Sky News emailed about UK charitable status

by cedars 26 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • cedars

    Hello everyone

    Following the recent breakthrough I have just sent the following email to Sky News, expanding on the issue of the "mentally diseased" article to incorporate the issue of UK charitable status. I feel this is a good angle to go at, because Sky News tends to focus on UK economic policy issues quite extensively. £5 million per year in government Gift Aid being frittered away on a charity that condones breaking-up families and blocking medical treatment seems to me to be a newsworthy item.

    Here is the email. Let's hope it gets picked up!


    I am a concerned Jehovah's Witness, and I would like to bring the attention of Sky News to an issue that I feel is in the public interest.

    Last year, the International Bible Students Association, which is the UK arm of Jehovah's Witnesses, raised £25.7 million in donations. I estimate that approximately £5 million* of this would have been donated by the UK government as "Gift Aid", at a time of deep austerity measures and cuts to public spending. Here is a link to the Charity Commission's website confirming the income and expenditure of the charity.

    As you will know, new laws have been passed stipulating that charities must operate for the "public benefit" in order to continue to enjoy charitable status. Since the public benefit laws were introduced, Jehovah's Witnesses have been singled out as a religious charity whose actions may be against the public benefit, rather than for it.

    This has been highlighted by a recent article in yesterday's Independent, which turned the spotlight on the church's practice of ostracising and shunning any members who disagree with official church teachings, to the point of encouraging family members not to talk to one another.

    The practice of shunning family members who disagree with church teachings and branding them as being "mentally diseased" certainly flies in the face of David Cameron's vision of a "big society" in which family cohesion should play a central role.

    This is without even mentioning the Witness's stand on blood transfusions, whereby church members are encouraged to turn down certain forms of medical treatment if these should infringe on official church teachings.

    I am personally still inside the church, but I am increasingly frustrated by church teachings, and I do not have the option of leaving because, if I were to do so, I would be shunned by my family members for the rest of my life. I value my relationship with them too much to speak out openly against the church I have grown up in. Many are in a similar postion to me. I would therefore be happy to assist in any potential investigation, but I would need to do so on a strictly anonymous basis.

    I hope the above information proves helpful to you.

    Kind regards,


    * this figure would need to be confirmed.

  • cantleave

    Awesome Job my friend!!!

    Love the reference to the Big Society.

  • nugget

    It would be nice for the story to take off and hitting them economically is the best way to go since their religious rights are protected. Their charitable status is questionable since the community in general is excluded they have to worship in their terms otherwise the hall is useless. The society also flouts the law since none of the elders are CRB checked. Also I am unclear how taking government handouts fits in with being no part of the world.

  • Amelia Ashton
    Amelia Ashton

    Go Cedars. We are behind you 100% xxx

  • dozy

    cedars is da man and very well phrased.

    I reckon your estimate for gift aid is pretty conservative - what are they , about 1400 congregations in the UK? Probably at least 2k from each of those , plus bethel as well.

    The only problem is there that there are so many dubious charities , from "save the hedgehog / donkey / slug" to quite virulent islamic groups etc all with their snouts in the Gift Aid trough. The "public benefit" clause seems to be very vague indeed & almost any charity can qualify.

  • sizemik

    Well done cedars . . . this one's got some wheels under it for sure . . . let's all do what we can to give it as much momentum as possible.

  • punkofnice

    Nice one.

    This reminds me of the Who song where the lyrics go:

    We're not gonna take it
    Never did and never will
    Don't want no religion
    And as far as we can tell
    We ain't gonna take you
    Never did and never will
    We're not gonna take you

  • skeeter1

    Government needs to bolster strong families. Why? When you are in trouble, laid off, needing medical attention, etc. who is going to help you out? Your family, first and always. In fact, in the US, 1 in 3 people are caregivers to someone in their family who is not their minor child. Grandparents are increasingly taking on the role of parent. Children taking care of aging parents. When people are out of a job, families move in together to lessen the load. Lose your house to foreclosure, a relative will tkae you in. The list of examples just goes on & on, but strong families help the government by lessening the welfare load that governments would have to take on. Less welfare, stronger country.

    There are so many stories of how the Watchtower tells its followers to shun ex-members. Adolescents who don't beleive in the WT, are thrown out of their house on the stroke of their 18th birthday. Sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, parents, children, grandchildren are all separated. The WT can and will disfellowship otherwise good-standing JWs who refuse to shun any ex-follower.

    The WT creates fear and slavery with this shunning policy. People do not have the ability to change religions. They are not truly free.

    To take away charity status is not outlawing the religion. It is just taking away a tax benefit.

    But, it may turn around the WTS headquarters into getting rid of this antiquidated policy.

    And, if London can't do this with the WTS, what will they do with the radical Muslims that kill people who leave that fold?


  • cofty

    Excellent letter. One other point that you can stress if they get back to you is that charity law also says that a charity must be able to show that benefits are “balanced against any detriment or harm”.

  • NewChapter

    I can't name one thing the WT does that can be considered charitable. They have no programs, they will not work with other organizations, they will not organize an effort, they do nothing charitable. And individually they do not donate to charities either. Here in the US, they will have nothing to do with the United Way, which is a very organized effort to take in money and distribute it to many charities. No they can't do that, because some of the associated charities are religious in nature. Even though you can earmark your money to go to a specific charity, oh god no, it might touch some other money! But does that mean they go on their own and donate to that specific charity directly? Of course not.

    They hold churches in DISDAIN for their charitable works---for their hospitals, schools and food programs. In absolute CONTEMPT---because that is not their job. So if anything, becoming a member means taking a productive citizen AWAY from any charitable work or support they may have given pre JW.

    The designation should be taken from them. It never should have been given


Share this