"My stomach dropped when I saw it," a witness told Webworm.
Thanks for the response to this piece - as usual, good and passionate discussion is taking place. I just wanted to highlight this comment from one reader, which is encouraging:
"I actually work in OIAs at MBIE (in a different area) and I can assure you that the fear of this org (or any other) won't be playing a part in this decision. There's strong grounds to withhold, and I suspect/hope that the consultation is being done in this way to cut off any future complaints to the OMB by Arise."
There's a strong argument to withhold in full under section 9(2)(ba)(ii) - essentially information is subject to the obligation of confidence and it's in the public interest that it continues to be provided. If people don't feel their engagement with the inspectorate will be kept confidential then they're less likely to participate in the process (and not just the Arise witnesses but others who see how the information is released). Crazy that MBIE aren't proposing to use that ground.
And on today's episode of Arise Nonsense....
This is vicious and, just like everything else they have ever done, morally reprehensible.
Thank you for continuing to keep the spotlight on them so the world can see them for the cretins they are.
My first reaction was shock when I read this, David, and then I re-read it and I realised that I am NOT shocked - this is more of the same, typical Arise behaviour.
They have been consistent and demonstrated the same behaviours all the way along. At all times they are about arse-covering, and protecting their own, and reinforcing the pedestals they place their public-facing leaders upon. They are not, and have never been, living their Christian values. They prey upon the weak instead of protecting them. They are shills who are pursuing riches (cash money and possessions) on Earth and don't give a fuck about anyone who gets hurt in the pursuit of that.
To any victims out there who reported what happened to them in any way, I am in awe of your courage for speaking out. You did not deserve your mistreatment at the hands of Arise church and you do not deserve any ongoing harm that you may experience from Arise and their lawyers. I hope you are getting the support and help you need.
Keep up the good work, David, you are making a real difference with this type of reporting and this is why I am a Webworm.
This is what happens when you come between a megachurch and their cash flow. They will use the statements as proof of being victimized. If they get the names, they will run those folks name through the mud to make themselves look clean. It's time we started taxing these places and making them more accountable for their actions.
And if they really want to help people, they could start by admitting blame.
I think one could try this:
"I recognise that you may be required to release some of my statement, however I also have real concerns for my wellbeing if I were to be identified. If you believe you have no grounds to withhold my entire statement could you please send me your proposed release showing what you intend to redact so that I can either reassure myself that my privacy has been preserved and that I will be safe, or tell you how your proposed release will identify me.
This process is causing me significant stress. Could you please respond to me today and confirm that you will be able to either withhold my entire statement or provide me your proposed release in advance."
Oh, this is reprehensible of Arise leadership. And that is not a strong enough word. So very, very sorry to hear this.
My thoughts are especially with those brave enough to go forward to the Labour inspectorate with their experiences.
Former Arse staffer and intern here, and I’m absolutely disgusted.
Cameron's self-serving and misguided "tweets" are super annoying from a Christian point of view. He's quoting or paraphrasing scripture around the idea that people will be persecuted for their belief in God/Jesus, which is a legit concern and situation around the world, but the way he treats and has treated people is NOT about faith or following - it's about bad human behaviour! (to put it mildly). Abusive, self-centered, narcissistic, careless, cruel, exploitative human behaviour. The Bible doesn't say "yeah, people may come at you for being horrific but don't worry, God loves you".
I resent his victim mentality so much when there are genuinely good-hearted and selfless Christians (and everyone!) out there trying to live in compassion and kindness for others.
My genuine sympathy, also, to those now fearful that their brave and re-traumatising testimony may put them in harm's way 🙏🧡
This is why many people do not want to interact with state organs: trust. We simply cannot trust the State not to do something so daft that it leaves people worried for their safety.
In my mind there is a vast difference between OIAing a minister or ministry regarding policies or actions - and obtaining information from witnesses.
The next time an investigative body seeks statements from witnesses, they may think twice before assisting with investigations. Who wouldn't, after reading this?
It's a long running story. I feel compelled to inform anyone new to it about one element in particular.
Brent Cameron, of Arise church leadership, would fart on his hands and put it in people's faces.
My heart breaks for these victims. What Arise is doing is sending a very clear message that if you speak up, they will come after you. They want their victims to stay silent so they can continue to wield their power in abusive and crushing ways. They want silence, which is why I’m glad you’re speaking up for the victims, David. Arise needs to be held accountable.
In Aotearoa, abuse is spelt A-R-I-S-E
I'm not even one of their victims, and my stomach dropped reading that. It seems so contradictory to me - I'm guessing many victims, if they really truly understood their testimony had a decent chance of becoming public, wouldn't want to provide testimony of any kind because of the high possibility of being re-victimized by their tormentor. And the cycle of abuse would continue.
While it is infuriating you need to keep talking about Arise, it is always a timely reminder that if sunlight is the best disinfectant, Webworm is totally worth supporting to keep the rays illuminating their ongoing un-Christian behaviours. Let us hope the sunlight illuminates an ethical/empathetical path for MBIE to respond in a way that does NOT re-traumatise brave people who spoke up. While they might have been told information MIGHT be shared in the future, I can't see ARISE lawyers asking for their testimony without an actual legal proceeding underway, would be an anticipated event when deciding to go ahead.
On an unrelated topic, except for talking about the lowest of the low in terms of the way they treat/exploit people & misuse the legal system, I found "Tickled" on Beamafilms (which you can access in Aotearoa-New Zealand through your library membership) and while it is really disturbing (esp as someone who is ticklish, but I'm not a sexy young male so I'm safe ...) I hope that the doco might have saved some people from being sucked in, or at least going in with their eyes open as to what happen. Strangely, not as disturbing as Mister Organ, but then I guess that one is closer to home for me?
Arise doing this is straight out of the abusive cult handbook.
The purpose of this kind of legal action and any defamation lawsuits regarding the Cameron’s or Arise (and I wonder who these lawyers are acting for - possibly both) is not necessarily to win but more often to harass complainants and discourage anyone else from ever coming forward.
Evangelical megachurch’s often justify this action as necessary to ‘save souls’ since maligning the church imperils that ‘mission’ in their spiritual war with ‘Satanic forces’ like they are claiming David, Hayden and others to be.
Scientology is infamous for doing kind of thing under their ‘Fair Game’ policy. https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/Declaration/exhibg.html
I actually feel physically ill reading this. I'm so sorry for the victims who are being retraumatised by this church. They're so nasty! Awful nasty yucky people with no moral compass. Ugh.