WTBTS Official Testified in the US Congress that Rutherford is Inspired

by Leolaia 48 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Leolaia

    Thanks, all! Just a few comments....

    Mrs. Witness....You can in theory find the hearing transcript in any federal documents repository. Here is a list of libraries that have federal documents in Ohio:


    Google originally was supposed to put them all on the web in their Google Books service. But because hearings may include copyrighted associated materials, that has not yet been done. I can see if I can scan a few pages with the really good quotes, but I can't scan the whole thing.

    How anyone could possibly believe this mentally ill man was inspired I'll never understand.

    Apostate Kate...I believe a few were even nuttier than Rutherford. Especially Clayton J. Woodworth who got a whole magazine to publish his drivel in. At least Rutherford had the good sense not to adopt Woodworth's theocratic calendar.

    I liked the way he (Goux) was caught out on the charity issue having to finally admit that the JWs have no charity objectives unlike those organisations that preach and do charity work.

    greendawn...And not much has changed in over 70 years.

    Anyhow, do you have anything to prove that when Rutherford was speaking about Big Business men it was about the Jewish people.

    Sarah Smiles....I think the Vindication volumes make this clear enough. Rutherford does not necessarily equate the two (i.e. Big Business = Jews), but he certainly had Jews foremost in mind and spoke of "Big Business" almost as a cypher for "Jews", and he went into antisemitic excesses in his discussion of Big Business and its prophetic type, e.g. "Among the powerful men who control the commerce of the sea are many Jews, so called, yet who are against God and against Christ", Vindication, Vol. 2, p. 55; "It is noticed that Judah and the land of Israel had commercial intercourse with Tyre, and doubtless from Tyre the Jews learned how to cheat their fellow man", ibid. p. 258; "To this day the Jews have not repented of this wrongful act committed by their forefathers [the crucifixion of Christ]...Now Big Business and other wings of Satan's organization place the Jews alongside of and in the same category as the Gentiles", ibid., p. 258; "Even to this day the Jews are the greatest merchants in the earth, and it is selfish gain that leads them in that course," Watchtower, 15 December 1933, p. 373; "It has been the commercial Jews of the British-American empire that have built up and carried on Big Business as a means of exploiting and oppressing the peoples of many nations", 1934 Yearbook, p. 134; "The people now on earth which are called Jews are a commercial people. Among them are some of the richest and most avaricious men the world have ever known. Some of the chief men of Big Business are called Jews," Favored People, 1934, p. 5; "Amongst her instruments that she uses are ultraselfish men called "Jews", who look only for personal gain", Enemies, 1937, p. 281. Rutherford also went into much detail about the Rothschilds and other Jewish bankers in his Vindication books.

    But you know, there is something very strange and odd in this congressional hearing. It's actually thrown me for a loop! It's got my head spinning on whether Rutherford had friends in high places and whether there could be a case of "violation of Christian neutrality" here. I don't know what to make of this. This congressional bill, H.R. 7986, was pro-JW. It was to amend the Radio Act of 1927 to protect the freedom of speech on the airwaves. Rutherford's vitriolic broadcasts had caused much agitation and radio stations began to refuse his broadcasts, on the basis of the Radio Act. The amendment would forbid a station from discriminating "in the use of such station in favor of a program of speech sponsored by any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office, and/or by any religious, charitable, or educational company, corporation, association, or society".

    Now, who was the person who actually introduced the bill in the House of Representatives? Rep. Louis T. McFadden (R - Pennsylvania). If you Google this name, you would find his writings quoted extensively in anti-Jewish conspiracy websites. This is what Wikipedia says about him:

    McFadden was born in Granville Center, Troy Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Warner's Commercial College in Elmira, New York. In 1892 he entered the employ of the First National Bank in Canton, Pennsylvania. In 1899 he was elected cashier, and became its president on January 11, 1916, serving until 1925.

    He served as treasurer of the Pennsylvania Bankers’ Association in 1906 and 1907, and as president in 1914 and 1915. He was appointed in 1914 by the agricultural societies of the State of Pennsylvania as a trustee of Pennsylvania State College.

    In 1914, McFadden was elected as a Republican Representative to the Sixty-fourth Congress and to the nine succeeding Congresses. He served as Chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency during the Sixty-sixth through Seventy-first Congresses, or 1920-31. Though re-elected without opposition in 1932, in 1934 he lost to the Democratic nominee by 561 votes. He was an unsuccessful candidate for nomination in 1936.

    McFadden was known as openly antisemitic. He claimed that Jews controlled the American economy, and that the United States had to choose between "God and the money changers who have unlawfully taken our gold and lawful money into their possession." [1] McFadden also blamed Jews for president Roosevelt's decision to abandon the gold standard, and claimed that "in the United States today, the Gentiles have the slips of paper while the Jews have the lawful money." [2]

    McFadden is also remembered for his criticism of the Federal Reserve, which he claimed was created and operated by European banking interests who conspired to economically control the United States. On June 10, 1932, McFadden made a 25-minute speech before the House of Representatives, in which he accused the Federal Reserve of deliberately causing the Great Depression. McFadden also claimed that Wall Street bankers funded the Bolshevik Revolution through the Federal Reserve banks and the European central banks with which it cooperated.


    Well, interesting enough as that is, the really weird thing is what McFadden himself says in the congressional hearing about Big Business. It is practically word for word the same kind of stuff that Rutherford wrote in his literature. Let me quote some choice excerpts (pp. 9-13):

    The three visible elements of men that rule the Nation are the commercial, the political, and the religious, and of these three, the commercial is the most powerful. Among the earlier statesmen of America, there were some God-fearing men who foresaw the advance of a mighty and selfish power and gave warning that the greedy would some day destroy the liberties of the people. That warning was unheeded, and the selfish commercial element, which is otherwise called "Big Business", has stealthily and constantly moved forward to its goal. With grasping arms like the tentacles of a mighty octapus [BTW, this was a frequent antisemitic metaphor at the time] it has laid hold upon practically all of the visible wealth of the Nation...."Big Business" has no regard for the rights of the common people. In 1917, "Big Business", for ultra selfish reasons, needlessly and wantonly forced the American Nation into the World War, which resulted in the greatly increased wealth and power of a few men and made serfs and paupers of many millions of people. Today, "Big Business" owns practically everything visible. By the manipulation of the finances of the Nation, "Big Business" has acquired title to almost all of the real estate, while hundreds of thousands of honest toilers are losing their homes and their land. A few ultra rich men fix the prices of the food products that are reaped by laborers; and, by reason thereof, the farmers are robbed and the laborers are being starved; and that within the borders of the richest Nation of the world.

    "Big Business" owns the ships that ply the seas, and that fly through the air. It owns and controls the railways and other ways and means of transportation...."Big Business" has in its employ the most astute lawyers of the Nation, who write the contracts always in the interest of their clients, and the common people must take the ragged end. Every branch of government is contaminated and improperly influenced by "Big Business". It controls the two major political parties of America and names and elects at will the public men to office who will best serve its selfish interests. "Big Business" controls the Army and the Navy, the guns and the ammunition, and the police power of the Nation...Practically all of the business corporations of America are owned or controlled by "Big Business". The employees of these mighty corporations have a hook in their nose, so to speak, and they dare not call themselves their own. They must obey the selfish men who are the mighty lords of finance or else lose their jobs... "Big Business" either directly or indirectly owns or controlls almost all of the newspapers and magazines of America, and which agencies serve as propagandists for "Big Business" and their immediate political and religious allies. The same selfish interests own and control the professional clergymen, and these men make merchandise of the Word of God in order to keep the people in ignorance and in subjection to the ruling powers. Thus it is plainly seen that the power of the Government is centralized in the hands of a very few.... "Big Business" and their mouthpieces, namely, the commercialized clergy referred to are represensible before God for hindering the truth concerning the present conditions in America and the means which might provide a remedy for the people, by God's help. There should be some action taken to further stop such intolerance in the use of radio (and that during this session of Congress) to prevent the further entrenchment of such powers. That is the reason why I have introduced this bill and am asking for consideration of it at this time.

    Let me remind you, this is not Rutherford here speaking, or a JW, or a representative of the Watchtower Society. This is a Republican Congressman, a politician elected to represent his district in the US Congress. Yet what he says here is so strikingly identical to Rutherford's dogma on Big Business and the joining together of Big Business, Government, and Christendom (using even the same catchphrases) that there has to be some relationship here. Was McFadden influened by Rutherford and a fan of his radio broadcasts? If so, did he introduce this bill to help out someone that expresses the same political viewpoint as his? Was he friends with Rutherford? Or was Rutherford influenced by McFadden and adopted his political (and antisemitic) ideology? Where did Rutherford's views on Big Business come from? But even in this case, McFadden still shared Rutherford's views and thus the question still remains of whether McFadden was trying to help out Rutherford's group intentionally. And here's the thing: Rutherford was not neutral to what was happening in the US Congress. He was proactive in getting JWs out to support this amendment to the Radio Act. He thus prepared a "Petition and Protest" for JWs to distribute throughout the country to support the proposed bill. They obtained 2,416,000 signatures. The Golden Age had the following remarks on the petition and bill:

    *** g34 3/28 p. 397 Free Radio Essential to People's Liberties ***

    The petition circulated by Jehovah's witnesses and others, calling upon Congress to safeguard the right of the people to hear over the radio whatsoever they wish to hear, received a wide response. It manifested that the people want to have the truth told. The clergy, to shield themselves in their inconsistent position before the people, not only have sought to misrepresent and oppose Judge Rutherford, but have also misrepresented the petition which was signed by nearly two and a half million persons.... Petition or no petition, this is the issue, and it is up to Congress to take appropriate action. Bill H.R. 7986, now before the Congress for consideration, meets the needs of the case exactly, and if passed, will prevent further interference with the free use of the radio or unjust discrimination against some and in favor of other broadcasters.

    Rutherford himself wrote a letter to Congress on 14 February 1934 and there he stated: "Having brought these matters to your attention, our responsibility ends and there yours begins. In all kindness I suggest that before passing finally upon the question raised by the petitions filed in support of this bill, that you give due consideration to the fact that Christ Jesus is the earth's rightful King and Jehovah God, that His kingdom is at hand, and that this matter of notice and warning is given to you in harmony with the expressed will of God" (p. 40 of the hearing transcript).

    So what do you make of all this? Sounds like Rutherford was playing with the United States legislative system to achieve a result favorable to his cause. But who was Rep. McFadden? Was he a closet JW or a friend of Rutherford, was he influenced by Rutherford or was Rutherford influenced by him? Curious, curious....

  • cabasilas

    Fascinating stuff, Leolaia! Some of the 1934 Golden Age magazines that discuss the battle over the radio waves are online courtesy our own Charles Chasson:

    March 28, 1934 Golden Age:


    April 11, 1934 Golden Age:


    November 21, 1934 Golden Age:


    One of those mentions McFadden and the last one reports Rutherford's appearance before the FCC in Washington.

  • chasson

    Yes, Leolia you have find an interesting connexion. Thanks a lot !!! Bye Charles

  • VM44

    It is somewhat eery that 73 years later, the JWs still answer questions in the same evasive manner as Arthur Groux did before Congress!

  • sweetstuff

    Leo, quite simply, you ROCK!

  • V

    Thank you!

  • Leolaia

    So what do you think of Rutherford's involvement in American politics? It certainly looks like he lobbied to get a bill passed in Congress. He had thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses distribute a petition on the matter of freedom of speech in order to get this bill considered in the first place. Why hasn't this ever been mentioned before in the literature on the history of JWs? Or am I missing something here? And how close were McFadden and Rutherford?

  • VM44

    How often has the Watchtower said that "Jehovah's Witnesses do not get involved in worldly politics"?

    Good job in finding this Leolaia.


  • truthsetsonefree

    Leolaia, excellent research. Reading that testimony and reflecting on the many times I heard and even (God forbid) uttered such specious bullcrap, a saying comes to mind that I believe is appropriate: Same s**t, different day.

    Isaac Carmignani

  • Narkissos

    Very interesting find indeed.

    From my remote perspective, I think Rutherford had much in common with the pre-WWII anti-semitic far right: mutual sympathies and services between him and politicians like McFadden are quite plausible -- JFR was himself, unlike his successors, a very public man, capable of influencing opinion beyond JWs, hence potentially helpful to politicians.

    Otoh with his anti-nationalistic views he was hardly suspect of being a full-fledged far-right mole in the religious field. But often sympathisers with partial agreement and a few common interests are more valuable than disciples in political strategy.

    It would be interesting to know more about the circumstances in which the bill project emerged. There might be interesting press releases early in the process...

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