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Jesus may have known exactly what was going to happen to him during the following week so prior to going into the city of Jerusalem he chose to spend time with the people he not only cared deeply about but loved.
Bethany near Jerusalem
Bethany was a small village only 15 furlongs (around 1 ½ miles or 2.5 km) south east of Jerusalem on the main road leading up from Jericho. Its Jewish name Beit-Anyah (“house of misery” or “house of the poor”) describes the place well. It was well known as a place where many poor and disadvantaged people would be living supported by the hard work and sacrificial giving by other villagers and donations from others.
Simon the leper Jesus healed in Mark 14:3-10 also lived in Bethany. It may have one of the three villages established east of Jerusalem to care for sick and disabled people. The Temple Scroll found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls required the leper village to be built at least 1 mile from the city and not visible from the Jerusalem temple.
Most archaeologists believe Bethany is now the West Bank city of al-Eizariya meaning “Place of Lazarus”.
Bethany was the home town of his close friend Lazarus (whom Jesus had previously raised from death 3 days after he died) and his sisters Mary and Martha. Given the strong spiritual connection it is possible that Lazarus and his sisters were living in Bethany to care for the sick.
It is suggested that the close attachment of Jesus to this family came partly through being related to them. However there is no solid proof in the Bible to back this up. It was clear that Jesus had been in real sorrow that Lazarus had died and felt great compassion for his sisters.
It was here that Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with Nard a perfumed ointment. The Bible describes it as “one pound” but a Roman pound would be only 12 ounces today but even so this would be a very expensive purchase. John Chapter 12:1-8
No wonder Judas Iscariot complained that it should have been sold and proceeds being used for the poor. Interestingly Jesus responded with “you will also have the poor with you”. This verse should not be taken out of context as an excuse for hanging onto your money rather than giving it to poor people. Jesus is speaking to people in a village set up outside Jerusalem specifically to care and support people who need help he was acknowledging that there will always be a need to support poor people. But Mary was simply expressing her love and devotion to the Son Of God who was about to face death.
You can read a great PDF commentary on this anointing with Nard passage here.
His Entry Into Jerusalem
As the following day was the Sabbath Jesus would have continued resting from his travels and spending time with people who were close to his heart. The day after that was what we now call Palm Sunday when he would enter into Jerusalem in triumph.
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Looking for whistleblowing support groups?
I am based in Scotland in UK. I know of a number of whistleblower support groups working in the UK. I don’t know all the groups working in other countries but I have attempted to gather some of them.
As one person developing this website I do not have the physical time to develop guides to all the various pieces of legislation available to support you in your own country. If you are able to help produce articles or guides of value to help whistleblowers in countries you know please contact me using our contact form and we can connect on Skype or similar.
Note not all of them will be using Christian whistleblowing best practices that I have outlined in our whistleblowing guidelines. However having read that guide that you will know just what methods you feel it is right to do. They maybe be able to assist with personal guidance on local laws and how policies have been interpreted in your area.
I know there are others I don’t know so if you find one that is not listed please let us know how to contact them and we will add them to the list below.
National Whistleblowers Center. Since 1988, the NWC, whistleblowers supported by the NWC and attorneys representing these whistle-blowers have achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability. This is strongly led by lawyers many of whom are involved in provision of pro bono legal advice. They also have a facility whereby you are able to submit a confidential report to them and get feedback on how they suggest you proceed. They appear primarily to be a specialist legal advice group rather than a support group.
More to be added shortly.
Is Your Work Colleague Committing Theft?
I read today in Scotland’s “The Sunday Post” newspaper that our National Health Service could afford to employ another 750 nurses each year. However to do that they would need to stop the fraud that is occurring now within its organisation.
Apparently in the next few days they are launching a new campaign to make employees aware of the problem. They say that issuing DVDs and other educational tools will make Health Service staff think about the issue and help stamp it out.
Reading that report made me want to cry and laugh at the same time.
Health Service Theft and Fraud.
My mind went back ten years ago and writing my chapter for the book Whistleblowing in the Social Services on the subject of “Acquiescence in Wrongdoing” ISBN 0 340 65245 4. I had included an extract from a survey done by the Audit Commission (a government body charged with auditing what is happening in our public bodies) that had been published four years earlier (in 1994) showing we were losing about 6 MILLION POUNDS (approx 10 million dollars) a year.
This did not include the laptops etc that walked out in the arms of health service employees and visitors and never returned. The Audit Commission said we had a serious health service problem in 1994. So why it take 14 years for our government to take action? If they really do take action.
(Oh I remember now. Some of our government ministers are currently under investigation for financial mistakes in the election campaigns so they need to deflect the newspaper headlines. Or is this just me being too cynical?)
That same report also said the commission had surveyed the Heads of Internal Audits in the various health service boards. Almost unbelievably one of every five of them had said they feared they would lose their job if they reported all the weaknesses in the system that they knew about to their bosses.
That’s right! The very people employed to protect our health service against fraud were afraid to speak out about what they know.
What is our country coming to? Sorry what has our country already come to?
In 1995 Mike Probert Lewis from the Institute of Internal Auditors wrote “Blowing the whistle is the short way to put yourself on the long term unemployment register”.
I know I did it!
See this short video about the different types of fraud that occurs with our National Health Service (NHS) caring for dying or seriously ill patients (our friends and relatives included) when money is short and being stolen each year. Money which could have used to save lives!
It also happens in the USA as well.
We need people to stand up and be counted when it comes to fraud and theft. Nowadays someone who is putting in false mileage claims etc is referred to as “fiddling their expenses” and most people would turn a blind eye to it. Yet if we call it by its true name THEFT we would stand accused of not just turning a blind eye but “aiding and abetting in a serious crime”.
What would God say about you committing that criminal activity when we stand before the judgement seat? Do you think He would be pleased by it?
Maybe if we all reported every instance of expense fiddling in every organisation we would have a country rich enough to support everyone who needed our help.
I would support anyone who was willing to speak out but recommend at few safety precautions to be taken to prevent the abuser turning around and passing the blame to you. I have them spelt out in full in another series of articles. If anyone wants to discuss them in more detail please contact me using the comments box below. Your details will NOT be published.
Part of a series of articles on whistle blowing in the workplace today
This is the first of a series in ethical standards and the subject of whistleblowing in the workplace. If you want to find out more start here.
Nathan Whistleblowing On King David
When Nathan the prophet first approached King David, to challenge him about David’s affair with Bathsheba he could well have been in fear of his life. See the fuller report in 2 Samuel 12: 1-13
He was about to tell the King of the land the powerful ruler of the country that the King was in the wrong for doing what he had done. What would be the response? Would David listen and repent, or throw Nathan into prison or execute him? The King had absolute power in those days he could have done almost anything he chose to do.
Health Service Internal Auditors and Whistle Blowing
This is a situation not many of us will face in Britain these days (although it would be the case in some other countries). Yet the Audit Commission following an investigation into fraud in the NHS found that the majority of the frauds could have been detected by colleagues and internal staff but one third of those staff interviewed said they would be unwilling to report fraud by their own colleagues.
Even more frightening is that over 20% of the Heads of Internal Audit feared losing their job if they raised all their concerns with managers or reported all abuses and weaknesses in the system. (Audit Commission Protecting the Public Purse 2 Ensuring Probity in the NHS 1994 HMSO)
And who would blame them when the Membership Services Manager of the Institute of Internal Auditors has been recorded as saying “Blowing the whistle is the short way to put yourself on the long term unemployment register”.
If the professional Internal Auditors can’t do it without fear then it is down to all of us to point out issues in the correct way and stop the problem from continuing.
Some of the other pressures on people not to disclose malpractices is the way we have been educated at school not to tell tales on others to people in authority. At my school that would certainly have meant you suddenly lost all your friends.
Abbey National Bank
When Gary Brown first worked as marketing executive with Abbey National Bank (Now part of the Spanish Santander Banking Group ) he believed his immediate line manager and head of department was committing fraud of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Unable to tackle such a popular powerful man straight on he secretly gathered the evidence and only after finding himself a new job did he present those documents to the Abbey National Board of Directors. The Board investigated and called the police.
Following the imprisonment of his former manager for eight years a letter was sent to Brown offering him a reward of £25,000 and the offer of a more senior job with the Abbey National. (Lynn, Matthew The Whistleblower’s Dilemma Management Today October 1998.)
Does it all ways work out that easily? I can’t lie to you on that point by saying it is but it is now more likely. See Whistleblowing As A Christian The Biblical Way 2
Whistle Blowing In The Workplace.
Have you ever found yourself in a position of being asked to do something in your workplace which you thought was wrong?
Maybe it was the other way round you were asked to keep quiet about something your employer did not want others to know about?
We are not talking here about giving away commercial trade secrets. This is unethical behaviour giving competitors ways of competing without doing all their own necessary research to develop the idea. I mean practices which the employer is carrying out which are either dubious or downright unethical or illegal.
Definition Of Whistle Blowing
Whistleblowing is officially defined as “making a disclosure that is in the public interest”. It will usually occur when an employee discloses to a public body, usually the police or a regulatory commission that their employer is partaking in unlawful practices.
Remember the 1999 movie “The Insider” (starring Russell Crowe) about Jeffrey Wigand who tobacco company researcher. Jeffrey revealed tobacco industry deceptions and practices that get people hooked on drugs that kill. (Okay, I admit it I am anti-smoking but all the same you and I both know tobacco causes cancer in a large number of people every year.)
I never met Jeffrey Wigand but I have spoken and spent time supporting a large number of other people who have ended up blowing the whistle on company practices. They worked across a wide range of sectors ranging from
- police officers.
- childrens services.
- social services.
- university researchers.
- banks and building societies.
I met them primarily through my involvement in a whistle blowing support group. (I was one of the original Directors and the first Company Secretary.) The group was established by other whistleblowers led by a London university professor to
- provide support to people on how to effectively (and safely) go public.
- to campaign to introduce safeguards for employees to be legally protected.
As part of the campaign we were able to raise the visibility of the issue substantially through publishing a magazine and a couple of academic books. Both books primarily concentrated on the care sectors (nursing and social services). These services were easier to bring to the public attention and newspaper/ radio and TV stations. This was when unions started to get involved in making whistle blowing even more visible and pushing for their own members to be given even more protection after whistle blowing actions.
The UK government have subsequently introduced whistle blowers protection legislation. Whilst we did not think this went quite far enough it was a major step forward. However with no funds for our campaigning work we had to accept we could not get any further. Public Concern at Work has largely taken over our role of supporting whistle blowers when we closed.
As part of this series I will be adding guides on how to legally blow the whistle and how to be a Whistle Blower following principles clearly laid out in our Bible. The next item in this series is to consider what is right and wrong on the subject of Whistle blowing.
This is the second of a series in ethical standards on the subject of whistleblowing in the workplace. If you have come here direct from a search engine I would suggest you start reading with part 1 of Whistleblowing as a Christian the Biblical way
Whistle Blowing and Its Consequences In The Health Sector
My involvement with Freedom To Care (FtC), a national whistleblowers support group suggests that Brown’s story referred to in part 1 was the rare exception to the rule. As a former Director of FtC I heard numerous stories of how people had suffered for years after blowing the whistle on malpractice in the workplace. These are just some of them.
We not only supported whistleblowers but campaigned for their legal protection. Nowadays with the new employment protection legislation now in place the risk of the following problems happening to you is minimised.
Chris Chapman, a Principal Biochemist at Leeds General Infirmary working in conjunction with Leeds University, was made redundant after alleging corruption and fraud in the research being carried out. A number of inquiries were held to clarify the facts before a number of senior academics were given early retirement and replaced.
This was however too late for Chris, who died in late 1998 from a cancer that many believe was brought on by the stress he faced over a seven-year struggle to expose the fraud.
Following whistleblowing by a number of staff, an inquiry headed by Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC into abuse at Ashworth Special Hospital, found that the hospital was “a brutalising, stagnant, closed institution” and several nurses were suspended along with changes in management.
However during the course of that inquiry, the whistleblowers were victimised and bullied beyond belief. Many lost their jobs while others were unable to carry on working there because of threats made against them by other staff.
Since that damming independent verdict was given on the hospital over seven years ago, there has been a whole series of further investigations and further evidence of continued abuse of the vulnerable patients living there.
Today, as I write, the Fallon report has just been published saying despite all the previous reports the situation at Ashworth Hospital appears to have got much worse but the original conscientious workers who stood out for justice seven years ago have still lost their jobs. See the full report Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Personality Disorder Unit Ashworth Hospital Volume 1; Stationary Office 1999.
Whistleblowing in Children’s Care Sector
Both the Islington and North Wales scandals concerning paedophile activity in children’s homes were first exposed by whistleblowers who were initially not believed but victimised by their colleagues as a punishment for daring to speak out. Only years later when further evidence became available were the police called in.
The North Wales investigation ran for several years leading to the discovery of sex rings extending over several counties. (Taylor, Allison Hostages to Fortune: The Abuse of Children in Care Whistleblowing in the Social Services: Public Accountability and Professional Practice Editor Geoff Hunt London: Arnold 1988)
In Islington in London when a number of staff made comments about gay visitors to the children’s home who were taking out youngsters for overnight stays they were told that they were just being homophobic and going against the council equal opportunities policy.
It took whistleblowers and journalists from the London evening paper The Standard several years to force the council to do something to stop the abuses.
One Assistant Director of Social Services “lost” files containing allegations about a care worker after they were handed to her personally so she could investigate complaints that had been reopened by the police force.
That same local authority then refused to provide other files showing complaints about several different staff to both the Metropolitan Police and Surrey Police to assist in prosecutions of abusers. (Fairweather, Eileen Exposing the Islington Children’s home scandal: a journalist’s viewpoint Whistleblowing in the Social Services: Public Accountability and Professional Practice Editor Geoff Hunt London: Arnold 1988)
Whistle Blowing Is A Safety Valve
Whistleblowing is a safety valve designed to stop the boiler exploding and causing even greater damage. Without it what would have been the situation in the Abbey National, Ashworth Hospital and the children’s homes across London and Wales? Would action now be happening to stop it reoccurring and more lives being ruined?
Nevertheless, would you have blown the whistle and suffer the consequences these people did. It took courage and a belief that they were doing the right thing to protect the ill patients and young children in care. The society they were working in were damaging and ill-treating their vulnerable clients. If these people had not spoken out who would or could have taken action to stop it happening.
Read the next part of the series Whistleblowing as a Christian the Biblical way 3
This is the third part of a series in ethical standards on the subject of whistleblowing as a Christian in the workplace. If you have come here direct from a search engine I would suggest you start reading with part 1 of Whistleblowing as a Christian the Biblical way
Whistleblowing is not just necessary in the caring sector.
It is also vital in every other area as well. For example, a survey of 300 members carried out by the Manufacturing, Science and Finance Union (better known as MSF Union) showed that 90% of them had wanted to raise a whistleblowing issue. However only 65% had done so and 80% of those who had done so believed they had suffered as a result. (see The Guardian Charity law: you know how to whistle 26 June 1996 page 26)
Paul van Buitenan the assistant auditor in the European Commission was still suspended some two years later after reporting his own findings directly to the European Parliament including allegations of fraud amounting to several million pounds.
I remember reading in my local newspaper letters of complaints from readers because the local authority was introducing a special telephone line for people to report housing benefit fraud suggesting that it was inciting people to snitch on neighbours.
Yet, CrimeStoppers and similar national telephone help-lines for reporting criminals, burglars, drug dealers and smugglers have all been successful in their own way at eliminating crimes. What is the difference?
Should you blow the whistle if you are aware of malpractice in your workplace? The Message Bible interprets Proverbs 28:28 as being “When corruption takes over, good people go underground, but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out”.
Is this a good interpretation of the original verse?
The Book of Proverbs does contain a lot of wisdom and here in the message version it could be read as advice to stay quiet and keep your head down. I don’t believe this is the original meaning.
This interpretation would be totally inconsistent with other passages across the whole of scripture which tell us to defend the rights of the poor and widows. How do we do that if we just keep ignoring the injustice and allow others to steal from and abuse our most vulnerable members of society? Other Bible versions are much more consistent with the overall Bible message of fighting injustice and speaking out.
Jesus called on us not to hide our light under a bushel. This means being seen to be honest and stand up for righteousness. Jesus himself was often to be seen and heard challenging the rulers and Pharisees for their conduct.
If he could challenge the authorities of the day about their conduct and their behaviour towards the weaker members of society saying “Woe to you Pharisees you neglect justice and the love of God” . Luke 11:42 Should not we be doing the same?
If you decide that you have reason to challenge wrong practice in this way there are methods that would be acceptable and others, which would, in my, belief be wrong.
Start To Gather The Evidence
Firstly we need to be sure of our facts before saying anything detrimental about others. This means spending time researching and gathering the evidence (making photocopies as necessary) in order to prove or disprove the allegations.
These may be needed later if the organisation tries to cover up and destroy or substitute invoices, minutes of meetings etc.
This information is to safeguard yourself and provide clear evidence which you will need. The next step is to go to Whistleblowing As A Christian The Biblical Way 4
This is the fourth part of a series in ethical standards on the subject of whistleblowing as a Christian in the workplace. If you have come here direct from a search engine I would suggest you start reading with part 1 of Whistleblowing as a Christian the Biblical way
The Second stage before whistleblowing
Secondly follow the advice given in Proverbs 30:10 “Don’t blow the whistle on your fellow workers behind their backs: They’ll accuse you of being underhanded and then you’ll be the guilty one! “ (Quoted from “The Message”.)
In other words do not go to the authorities without first speaking inside the organisation — give the internal management an opportunity to correct the problem.
Consider Paul’s advice about challenging Church leaders and having witnesses present if necessary (1 Timothy 5:19). Many abusers are caught in a trap — the power over others whether this is a sexual power, a financial power or just a kick they get by being a bully in authority.
They may just turn around and admit it has happened and be willing to do something to change the situation.
You then have another big dilemma but it may be that they are genuinely seeking your help to stop. If this is the case you may need to help the person seek professional advice and go with them to work out the solution.
Build a Support System Around You Prior To Blowing The Whistle
Thirdly gather your own support around you — speak about the issue to your family and close friends. If things do go wrong that is when you will need them to understand the situation you are in.
Be aware that you are putting the future of other people at risk as well as your own. Many of your friends from the workplace will suddenly vanish or turn against you. (John 15: 18-25) (My experience with FtC says that colleagues you may regard as close friends will lie on oath in the witness box to protect their own jobs.)
You may also face some physical or emotional threats against you. They may not be as heavy as Isaiah faced from Jezebel but even he, at the height of his spiritual successes, feeling totally stressed out and thinking that all was lost went off into the desert to lay down under a tree and just die (1 Kings 19).
Concentrate on helping people who really trust you and are outside the workplace system to pray for you each and every day. Keep them aware of each stage so they know how to support you.
Going public with your whistleblowing is the last straw. Discover more about this in the next section Whistleblowing as a Christian — The Biblical Way 5
This is the fifth and last part of a series in ethical standards on the subject of whistleblowing as a Christian in the workplace. If you have come here direct from a search engine I would suggest you start reading Whistleblowing as a Christian the Biblical way part 1.
Other Sources of Support for Whistleblowing
Fourthly there is also support available from others who have been through it.
The best-known British organisation was Freedom to Care. Originally founded by whistleblowers to support other people in the caring professions. As it grew we developed sub groups of people in law, science, education, financial services and various other occupations with links to many other groups throughout the world. It also offers various publications as well as running support meetings in various parts of the country.
Ftc has now closed so I suggest contacting Public Concern at Work They are a charity offering primarily legal advice both to individuals and to employers. Alternatively contact me direct using the contact me form on this website for a more personal and Christian discussion.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 will give some legal protection if you follow its guidelines. Don’t forget it was amended by The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) in April 2013.
However this Act does not give full protection as you will still need to prove beyond all doubt that what you did was necessary and you had followed all other avenues first.
This latter point is also important to us as individuals and our relationship with God. If we are just looking for money from newspapers or taking revenge on the company we are without doubt in the wrong.
Whistleblowing could cost you your job (I lost over £70,000 in salaries by doing it). But remember whilst God does want us to prosper it is not at the cost of losing our relationship with Him.
If we do suffer temporary setbacks we need to be able to rely on Him as our faithful provider to meet all our needs. It is easier to say that we should not worry about worldly possessions but “seek first His Kingdom and all these will be added to us”, than to live it out in practice. (Matthew 6:33)
However, support is available if you look for it.
Someone once said of a Christian whose lifestyle did not match up to his words, “I can’t hear what he is saying because his actions shout too loud”.
If we are being sent into the world to tell people about the light of the world then our actions must reflect that light. Our deeds are more important sometimes than our words.
Jesus himself paid a high price for us when he died all those years ago. Can we afford not to stand up for good honest standards in the workplace even it means paying a relatively small price for it?
Note A version of this article was first written for an UK Magazine publication. Although laws in other countries may differ in style and types of protection the same biblical standards should apply.
Are you as a whistleblower (or a potential one) looking for advice support or guidance in your own country? We are trying to list groups that can help you on our whistle blowing support groups page. If you are part of one already or know of a support group in your area please let us know using the contact form here.