A modest proposal: A national Do Not Call list
Greetings to the readership:
There have been reports over time that each Kingdom Hall keeps a "Do Not Call" list of addresses. These are addresses in the congregation's territory where, for one reason or another, the JWs in the field service are advised not to make calls. However, it has also been reported that sometimes a call will be made even if the householder has requested no more visits from the JWs, and the excuses heard from the WTBTS include "perhaps they have changed their mind" and "perhaps they have moved".
While I support the right of a religious group to go from door-to-door, I also support the right of a householder to decline any such visits. After a householder has given a single instance of adverse notification, it is a sufficient and permanent notice to the calling group that no more visits are welcome. Furthermore, if the calling group does not observe the request to stay away, then they should be held responsible for damages for negligent behavior and trespass.
Looking at the issue form the other side, how would the attendees at at Kingdom Hall Sunday WT study react if a band of opposers or apostates came knocking on the door halfway through the meeting? And what if the number of those knocking was twice the number inside the Kingdom Hall? I have no doubt that the WTBTS would assist the elders in obtaining legal restraining orders if that was what was needed to keep the Kingdom Hall free from interruptions. And it would be within their legal rights to do so. But what about householders' legal rights?
My thought and observations here are that the WTBTS and its agents in the congregations have shown that they cannot be trusted to maintain and observe a Do Not Call list. Therefore, they need some help with both the list and with a protocol for enforcement. And so here is my idea:
An independent, non-profit company is established to construct and maintain a Do Not Call list for an entire country. The company takes on the responsibility of constructing and maintaining the list and it uses whatever tools it needs (the Internet, mailings, input from the WTBTS, etc.) to build the initial address list. The list of DNC addresses for any particular territory is made available to the congregation covering that territory. Due to privacy concerns, only the addresses and not names are revealed to the congregation.
The enforcement comes in the form of civil penalties for violations. The penalties are assessed against the WTBTS and not the local congregation, as the congregation is really just an agent of their masters in Brooklyn. The violations are reported to the list maintenance company who then routes them through the appropriate legal channels, and the WTBTS will have a chance to pay the householder instead of being dragged into court. I propose that the initial penalty for a violation at any one address should be quite modest, say US$5, as I think that would be sufficient for the money-loving WTBTS to stay away from where they are not wanted. Repeated violations at the same address would call for increased penalties.
A few years ago this would have been infeasible, but now with the Internet and the prevalence of home computers (at least in the more developed countries), it can be made to work.
I have many more pages of thought on this covering the specifics of the implementation, but first I'd like to read some feedback from the readership.
I think that's a good idea. We have a similar thing in the UK where you can opt out of receiving junk mail and phonecalls so it may be best tagging it onto that. If it was quick and easy enough to sign up for, imagine how many people would !
We could always get a few volunteers to go round (best just after they have been) and sign people up for it
Although I like the idea, I prefer simple no peddler/salesman/JW/dickweed sign on the door. When I was a JW, there were a few signs like that in the territory. I for one, observed them. If the JW insists on hammering on my door in spite of the sign, then I can call the police and file harrassment charges.
But hey, I like the idea of interrupting a meeting at the kingdom hall. I'm too much of a wus to do it by myself, I'd do it with someone though.
Some thoughts on that include a Lawyer's Letter that would be a specific Revocation of the Right of Easement. Another clause would extend the doctrine of 'Right of Quiet Enjoyment'. Such formal statements could put some teeth into that Do Not Call list. It would add to the gated community syndrome. While one is writing the letter, demand to know the Clergy Malpractice carriers for the local beehive.
Disclaimer: nothing that I write or utter is to be considered legal advice. Consult proper counsel for such matters. Further, all that I write or utter, is considered to be protected by religious freedom under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as the "free exercise", as well as "freedom of speech" clauses.
Some years ago there was a comedy skit on television (Monty Python, I seem to recall) that included a "No Watchtower" prohibition decal attached to the householder's front door.
But would it work? I recall from my field service experience that if a house had a "No Solicitors" sign or "No Peddlers" sign, then we were still to call, but we were to only offer a free tract and not to ask for any contribution.
A JW prohibition decal with the red circle and slash covering a tower might help, and perhaps it could be offered by the list maintenance company as a perk for signing up. It might also prevent other uninvited religious callers. But by itself it without some kind of legal enforcement, it may not be much of a deterrent to persistent JWs.
If householders were to use decals, then they should be standardized in graphic appearance (the red circle and slash), size, and position of placement on the door. Maybe some of the graphically talented readership could produce a PostScript design and put it on the Web. We could also print up sheets and sheets of them and have our own field service, distributing them for free. And with the decal, I'd also include a one page tract that listed (briefly) the dangers of the WTBTS on one side and a list of "apostate" web sites on the other.
On the lighter side, get Farkel's latest Field Service antic's into a tract for distribution.
The tower/circle/slash is a good idea. TM it, for real. A trademark can include already TM'd material w/ proper modification and recognition of 'prior art', I believe.
Disclaimer: nothing that I write or utter is to be considered legal advice. Consult proper counsel for such matters. Further, all that I write or utter, is considered to be protected by religious freedom under the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as the "free exercise" clause, as well as "freedom of speech".
how would the attendees at at Kingdom Hall Sunday WT study react if a band of opposers or apostates came knocking on the door halfway through the meeting? And what if the number of those knocking was twice the number inside the Kingdom Hall?
Sounds like fun
Its been over 10 yrs, and we still get the visit, even after we wrote a letter to the hall, and one to the soc. and even called some on the writing dept. they are very , very few in between but its funny we only get teenagers who come a knocking, I said may i have your add. and come to you, or did i invite you only people i invite are welcomed, we now have a big dog with a gate , and key guess what it now has become a game with the kids, to get in with the dog barking on the other side of the fence, I just yelled out one day, dont come back , if i want you I'll come to you. ha ha!
Although it would be too much to ask for, the most effective way of getting people to sign up on a national Do Not Call list would be for the JWs in field service to do the processing themselves. Personally, I'd like to see that as a legal requirement and it could be made such if somehow the WTBTS was forced into some kind of legal consent agreement. Of course, the WTBTS would vigorously resist this as it would severely cut into their marketing activities. No doubt that they would argue on principles of freedom of expression and freedom of religion, although we who are here know quite well that such freedoms are denied by the WTBTS to its own members.
From experience and also from the WTBTS statistics, we know that the field service is remarkably inefficient at attracting new members. Yet it continues because it remains a big money maker for the WTBTS due to the free labor in both production and distribution. The promise of a national DNC list is that it could eventually shut off so much territory that the WTBTS would be forced to end the so-called voluntary field service and move to less intrusive, less profitable methods. It would also give a break to the rank and file JWs of whom nine out of ten would welcome an end to the field service. Oh, and no more need for Kingdom Ministry School meetings.
Once started, the national DNC list usage would rapidly accelerate. As more and more addresses were added to the list, the remaining addresses would be covered more frequently in the field service. And that would mean a greater incentive for the not yet listed to sign up. Who would want a JW knocking on the door every Saturday?
What would a congregation do once all of its territory was on the national DNC list? Time to close down the literature room and time to stop sending the literature contribution money to Brooklyn.
Like some others, I too am hoping for the day when the last Watchtower is published. But achieving that goal will be long in coming if we are to rely upon theological arguments and reasoning; the WTBTS doesn't give a rat's arse about either. It's just money and power to them, and those dual supports are what have to be removed.
I support the idea....do you have any formal item drawn up........what is necessary for this non profit org to get off the ground?