What is an Amicus Brief

by 3acrewood 37 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Friend


    I also looked up the word "denigrate" which you held out that you would do to anyone with immoral views.

    I try to write with care. Please note that I did not say I would denigrate “anyone” (i.e., a person) with immoral views but rather that I would denigrate immoral views. There is a fundamental difference between those two ideas. One expresses that I belittle an individual and the other that I belittle an idea of morality.

    I agree with you that we have said nothing on this forum immoral for human dignity. I will also add that I have said nothing on this forum that I have not already expressed to the Society (meaning an endorsed viewpoint).

    You asked that I share whatever credentials I might have. I do not intend upon doing that, mostly because claimed credentials are totally worthless, and that is all claims of credentials are on a forum such as this. On the other hand, I am very careful about how closely I identify myself on a public forum like this.

    Also, I agree with whatever attorney opined that filing amicus curiae should not be entered into lightly. Really, that advice is well taken for any consideration of court involvement. That especially becomes true when you are not a party to a case in the first place. For reasons I already expressed the Society acted on an issue to perhaps intercede regarding a particular point of law (a single one) being ruled upon differently than it had in the past, making tax-exemption more debatable than it already was. And, that is really the only difference between now and then, how debatable tax-exempt status is for various organizations. If you read the Society’s brief it is speaking only for the Watchtower Society with no hint of overt support for the now defunct Jimmy Swaggart Ministries.

    Like some others you are apparently of the notion that just sharing the same courtroom with JSM is somehow ungodly and reprehensible. Consider this scenario:

    Your neighbor is an axe murderer (we will call him Garr). You know this because you saw it happen. You have reported it but, other than your testimony, you cannot prove it and neither can law-enforcement. Unrelated to that Garr is later arrested and convicted for tax evasion on 100 various counts according to 10 different statues. One of those statues says, “you must pay tax on livestock.” Garr is held accountable on that one statue because some lower court judge, for the first time, rendered a ruling that pets are livestock as defined by the context of the law. Since Garr owned a few pets they nabbed him for past tax. Such an application has never been attributed to that particular law, therefore among countless other arguments, Garr’s attorneys appeal includes an argument about that issue. (Just for clarification: Garr is also convicted for the 99 other infractions of different tax laws.)

    Here is your problem. Your family is one of only 10 in your city that owns pets and you own 5 dogs and 10 cats. Suddenly you realize that you stand to owe several thousand dollars in back taxes for these animals, to say nothing of future taxes. You also realize that if Garr’s appeal is unsuccessful on that one single point of law that it will cost you a minimum of $10,000 to later argue this thing in the courts, and that with no guarantee of success. Your attorney says, “Hey, I can file a simple amicus curiae briefing right now in the case of Garr vs. City and it will only cost you $50. You still have no guarantee, but you should consider it.”

    Now your other problem is that you don’t want to share the same planet as Garr, let alone some legal technicality! Your attorney assures you that your amicus curiae filing is not in defense of Garr but rather regarding an application of law to you and your neighbors at large. Also, he or she says, you might argue that there is something unique or different about your pets, making them tax-exempt. Also, he or she tells you that Garr’s case is not dependent upon your success or failure in the amicus curiae filing.

    Here is the question: What will you do?

    I am not saying that this situation does not deserve due consideration. But I am saying that the choice may be easier to make than you realize.


    Edited by - Friend on 5 June 2000 14:16:18

  • Scorpion


    Thank you for clarifying that. I wonder if I can file a similar brief so as to avoid my income taxes? Just a thought.

  • jeeprube

    I remember the moment when the society sent out that letter and changed to the donation arrangement. It was presented to us as an exciting new change. As if the Society was changing so that the publications would now be even easier to obtain for any who might be poor. There was never ANY mention in the congregation that the new arrangement was a result of the Swaggert law suit. Or that the new donation arrangement was not worldwide, but only in countries where the WTS was subject to taxation. In fact there are still JW's today who think the donation arrangement is worldwide.

  • 144001
    Just to set the record straight - I have been a legal secretary for over 20 years, and I assure you there is nothing shady about the Society filing an Amicus Brief in regard to this Swaggart thing.

    Nothing shady? How about when they lie about the facts in that brief? I don't have it in front of me right now, but I read that brief, and it claimed (paraphrased here) that every Jehovah's Witness is a door to door preacher, which simply isn't true. In our congregation, there were many baptized JWs who for various reasons did not engage in field service. The Witnesses will lie whenever they need to to protect their financial interests.

  • ithinkisee


    Is the letter to the BOE from 1990 anywhere online that we can look at? I would love to see it.

    The sad part is that is what the ELDERS were told, but the rank and file were later told this was another way for them to separate themselves from the COMMERCIALISM of Christendom to maintain pure worship.

    The Society did the same thing with the UN thing. They sent a letter to the BOE - but never told the R&F ANYTHING about it.


  • luna2

    I remember how thrilled everybody was....like this meant something important (say, something like Armegeddon) was going to happen VERY SOON. A true example of "light getting brighter" and the org becoming more refined as we hiked down the road to "the end of this system". I think we would have been somewhat disillusioned to find out that it was a preemptive measure taken to avoid possible taxation.

  • Honesty
    I remember the moment when the society sent out that letter and changed to the donation arrangement. It was presented to us as an exciting new change. As if the Society was changing so that the publications would now be even easier to obtain for any who might be poor. There was never ANY mention in the congregation that the new arrangement was a result of the Swaggert law suit. Or that the new donation arrangement was not worldwide, but only in countries where the WTS was subject to taxation. In fact there are still JW's today who think the donation arrangement is worldwide.

    That was presented exactly the same way at the second TMS/Service meeting I attended. It was part of my accepting the cult as being approved by God. It was insinuated that the new arrangement was on a worldwide basis. I still thought the donation arrangement was worldwide until a couple of months after I DA'd out of the demonised cult.

  • loveis
    In fact there are still JW's today who think the donation arrangement is worldwide.

    Actually, it is worldwide NOW (although this admittedly did not happen until a full decade later.)

    *** yb01 p. 18 Highlights of the Past Year ***

    Another factor in reaching more people with the good news has been the simplified literature distribution arrangement. Jehovah has blessed the faith shown by his servants in this matter. The voluntary donation arrangement is explained to people, but no charge is made for the literature. As of January 2000, that arrangement was extended to all lands where it was not already in operation.

  • loveis
    Is the letter to the BOE from 1990 anywhere online that we can look at? I would love to see it.

    It appears that Doc Bob has a copy.


    Notice that the Supreme Court decision is not mentioned, although hinted at.

    February 9, 1990

    Dear Brothers:

    Our reigning King, Jesus, completed a remarkable ministry during the final three-and-a-half years of his earthly life. As the apostle John wrote, "the world itself could not contain the scrolls written" if all of what Jesus accomplished while on earth were recorded. (John 21:25) He was able to do so much because he gave theocratic interests the primary importance they deserved. As he said to his followers, "My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work."-John 4:34.

    Putting theocratic interests first meant that Jesus had to set priorities. While visiting in the house of Mary and Martha, he counseled Martha because she gave undue attention to matters other than the spiritual food Jesus was dispensing. He told her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and disturbed about many things. A few things, though, are needed, or just one." - Luke 10:41, 42.

    First century Christians followed Jesus' lead in this matter. The apostle Paul wrote, ''And this is what I continue praying, that your love may abound yet more and more with accurate knowledge and full discernment; that you may make sure of the more important things,... and may be filled with righteous fruit, which is through Jesus Christ, to God's glory and praise."--Philippians 1:9-11.

    In our day the 'faithful slave' is equally concerned with giving theocratic interests their rightful primary importance. So that This may be accomplished, the "slave" class has directed the implementation of many programs aimed at simplification For example, in 1978 the Society standardized and simplified the district convention arrangements. This simplification did away with many job assignments and significantly reduced many of those that remained. As a result, all are now able to give primary attention to the rich spiritual food provided each year.

    The August 1986 issue of Our Kingdom Ministry announced a simplification regarding the field service report of our regular pioneers. In September of 1987 further simplification led to adjustments for the circuit assembly programs, and special assembly days were inaugurated.

    Jehovah has richly blessed these efforts to simplify. The work is continuing to grow worldwide at a rapid pace. (Isaiah 60:22) Additionally, many have noted that secular authorities are increasingly viewing certain religious activities as commercial. As in the past, the Society continues to see the need to highlight the spiritual nature of our theocratic organization and to clearly distinguish our activities from those of Babylon the Great. To this end, the Society is pleased to announce that starting March 1, 1990, literature distribution procedures in the United States will be adjusted. From that date, all the Society's literature will be made available to publishers and to the interested public on a complete donation basis. This will emphasize our reliance on Jehovah's spirit while also simplifying certain operations both for the Society and for the congregations. Some may have questions regarding this new arrangement which we would now like to consider.

    What is meant by complete donation basis?

    This means that magazines and literature will be provided to publishers and to the interested public without asking or even suggesting that a specific contribution be made as a precondition to receiving an item. Voluntary contributions or donations will be accepted from publishers and such interested ones to continue the worldwide work of publishing the good news. It is important that all of you and the public understand that making a contribution or donation is not a precondition to receiving a publication. Naturally, this does not mean that literature should be given to those who do not appreciate it and who would not read it. --Compare Matthew 7:6.

    How does the complete donation arrangement affect the distribution of literature at the Kingdom Hall?

    When a publisher or interested person wishes to pick up literature or magazines at the Kingdom Hall, he may do so without having to 'pay for' the items requested. The Society will simply give the individual the literature requested. No money will be expected, requested, or collected at the magazine or literature counter. Those motivated to contribute to the publishing and distribution of the literature should put their donations in the boxes marked "Contributions for the Society's Worldwide Work.--Matthew 24:14."

    How will literature be offered in the field?

    When offering literature in our public ministry, we will give our witness as usual and offer the publications to interested persons to provide them further knowledge on the subject. The recipient should agree that he will read the literature, but we will not suggest a specific donation for it. However, after the person has agreed to read the publication, we may explain how the work is done voluntarily worldwide to help people learn the way to everlasting life. It is all supported by voluntary donations. Then you may ask the person if he would like to help the Society accomplish its work worldwide by making a small donation. If he wishes to make such a donation it will be appreciated.

    Any who wish to make a donation to defray the expenses of our educational work may do so, but they may receive the literature whether or not a donation is made. At the next Service Meeting, special information will be presented to demonstrate this method of literature distribution. If you note any publishers not present today, please contact them and let them know of this special Service Meeting. This new field service arrangement will go into effect immediately following that meeting.

    What about subscriptions to The Watchtower, Awake!, and cassettes?

    Adjustments will take place in this area as well. Subscription service to The Watchtower, Awake!, and cassettes will be discontinued as such. All publishers should immediately turn over to the brother handling subscriptions any one-year or six-month subscriptions that have already been obtained and these should be mailed to the Society this week. As of the reading of this letter, no one should prepare requests for additional new or renewal subscriptions.

    The Society will continue for now, however, to honor the subscriptions currently on file. Once your personal subscription expires you should obtain magazines and cassettes for your own personal use, as well as for use in the held ministry, from the local congregation.

    For many years- congregation publishers have been encouraged to have a magazine route. A magazine route will care for persons desiring to receive the magazines on a regular basis. These return visits will give publishers the opportunity to further cultivate interest shown by individuals and be a stimulus to starting new home Bible studies. The service overseer will assist publishers in developing such routes.

    How will the Society's worldwide work including the printing and distribution of its literature be financed"

    Boxes labeled "Contributions for the Society's Worldwide Work.--Matthew 24:14" will be made available near the magazine and literature counters. The amounts received in these boxes will be sent monthly to the Society. These funds will be used to defray the cost of the Society's overall operations, as well as providing for needed worldwide expansion.

    With what spirit should each one view the new arrangement'!

    Jehovah is progressively guiding his people through these critical times, giving them the wisdom from above, necessary to keep the preaching work moving speedily in the face of many snares laid by Satan. (Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 30:21) Under the leadership of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we have been conducted into the spiritual paradise in which we now carry on the holy work of the good news. We have tasted the joy of being part of Jehovah's spirit-filled organization. - Psalm 34:8.

    To meet changing conditions, Jehovah's spirit guides his theocratic organization. While contributions have always been voluntary, the complete donation arrangement allows for individual initiative and conscientious attention to meet the expenses of Jehovah's spirit-directed organization. Now each of us has an increased moral responsibility and privilege to honor Jehovah with our valuable things. (Proverbs 3:9) How we 'respond to the leadings of Jehovah's spirit as we make our contributions will reflect our heightened awareness that Jehovah considers us trustworthy.-l Corinthians 4:1, 2.

    The Society sincerely appreciates the financial support and cooperation it has received from the worldwide brotherhood. All donations will continue to be used wisely to support Kingdom interests. We ale confident that those who appreciate the priceless truth of God's Word and the value of all the Society's provisions, including the production of Bible-based publications, will continue to be motivated from the heart to contribute generously toward this work right up to the end of this old system. (2 Corinthians 9:6-14) We can place full trust in Jehovah knowing that he can "do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive."-Ephesians 3:20.

    Your fellow proclaimers of the Good News,

    Watchtower B & T Society of New York, Inc.

  • 144001

    The following is the exact verbiage of a lie found in the opening paragraph to the amicus brief filed on behalf of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., in the case of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries v. Board of Equalization of California, 493 U.S. 378, 107 L. Ed. 2d 796, 110 S. Ct. 688 (1990):

    "Every one of Jehovah's Witnesses is an active door-to-door minister, preaching the good news of God's Kingdom to willing listeners and offering printed sermons in the form of religious tracts, pamphlets, magazines, books and Bibles for a suggested nominal contribution."

    In our congregation, there were several baptized JWs who never engaged in field service, for various reasons, including without limitation physical handicaps. They were active at the meetings and everyone considered them to be JWs. I'm betting that this is true of all congregations, and in my opinion, this misrepresentation was intentional, not accidental.

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