Time for Everything
7/30/13 at 08:06 PM 1 Comments

Whistleblowers Expose Church and Secular Abuses

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Photo: Electronic Frontier Foundation - CC

Senators Charles Grassley and Carl Levin introduced a resolution in Congress recognizing today - July 30th - as National Whistleblowers Day.

The National Whistleblowers Center reports:

On July 30, 1778, after learning that two sailors were subjected to severe retaliation after blowing the whistle on the top ranking naval commander, the Continental Congress enacted American’s first whistleblower protection law, unanimously declaring that it was the “duty” of every person in “service of the United States” and every “inhabitant” of the newly independent nation to report “misconduct, frauds or misdemeanors” to the “Congress or any other proper authority.”

Meanwhile today whistleblower Bradley Manning was convicted in a military court on 19 charges.

The most damaging information that Manning leaked was a video described as "Collateral Murder." According to TechCruch, "That video contains footage that includes the killing of innocents. The government, during the trial, chose to describe the clip as instead 'actions and experiences of service members conducting a wartime mission.'"

In recent years the role of whistleblowers in the church has also become a controversial topic. Whistleblowers in the Catholic Church have revealed information showing that abusive priests were protected from prosecution.

The organization Catholic Whistleblowers assists victims of sexual abuse committed by priests.

Churches and televangelists have required employees to sign nondisclosure agreements to protect themselves from damaging leaks.

Senator Grassley's staff investigated televangelists for abusing their tax exempt status and released its findings in 2011. The official report describes televangelists using nondisclosure agreements to silence former employees:

" ... we spoke with several informants in completing our reviews of the four churches did not comply with your requests. Almost all of those who spoke with us insisted on complete anonymity while others were too frightened to speak with us even anonymously. Some had received warnings from the churches that they would be sued if they violated confidentiality agreements they had signed. Even though we explained that a subpoena should protect them from retaliation, including lawsuits, some became even more frightened when offered a 'friendly' subpoena. They became concerned about needing an attorney and still feared retaliation by the churches. As a result, we believed that issuing subpoenas to informants would be counterproductive."

The victims of abuse are often unaware of their rights or who to turn to for assistance. The National Whistleblowers Center has a form that whistleblowers can use to anonymously report fraud and abuse.

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