Almost a year ago, in February 2011, it was discovered Christian leaders from various church ministries in Melbourne were making money out of a clinical waste company called SteriHealth. No real problem here, well, not until it was also discovered that the company was actually involved in collecting aborted babies from many of the hospitals throughout Victoria, even private abortion clinics. Moreover, that SteriHealth was actually discarding these little broken and shredded bodies (along with other hospital waste) into the company’s own incinerator and then disposing the ashes into landfill.
When SteriHealth board members (all Christian leaders from a variety of church organisations) were confronted with evidence of this, their initial reaction was in effect, “Yes, but only one or two aborted babies have been picked up”. They insisted this occurred inadvertently. As a result of a acquiring a business and not being aware of their customers (eg a woman’s health centre which turned out to perform abortions).
Even the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) heavies came to the board members’ defence, such as Managing Director Jim Wallace, and Victorian Director Rob Ward and Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton. It should be pointed out that Rob Ward worked for SteriHealth previously and that SteriHealth regularly placed full page company advertisements in ACL’s View Point magazine .
Along with ACL, City Life Church leaders (Mark Conner and Peter Leigh), Crossway Baptist church leaders (Dale Stephenson and Craig Winkler – who is the second largest shareowner in SteriHealth) and David McCracken Ministries (David McCracken) also backed SteriHealth. In fact they went as far as not merely responding to phone calls and emails, to marginalising and even berating those who brought the news into the open. Claiming their comments were “outrageous”, “aggressive”, “distorted”, “slanderous”, “divisive”, “cowardly”, etc.
But more of the truth came out six months later (July 2011) when Freedom of Information responses revealed that SteriHealth was indeed picking up aborted babies from many of the Victorian public hospitals. It is not known whether they are also servicing private abortion clinics, as FOI requests only extend to the public sector (eg Government funded and managed hospitals).
So what is happening now? Since then SteriHealth managers and church officials have laid low and done little to nothing to change the situation. At present SteriHealth is still picking up aborted babies. And they are still incinerating these babies. It is certainly a case of ‘money talks’ and business as usual. But this was to be expected especially when quite a number of the shareholders of the company are church attendees and leaders, such as Craig Winkler (Chaiman of Crossway Baptist) who is the 2nd largest SteriHealth shareholder.
While we scratch our heads and wonder how these Christian men can get it so wrong, the question remains, “Are these men truly Christians?” That is, are they true disciples of Christ? Or are they simply, as Jesus said to the religious leaders of His day, “white-washed tombs, appearing to beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness … [who] want to appear to others as righteous but on the inside full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:23-27).
Whatever one may think, God will bring everything into the light; if not on this side of the grave, at least on the other side.
So who are these board members / church leaders? And what type of Christian ministries are they linked to? And who are some of the other people involved that are either profiting directly or indirectly from SteriHealth? (Bear in mind, most of the men below own large shares in the company. For example, Dan Daniels owns nearly 50% and Craig Winkler 10% of SteriHealth shares.)
Senior Pastor City Life Church Melbourne
Executive Pastor City Life Church Melbourne
Senior Pastor Crossway Baptist Melbourne
Former (2011) Chairman Crossway Baptist Melbourne
David McCracken Ministries