Should There be a Petition Asking the Watchtower Society to Retract its "Mentally Diseased" Statements?

by DT 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • DT

    Of course, I would be very surprised if the Watchtower Society ever retracted or apologised for anything. Still, it could gain a lot of publicity and put pressure on them to curb their hate speech. If they refuse to apologise, it could demonstrate that those statements were intentional and not just a slip of the printing press. It might even have some relevance to developing cases that are investigating whether they broke the law with their hate speech.

    I wrote a rough draft. I welcome your comments. I thought it might be better to focus on the effect on those with real mental illnesses rather than make it sound like it's just payback for trying to intimidate a group of exmembers.

    The signers of this petition object to statements in the July 15 Watchtower (study edition) that imply that mental disease is contagious, that mentally diseased people should be shunned, and that mental disease is caused by, or is the same as, disagreeing with a set of religious teachings.

    We also think it was unwise for you to use the term "mentally diseased". It is often viewed as equivalent to mental illness, but implies that it is contagious (even without implying this directly, as in that article) and is an unnecessary insult to people who suffer from mental illness regardless of their system of belief (or unbelief). We also disapprove of how the article made no attempt to clarify these points, and instead used this term as a hateful slur towards a group who wishes to exercise their own rights of conscience and religious expression in peace, without harassment.

    In particular, we take exception to the following statements:

    We will need to discuss what to include.

    We view the above statements as misleading and highly insulting. We are especially concerned that they may be taken seriously by some with inadequate education or excess zeal and may result in discrimination or other unlawful acts.

    We request the following:

    A retraction and apology should be printed in a future study edition of the Watchtower magazine. The statement should clearly state that mental illness is not contagious. It should state that mental illness is not a valid reason to shun someone. It should state that mental illness is not the same or caused by disagreeing with a set of religious beliefs. It should state that using the term "mentally diseased" could be offensive to those with a real mental illness and could be illegal hate speech when used against a minority in some contexts and countries, especially if the intent or context results in intimidation or the inciting to hatred or discrimination.

    Since the original offending article was studied in public meetings around the world in a question and answer format by millions of people, we request that your apology and retraction receive the same treatment. The statement should appear in a study article with at least one question directed to the statement, so that those in attendance can comment on it.

    This is a chance for you to undo some of the damage you have done. Your response will reveal to the world your attitudes about discrimination and basic human rights.

    It may even help you to avoid legal problems that may result from that article.

  • DT

    Here are some quotes that could be included. I don't have access to the original article, so there may be more that could be used.

    "Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease,"

    "You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are 'mentally diseased', and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings."

    "Jehovah, the Great Physician, tells us to avoid contact with them. We know what he means, but are we determined to heed his warning in all respects? What is involved in avoiding false teachers? We do not receive them into our homes or greet them. We also refuse to read their literature, watch television programmes that feature them, examine their websites, or add our comments to their blogs."

  • minimus

    I would rather see no retraction, just us telling everybody. I told my JW mom and she thought it was terrible!

  • ekruks

    The UK police force is considering action against the WBTS:

    Article 1. ews/uk/home-news/war-of-words- breaks-out-among-jehovahs-witn esses-2361448.html

    Article 2. s/religion/8791196/Police-inqu iry-over-Jehovahs-Witness-maga zine-mentally-diseased-article .html

    Meanwhile, a local appointed man informs me it's just apostates stirring up trouble, and not to worry about it - we will be persecuted until the end.

    If only he could take blinkers off (yes, I know it's not his fault) and see who is actually stirring up trouble - the persecution was prophecied to arise from speaking the truth; not from distributing needless insults based on falsehood. They are blatantly playing on people's stigma of the mentally-ill. Cheap, sick, and certainly not kind, or necessary. I wonder if the WBTS is doing this on purpose, as did Rutherford, so as to force the prophecied persecution to occur.

  • Meeting Junkie No More
    Meeting Junkie No More

    Although I do see your point Minimus, I just want to say to DT - your 'rough draft' retraction is FANTASTIC - nothing rough about it!

    It's about time the boys at the top were made to take ownership of the gobbledygook they spout anonymously, but apparently as God's mouthpiece. They don't hesitate to boast of the worldwide readership, let's see if any one of them or at least 'legal' cares to man up and at least intelligently explain WHY this shouldn't be viewed as hate speech. Eventually, 'no comment' is going to look bad, both to outsiders and more importantly the r & f. If I was still in, I would be mighty embarrassed about now.

  • N.drew

    Good idea if the world was fair, understanding, and/or cared. Bless you in every endeavor you join for truth, justice and the pursuit of mental heath.

  • RagingBull

    I think their articles should go to the authorities and to the UN. Definitely against human rights. (Shunning and so forth)

    Notice that in the magazines, they always talk about the "disfellowshipped" ones engaging in "some type of gross sin" and that's what got them kicked out. They never use the "apostate" scenario. Because it is implied that they are included in the shunning. Just imagine what people would start thinking if in the article it read -

    ... "...once the relative is disfellowshipped for no longer believing that the Faithful and Discreet Slave (governing body) is trustworthy due to false predictions or whatever else they feel the Society is wrong about, we would do our best to not even eat a meal with these ones."

    IF GAYS and MINORITIES are protected...(And the WATCHTOWER as most religions are)...those that leave the organization should be protected as well. It baffles me to no end that the FBI, UN, ... no one is looking into this. These people go DOOR TO DOOR carrying the message of death hidden between the pages of those crappy magazines. My plea is.. "APPLY PREASSURE!" (my new motto)

  • N.drew

    Hi RagingBull! Might I suggest you get your motto spelled right. Don't worry, I spell so bad, my spell check doesn't know what I'm trying to write half the time. Preasure pressure, that's it!

  • AnneB

    Petition: A formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause. Make or present a formal request to (an authority) with respect to a particular cause.

    Why give WT the appearance of authority? Sue their you-know-what's or bring other, appropriate legal action against them. Don't go crawling with a petition!

  • NewChapter

    I say leave it as it is---let the world see the true teaching. Even if they whitewashed and watered down the language--the idea would still be taught. I don't want to give them plausible deniabilty.


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