*****

*****

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Willfull Blindness (February-March 2017)

Open Your Eyes—Listen to Your Conscience

Image source: Dreamstime

If you are human
then there is a good chance you can succumb to willful blindness.
Likely a 100% chance.

If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but because you say. ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
John 9:41

This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It specifically encourages people to unite and confront the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI) which has seriously damaged many peoples’ lives and the reputation of the church-mission community (CMC). "...the time has come to make [the fight against corruption] a truly global effort among evangelicals....if the church becomes more vociferous in its opposition to corruption...then we must beware of the risk of hypocrisy if our own house is not put in order first....We must not turn a blind eye to or condone corruption....” Salt and Light: Christians' Role in Confronting Corruption (Lausanne Global Conversation, 31 October 2011)
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Willful blindness is intentionally keeping oneself unaware of facts that would make one morally/ethically responsible. It involves looking the other way in order to avoid problems and protect oneself, usually at the expense of others. Part One of this entry presents three helpful resources to help open our eyes to our own willful blindness: Margaret Heffernan’s book, TedTalk, and BBC interview. Part Two updates us on the Shine the Light-Together petition and its request for verifiable disclosures and independent reviews regarding the NCI fraud. Specific names of leaders are listed again below along with links to other organizational leaders and Board members who carry a special responsibility to assist and hold themselves and fellow leaders accountable.

This entry provides both an opportunity and tools
to open our eyes and to listen to our consciences.
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Part One: Willful Blindness


Book
In the case of the US Government versus Enron, the presiding judge chose to employ the legal concept of willful blindness: you are responsible if you could have known, and should have known, something which instead you strove not to see. The guilty verdict sent shivers down the spine of the corporate world. In this book, Margaret Heffernan draws on psychological studies, social statistics, interviews with relevant protagonists, and her own experience to throw light on willful blindness and why whistleblowers and Cassandras are so rare. Ranging freely through history and from business to science, government to the family, this engaging and anecdotal book will explain why willful blindness is so dangerous in a globalized, interconnected world, before suggesting ways in which institutions and individuals can start to combat it. Margaret Heffernan's thought-provoking book will force us to open our eyes.” (description from Amazon site)

TEDxTalk
The Dangers of Willfull Blindness, TEDxDubai (2013), Margaret Heffernan
“Gayla Benefield was just doing her job -- until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the U.S. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn't want to know. In a talk that's part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of "willful blindness" and praises ordinary people like Benefield who are willing to speak up.” (quote from Youtube site)

BBC Interview
Willful Blindness, BBC World Service, Business Daily (16 December 2014) Margaret Heffernan
“Margaret Heffernan explores why big organisations so often make big mistakes - and asks if the cure could be the aviation industry's model of a 'just culture'. In the past 10 years, there have been a string of organisational failures - from BP to the banks, and the Catholic Church in Ireland. In each instance, hundreds, even thousands of people could see what was going on but acted as though they were blind. Silence ensured the problems continued and allowed them to grow. The conditions that create the phenomenon called 'willful blindness' are pervasive across institutions. It was a term that came up in the Enron scandal. Willful blindness is a legal term - it states that if there is knowledge you could have had and should have had, you are still responsible. Businesswoman and writer Margaret Heffernan argues that the solution is a 'just culture'; which means organisations that encourage people to speak up early and often when things go adrift, without fear of being silenced.” (quote from BBC site)
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Part Two: NCI Update

In December 2016 there was a renewed effort for people to read, sign, and share the STL petition. We are pleased to report that we quickly hit our goal and there are now over 200 signatures on the petition, with several people renewing their signatures/comments. “This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to assist by transparently and verifiably disclosing how they have been affected by Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). In addition, members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI.”


Comments from Signatories (excerpts)
--There is a story here that EVERYONE should know. Everyone should have the opportunity to evaluate whether the ends justify the means.

--I thought honesty and Christianity went together, but this case has proved that Christians look after themselves, literally, not even each other, and prefer ignorance, I cannot believe in all these years that not a single Christian has had the backbone to push on those in power in their organisations to answer difficult questions. Proverbs 8:5--O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.

--Of all of the organizations and communities that abound in our world, the church and mission community ought to be the one leading the way in manifesting integrity and transparency. I view this issue as an imperative for all people and organizations of faith.

--What an unfortunate and hurtful situation caused by an organization you trusted. I hope this petition will help provide transparency in future dealings.

--No matter what good you are trying to do or who you are, any such toxin poisons the entire pool.

--I believe uniting to fight corruption and standing together in solidarity around this petition is critical. It is an important way forward toward knowing the truth, promoting healing, and building greater capacity in the church and mission community.

--Although we did not personally become involved in the fraudulent investment program…we had first hand experience of the activities that devastated the lives of mission families who invested their life savings and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We stand with those who await justice in this crucial matter.

--Hopefully people will a) get (further) informed about corruption and the importance of transparency-accountability, and b) hold their respective leaders and organizations accountable regarding this specific, protracted fraud. Perhaps leaders themselves will finally take the initiative to disclose and as necessary break rank.

--May 200 signatures become 200 million!

More Background
It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been over two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance and that they inform other leaders in their organizations. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 200+ people who signed it.  The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog 28 September 2014. Below are the names of the leaders contacted and links for additional leaders/Board Members, etc. (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current).

--Youth With A Mission:  Loren Cunningham, Darlene Cunningham, Lynn Green, Jim Stier, Tom Hallas, Iain Muir, and YWAM leaders/staff around the world. “We would be grateful if you (YWAM leaders/staff around the world) would carefully review the petition and Statement with links to core documents.” Click here to view the list of international offices from the organization’s website, many which link to specific leaders.

--Mercy Ships: Donovan and Mae Palmer. “We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and share it with members of the international Mercy Ships Executive Committee and others Board members (e.g., Don Stephens as President, Myron Ullman as Chair, Rosa Whitaker, Francoise Andre, Ian McColl, and Peter Schulze as Vice-Chairs, etc.). Click here to view the list of International Board Members and the Executive Committee from the organization’s website

--Youth For Christ: Geordon Rendle and John Duncan (and with Larry Williams in 2015).  “We also believe it would be very important to share the petition with other board members/officers at Youth for Christ and the previous staff at YFC in Coppet, Switzerland.” Click here to view the list of International Board Members from the organization’s website.
--Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France):  Larry Lloyd and Ian Rutter. "We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and then share the petition with other current/former elders and officers at Crossroads and current/former members and attendees at Crossroads.” Click here to view the list of elders, officers, and pastors from the organization’s website.

Update February 2017: We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. A few individuals over the past months have sent personal emails, but nothing official and nothing related to taking any action. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition. It would also be in keeping with good practice for transparency, accountability, and organizational health that these organizations thoroughly review how they have and/or have not actually dealt with the requests for assistance over the years.

Open your eyes.
Listen to your conscience.
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PETRA People Network
PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

International Anti-Corruption Day (Dec 2016-Jan 2017)

Uniting Against Corruption and NCI
International Anti-Corruption Day 
Logo for 9 December 2016

"...the time has come to make [the fight against corruption] a truly global effort among evangelicals....if the church becomes more vociferous in its opposition to corruption...then we must beware of the risk of hypocrisy if our own house is not put in order first....We must not turn a blind eye to or condone corruption....Christians must take care that they are not unwittingly complicit in someone else's corruption, no matter how innocent the motive or scheme may at first appear." Salt and Light: Christians' Role in Confronting Corruption (Lausanne Global Conversation, 31 October 2011)
*****
This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It specifically encourages people to unite and confront the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI) which has seriously damaged many peoples’ lives and the reputation of the church-mission community (CMC).

Part One features the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December), now in its 14th year. This special Day raises public awareness about the widespread reality of corruption and offers ideas for practical ways to fight it. Part Two offers a strategic opportunity to fight corruption: unite with others to review, sign and share the Shine the Light-Together petition as part of the renewed effort to confront the NCI KB fraud. This renewed effort stems from the unheeded requests for assistance (verifiable disclosures and independent reviews) by leaders in four of the organizations affected by NCI. The requests were sent in August 2014. Specific names of these leaders are listed again below along with links to other organizational leaders and Board members who carry a special responsibly to assist and hold themselves and fellow leaders accountable.
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Part One: International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD)

 “Corruption is an issue that affects all countries around the world. It can refer to the destruction of one’s honesty or loyalty through undermining moral integrity or acting in a way that shows a lack of integrity or honesty. It also refers to those who use a position of power or trust for dishonest gain. Corruption undermines democracy, creates unstable governments, and sets countries back economically. Corruption comes in various forms such as bribery, law-breaking without dealing with the consequences in a fair manner, unfairly amending election processes and results, and covering mistakes or silencing whistleblowers (those who expose corruption in hope that justice would be served).” International Anti-Corruption Day, timeanddate.com

Corruption undermines moral integrity and destroys people. IACD a superb way to come together globally, nationally, and locally in order to and promote integrity, confront corruption, and protect vulnerable people. The excerpts below list practical ways to act against corruption on IACD and in ongoing ways. They are from the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately. It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries towards state failure.

Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world are joining forces to fight this crime. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are at the forefront of these efforts. The 2016 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To mark the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD), UNODC has developed a wide-ranging campaign focused on different SDGs and on how tackling corruption is vital to achieving them.

We hope you'll come together with UNDP and UNODC to fight against corruption by:
--Organizing creative activities in your community to mark 9 December utilizing the "Call to Action Matrix" for ideas.
--Tweeting about International Anti-Corruption Day to let the world know what you are doing to tackle this scourge  (and remember to use #UnitedAgainstCorruption and include @UNDP and @UNODC in your message so that we can help share this).
--Like our Facebook pageadopt the logo as your profile picture and encourage others to do the same.”

"But legislation alone cannot make organizations open and healthy. Only the character and will of those who run them and participate in them can do that….If a culture of collusion exists instead of a culture of candor, participants will find ways around the rules, new or old, however stringent. (p. 8). But at any time an organization makes a seriously wrong decision, its leaders should call for an intensive postmortem. Such learning opportunities are too often overlooked. The tendency is simply to call on the public relations department to spin the mater, to make another inadequately thought-out decision, and perhaps to scapegoat, even fire, a few staff members." (pp. 22-23) Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor (2008). Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O'Toole, and Patricia Ward Biederman

Part Two: NCI Update
United Against NCI

“A Swedish Christian businessman and former YWAM leader defrauds friends, family, and missionaries of millions of dollars….The NCI case exposes a harmful trend growing within the worldwide church 16 years after the collapse of the New Era fraud….‘No one is immune. We have to keep these cases in front of believers. They’re lulled into a false sense of security [quoting Dr. Todd Johnson].’ If defrauded investors have their way, Sweden’s verdict won’t be the last one involving NCI…”

Logo for the petition: Shine the Light-Together

It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been over two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed it.  

Requesting Assistance Again from Specific Organizational Leaders
The letters requesting assistance were sent to specific leaders in August 2014 with the additional request that they inform other leaders in their organizarions. The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog 28 September 2014. Below are the names of the leaders contacted and links for additional leaders/Board Members, etc. (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current).

--Youth With A Mission:  Loren Cunningham, Darlene Cunningham, Lynn Green, Jim Stier, Tom Hallas, Iain Muir, and YWAM leaders/staff around the world. “We would be grateful if you (YWAM leaders/staff around the world) would carefully review the petition and Statement with links to core documents.” Click here to view the list of international offices from the organization’s website, many which link to specific leaders.

--Mercy Ships: Donovan and Mae Palmer. “We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and share it with members of the international Mercy Ships Executive Committee and others Board members (e.g., Don Stephens as President, Myron Ullman as Chair, Rosa Whitaker, Francoise Andre, Ian McColl, and Peter Schulze as Vice-Chairs, etc.). Click here to view the list of International Board Members and the Executive Committee from the organization’s website

--Youth For Christ: Geordon Rendle and John Duncan (and with Larry Williams in 2015).  “We also believe it would be very important to share the petition with other board members/officers at Youth for Christ and the previous staff at YFC in Coppet, Switzerland.” Click here to view the list of International Board Members from the organization’s website.

--Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France):  Larry Lloyd and Ian Rutter. "We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and then share the petition with other current/former elders and officers at Crossroads and current/former members and attendees at Crossroads.” Click here to view the list of elders, officers, and pastors from the organization’s website.

We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. A few individuals over the past months have sent personal emails, but nothing official and nothing related to taking any action. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition. It would also be in keeping with good practice for transparency, accountability, and organizational health that these organizations thoroughly review how they have and/or have not actually dealt with the requests for assistance over the years.


Shine the Light-Together Petition (STL)—The Next Phase is Here!
In light of the above, there is now a renewed effort for more people to read, sign, and share the STL petition.  The petition contains three paragraphs:

“This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to assist by transparently and verifiably disclosing how they have been affected by Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). In addition, members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI. ”

“NCI began in 1992 and began to be publically confronted in 2007. An important part of it was successfully prosecuted in Sweden (2010-2011) and declared to be a longstanding fraud. Only one person was prosecuted and imprisoned, however--a Swedish man. There are thousands of pages of court documents (available to the public in 2010-2011) that shed light on the far broader aspects of this international fraud. Millions of euros and dollars are still missing. See the core materials/links on this site for more information.”

“Corruption such as the NCI KB fraud does not simply go away on its own, over time, by ignoring it, or by keeping silent. All of us can and must act with integrity--the consistent, highest level of moral wholeness. And we can and must hold our organizations and leaders accountable to do the same. This petition is a key tool to help.”

We are thus calling upon people to unite and to resolutely call upon their organizational leaders to provide verifiable disclosures and authorize independent reviews. People can also disclose what they know and how they have been affected. It is crucial to model good financial practice and integrity, for one’s own sake, the sake of one’s organization, the church-mission community, and the general public. Unite against corruption and NCI. You can access the petition here:  Shine the Light-Together Petition.

“Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now. Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life-body and soul-in his hands." Jesus Christ (Mathew 10:26-28,The Message)
 
PETRA People Network
PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).




Thursday, 29 September 2016

Ordinary Heroes (Oct-Nov 2016)

Awakening the Good in You


"Simply put, then, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—
a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk,
done without expectation of reward."
Philip Zimbardo, What Makes a Hero? (2011)

“…someone with personal integrity is often required to take action against an issue that seems unjust or inequitable…The person cannot simply refuse to participate in the behaviors. A person with true integrity must stand up for what he or she believes.”
Quick et al, Managing Executive Health,  (2008, p. 178)

**********

This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It calls upon people to acknowledge their own propensity for acting deceptively and complicitly (corruption) as well as their own capacity for acting truthfully and heroically (integrity).

Part One includes resources to help you understand ordinary heroism: the good and bad within everyone, the pressures to rationalize and support evil, and examples of ordinary people doing good. How do we awaken the good and the heroic in ourselves to help others, act with integrity, and confront evil? Part Two gives a short update on the NCI KB et al fraud, an ongoing opportunity for ordinary people to act heroically and to do what is right.
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Part One: Resources—Understanding Ordinary Heroes
“Heroism can be defined as having four key features: a) it must be engaged in voluntarily; b) it must involve a risk or potential sacrifice, such as the threat of death, an immediate threat to physical integrity, a long-term threat to health, or the potential to for serious degradation of one’s quality of life; c) it must be conducted in service to one or more other people or the community as a whole, d) and it must be without secondary, extrinsic gain anticipated at the time of act.” The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (p. 466, 2008)

Pro-Integrity Heroes
--What Makes a Hero? Phil Zimbardo, Greater Good Science Center (six minute video, overview)
--The Psychology of Heroism, Kendra Cherry Very Well (website), 16 July 2016

Anti-Corruption Heroes, Transparency International
--True Stories (short accounts from around the world of people confronting corruption)
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Part Two: NCI Update—Calling for Ordinary Heroes
It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been nearly two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed it

We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. A few individuals over the past months have sent personal emails, but nothing official and nothing related to taking any action. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition.

The organizations and people affected by NCI can call for organizational leaders to authorize independent reviews. People can also disclose what they know and how they have been affected. It is crucial to model good financial practice and integrity, for one’s own sake and for the sake of one’s organization, the church-mission community, and the general public. As per the opening quote from Managing Executive Health, “A person with true integrity must stand up for what he or she believes.”

Our world needs ordinary people who will do what is right in spite of any external pressure and inner anxiety to do otherwise. The good and the heroic in us can trump evil.
Image:
Escher's Circle Limit IV


Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Cooperating with Corruption (Aug-Sep 2016)

Complicity, Inc.

“Mark my words…if it takes a village to raise a child,
 it takes a village to abuse one.”
 
Spotlight (2015)

This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It also highlights the human propensity for acting deceptively and complicitly (corruption) as well as the human capacity for acting truthfully and heroically (integrity).

Part One presents three recent resources to help us better understand corruption and in particular complicity: The film Spotlight; the podcast Lies, Lies, Lies; and the book Moral Disengagement. Together they underscore how easy it is for anyone to rationalize complicity, deceive themselves/lie, and disengage morally (core ingredients for “cooperating with corruption”). Part Two gives a short update on the NCI KB et al fraud, encouraging people not to succumb to complicity.


Part One: Resources for Understanding Corruption--and Ourselves
The opening quote in this entry is from the 2015 film Spotlight (“it takes a village to raise…to abuse a child”). This film received the Oscar for best picture and portrays the Boston Globe’s investigation of pedophilia in the Catholic church. As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that the pedophilia was widespread, systemic, and perpetuated by the complicity of people and communities who would not confront it (click HERE for an audio-photo overview and more information about The Boston Globe’s investigation).

Spotlight is also relevant for other forms and cases of corruption including what has happened in the NCI KB fraud:  If it takes a community for affinity fraud to spread then it takes a takes a community to confront it…or cover it up.  Have a look at the film trailer (link above) and watch the film. We sincerely hope that the film will encourage people and organizations affected by NCI KB to likewise act with courage and determination in confronting complicity. As Bandura says below, “Obvious questions that would reveal incriminating information remain unmasked, so officials do not find out what they do not want to know [or want others to know].” People can rise up and together with the over 100 people in the Shine the Light-Together petition, resolutely call organizations and leaders to act according to good practice standards, which includes verifiable transparency/accountability and authorizing independent reviews.

2. Lies, Lies, Lies, On The Media (podcast, 8 July 2016)
This fascinating podcast presents a brief overview of political lies (types and examples) mostly in the American context; the psychological reasons about how and why everyone lies; fact checking, blind belief, and more. It is 50 minutes and organized into seven separate parts. The part entitled Our Lies, Ourselves is especially interesting and relevant to the complicity focus of this entry as well as the NCI KB fraud.

3. Moral Disengagement
The 13 excerpts below are from Moral Disengagement: How People do Harm and Live with Themselves (2016), by Albert Bandura. Based on extensive research in social psychology, Bandura identifies the many ways that people—including groups, organizations, and communities—can hurt others and still feel good about themselves. “They do so by sanctifying their harmful behavior as serving worthy causes; they absolve themselves of blame for the harm they cause by displacement and diffusion of responsibility; they minimize or deny the harmful effects of their actions; and they dehumanize those they maltreat and blame them for bringing the suffering on themselves.”(excerpt from book cover).  

Moral disengagement helps explain why so many “good” people can actually be actively complicit in “cooperating with corruption.” Many of the excerpts below focus on pedophilia/complicity in the Roman Catholic Church, just one of many examples that Bandura uses to illustrate the reality and impact of individual, group, and systemic moral disengagement. The NCI KB fraud is certainly another example.  
  • “People do not usually engage in harmful conduct until they have justified to themselves the morality of their actions. Social and moral justifications sanctify harmful practices by investing them with honorable purposes. Righteous and worthy ends are used to justify harmful means.” (p.49)
  • “Authorities do not go looking for evidence of wrongdoing. Obvious questions that would reveal incriminating information remain unmasked, so officials do not find out what they do not want to know.” (p.61)
  • “Implicit agreements, insulating social arrangements, and authorization by indirection ensure that the higher echelons are unaccountable. When harmful practices are publicized, they are officially dismissed as only isolated incidents arising from who or what had been authorized. Or blame is shifted to subordinates, who are portrayed as misguided or overzealous. Investigators that go looking for incriminating records of authorization display naiveté about the insidious ways that pernicious practices are usually sanctioned and carried out.”  (p. 61)
  • “In a common scenario, top officials evade accountability by stepping forward with a ritualized  public apology...The public apology typically closes with a forward-looking statement aimed at curbing further probing. It is time to put the problem behind us, the officials announce, and quickly move on to right the wrongs and restore public trust. Admissions of ultimate responsibility are usually devoid of consequences. The officials are not chastised, demoted, dismissed, docked pay, or penalized in other ways.” (p. 64)
  • “The world of work presents another type of moral predicament in which associates and supervisors are witness to institutional wrongdoings. Out of fear of retaliation and being ostracized as informers and troublemakers, they collectively turn a blind eye to what is going on. Compliant accommodation to institutional wrongdoing is self-devaluing unless morally justified.” (p. 70)
  • “The personal accounts of whistle-blowers indicate that they tied their moral integrity to taking action against institutional wrongdoing…Most pay a heavy social and emotional price for their actions….It takes a lot off moral courage and perceived self-efficacy  to blow the whistle.” (p.70)
  • “The widespread sexual transgressions of clergy [in the Roman Catholic Church] testify to the power of moral disengagement  to override the sanctions of conscience.” (p. 71)
  • “Sexual molestation of children has no justification. Nor can it be sanitized linguistically.  However, the cover-up by the bishops required justification. The bishops’ actions indicated that their justification was based on utilitarian grounds: The harm to the moral authority of the church from disclosing the sexual abuse outweighed the harm inflicted on the children. [the cover-up went on for years…]” (p. 71)
  • “Concealing and minimizing the crimes, displacement and diffusion of responsibility, discrediting informers, disparaging victims, and indifference to them all contributed to the self-exoneration.” (p. 72) 
  • “The veil of secrecy and moral compromise operated throughout the church hierarchy….Although the sexual crimes violated civil law, not a single clergyman broke rank and reported the crimes to civil authorities.” (p. 75)
  • “One remains uninformed about what one does not want to know by not doing what would reveal it.” (p. 76)
  •  “Indeed, with selective moral disengagement, the same person can be both good and bad simultaneously and even preserve a sense of moral integrity while behaving inhumanely.” (p. 77)
  • “The efforts to protect the church at all costs ended up seriously harming the church and undermining its moral authority. What is even more disconcerting is the morally disengaged damage control...” (p.79)
  
Part Two: NCI Update—Don’t Succumb to Complicity
It has been over nine years since the NCI KB fraud began to be publically confronted (July 2007). It has also been nearly two years since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed it

We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition.

The organizations and people affected by NCI can call for organizational leaders to authorize independent reviews. People can also disclose what they know and how they have been affected. It is not too late to model good financial practice and integrity, for one’s own sake and for the sake of one’s organization, the church-mission community, and the general public. There is no need for any one to cooperate with corruption, especially through the type of complicity whereby “One remains uninformed about what one does not want to know by not doing what would reveal it” (Bandura, p. 76).

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Speaking Up (June-July 2016)

"Double Lives"
"Moral Disengagement"

This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It calls upon people to acknowledge their own propensity for acting deceptively (corruption) as well as their own capacity for acting truthfully (integrity). It also calls upon people to rally behind the current governmental-civil society efforts to confront and halt corruption, such as the recent Global Declaration Against Corruption (Anti-Corruption Summit, London 2016). Here is a summary excerpt:

Corruption is at the heart of so many of the world’s problems. We must overcome it, if our efforts to end poverty, promote prosperity and defeat terrorism and extremism are to succeed. Today’s Summit has demonstrated the deep commitment of a significant number of countries, businesses and members of civil society to work together to tackle this scourge. To do this we will build on and implement existing international agreements – but also go much further, making this a top priority at home and abroad and building capacity to tackle the problem. We commit to expose corruption wherever it is found, to pursue and punish those who perpetrate, facilitate or are complicit in it, to support the communities who have suffered from it, and to ensure it does not fester in our government institutions, businesses and communities. We will fulfil our shared commitment to ‘substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms’ [as stated in Sustainable Development Goal 16]. “
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New Resources
Pope Francis: The Name of God is Mercy (2016).
"Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognized as such and rendering us humble, is elevated to a system; it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviors. Jesus says to his disciples: Even if your brother offends you seven times a day, and seven times a day he returns to you to ask for forgiveness, forgive him. The repentant sinner, who sins again and again because of his weakness, will find forgiveness if he acknowledges his need for mercy. The corrupt man is the one who sins but does not repent, who sins and pretends to be Christian, and it is this double life that is scandalous. The corrupt man does not know humility, he does not consider himself in need of help, he leads a double life."(excerpt from chapter 7: "Sinners Yes, Corrupt No";  p. 77).



















“How do otherwise considerate human beings do cruel things and still live in peace with themselves?...They do so by sanctifying their harmful behavior as serving worthy causes; they absolve themselves of blame for the harm they cause by displacement and diffusion of responsibility; they minimize or deny the harmful effects of their actions; and they dehumanize those they maltreat and blame them for bringing the suffering on themselves. (excerpt from Amazon website). Click HERE for a book review from PsycCRITIQUES (APA). “For me, it would be hard to find a book of more contemporary relevance…if we are seriously committed to understanding the confusing world in which we live. If you read it and find you better understand how other people can do such bad things and lived with them, you will have profited from the book. But if you read it and find as well that you better understand how you have done some bad things and lived with what you have done, you will truly understand the message of the book.” (excerpt from book review)

NCI Update
The NCI KB fraud is not over. It is not forgotten. It is not going away.
People are still being defrauded--by the complicity of silence.
The church-mission community is shamed. (2 Cor. 4:2)
God's name is blasphemed. (Rms. 2:24)


If there is nothing to hide, then we can speak up. Demonstrate it. 
If something is being hidden, then we can speak up. Disclose it. 
 Walk as children of light.  (Eph. 5: 8)

We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI. Click here to see the latest update of the paper trail: (August 2014--current).
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It has been nearly nine years since the NCI fraud began to be publically confronted (2007). It has also been nearly 20 months since four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition. Leaders in Youth With a Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed itWe thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organisations listed in the petition.
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The organizations and people affected by NCI in various ways can call for and authorize independent reviews. It is not too late to model good financial practice and integrity, for one’s own sake and for the sake of the church-mission community and the general public. None of us need to live a double life--a morally disengaged life. Speak up.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Good Fraud-day (April-May 2016)

Rationalizing our Responsibility
to Confront the Deviant and to Protect the Innocent

 There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes
 yet is not washed from his filthiness.
Proverbs 30:12, NASB
 

Ecce homo. Behold the man.
Antonio Ciseri, 1880
  
This entry continues the call to the international church-mission community (CMC) to practice the highest standards of transparency and accountability. It calls upon people to acknowledge their own propensity for acting deceptively and cowardly (corruption) as well as their own capacity for acting truthfully and heroically (integrity).

Part One—Rationalizing and Hand Washing. This is now the third Good Friday entry on this weblog. The other two Good Friday  entries are worth reviewing too:
--(April-May 2013): Betraying Well--Silence, Passivity, and Neutrality
--(27 March 2015): Institutional Betrayal--Denial, Distortions, Defamation                                    

 “Good-Fraud-day” the current entry, highlights how every day is actually a very “good” day for people, including “good” people, to prop up fraud: to avoid confronting deviant people and to avoid protecting innocent people. Fraud might be committed by hard-wired perpetrators but its deleterious effects are continued by hand washing placators.

 Pilate is a classic case in point. Under pressure (i.e. adverse circumstances with potentially adverse consequences) he rationalized away his responsibility to protect Jesus of Nazareth. His publicly washing his hands—his self-proclaimed innocence—however, did not exonerate him of responsibility for the fate of this innocent Jewish teacher-prophet. (Matthew 27:24) It was good fraud-day back then circa 33 C.E.  even as unfortunately it can be good fraud-day now and every day.



Good Hand Washing: Ten Tactics for Feigning Responsibility. Here are 10 ways to rationalize away our responsibility for dealing with fraud and other forms of corruption. As we review them carefully, they can help us to see how we might be washing our hands but not washing our hearts when it comes to confronting deviant people and protecting innocent people.  The moral disease continues to thrive. This is especially true in the ongoing NCI KB fraud case, a key focus of this weblog. Note that these 10 “good hand washing” tactics build upon the 10 Tactics for Feigning Good Practice featured in the last entry (Feb-March 2016)—have a look there too.

I am not responsible and we are not responsible, because...
1. It’s been a long time; it happened a long time ago….
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend that it’s no longer relevant.


2. It’s so common these days…
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend that it is not really important.

3. We’ve all moved on…new people are in our organization…
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend that it no longer applies to us.

4. No one really knows the full story of what really happened…
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend it is all just too mysterious and confusing.

5. Governments and local authorities are responsible…
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend that we have no or little responsibility.

6. We’ve already dealt with this matter…we even have annual audits…

so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend we have already done our ethical duty and good practice.

7.  We are not responsible to some ad hoc group asking for disclosures…what right do they have …
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend that accountability/citizens groups have no moral authority.

8. People asking for transparency and accountability have problems… their motives are also wrong…they should forgive and move on…what do they really hope to gain from this matter?…
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend that others are not qualified or justified to call for disclosures.

9.  We are being harassed by people asking for disclosures….
so let’s wash our hands of it and pretend that we are the ones being mistreated, victimized, and exploited.

10. We are doing good things to help others…we are good people… we are good employees, workers, citizens...
so let’s wash our hands and pretend that our goodness in some areas exonerates us from conforming to good practice standards in other areas.



Part Two—NCI and Petition Updates. We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate how they may have been affected by NCI. Click here to see the latest update of the paper trail: (August 2014 through January 2016).
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It has been over eight years since the NCI fraud began to be publically confronted (2007).  And it has been nearly 18 months since four of the organizations included in the petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition. We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organisations listed in the Shine the Light-Together petition. Leaders in Youth With a Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ, and Crossroads Church received separate email-letters in August 2014 regarding the Shine the Light-Together petition with the names and comments of 100+ people who signed it
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It is not too late for the organizations and people affected by NCI to call for and authorize independent reviews. It is not too late to model good financial practice and integrity, for their own sake and for that of the church-mission community and general public. It is not too late for truly getting clean.