Author’s note:
This is a four part series starting today and concluding on Thursday. If you are offended by language of sexual abuse I caution you to be careful reading Wednesday’s edition. I am careful to keep the detail to a minimum and only reference directly from a police report. It is one paragraph that you can safely skip or you can skip Wednesday’s post without missing the main point of the series.

Should any political developments arise that I need to bring to your attention to this week, I will post them as afternoon articles. I will post about the UMC accreditation issue this afternoon. I realize that this series is long but I encourage you to read it if you truly want to understand how a culture of corruption exists in El Paso.

Finally, at the end of this post there are instructions on how to get a free hard cover book.

Update: This post was updated on July 13, 2015 at 10:45ET to correct some grammatical errors.

Corruption in a community can only flourish when the society not only allows it to grow but encourages it as well. Deep-rooted corruption, like the one found in El Paso, must be ingrained into the fabric of society. In order to do that, the moral compass of the society must accept that corruption is an acceptable standard for the community. A community’s moral compass is defined through education and encouragement. Encouragement is demonstrated every time a pillar of the community, like Bob Jones or Dana Pittard, are lauded by the business community and political elites. On the other hand, educating corruption takes many forms, from allowing corrupt behavior in educational settings, such as the school districts, or by ignoring corruption within policing agencies as well as government circles.

In El Paso, the subject most talked about around watering holes and water coolers is corruption in its many forms. Everyone talks about how everything is corrupt, from doing business with government entities to employers stealing peoples’ wages. It is talked about but largely shrugged off as part of life in El Paso.

I have written numerous blog posts showing you the many corrupt practices within the community. Some have been prosecuted while others are swept under the rug. There are so many examples in all levels of government and within the business community that it has led me to ask a simple question – how are the corrupt practices engrained into the psyche of the city.

El Paso is not the only community with corruption as part of its society. Corruption is the most basic moral deficiency in any society. No community is immune from it. As I have written numerous times before, corruption is not only defined as a criminal act but it can also be an action that may not be criminal but it is morally wrong, nonetheless. A poignant example of this are the individuals that use their neighbor’s WiFi for free. It is not precisely illegal but it is wrong nonetheless. It is a version of corruption.

Corruption can encompass many forms. It can be obviously illegal like being paid to issue a government contract to a preferred vendor. It can be as simple as accepting a paycheck while avoiding a full day of work by abusing sick leave or just taking long coffee and smoke breaks. It can also be sanctioned by the government by giving preferential treatment to vendors under government programs such as the 8A contracting system knowing that the process is being abused by companies that by any common sense measure are not small business concerns.

Corruption is a complex process that is detrimental to the society because it feeds upon itself in order to perpetuate itself throughout the society. Corruption breeds corruption.

As humans, we are naturally corrupt. We look for ways to take advantage of our neighbors. We seldom share and we very rarely do the right thing unless we are afraid of the consequences. That is why our moral compasses need to be set through education. Naturally, the standard is set by the parents. However, as parenting evolves and certain things become more acceptable the standard is lowered.

In many instances, religion sets the moral compass of a society. In the case of El Paso, it is the Catholic Church that has a significant influence over the community. The Catholic Church, along with other religions, is supposed to be the moral compass of the community. For most residents of El Paso, the Catholic Faith is the moral compass for their lives.

Although education is pushed as a teach by repetition model, the true lessons are learned from the teach by example model. A teacher can teach by forcing a student to read the curriculum, however most students learn by following examples. This is particularly true when it comes to society’s moral compass.

When a police officer ignores a traffic light, the driver following the squad car learns that traffic lights can be ignored because of the “if he can do it, I can do it as well” mentality.

As the largest source of moral compass education in the city, it is important that we take a close look at the example that the Catholic Church teaches through its actions. It has been my contention that corruption in El Paso is encouraged because those in position to teach by example partake of the corruption themselves, thus making it an acceptable standard of society.

Because of this, the culture of corruption is ingrained within El Paso.

Corruption is such a complex issue that I could spend years writing books upon books covering the topic and never really cover all aspects of it. In the four part series that I am starting today, I am going to focus on a very miniscule component of the culture of corruption in the city, the Catholic Church.

I have chosen to focus on the Catholic Church’s El Paso Diocese through this series, not as an indictment of the religion or its practitioners, but as a microcosm of a much larger problem. A religion is defined not by its followers but by its leadership. Please keep this in mind as I lay out my thesis in the next three-blog posts. Keep in mind that it is not my intent to denigrate a religion but to point out its failures so that they may be understood by its followers. Corrective measure leads to healing and understanding that corrupt practices must be eradicated by example and not by chastisement.

Strap in, it is going to be difficult to read but important to understand. To fix a problem the truth needs to be exposed and the truth is sometimes painful.

A special treat for readers: A long time reader of my blog has made two hard cover copies of the book, “Sacrilege: Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church” by Leon J. Poodles (2008, Crossland Press) available for readers of my blog. They are free! The first two readers that request a copy of the book by contacting me through the About Page or via email will get a free copy mailed to them.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

5 replies on “Incubating the Culture of Corruption: A Four-part Series”

  1. I like much of what you post. Let me state though that I find it absurd that you want to indict the Catholic Church as institutional corruption but absolutely REFUSE to acknowledge systematic corruption in Mexico as led by the the Mexican government (especially by the leftist PRI).

  2. No religion is free of abuse by leadership or its members. To believe otherwise is naive, we would be saying society, region, government is perfect.

    The problem is power and influence can become toxic and addictive. The belief that one is invulnerable, knows all, belief that one’s judgement Or justification of an act is beyond reproach. Then we have those that are predators, always looking for a scam. Some grow without moral compass or see their behavior as proper because they were victims.

    I don’t agree that the Catholic Church should serve as an example. The thesis would deliver a better and more accurate message if it was about all religions.

    The false teachings for monetary gain, fame and influence, mortality.

    The culture off corruption starts within the home, the neighborhood and friends. They see parents cheat on taxes, cheat others, cheating on a school test, lies on a resume, keeping incorrect change, kids being allowed to do anything without consequences.

    Corruption and unethical behavior is well in place before they set foot in a church. However, it doesn’t help when a child sees improper conduct in institutions that are supposed to be a safe haven and everyone is trustworthy. That includes law enforcement and schools. What is the message when there are very obvious cover ups. Officials being given a pass on crime, hiring and relying on corrupt and immortal people for guidance. The media used to report news not spin to further questionable agendas. Children see and hear a lot more than we know.

    Don’t blame the church, make parent(s) accept responsibility for not being parents, blame those that feed the line of there no consequences only rights. Those rights being defined by whatever YOU choose. What is appalling is people don’t understand that rules are required for society to survive. Even animals survive by adherence to pack rules.

  3. I’m sorry, but I can’t take it any more. You may have a point, but I can’t get to it past all your errors in spelling, grammar and syntax! Get yourself an editor, please. Ingrained, not engrained. Moral, not morel. Yes, you were right. It is difficult to read, and I may well avoid the rest of your series just because of that.

  4. Martin, you’re doing great. Very thought provoking piece. There is no difficulty in reading or understanding.

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