”Da Judge” J. F. Rutherford had some rather bizarre ideas regarding many things, it is however quite rare to come across anything quite so strange as his opinion of the “prohibition” in the US in the twenties.
Rutherford loved his “booze” and didn’t take kindly to the prohibition. In an article with the title “Prohibition” published in the November 1, 1924 issue of The Watchtower he really let it rip and showed his “power of reason” in full flight. First he draws up the great battle between God and Satan where the latter is employing every trick in the book to seduce man:
God has a well-defined plan concerning man, which plan will successfully eliminate all evil from the earth. Every part of the divine plan Satan, the mimic god, has tried to copy. The devil's counterfeit plan has been for the purpose of deceiving mankind, making God appear a liar, and his Word untrustworthy. Up to this time Satan has succeeded well in blinding the people. We have now come to a crisis in the affairs of man. Legally the devil's dominion is at an end. The rightful King, the beloved Son of God, is here and has taken his sovereign power. Satan desires to hold the people in subjection to himself. Hence it must be expected that he will resort to every possible means of fraud and deceit to accomplish his end.
So far it is all familiar Rutherford/Watchtower material and he continues with the admonition that it is the duty of every each Christian to be loyal to God. But what has this got to do with the prohibition, you might ask? Well, read this:
Recently the President of our Association, responding to a question concerning the Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which prohibits the manufacture, sale and transportation of intoxicating liquor within the United States and which is known as the prohibition law, said: "Prohibition is a scheme of the devil," referring of course to the law above mentioned. Some of the brethren have made strenuous protests against this statement. Because of the seeming misunderstanding we deem it proper for The Watch Tower to state the Scriptural view of the matter. In the outset it must be conceded by all fair-minded people the prohibition is either the result of God's will being done on earth or else a scheme of the devil. Let each one judge which it is in the light of the undisputed facts.
Apparently Rutherford had really stepped in it when he had made the public statement to someone: "Prohibition is a scheme of the devil" and so it became necessary for him to make this “clarification” in the Watchtower magazine. Notice that the Watchtower use the phrase “undisputed facts”, which is always a tell tale sign that the Watchtower have absolutely nothing to show for their claim but will have to dazzle the reader with and avalanche of bilge and circular reasoning. Of course even Rutherford realized that what he had said was pure drivel, but he was always willing to produce more drivel so let us have a closer look:
A desire to eliminate intoxicating liquor and all other evils is a proper and laudable desire. All Christians should be in accord with that desire. But how to accomplish that end is a different thing. The devil has a way of appearing to accomplish it, and his way is that of fraud and deceit. God's way of accomplishing that end if righteous and complete. In his own due time he will completely eliminate intoxicating liquors and all other evil influences. He has said to man: "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." -- Isaiah 55:9.
Somehow Rutherford “knew” that the prohibition was not “God’s way” of doing things in spite of God’s thought being supposedly “higher” than his. Then follows some of the most exquisite “Rutherfordian” rubbish imaginable:
God's way is not popular with the majority of mankind at present. All true Christians are for God's way. He who seeks the approval of the world and who is a friend of the world is an enemy of God. (Jas. 4:4) The Lord’s friendship and his approval are the only things worthwhile. Intoxicating liquor is a great evil. The devil stands for all things evil. He is the very personification of wickedness.
Then how could prohibition of intoxicating liquor be the devil’s scheme? St. Paul answers: "For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness." (2 Cor. 11:14,15) In the prohibition scheme he appears as an angel of light; his ministers likewise. Fraud and deceit are Satan's principal methods of operation. He is the god of this evil world, and has long deceived the nations and blinded their minds to the truth of God's plan. -- 1 Cor. 4:4.
Aren’t you all stunned and dazzled by Da Judges razor sharp reasoning here? Make a lot of sense, eh? But there is more:
The ruling factors have long been under the influence of Satan, whether they knew it or not. The chief ones amongst the rulers are those of commercial power. It is a well-known fact in America that this power has nominated the candidates for the leading parties for several years, and has elected the one they desired. Next, the commercial powers were induced to see that if liquor could be taken away from the laboring man the result would be beneficial to bankers, manufacturers and merchants. Big business, the real controlling power of the politicians of the land under the supermind of their guiding and invisible god (Satan), set about to unite the forces of the Democratic and Republican parties to accomplish their purpose. It was an easy matter to get the preachers to do the shouting and to make the noise, because they felt that now big business and big politicians were with them and that they could set up the Lord’s kingdom in earth.
As we can see, the “indisputable facts” show that all of Satan’s minions was behind the Prohibition, only Rutherford could see through it all:
At the time, the New York _Tribune_ editorially said: "This legislation seems to be propelled by some invisible force." It was indeed an invisible force, and that force was the devil. The result was a union of clergy with big business and big politicians in a combination to control the American people. Can any Christian, who believes God and his Word, for one moment think that the Lord God of righteousness
used the Democratic and Republican parties, and the higher critics and evolutionists, and those who deny the blood of Christ Jesus, to enact the prohibition law; and that such was his will and plan? Does the God of righteousness need any such unholy alliance, as this to accomplish his will on earth? Does any Christian believe that this is the plan of God? If not, then whose scheme is it?
Apart from Rutherford’s tendency to see Satan behind all and everything he made some very good and no doubt correct observations and comments:
God's Word Gives Wholesome Advice It is well known that the ultra-rich, the politicians, and even many clergy are supplied with all the intoxicating liquor they can consume, while they are making the greatest noise for the enforcement of the prohibition law. As an illustration: One influential clergyman, who led the fight in his vicinity for prohibition, shortly after the enactment of the law had his house burglarized. The burglars found his cellar stocked with liquors, and indulged in same so freely that they broke up his furniture. The clergyman refused to prosecute the guilty ones because it would expose the fact that he, an advocate of prohibition, had stocked up well in advance, that he might to need to deny himself things that he was willing to take away from his neighbors merely for show.
It is also well known that many of the agencies employed to enforce the prohibition law have taken the illicit liquor away from the bootlegger and either used it themselves or sold it to others. Many of the prohibition law officers have connived with others to steal great quantities of liquor from warehouses, and have then wrongfully sold it to others or divided it amongst those particularly favored by them.
Since the prohibition was a Satanic plot Rutherford as a “True Christian” had no obligation to respect it and he certainly didn’t. In a public letter to Rutherford, dated April 1. 1937, written by the former Canadian branch overseer W. Salter, Salter reveal how he had to smuggle big quantities of alcohol for Rutherford’s personal use during prohibition:
It was with this thought in mind that I, at your orders would purchase cases of whiskey at $60.00 a case, and cases of brandy and other liquors, to say nothing of untold cases of beer. A bottle or two of liquor would not do; it was for THE PRESIDENT and nothing was too, good for THE PRESIDENT.
Salter also made some rather amusing and sarcastic statement about Rutherford going from drink to drink”. No doubt a very apt description of Rutherford’s obvious problems with alcohol. Reading some of Rutherford’s books I have often wondered if he was quite sober when he wrote some of his material and according to Salter my suspicions has been correct:
You see, Lord we have our YEAR BOOK to study now and that tells of our wonderful works, and our PRESIDENT too, is very busy writing books. And oh Lord, he Is so courageous and his faith in Thee so great that he gets behind four walls, or surrounds himself literally with an armed bodyguard, and bellows away his dreams (Jeremiah 23,31,82) and sends us out from door to door to face the enemy while he goes from 'drink to drink,' and tells us if we don't we are going to be destroyed. Salter’s letter.
Of course by writing this article Rutherford was going far beyond the political “neutrality” the Watchtower love to brag about. How did he solve the obvious problem of him meddling in politics and commenting upon political decisions and issues? Very simple folks, as the president of the Watchtower Society he could redefine reality to fit his slightest whim, as the Watchtower Society have done to this day. Look at this fantastic reasoning:
The Watch Tower has nothing to do with politics. Prohibition is not a political question.
When you are the president in a huge printing empire with dictatorial power you can get away with such blatant nonsense. They still do it in Brooklyn.
PS. If you want to read the whole article I can post it here.