Watchtower v. anti-cult organization sponsored by Russia and France.
Hamburg Court Decision
I feel conflicted on the court's decision. Some of what this anti-cult organization FECRIS wrote about JWs is untrue, especially that they commit crimes. JWs are fundamentally opposed to lawbreaking unless those are laws which prohibit them from worshipping or preaching. With that said, some of what the court deemed false or defamatory is not. Children are in fact compelled to preach door-to-door, for one example of that.
Tough call on this.
I think the German court went a bit too far here, they've basically decided to take what the JW's say at face value:
Here are the things that the court found false:
“there is a difference between men and women who receive the heavenly calling from God, in that only women ‘must receive a change of nature,’ but not men,” - this is well documented, especially in the older WT literature, but that's basically a matter of interpretation, not something a court can rule on.
that women who serve as door-to-door missionaries are “women slaves,” - again, matter of interpretation, but yes, they call themselves 'slaves' and they are for all intents and purposes "slaves" to the WTBTS and the men in the organization.
and children are “compelled” to participate in the public preaching - as a child I was always compelled to participate
that women in the family should not only submit to their husbands but also “to their male children,” - again, factually correct, male baptized children are above their mothers in matters of faith
“forbidden to divorce without being immediately excommunicated,” - again, true in many cases
“cannot rebel within the home without being immediately judged by the congregation’s elders.” - again, true in many cases
That Jehovah’s Witnesses teenagers caught kissing are automatically “taken to a JW’s judicial committee,” - again, true in many cases
and that a young woman who stays overnight in the home of a male friend would be found guilty by a judicial committee even in the absence of other elements indicating an improper relationship - again, that is well documented and an example in the elder's manual.
Basically what the WTBTS pulled is the same they pull everywhere: our organization does not tell our members how to behave, they are all free to do whatever they please, but if they behave in the way we tell them, that's fine too. Which makes every statement about WTBTS false/defamatory because they can just say "our legal organization does not believe those things, look, our legal charter says we are simply the printers of bibles and bible literature, we don't even organize congregations. Whatever the individuals of the Governing Body do is ecclesiastical and the court has no legal standing opining on matters of faith". This is the reason they separated the legal organization from the Governing Body years ago.
What is really scary is that European courts are now ruling on matters and interpretation of faith and siding with the JW on who has the right interpretation. According to the ruling, this website is now defamatory and can be blocked by German authorities - chilling indeed.
Jehovah’s Witnesses teenagers caught kissing are automatically “taken to a JW’s judicial committee,”
"cannot rebel within the home without being immediately judged by the congregation’s elders.” -
There's s lot of difference in what is stated in elders manual. And in what elders do. This things are not pointed out on that way in what i read in magazines. But some elders take this to a judicial committee. It's probably one of reason they wanna go online. Remove elders arrangements so watchtower don't get sued.
"and that a young woman who stays overnight in the home of a male friend would be found guilty by a judicial committee even in the absence of other elements indicating an improper relationship - again, that is well documented and an example in the elder's manual."
Not trying to be difficult, but Shepherd (2019, 2010) presents several cases of where that would be permissible as long as they don't sleep in the same room or bed. One that comes to mind is if the Brother tried to catch a train, missed the last one, and had nowhere else to go.
I agree with you that in practice that may not be enough to shield them from accusations of porneia or from stern talkings to.
so--by Watchtower taking this anti-cult outfit to court--the watchtower is admitting it is a cult.
The Germans have really lost it over the years. I respect the third Reich more than this chicken shit bunch. Not saying the Third Reich was good but that anything is better than this BS bunch. Is like Patton said in WW2 I would rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me.
If anyone uses their platform to criticise another, it must be truth. That is the standard that civilised society demands.
This bunch went off half - cock , with half truths and rumours so they deserve all they get. I have no problem with that.