The child abuse scandal surrounding Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) illuminates one of the necessary traits of moral courage – the willingness to challenge authority.
The essay Penn State Scandal on the Moral Courage Project website is an easy read. It’s not sensationalized or pornographic. I recommend it for families that would like to have a dinner conversation about the topic.
Moral courage is the willingness to speak truth to power for the sake of a greater good, even at the price of personal backlash. My first introduction to the Moral Courage Project was during a lecture by Christian Amanpour.
Amanpour spoke about the time she covered the bombardment of Sarajevo.
Her big moral courage breakthrough came during the 1990s breakup of Yugoslavia. “I stayed in the Balkans for four years while the United States and Europe denied that genocide was being committed,” Amanpour said. “We were there day in and day out. President Clinton didn’t want to do anything about it. The world wanted to tell public opinion that this was just a centuries old conflict and more importantly and falsely, that all sides were equally guilty.
“Those of us who were living there and reporting it and were actually part of the civilian population and therefore could feel it and be affected by the bombardment of Sarajevo, we told the truth.”
Jimmy Church experienced a similar conflict when he broadcast the Jerry Sandusky Grand Jury indictment. He said,
“When I got the Grand Jury report in my hands that morning, I didn’t know if it was real. I didn’t know what to do with it.
We searched all of the big news outlets like CNN, ESPN and Fox and there was nothing at all about Sandusky, Paterno or Penn State.
Finally, during a commercial break on my show I decided to run with the story. If true, it was a huge event and we wanted to get it out there ASAP. I turned to Charlie Schectman, a producer on the show and said ‘run video’…and that’s the video that went out…of me reading from the report on-air for the first time.
We immediately released everything at the same time: my website, jimmychurchradio.com, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The video just took off from there.”
Jimmy and his producers remember a harrowing night filled with hate mail and more…. After all they are all family folks with young children.
Penn State fans are loyal and this news was just too too much. But by morning the tape had gone viral and the major networks had also reported the story.
Folks if you want the straight scoop on the Penn State story, follow a morally courageous radio talk show host like Jimmy Church.
I will have more on Jimmy Church shortly.