Jehovah's Witnesses and Governments Wikipedia Needs More Information, Too Much Watchtower Spin

by frankiespeakin 3 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • frankiespeakin

    Jehovah's Witnesses and governments

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Jehovah's Witnesses believe their allegiance belongs to God's Kingdom, which they view as an actual government. They refrain from saluting the flag of any country or singing nationalistic songs, [ 1 ] which they believe are forms of worship, although they may stand out of respect. They also refuse to participate in military service—even when it is compulsory—and do not become involved in politics. They believe Jesus' refusal to rule the kingdoms of the world as offered by the Devil, his refusal to be made king of Israel by the Jews, and his statements that he, his followers, and his kingdom are not part of the world, provide the bases for not being involved in politics or government. [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ]

    Witnesses are taught that they should obey laws of the governments where they live unless such laws conflict with their beliefs, such as operating covertly in countries where their activities are banned. [ 5 ] [ 6 ] They are instructed to pay all taxes of the country in which they reside, and consider governments to be solely responsible for how they are used. [ 7 ] [ 8 ]



    [ edit ] Civil liberties

    According to the book Judging Jehovah's Witnesses, [ 9 ] the Witnesses have helped to widen the definition of civil liberties in most western societies, hence broadening the rights of millions of people, due to their firm stand and determination. According to the preface to the book State and Salvation: [ 10 ] "One of the results of the Witnesses' legal battles was the long process of discussion and debate that led to the Charter of Rights, which is now part of the fundamental law of Canada. Other battles in countries around the world have involved the rights to decline military service or martial arts training, to decline to participate in political parties or governmental elections, to exercise free and anonymous speech, to exercise freedom of association, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, medical self-determination, etc. Witnesses continue to, in their words, 'defend and legally establish the Good News' around the world."

    [ edit ] Government interactions

    United States

    Many United States Supreme Court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses have shaped First Amendment law. Significant cases affirmed rights such as these:

    By 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court had reviewed 71 cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses as an organization, two-thirds of which were decided in their favor. In 2002, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society disputed an ordinance in Stratton, Ohio that required a permit in order to preach from door to door. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the Witnesses. [ 11 ]

    [ edit ] Russia

    In 2004, the Moscow City Court banned the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Moscow, their legal entity was liquidated. [ 12 ] [ 13 ]

    [ edit ] Singapore
    See Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses (Singapore)

    In 1972 the Singapore government de-registered and banned the activities of Jehovah's Witnesses on the grounds that its members refuse to perform military service (which is obligatory for all male citizens), salute the flag, or swear oaths of allegiance to the state. [ 14 ] [ 15 ] Singapore has banned all written materials (including Bibles) published by the International Bible Students Association and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, both publishing arms of the Jehovah's Witnesses. A person in possession of banned literature can be fined up to S$2,000 (US$1,460) and jailed up to 12 months for a first conviction. [citation needed]

    [ edit ] France

    In France, a number of court cases have involved Jehovah Witnesses and their organizations, especially on the question of their refusing blood transfusions to minor patients. These questions had far-reaching legal implications regarding the tax status of their organizations.

    [ edit ] Association Les Témoins de Jéhovah
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    Association Les Témoins de Jéhovah v. Direction des Services Fiscaux challenged the denial of tax-exempt status for Association Les Témoins de Jéhovah, the not-for-profit corporation used by Jehovah's Witnesses in France. Religion-supporting organizations (associations cultuelles) in France can request exemption from certain taxes, including taxes on donations, if their purpose is solely to organize religious worship and they do not infringe on public order. According to the French tax administration, tax-exempt status was denied because:

    The association of Jehovah's Witnesses forbids its members to defend the nation, to take part in public life, to give blood transfusions to their minor children and that the parliamentary commission on cults has listed them as a cult which can disturb public order. [ 16 ]

    On October 5, 2004, the Court of Cassation—the highest court in France for cases outside of administrative law—rejected the Witnesses' recourse against taxation at 60% of the value of some of their contributions, which the fiscal services assimilated to a legal category of donations close to that of inheritance and subject to the same taxes between non-parents. [ 17 ] It was found that the tax administration could legally tax the corporation used by Jehovah's Witnesses if they received donations in the form of dons gratuits and they were not recognized as associations cultuelles.

    According to the Watch Tower Society, the taxed contributions include donations for the support of humanitarian relief efforts in Rwanda in 1994. French law makes a distinction between normal non-profit associations (whose donations for humanitarian aid are not tax-exempt), non-profit associations of public usefulness (whose donations for humanitarian aid are tax exempt), and associations supporting religious activities (whose donations are tax exempt). Humanitarian aid is not considered to support religious activities and thus, accordingly, is not considered to be tax-exempt under the rules governing associations supporting religious activities. Typically, religious organizations in France providing humanitarian aid found a separate association devoted to that purpose; it may then be declared of public usefulness.

    The Conseil d'État, the supreme court for administrative matters, ruled that denying the statute of association cultuelle on grounds of accusations of infringement of public order was illegal unless substantiated by actual proofs of that infringement. [ 18 ]

    On June 30, 2011, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unanimously ruled that France's imposing a retroactive tax for the years 1993 and 1996 had violated Jehovah's Witnesses' right to freedom of religion [ 19 ] [ 20 ] under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. [ 21 ] On July 5, 2012, the ECHR ordered the government of France to repay €4,590,295 in taxes, plus interest, and to reimburse the legal costs of €55,000. [ 22 ]

    [ edit ] Other cases
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    Other court cases have concerned the rights for patients, or of minor patients' legal guardians, to refuse medical treatment even if there is a risk of death. For example, in a 2001 case, doctors at a French public hospital who gave blood products to a patient with an acute renal insufficiency were found not to have committed a mistake of a nature to involve the responsibility of the State (communiqué, English translation). The Council stated that "there does not exist, for the doctor, an abstract and unalterable hierarchy between the obligation to treat the patient, and that to respect the will of the patient," concluding that faced with a decision to treat patients against their will, doctors do not have a legally predefined obligation to treat the patient, nor do they have a legally predefined obligation to abide by their wishes.

    In a child custody case following a divorce, a woman was denied custody of her children outside of holidays for various reasons, including her membership of Jehovah's Witnesses; the court of appeals of Nîmes considered that the educational rules applied by the Witnesses to their children were essentially inappropriate because of their hardness, their intolerance, and the obligation for children to practice proselytism. The case went before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) (request #64927/01), which ruled that the court should have based its decision on the mother's actual handling of her children and not on abstract, general notions pertaining to the mother's religious affiliation.

    Some Witnesses requested that the National Union of the Associations for the Defense of Families and Individuals not be officially recognized as useful to the public because of its opposition to sectarian excesses which, the plaintiffs alleged persecuted Jehovah's Witnesses. Both the Conseil d'État and the ECHR rejected their claim.

    [ edit ] Nazi Germany
    Main article: Persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Nazi Germany

    Nazi Germany sent German and Austrian Jehovah's Witnesses who refused allegiance to the Nazi state and military service to concentration camps.

    [ edit ] Other

    The European Court of Human Rights has defended the rights of Jehovah's Witnesses in many cases. For example:

    Other cases between Jehovah's Witnesses and governments of various countries include:

    • Canada: Quebec Court of Appeal case on "freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression" set aside town ordinance restricting Witness activity. [citation needed]
    • Peru: Superior Court of Justice of Lambayeque in 2000 upheld right of Witness parents to control medical care of their children. A mother had been charged with neglect and endangerment for selecting successful non-blood medical treatment for her 10 year old son. [citation needed]
    • Eritrea: Eritrean Witnesses were stripped of citizenship and basic human rights in 1994 and have since widely experienced loss of employment, refusal of medical treatment, refusal of identity documents, arrest for assembly, proselytizing, and conscientious objection, as well as imprisonment for upwards of a decade, in some cases. [citation needed]
    • Rwanda: In 2005 the Presiding Judge of the Provincial Court in Ruhengeri ruled that Witnesses should not be imprisoned for refusing to bear arms in civil defense 'night patrols' since they were willing to participate and had participated in other forms of community service. 297 Witnesses had been imprisoned on such charges in an 8 month period of 2004. 143 of those imprisoned had been severely beaten. [ 23 ]
    • Nigeria: In 2001 the Nigerian Supreme court unanimously decided in favor of the Witness right to medical self-determination in the case of blood transfusion. [citation needed]
    • Japan: The Supreme court in 2000 upheld the principle of "informed consent" with regard to a Witness patient's right to refuse a blood transfusion. [citation needed]
    The Supreme court in 1996 upheld the right of Japanese Witness students to refuse martial arts training as part of physical education. Witnesses had been refused diplomas, forced to repeat a year of school, suspended and expelled based on their refusal to 'learn war.' [citation needed]
    • South Korea: The Supreme Court in 2004 upheld 7-2 as constitutional the law regarding compulsory military service which has resulted in more than 10,000 Witnesses serving prison terms in South Korea. In April 2005 more than 1000 Witnesses were serving prison terms in South Korea based on their conscientious objection to military service. However, 7 of the court's 9 members, including 5 of those in the majority, expressed a recommendation that the legislature add an alternative service option to the statute. [citation needed]

    Government officials in various countries, including Brazil, [ 24 ] Burundi [citation needed] , Mexico, [ 25 ] [ 26 ] [ 27 ] Mozambique, [ 28 ] and Tuvalu [ 29 ] have commended Jehovah's Witnesses for conducting literacy classes and for providing religious educational materials.

  • frankiespeakin

    They are missing a whole lot of important information on taxes, Russia, France, and a whole lot more.

    Child molestation court cases, Blood lawsuits, Olin Moyle, Walsh Testimony,etc....

  • zeb

    The case they lost when taken to court by a young woman Candace Conti. She was awarded by the Californian court against the wt millions in punative damages that wt says it cant pay. Wt recently made $80 million on the sale of just one of its buildings in New York. Wt recently opened a spectacular convention centre at a cost of millions. Incidentally most of the labour is free being done by witnesses without pay.

    and over all the stench of the wt protecting pedophiles in its organisation. T

  • frankiespeakin

    I was just thinking about Rutherford letter to Hitler should be included where he speaks of a comon cause with Hitler anti-semitic position towards the Jews.

    Historical assessment

    German historian Detlef Garbe viewed the Declaration as part of the religion's efforts to adapt at a time of increasing persecution. He said the use of the Zion's Glorious Hope hymn at the opening of the Berlin convention was an effort to make a good impression with the world and not a coincidence that the song shared the same melody as the German national anthem. He said the wording of the document presented the religion as an organization with a positive atttitude towards the German state and with common interests with the new rulers. Garbe said that in repudiating accusations that the Witnesses had received financial support from the Jews, the religion "clearly distanced itself from another group under persecution". He noted the use of "anti-Jewish slogans" in the document, which was written less than three months after the boycott of Jewish stores in Germany, [ 14 ] but said the Witnesses were not guilty of antisemitism. [ 15 ] Yet Garbe said the Declaration's description of the Anglo-American empire as "the most oppressive empire on earth" did undermine the religion's claims to political neutrality. [ 14 ]

    Garbe said later publications of the Watch Tower Society had misrepresented the Declaration as a "resolution of protest" and had also falsely claimed that Balzereit had "watered down" the society's publications in his translation of Rutherford's original document. He said the criticism of Balzereit in the Witnesses' 1974 Yearbook was an attempt to place responsibility on the German branch leader for the society's attempts to adapt. [ 14 ]

    Canadian historian Professor James Penton, a former Jehovah's Witness and critic of the religion, claimed the Declaration was a compromising document that proves "that Watch Tower leaders were attempting to pander to the Nazis, for the Declaration of Facts and the letter to Hitler were in many ways saying exactly what the Nazis themselves were saying". Penton said the Declaration's "antisemitic" statements about Jews mirrored statements made in Hitler's Mein Kampf and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels' 1927 essay Wir fordern [ 16 ] as well as those published by Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher as the Jewish boycott began. [ 17 ] [ 18 ]

    Penton said Balzereit's letter to Hitler accompanying the Declaration was "even more obsequious to the Fuhrer and to Nazi values than the Declaration of Facts":

    It noted, quite accurately, that the Watch Tower Society had not joined in the atrocity propaganda over Germany's treatment of the Jews, but then it claimed, falsely, that the Society had actually opposed it. Among other things, it lied blatantly when it claimed that commercialistic Jews in the United States were among the most "eager persecutors" of the Watch Tower's work and leadership ... then, finally and most shockingly, it specifically endorsed Hitler's own policies as stated in Section 24 of the Nazi Party Platform by quoting that section directly. [ 17 ]

    In a five-page article in its Awake! magazine in 1998, the Watch Tower Society rejected accusations that it had attempted to curry favor with the Hitler regime or endorsed the Nazi's racist ideology. It said the Witnesses had not decorated the convention venue with swastikas or sung the German national anthem. It said: [ 7 ]

    The singing of a song about Zion could hardly be construed as an effort to placate the Nazis. Under pressure from anti-Semitic Nazis, other churches removed Hebrew terms such as “Judah,” “Jehovah,” and “Zion” from their hymnals and liturgies. Jehovah’s Witnesses did not. The convention organizers, then, certainly did not expect to win favor with the government by singing a song extolling Zion. Possibly, some delegates may have been reluctant to sing “Zion’s Glorious Hope,” since the melody of this composition by Haydn was the same as that of the national anthem.

    The Society said the denunciation of "commercial Jews" in the Declaration "clearly did not refer to the Jewish people in general, and it is regrettable if it has been misunderstood and has given cause for any offense." It explained that Jehovah's Witnesses rejected antisemitic views, and that the "high ideals" they shared with the Nazis were those of family values and religious freedom. [ 7 ]

    Religious scientist Gabriele Yonan, who described the Declaration of Facts as a "petition", an "appeal" and a "sermon", [ 19 ] said its text, in the context of the history of Jehovah's Witnesses during the Nazi regime, had nothing to do with antisemitic statements and currying favor with Hitler, adding, "These accusations made by today's church circles are deliberate manipulations and historical misrepresentations." [ 20 ] Yonan said the Declaration did not address Hitler as "Fuhrer" and did not conclude with the words "Heil Hitler", as was the case at the time in most official church documents addressed to state authorities. [ 21 ] She said the absence of influence by the antisemitic terminology of the period was evident from the Declaration ' s free use of Old Testament quotations that include the term "Zion". [ 21 ]

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