I was the Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. This was while being a professor of economics and NDSU. Later I became active in the Red River Freethinkers. While I no longer live in Fargo-Moorhead the focus of my blog remains there.


Secrecy in Religion and Government Have Bad Ends


I discussed recently an article in The New Yorker by a Catholic writer in one of the New York City Boroughs. Within a bicycle ride from his home are about 10 Catholic churches. Some are closed or about to close. Nearly all of them have been touched by the Catholic Church sex scandal.
The writer wondered, like other Catholics if things will be set right again. He worked on his article for months interviewing church members and high ranking clergy including New York City's Cardinal Doland. At the end of a long article the writer concludes that secrecy in the clergy will keep scandals alive without end.
The same is true in government. We just saw the U.S. Attorney go out of his way to make a significant part of the Special Council's Report secret. 
The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was perhaps unequaled in experience and wisdom. He had worked in government before becoming a high elected official. He said there must be a constant effort in break into the secrecy of the government bureaucracy. It will be the ruin of our country if we do not do this, he thought.
Secrecy is too big a topic cover entirely in this short piece. We all know there are issues of national security and human resources that need to be concealed. But, even these should be open to some group outside those with the most power.
If sexual violations by clergy had been made public from day one the scandal the church faces today would not be present. If there had been more transparency before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq we might not today be facing the unending stories of brutality by the U.S. or its allies in questioning prisoners and the inability of closing the Guantanamo Prison.

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