Jesus and the flag
My mother told me that “the end” was coming very soon. So at the encouragement of mother and many others in the congregation I was baptized in January 1967 and started full time ministry as “pioneer” in May of 1968.
In fact she told me when I was younger that I would never even get out of high school before “the end” would come. She was wrong about that. I did get out of high school in 1967. Her grand kids got of high school too. Soon her great grands kids will be getting out of high school also. Yet even to this day fifty years later Jehovah’s Witness parents are telling their children how close “the end” is. The beat goes on.
I was pretty much a loner in high school. Most of the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t want to hang around me (Chapter 7 will have the reason for this) and “worldly friends” were not allowed. Anything outside the Jehovah’s Witnesses was considered “Worldly.” Meaning things of this world and not of god. Satan was in control of this world. So we had to stay free from anything he was controlling especially the people. What did this include? School sports, school clubs and school dances where they played the devil’s music.
It was written in Luke “I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world.…
High school wasn’t very enjoyable. By the time 1966 and 1967 rolled around the Viet Nam war was going strong. I went from the kid that no one really noticed or cared about to one of the most hated kids in my high school. Nationalism was at fever pitch. My classmates didn’t like it when I didn’t salute the flag. When I didn’t stand up for the “National Anthem” all hell would break lose. I was spit on and slapped. People would ask me why I wouldn’t salute the flag. I would say “What flag would Jesus salute if he was here on Earth? All of them? None of them? Or Just the American flag? I would still get slapped. People are not really interested in logical answers like that.
Or they would say. “So, you won’t fight for your country?” “No” I would say. “Well” They would say. “What would happen if everyone thought the same way as you do?” “Well… I guess there would be no more wars!” They would look at me with a blank look on their face for a second then fire back. “No! I mean if everyone in this country wasn’t willing to go to war.”
Our way or the highway. People love to believe in the “us or them” concept.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not active in politics. They are neutral and will not take up arms in time of war. They would rather go to prison then fight and kill for the country they live in. They are peaceful people. You know that when your son or daughter goes into the army they could get themselves killed, this of course is always a possibility. They have chosen employment in a kill or could be killed business. So really they have no reason to be surprised if their kids get killed. What would be a real surprise is if it was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses that killed them. The odds are, the people who killed your family, could belong to just about any religion on the planet except Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I had a friend in High School who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. By the time he had graduated he had left the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He join the army and went to Viet Nam. In 1987 I found him in California and called him up. He said he went to Viet Nam and had “no regrets.” I said, “I didn’t go to Viet Nam and I had no regrets either.”
I didn’t go to Viet Nam like so many of my classmates did. I didn’t believe in war back then. I still don’t believe in war now. Interesting that no one in my class died in Viet Nam but five guys who went over there came back and killed themselves. I guess some of my classmates had some regrets.