Jury Duty

by betterdaze 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • betterdaze

    Just received a notice for jury duty, and am curious about the Watchtower stance.

    Do JWs wriggle out of their civic duty under the "judge not" principle at Luke 6:37? Or Jesus' kingdom being no part of the world? I would hope they reasonably comply with the superior authorities in accordance with Romans 13.

    Is serving on a jury a disfellowshipping offense, or is it a conscience matter that disassociates one from the congregation? Different terminology, identical consequences (shunning).


  • averyniceguy

    I was told it is not a disfellowshipping offense, but it is a conscience matter.

  • betterdaze

    Thanks, avn. "Don't ask / don't tell," I suppose.


  • moomanchu

    You're allowed to serve.I think witnesses normally try to use their religon as a way to get out of it when the voir dire is done.

    I just served on monday it is a good learning experience.

  • blondie

    In writing it has been presented as a conscience matter, but you will find some JWs (mostly older) feel like it is the conscience of others or the congregation that is meant. Here are some quotes. BTW, many JWs serve on juries nowadays due to a better and more comprehensive understanding of what has been in print.

    *** w51 9/15 p. 574 Questions From Readers ***

    As for jury duty, would you be acceptable for this service, say, in a divorce case where one might be granted on grounds other than adultery? Your Christian conscience might eliminate you, rendering you unacceptable to one or both sides of the case.

    *** w73 3/15 p. 190 Questions From Readers ***

    What is the attitude of Jehovah’s Witnesses toward jury duty?—U.S.A.

    Jehovah’s witnesses recognize that what people do with reference to jury duty is a personal matter, governed by the dictates of conscience...

    *** g78 12/8 p. 28 Should a Christian Serve on a Jury? ***

    What to do? Some Christians have refused jury duty, perhaps mentioning to the authorities how impractical it would be to compel a person to sit through a trial and then have a "hung jury" because he feels he would not want to pass judgment on anyone’s guilt. (1 Pet. 3:16) Other Christians, though, have accepted jury duty but have asked to be excused from those cases where they felt their Bible-based thinking would be at variance with secular laws. Still others have accepted any jury assignment, feeling that it is Caesar’s right to oblige persons to serve in the civil capacity of hearing evidence and honestly deciding on questions of fact or guilt. (Matt. 22:21) Since the Bible does not pointedly discuss jury duty, each one must personally decide what to do after considering all that is involved in jury service, as well as Bible principles and his own conscience.

    *** w97 4/1 p. 29 Questions From Readers ***

    If a Christian reported for jury duty, as directed by the government, but because of his personal conscience declined to serve on a particular case despite the insistence of the judge, the Christian should be prepared to face the consequences—be that a fine or imprisonment.—1 Peter 2:19.

    In the final analysis, each Christian faced with jury duty must determine what course to follow, based on his understanding of the Bible and his own conscience. Some Christians have reported for jury duty and have served on certain juries. Others have felt compelled to decline even in the face of punishment. Each Christian has to decide for himself what he will do, and others should not criticize his decision.—Galatians 6:5.

  • La Capra
    La Capra

    But Blondie,

    Wouldn't you say that everytime the WTBTS tells the rank and file that something is a conscience matter, it really means that everyone else's conscience will be bothered if you do it? Any statement from the society regarding topics of civic responsibility are always worded so as not to forbid the particular activity, yet phrased in just such a way that the members know it's a no-no.

    I think jury duty is one of them. My mom sure created all sorts of drama and turmoil for herself trying to get out of jury duty when I was a kid. She got a lot of armaggedon points from her cohorts for being so persecuted about the matter. (Too bad they expire every three years, eh ma?)


  • blondie

    Shoshana, that is exactly what I said at the beginning of the quotes:

    In writing it has been presented as a conscience matter, but you will find some JWs (mostly older) feel like it is the conscience of others or the congregation that is meant.


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