Despite how it might seem, places of worship aren’t immune to ethical challenges. Thankfully, whistleblowers in churches, synagogues, and mosques are helping overcome these obstacles and are creating more ethical places to worship. Much like other nonprofits, all it takes is a few people trying to take advantage to ruin an organization’s good name. And, as with any nonprofit and business, whistleblowers are key to improving.
Sadly, not all donations make it to the church and local community. When parishoners tithe, they expect that the money goes to maintain the church, help with ministry programs and aid the local community when needed. What they don’t expect is someone using the money for personal benefit.
But, this does happen. Church staff, volunteers and even pastors might write down incorrect numbers or say money was used one way when it was used for something else. If the fraud goes on, a church can lose its nonprofit status, along with its members.
Whistleblowers in church might notice discrepancies or when someone has a sudden windfall that doesn’t make sense. By reporting this, churches reduce fraud. Plus, anyone thinking of committing fraud is less likely for fear of being caught.
It’s not just fraud that’s a problem for churches. Volunteers might grab a few dollars out of the collection plate each week. Someone might take home a laptop or tablet and never bring it back, saying it was stolen or lost. For smaller churches, especially, theft adds up quickly.
It’s everyone’s responsibility to hold everyone else accountable. Whistleblowers in church can spot someone stealing. Even if it’s a friend, it’s better to report it than let the church suffer. Plus, when reported to the right people, the situation can be handled quietly without any embarrassment.
Churches are supposed to be places that welcome anyone who wants to worship. However, discrimination still infects churches across the country and world. Whether it’s a few members trying to push out someone different, an overall attitude by church staff or discriminatory comments made by others, none of it should be tolerated.
While it’s hard to take on a church where most everyone supports a discriminatory stance, whistleblowers in church can call out individuals that are causing problems. Anyone experiencing discrimination of any type should report it immediately. And, for people who realize a church is being discriminatory, blowing the whistle publicly can help put an end to it.
It’s no secret that affairs tend to happen in churches, which are morally wrong. But, what many never mention is a more ethical problem that’s not between two consenting adults – harassment. This can happen between church staff, volunteers and even among members. It’s not unusual for those in a position of power, such as a pastor or church elders, to try to take advantage of their position.
No one should have to deal with harassment, especially in a place that’s supposed to be safe, moral and ethical. Reporting it immediately is the only way to stop it. It also prevents future harassment.
It’s vital that every place of worship implements a whistleblower hotline to allow members, staff and visitors to anonymously report issues. Whistleblowers in churches aren’t there to cause trouble. Protecting them, listening to them and taking action against ethical issues only helps to improve these organizations.