A Jehovah's Witness With a New Technique For Proselytizing: "Coffin Chasing".
If you've ever been in an accident, you have experienced your sudden rise in popularity. Letters pour into your mailbox from Attorneys offering their services for your lawsuit (the one you had no intention of making). Worse yet, they use all manner of persuasion to get you to call them. Some Attorneys will call you at home, usually at the most inconvenient times, to solicit your business. This might explain the apt nickname such Attorneys have garnered, "ambulance chasers."
I don't have a name for the level of abuse to which some Insurance companies will resort to. Several years ago, my husband was hit by an uninsured driver who initially lied to the police (who arrived at the scene of the accident) by showing an insurance card for insurance she no longer had. The police determined, and all witnesses on the scene concurred in their statements, that the driver who hit my husband was at fault.
Shortly after returning home from surgery, because of an injury sustained in the accident, our insurance company called to tell us the other driver was at fault but uninsured, and our uninsured driver policy would kick in to cover all costs related to the accident. However, a couple of days later, my husband (groggy from the pain medication he had to take) received a call from our insurance company's Claims Adjuster. I got on the other phone to listen, when my husband's responses made it clear that he was being harassed. The Adjuster was trying to force my husband to say the accident was his fault. I intervened and said the police report and all witnesses said otherwise. The Adjuster told me, forcefully and insultingly, that the police report was not admissible in a court of law. He also said that he had spoken with all the witnesses and they recanted their original statements and now say the accident was my husband's fault. I said that if he was as nasty and as aggressive in pressuring them, as he was to my husband, I'm sure they did. Then I informed him that he left us no alternative but to hire an "ambulance chaser" (not the title I used in my conversation with him). We did, and had to sue our own insurance company.
Neither my husband or I have ever sued anyone before, despite having had just cause to do so. We don't like the idea of suing, and prefer other means to attempting justice. If I had been the one in the accident, I probably still would not have sued. However, when someone I care about is treated unjustly, or abused in any way, I turn into a roaring mother bear protecting her own.
As distasteful as the entire affair was to us, I understand the competition for business that Attorneys face, which inspires aggressive (if in poor taste) advertising methods. I almost understand the desire of insurance companies to do what ever it takes, however unethical and immoral, to pay less money out in claims. What I received in the mail recently, however, I consider not only unethical and immoral, it is appalling in its poor taste and insensitivity.
A few weeks ago my brother-in-law died. We received several cards, calls, and notes of sympathy and condolences from other family, friends, and acquaintances. These helped us to feel cared about, even when some clearly mentioned ideology, beliefs, and religious persuasions that differ from our own. There was no attempt, in these, to proselytize us. People who know and care about us simply poured out their love and support in whatever ways they were able, and we were grateful.
Two days ago, I received a letter that has put the afore mentioned Attorneys, and perhaps even our insurance company, to shame and taken "ambulance chasing" to heights before unknown. I call it "coffin chasing."
It arrived in a hand addressed envelope, written by someone in our town (who used a Post Office box address, and whose name - first initial and last name - I shall not mention). Neither of us know this person. Inside the envelope was a rather prettily designed sheet of stationary and a pamphlet from the Jehovah's Witnesses. The letter is computer generated and in a handwriting type of font. It begins without any salutation to us, nor is our name mentioned anywhere in the letter. At the bottom of the letter, in smaller block print, is the following: "For Additional Information: www.watchtower.org."
The letter begins: "I'm writing to express sympathy to you on your loss as reported in the newspaper." It doesn't mention the name of our "loss," or his relationship to us. It then continues with three paragraphs outlining the writers beliefs, in a clear effort to proselytize us to convert to his or (most likely, judging from the floral stationary) her religion. It reads like, and looks like, a "form letter," the kind most often received from businesses regarding far less sensitive issues.
Sensitive being the key word, I found the letter writer to be highly insensitive, insulting, intolerant of others religious beliefs, and clearly lacking in the social skills necessary to function well in a community of diversity.
I am most incensed by the writer taking advantage of our grief, to push her or his religion on us at a time when we are vulnerable emotionally. Clearly, we are not the first to be subjected to such egregious tactics. I worry how this may affect others, who are perhaps less discriminating and more vulnerable - for example, the elderly.
On my front door is posted a sign, "NO SOLICITATIONS." It is designed to keep door-to-door sales persons of all types (commercial and religious) from disturbing me in my haven of peace, which also happens to be my job site (I work from home as a freelance writer and communications consultant). Do I now need to post one on my mailbox?
I hope the writer of the letter is just one person among the Jehovah's Witnesses who is acting so unethically and immorally. Somehow I doubt it. The letter smacks of company endorsed advertising and marketing tactics. Having heard their schpiel before, since Jehovah's Witnesses must earn their salvation through proselytizing every last "heathen" on earth, I want to scream: "Enough already! I am beyond your salvation. You did your best, now go to Hell and leave me alone!" And I would scream it, if they believed in Hell.
I assume all 144,000 slots in Heaven for Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) have by now been spoken for by those JWs audacious enough to self-proclaim themselves by the act of taking their once yearly communion. (Only JWs certain of their Heavenly calling as one of the 144,000 are allowed to take their communion.) The rest of the JWs, in good standing as such, will be relegated to living on earth in the JWs version of "paradise." This is, of course, after the Earth is purged of "heathens" in what JWs call "Armageddon." One wonders how much Earth could possibly be left for paradise after being deluged by fire and brimstone. JWs have been proclaiming Armageddon as imminent since their beginning as a religion. In fact, JWs have been setting (and resetting, when the targeted date passes without incidence) the date for their Armageddon as regularly as some people go to the bathroom, thanks to fiber and that new yogurt.
Personally, I couldn't live with that much drama. I have known of JWs so devout they quit their jobs and divested themselves of everything they owned in preparation for the upcoming date of Armageddon. I wonder what they did when the date refused to produce the expected result. No doubt they filed for the "heathen's" welfare benefits, until they could rebuild what they gave away.
I have read accounts of JWs who were proud of their assignments as Cappos in concentration camps, because they were chosen for their "honesty and good character" - which they equated with being a JW - (meaning they did whatever the Nazis told them to do, and didn't try to escape). I rather doubt the Jews they policed thought so highly of them (I know at least some of them didn't). Apparently, neither did the Nazis, since the JWs proudly proclaim that some of their own were also incinerated.
I am also familiar with the technique of taking scriptures out of context to "prove" beliefs held, and of ignoring the interpretations and meanings of those in whose language that scripture was written, and whose religious tradition wrote it.
So you see, I am well versed in their story and have no desire to hear it again, especially from strangers posing as caring friends.