A different way of looking at PERSECUTION?

by Terry 0 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    Imagine, if you can, a new religion springing up in which Lee Harvey Oswald is worshiped. If you can wrap your mind around that, let's go a step farther and say these religious worshipers of L.H.O. insist everybody else's god is a demon! Now, as if that isn't enough to contend with--what if stories pop up and spread around like wildfire that L.H.O. was actually God Almighty!
    We'll stop right there. The point of all this is to make you stop and see how truly weird this wou ld be (duh) and totally unacceptable it would be to treat such people with respect.
    Christians were regarded exactly like that in ancient Rome.
    The person they worshiped (Jesus) was an Enemy of the State. He had been executed, and yet--these Christians said he was probably God or at least, the Son of god.
    In that world, at that time, everybody accepted whatever god anybody else said existed.
    To have only one god would be like having only one friend--ridiculous!
    And yet, these crazy people (Christians) said, in effect, this one friend was the ONLY ONE you should have too!
    By disbelieving every else's gods--do you know what Christians were called? Don't laugh--they were called ATHEISTS!
    Think about the irony of that!
    The ancient world was quite offended--and worse than that--if anybody was bad-mouthing somebody's local god--well, that god would surely get angry and bring calamity, they were sure of that.
    So guess what?
    ANYTHING that went wrong (fire, disease, war) was blamed on the idiots who were disrespecting the gods--the Christians!
    The early persecution of the Church was direct result of the Christians disrespect for OTHER PEOPLE'S BELIEF!
    Now is that what you were taught?

    We were not left to consider how much of the anger directed toward Christianity may have been the result

    of their HOLIER-THAN-THOU smugness and absolute certainty they were right.

    Besides, all of the early Christians were convinced the END was coming any minute (sound familiar) so, it really didn't matter

    if they were self-righteous in condemning others.


    During WWI and WWII and the Vietnam War, Jehovah's Witnesses (such as myself) really pissed off families whose sons were serving in the Armed Forces.

    We refused to let them see those kids as patriotic heroes!

    Saluting the flag was IDOLATRY!

    Serving your country was serving SATAN!

    Somebody else's son, husband or father came back in a body bag, but Jehovah's Witnesses shed not a tear or spoke a word of comfort.

    Is there a lesson to be learned?


    I'll close by quoting from my book, I WEPT BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON (A Prisoner of Conscience in a TIME of WAR)


    Trouble in America

    “A month ago, an Army court-martial at Monterey, California, sentenced slight, bespectacled Herbert Weatherbee, one of Jehovah's Witnesses, to prison for life. His crime: refusal to obey a superior officer who ordered him to salute the flag. Last week the American Civil Liberties Union publicized Weatherbee's story, adding it to the growing list of persecutions suffered by the anticlerical, religious group which refuses to bow before any ‘image’ or to fight in any war save Jehovah’s.

    The Witnesses take their name from the twelfth [1] chapter of the Old Testament Book of Isaiah. Their leader, the late ‘Judge’ Joseph Rutherford, taught that they ‘must be witnesses to Jehovah by declaring His name and His kingdom under Jesus Christ.’ They claim half a million followers in the U.S., several million abroad. In peacetime their nonconformity got them deep in trouble with local and State authorities.

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1940 that their children must salute the flag in public schools, in 1942 that they could not distribute literature without peddlers' licenses.

    Jehovah's Witnesses regard themselves as ministers, but draft boards often refuse to exempt them from Army service.

    This week more than 450 of the group's men of military age are in prison for refusing to heed induction notices.” [2]

    The self-contradictory attitude of Jehovah’s Witnesses toward guns, violence, pacifism and such may be difficult for mainstream Christians to grasp because it is so at odds with consistent historical Christianity. The following items may serve to inform the reader with greater clarity.

    Do the Scriptures approve of a Christian’s defending himself against an unlawful assault and using force to repel such assault? Self-defense is the right of every man to ward off an attack and to use such force as to him appears to be necessary to safeguard himself from personal injury or injury to his property.

    The same right of self-defense may be exercised by him for the protection of his near relatives or close friends, his brethren.

    Such is the law of the nations or States, but that law does not rest upon traditions, nor upon the conclusions of men alone, but finds complete support in the Word of God.” [3]

    The dissonance of the above Statement is perplexing on the face of it because War is often self-defense on a larger scale. Nations only agree to self-govern for practical protection.

    June 10, 1940, Edwin Bobb was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. He was a congregation servant for the Kennebunk, Maine congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Bobb issued weapons to other local Witnesses and turned the Kingdom Hall into a firing platform, anticipating trouble from rioters. Then Bobb and fellow Witnesses waited in ambush.

    Some men showed up in a car and before it was over two men were wounded, one seriously.

    (Ironically the one seriously wounded is said to have had his life saved by administration of a blood transfusion without which Bobb would have faced a charge of murder.)

    The only firearms confiscated belonged to the local Witnesses. Police confiscated 5 rifles and 2 shotguns from the Kingdom Hall.

    Bobb was later convicted of attempted homicide. Attorneys Hayden Covington and Charles Smith were counsel for Bobb. After his incarceration, Bobb worked at Bethel and on special foreign assignment for the Watchtower from 1948 until 1956.

    [1] Isaiah 43:10-12, actually

    [2] Time magazine, April 19, 1943. (http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,884865,00.html )

    [3] The Watchtower, September 15, 1939, pp. 279-280

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