Activist Faith

For many, the recent news of Penn State’s sex scandal in its college football program was simply another headline among many in the hectic pace of daily life. Yes, it was tragic. Yes, it was wrong. And, yes, it is far too easy to move on the the next item of business for the day.

But there is a very real sense in which Penn State matters to all of us. At stake is our responsibility to report wrongful actions. In this case, multiple people were aware of serious accusations of sexual misconduct, yet did not do enough to protect those who were the victims. Now, years later, these actions have become public and many have been quick to call for the firings of those involved.

What we are clearly witnessing is a collective cultural statement that the failure to report sexual abuse is wrong. Very wrong.

The larger implication is that when we see something wrong in this world, what are we expected to do? Even Jesus addressed this in his famous Good Samaritan account. When a person was hurt and in need of help, the first two to witness the victim passed by without helping. The third person–and the one least expected to help–did. Jesus’ application? “Go and do likewise.”

When we apply this insight to the contemporary situation at Penn State, we see more action should have been taken. Sadly, the same could often be said about how we respond to other people in need we see each day. The solution? Go and do likewise.


DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Thirst No More, Undefending Christianity, and Not in My Town (with Charles J. Powell). Discover more at

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