JWs in college gov't textbook

by Ephanyminitas 1 Replies latest jw friends

  • Ephanyminitas

    I just had my first Government test today. Boy, I hope I passed. (Damn boring stuff.)

    While I was studying in the campus library for the first time (ni-i-ice!), I found two places in my textbook that JWs are mentioned. The book is Kent Tedin's U.S. and Texas Constitutions and Politics. Just for the record, here they are (bold is my own):

    Instead of acting as a bulwark against majority tyranny duing World War II, the Supreme Court endorsed these limitations on free speech. In Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the court enunciated the fighting words doctrine that some words constitute violent acts. Walter Chaplinsky, a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group, had asked a policeman to guard him from a threatening crowd objecting to his pacifist address. When the policeman gave him no protection but instead cursed him and asked him to "come along," Chaplinsky called the policeman "a God damned racketeer" and "a damned Fascist." Enunciating the fighting words doctrine, the Supreme Court upheld Chaplinsky's conviction on the grounds that he had used threatening words that are not speech but "by their very utterance inflict injury or intend to incite an immediate breach of the peace." (p. 123)


    But the Supreme Court has in some cases allowed state interference with religious practice. In 1940, with war breaking out in Europe and patriotic fervor on the rise, the court upheld a West Virginia statute requiring that Jehovah's Witnesses salute the American flag in public school ceremonies, despite the fact that it was against the group's religion to salute a secular symbol. The Court said that schools could interfere with religious liberty in this case, because saluting the flag promoted "national unity, [which] is the basis of national security." Yet just three years later the Court, apparently realizing it had unduly curbed religious liberty, reversed the West Virginia decision. "Compulsory unification of opinion," wrote Justice Robert Jackson in the midst of the war against Nazism, "achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard." (p. 131)

    And now you know ... the rest of the story.

    Edited by - Ephanyminitas on 1 October 2002 12:23:40

  • NeonMadman

    This doesn't surprise me, the Witnesses have initiated or participated in several significant cases that have helped to insure the liberties of all Americans. The pity is that they deny these same freedoms to their own members.

    There's a pro-JW site that carries some interesting info on several of the cases the Watchtower has been involved with at http://www.jehovah.to/legal/general/index.htm.

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