My Letter to President Trump Requesting That IRS Revoke Watchtower's Tax-exempt status

by Roger Kirkpatrick 17 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Roger Kirkpatrick
    Roger Kirkpatrick

    JANUARY 23, 2019





    WASHINGTON, DC 20500

    Dear Mr. President:

    Your predecessor, President Obama, issued the following statement with which I hope you are in agreement: "We must work together to decisively and unequivocally reject hateful ideologies, teachings and practices that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity."

    In his book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright wrote: "People have the right to believe whatever they choose. But it is a different matter to use the protections afforded a religion by the First Amendment to falsify history, to propagate forgeries, and to cover up human-rights abuses."

    I was born and raised within the religious movement known as Jehovah's Witnesses (JW). My excellent parents were sincerely devout members, and all I knew about God and the Bible was what I had been taught by them through Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (Watchtower) publications. Believing that Jehovah's Witnesses had "the truth," I dutifully got baptized at age 15; however, by age 30, I had begun to apply critical thinking to the things I sincerely believed, and I realized that they were not, in fact, "the truth."

    Knowing Watchtower policies, I knew I could never officially leave my family’s religion for conscientious reasons without being completely cut-off and shunned by my family and friends who remained Jehovah's Witnesses. Therefore, I made a conscious decision to simply become inactive as a JW. In 2015, when I officially disassociated from Jehovah's Witnesses, my dear wife of 44 years divorced me simply because I no longer wished to be a JW. I have come to realize that she really did me a great favor, and I have found tremendous happiness and freedom as a direct result of leaving what I now consider to be a high-control religious cult, not Christian at all.

    You may be aware of the ratings success of the A&E Network series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. In response to requests from many former JWs, Miss Remini devoted the 3rd season's 2-hour premier episode to a discussion of Jehovah's Witnesses, featuring heart-rending stories of leaving the religion by more than a dozen former JWs. Through such presentations, millions of Americans have become aware of civil-rights abuses perpetrated by various cults masquerading as authentic religions while enjoying protections afforded by the First Amendment. Thousands of JW families like mine have been torn apart by Watchtower’s oppressive policies.

    I respectfully submit to you, sir, that any religious organization which (1) suppresses truth, or manufactures and propagates its own version of truth; (2) arbitrarily dictates what will and will not be deemed to be matters of individual conscience; and (3) which employs a campaign of character assassination and mandated shunning against former members who leave for conscientious reasons, thereby tearing apart families, is a dangerous and harmful cult and should have its tax-exempt status revoked for violating basic human-rights. In the name of all that is decent, Mr. President, please direct current IRS Commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, to investigate the policies and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses to see if they deserve to be tax-exempt, and correct this deplorable situation.

    Thank you, Mr. President, for giving my request your careful consideration.

    Most respectfully,

  • DesirousOfChange
    It's a great letter with good arguments. Sadly, I think it is a long time before such reasoning gets traction in the US. Here, religion is still a "sacred cow" due to "Separation of Church and State" and any politician who aligned against that would be doomed. However, I think the idea of taxing religion overall, could be "sold" to many "thinking" citizens.
  • wannabefree

    Good points.

    In my opinion, if you want to appeal to President Trump, the key is to make the message as short as possible with a heavy dose of appealing to his ego. Also, even if Obama was right about something, Trump would likely take the opposite position just because it was Obama.

  • Old Navy
    Old Navy

    The problem is that Corporations are able to do pretty much as they please within their own "voluntarily entered" jurisdictions. Corporations are able to make their own rules which may strongly contradict society in general and even the Constitution. What the are doing is not unique. Other Corporations have already set the precedent.

    Although it would be gratifying to see some sort of positive response to the request, is it likely?

  • dogisgod

    Wonderful letter...but not for DT. He won't read past an Obama quote. Sorry...he won't ever read it...too smart,,,too long....he doesn't read. Sorry.

  • neat blue dog
    neat blue dog
    even if Obama was right about something, Trump would likely take the opposite position just because it was Obama

    Nonsense. Obama built border walls and deployed tear gas against hostile illegal immigrants during his tenure, but as soon as it's Trump doing it it's an "immorality". It's quite obvious that it is the left who goes that immature route, to go the opposite of whatever their opponent is saying.

  • Brokeback Watchtower
    Brokeback Watchtower

    I don't think Trump will read that letter his got his hands full with His: I will build a wall thingy, that he's proposes he can get Mexico to pay for.

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim

    Yes. Trumps hands are full. Government shut-down, Mexico wall thing, all kinds of negative press on top of it all.

  • LV101

    Trump is definitely busy -- inept predecessors especially Obama.

  • Diogenesister

    I think it may be effective to find out exactly what is required of an organization in order to qualify as a charity. Also what what it is forbidden.

    now I appreciate many will say being a religion automatically qualifies an org. But what defines a religion? How about the fact they have changed the bible? Believe everyone but dubs are deserving of death?

    more importantly, what charitable work does THE ORGANIZATION ITSELF do. Not individual JWs, but the watchtower. Individual JWs do all the volunteering. Purchase the places of worship and build them. Conduct bible studies using watchtower tracts and books they themselves purchase in their own time to recruit for the org. The org does nothing but collect money. It no longer even runs Gilead. Any disaster relief work is done by JWs themselves on their own dime. Watchtower also steals Kingdom Halls and sell them for profit, places of worship they didn’t own. They do zero charitable work, I think that is a far more valid point than their rules being oppressive, since joining is voluntary. There may be an argument as to child abuse via indoctrination of extremist and damaging views to a child.

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