashamed of that. However, to characterise me as a closet Christian supporting their cause is a complete fallacy.

As regards my approach, you refer to my "style" being "Attack credibility of critic, avoid point at hand, play the part of unbiased outsider" - well, I'll leave that for the readers of my original comments to judge, but if anything I think that was probably what I was objecting to: people attacking Garrett and Paddison whilst avoiding the facts that were at hand. In discussing Mike's blog, for example, I didn't in anyway argue about his credibility. Instead, I focussed purely on the argument that he had presented and presented my perspective on why I felt his argument did not correlate with the facts.

As far as being the unbiased outsider, I think that's a pretty accurate description actually. As my Christian friends will readily tell you, I'm more than happy to criticise things going on in the Christian sphere as well. I'm by no means a one-eyed supporter of ACCESS, Garrett, or the NSCP - I just have a strong sense of injustice, and am not happy to sit by when an inflammatory argument based on a poorly constructed argument is used against anyone.

# re: Philip Brookes, stealth christian and #stopNSCP troll

Left by Jason at 8/1/2011 10:49 AM
Philip, take note of the timestamp on posts, there's a good chap. Your response on Mike's blog came somewhat later.

Now, as to the stealth christian question: So what are you Philip? Do you accept that there *are* christians out there who lie to further an agenda? Do you also accept that, on the face of it, it looks as though you are one?

What about a nice solid air-clearing right here and right now. DO you deny the divinity of christ? That would be a "not a christian" response.

Oh, and thanks for the legal threat in the private message. I prize those.

# re: Philip Brookes, stealth christian and #stopNSCP troll

Left by CrazyHorse at 8/1/2011 12:33 PM
You don't attack facts, points or arguments directly; you waffle around them, as you do in the 3rd (penultimate) paragraph your 8.15am post above.* The last paragraph is all just self-recommendation.

Based on your posts on mike's blog, it is reasonable to call you a Christian apologist who does so while claiming to not be one.

* I have addressed that approach in the comments below mikes article about Garrett's letter.
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