So many awful things have happened to children and women. I hope what I wrote will help - when combined with others emails.
Victoria, Australia: Steven Unthank's Press Release: JW's Hierarchy Formally Charged Today With Child Abuse
I know that heirarchihcal vs. congregational religions are treated differently. Did not have time to read details. Salary, direct orders, lead to hierarchiical. The WT has always pretended the KHs have auntomy. HA! Maybe this suit can prove otherwise. The religion cannot define what type it is. The facts have to be detailed and a court must rule.
My sister is a RC. The obvious revenge against our Catholic hating JW father. She teaches the little kids Catholic doctrine as a volunteer. Shje needed to obtain a clearance from the state. She also had to undergo church sponsored training as to whether she could hug and the only way to touch a young child. She found it very sad b/c of the age group. They need good hugs. Only they need pedophiles even less. She cannot be alone in the class. An assistant must be present.
I can't even recall what I volunteered to do. Maybe teach English as a second langugage to children. I needed to get a clearance from the state.
I had some close calls as a child. No one ever discussed pedophiles then. I felt I did something wrong. My JW traijning intensified those thoughts. Fortunately, they were minor matters. I saw no reason to kiss my dentist. He was not my father or uncle. His nurse was present. She did not intervene at all. Several of my pain doctors as an adult crossed boundaries. I see the WT gaining much legally by complying. Australia does not interfere with their two witness scheme for di'f'd. It shows good will and give the Witnesses a safe harbor legally. The publicity would be less damning.
What lawyer would counsel that this is the crucial fight concerning continued existence of the WT?
could the WTBS refusal to get a background check be as simple as them also refusing in the states to register with the police or get a solicitors license? They always refused to do that saying they are "not peddlers of the good news". Perhaps compiling with the background check will in some way force them to admit to being under the control of the state or answerable to the state. They say they obey the law but look how they have gotten around the laws in the USA, voting, military service to name just two. This is probably something they feel would set a legal precedent that would cause them further problems, even allowing the state of Victoria to examine the background checks and see congregation records. I am just thinking why they are refusing b/c it either involves money or control that could cause them some legal problems .
I kind of agree with Violia. I feel the WT has something up their shelves. They must think by going to court they will win some legal victory that will show everybody they have the freedom to do want they want to and God is on their side. I hope and pray this will backfire in their face. And expose them for what they are. Totally ADD
Despite the well articulated overviews provided to date on this thread (sizemilk - you write exceedingly well on this topic and I would not want to contradict your observations), this could yet be a victory for the Watchtower Society. Recognize that, in the USA and Canada, the Watchtower Society has a well-established history of winning these sorts of lawsuits...and then dining off the results for decades. Australia has an emerging history of championing the rights of religious freedom, admittedly the freedom of Muslim imigrants to practise their religion free from laws that force them tocompromise some aspect of their belief. If Mr Unthank's case is so clearcut, how come the Watchtower Society is 'holding back' as it were? I tend to also think the Watchtower Society is playing its cards on this one. But, like everyone here, will have to wait and see.
I suppose the WTS could still just simplify it and state officially, due to this Victoria, Australia 'Caesar' law, and state to rank and file that JW children in the future can go only go door to door work or travel in any 'ministry' forms only with one of their own parents in the future and youth can only study with their own parents or be involved in any ministry/meeting (including judicial)/assembly practices with their own parent present.
The loving GB will be able to blame it on Caesar and apologize about any conveniences, and understandably or not, it is a Caesar law that must be complied and as Christians must be 'obeyed.' Single parents would have to take 'full' responsibility this way and no one else. Actually, that is fair that way. And, yay, for the JW kid, if mom and/or dad can't go then they can't either.
For Your Information:
This is the short form of the link:http://wp.me/P1G1hC-5T
Steve2 . . . I'm certainly no expert and can only go by the information publically available and searchable on the internet. Barbara's post above directs us to another press release which is very informative and also includes links to the Gippsland Magistrates Court case list.
As with any court hearing there are no pre-determined winners or losers. Progress is often contingent on technical points of law which the average person generally knows little about (including me) . . . so I have no pre-conceived expectations either way.
While it is true that Australia does give strong consideration to the freedom of religious rights, it is equally stringent on the protection of children and identifying areas of vulnerability, hence the introduction of the Act and it's requirements in the first place. It's worth noting that the LDS church has willingly co-operated with the requirements of the Act and fully complied at the earliest opportunity.
Mr Unthanks case is by no means clear cut . . . as no such prosecution has occurred under the Act to date . . . so it's new ground for everybody. My feelings are simply that; should interpretation of the Act clearly obligate Jehovah's Witnesses as a corporate entity to comply . . . and if so, how the penalties under the Act for willfull non-compliance should be applied. Sounds simple . . . but it won't be, of that much I am sure.
I think the wts may be worried what compliance will mean for them legally. Will it give the state of Victoria access to cong. records or maybe something in the wording of the law is causing them to balk. I still say, think about the fuss they went through to not get a solicitors license in the USA just b/c they refused to be known as salesman. It is a small thing, but if they had not fought it they could not have said legally they were not soliciting which leads to the money trail. they let jws die b/c of s stupid card in Malawi.