January 13, 2021

Top Faith-Based Leaders and Organizations Partner to Protect Whistleblowers

Government Accountability Project Launches New Program: Bearing Witness

WASHINGTON – Today, influential faith leaders and organizations from across the US join Government Accountability Project in launching Bearing Witness, the first-ever faith-based initiative to support and protect workplace truth-tellers. Whistleblowers bear witness to crimes, harmful policies, abuses of power and cover-ups in government-associated workplaces. They are moral voices of critical importance to democracy, accountability, and justice. Many are inspired and strengthened by their faith and faith communities

Bearing Witness, part of Government Accountability Project’s Democracy Protection Initiative, offers free resources, education opportunities, and pro bono legal counsel to help clergy, faith leaders, and faith communities and organizations effectively support, counsel and protect potential whistleblowers in their communities. Whistleblowers often face great personal and professional risk to themselves and their families and may turn to clergy who are bound by strict legal and moral confidentiality and serve as important confidants. Clergy and faith leaders need to be well-prepared to provide responsible and effective counsel. 

Bearing Witness welcomes top organizations and leaders across faiths as allies:

  • United Church of Christ: Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister & President; Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, Associate General Minister Justice & Local Church Ministries
  • Faith 2020: Rev. Adam Phillips, Executive Director
  • Sojourners: Rev. Adam Russell Taylor, President
  • Bend the Arc: Jewish Action: Stosh Cotler, CEO
  • Faith in Public Life: Rev. Jen Butler, CEO
  • New Moral Majority: Rev. Ryan M. Eller, Founder & Executive Director,
  • Auburn Seminary: Rev. Dr. Katharine R. Henderson, President
  • Freedom Road LLC: Lisa Sharon Harper, Founder & President
  • The Sikh Coalition: Satjeet Kaur, Executive Director
  • Islamic Society of North America (ISNA): Basharat Saleem, Executive Director
  • Vote Common Good: Rev. Doug Pagitt, Co-Founder & Executive Director; Patrick Carolan, Director Catholic Outreach
  • Franciscan Action Network: Steve Schneck, Executive Director
  • Convergence US: Rev. Cameron Trimble, Founder & CEO
  • Pax Christi USA: Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director
  • Center for Interreligious Understanding: Rabbi Jack Bemporad, Executive Director
  • Sr. Simone Campbell SSS: Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
  • Brian D. McLaren: author, activist, public theologian
  • Mike McCurry: (For identification purposes only) Former White House Press Secretary 1995-98; Professor/Director, Center for Public Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary
  • Imam Abdullah T. Antepli: professor of interfaith relations 
  • Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner: (For identification purposes only) Director, Religious Action Center & Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei
  • Wajahat Ali: author/national columnist
  • Rabbi Jack Moline
  • Bishop Gene Robinson 

Louis Clark, executive director and chief executive officer of Government Accountability Project, who is also ordained in the United Methodist Church, commented:

“Even prior to the violent attack on the Capitol last week, many have been deeply—and rightly—worried about the fragility of our democracy. Our nation faces grave challenges and a period of particular instability. Whistleblowers play a vital role in our democracy. We’ve seen their witness promote accountability and justice and serve as deterrents to future wrongdoing since our nation’s founding. We offer these new resources for faith leaders and communities to lend further understanding and moral support to the important role whistleblowers play in holding the halls of power accountable through the power of truth.”

Dana Gold, Government Accountability Project’s senior counsel and director of education, who leads the Democracy Protection Initiative and its Bearing Witness project, said:

“It takes tremendous moral courage to speak truth to power and refuse to let crimes and injustices go unaddressed or covered up. In these perilous times for democracy, now more than ever, we need employees of conscience to speak out about abuses of the public trust. We welcome this engagement by diverse faith communities across the country in support of whistleblowers. They send a powerful message of gratitude and encouragement to those who have witnessed, or in the future might witness, wrongdoing that must be exposed to prevent future violence, injustice and threats to our nation.”

Influential author, speaker and activist, Brian McLaren, who previously led a 500-person congregation in the Washington, DC suburbs of Maryland and inspired the multifaith idea behind Bearing Witness commented:

“Faith can be both an important driver and source of comfort for whistleblowers. I had congregants who found themselves in the extremely difficult position of witnessing government wrongdoing and though I was able to listen and offer spiritual support, there were no practical tools and resources available to help clergy maneuver in these difficult waters. Bearing Witness now offers an important resource at a particularly critical time.” 

Contact: Andrew Harman, Government Accountability Project Communications Director
Phone: (202) 926-3304

Government Accountability Project

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.