A chart-topping Hillsong gospel singer has promoted disturbing anti-vaccination propaganda comparing vaccine mandates to the badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.
Renee Sieff, 28, once graced the top of the Australian Christian and Gospel charts and belted out songs at the megachurch’s headquarters in Sydney, but now she’s on the front line of anti-vaccination protests with her sister Rachel, 30.
The acclaimed gospel singer uploaded a photo of a yellow armband depicting a Star of David to her Instagram with the caption: ‘These were once made mandatory too’.
The image led many of her followers to believe the gospel singer was making a comparison between Australians who refused the jab and Holocaust victims.
Rachel (left) and Renee Seiff (right) were among a crowd of about 30 anti-vax protestors who gathered outside The Hills Shire Council on August 31
Hillsong distanced itself from the post this week.
‘This is very inappropriate. Shame on you,’ one woman commented.
‘Are you serious? And you’re representing a church? Those armbands were forced on people because they were Jewish,’ another wrote.
‘We should refrain from using this kind of rhetoric which correlates vaccination and/or mask wearing to the experiences of Jews and other minorities under the Nazi regime,’ a third user added.
However, several of the musician’s followers applauded the comparison.
‘People may think it’s not the same. Let’s wait and watch it all unfold,’ one wrote.
‘Welcome back! We need you in this fight! Let’s GO!’ another exclaimed.
Renee uploaded a photo of a yellow armband depicting a black Star of David to her Instagram page with the caption: ‘These were once made mandatory too’ (pictured)
Renee became synonymous with Brian Houston’s religious movement thanks to her performances with the Christian band ‘Hillsong Young & Free’.
She was a founding member of the band when it formed in 2012 and claimed the top spot on the Christian Album chart with their record ‘We are Young and Free’.
The 28-year-old belted out songs like ‘Every Little Thing’ and ‘Come Alive’ in footage of a packed-out performance at the Hills Convention Centre in May.
The crowd sway and lift their arms to the sky as the musician croons alongside another Hillsong performer, Matt Crocker.
Hillsong Church told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Renee is no longer involved in any ministry or music capacity with Hillsong Church.’
Renee Sieff (pictured) was a founding member of the band ‘Hillsong Young and Free’ which claimed the top spot on the Christian Album chart with their album ‘We are Young and Free’
Hillsong said it did not endorse any of the views promoted by Ms Sieff and said her Instagram post was inconsistent with church values.
‘We regard the post as highly offensive and inappropriate,’ it said.
Dvir Abramovich, chairman of Jewish civil rights group the Anti-Defamation Commission and Australia’s leading anti-hate campaigner, said he was frustrated with the oft-used comparison.
‘I am so fed up with people abusing the pain, suffering and systematic extermination of millions to advance their opposition to mandatory vaccination,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Australia is not the Third Reich, the campaign to vaccinate people is not the Final Solution or the gas chambers of Auschwitz, and to draw any comparisons to the Holocaust is obscene.
‘Imagine the pain a survivor who lost their parents and children to the Nazi horror would feel seeing this perverse exploitation. This trivialisation has to stop. All of it.
‘My message to the anti-vaxxers is this: For once and for all leave the Holocaust analogies and symbols alone. They are not yours to manipulate.’
Renee (right) once graced the top of the Australian Christian Music charts as part of the Hillsong Christian band ‘Young and Free’
Mr Abramovich called on Renee to apologise for the divisive post and for Hillsong to ‘take appropriate action’.
Both the Sieff sisters recently faced court on charges of resisting police, not wearing a face mask and not complying with Covid-19 directions during a demonstration outside Hills Shire Council earlier this year.
They were among a crowd of about 30 protestors who gathered at the council chambers on August 31, when NSW was recording more than 1,000 new cases a day.
The pair faced Paramatta Local Court in October and pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are due to reappear in the same court on January 19.
Renee previously voiced her support for protests against mandatory Covid vaccinations that exploded across Australia’s capital cities.
‘I SUPPORT THE PROTEST HAPPENING RIGHT NOW! Everyone has the right to fight for what is being forced taken away from them,’ she wrote on Facebook in August.
A Hillsong Church spokesperson said Renee (pictured) is no longer involved in any ministry or music capacity with the church
In the same month, the songstress re-posted a statement from American Molecular Biologist Janci Chunn Lindsay, who claimed Covid-19 vaccines were unsafe.
Dr Lindsay wrongly claimed the vaccine would ‘cross-react’ and modify the genes of recipients, as well as cause reproductive problems.
The Australian Department of Health said there was a difference between mRNA – the fragment that instructs the body to develop immunity against the virus – and DNA.
‘The vaccines work with the body’s natural defences to develop immunity to disease,’ its website reads.
The department also said there was no evidence to suggest that any vaccine, let alone the Covid-19 vaccine, has any affect on fertility.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Renee and Rachel Sieff for comment.