There is an item on RNZ that I found disturbing. According to Dr Christopher Longhurst, an abuse survivor with professional expertise, the historical abuse inquiry is 'shutting down questions on potential conflicts of interest' and is 'unsafe for survivors'. After his own experience with the Commission, Dr Longhurst also asserts that some members have conflicts of interest.

 

The conflict cited, which is what I find disturbing, is that no fewer than two of the Commission's five members, including the chairman, are practising catholics while another is a presbyterian. That is three out of the five in a country where, according to Stats NZ, less than half the population now identifies as christian and even that number has been steadily dropping.

 

After all that has happened, why is religion still seen as some kind of guarantor of ethical behaviour and high moral values? Why does it continue to be held up as something deserving of special status in society? Why are people associated with the very institutions that have committed historical abuse allowed to investigate it?  

 

Religion is still given far too much credibility in this country. Of course everyone should be free to believe whatever they like, but religious organisations are just clubs of the like-minded and they should be treated as such. They deserve no special status. Religious belief says nothing about the moral fibre of the believer. If anything, it should be cause for wariness.