The unreasonable JW standard of avoiding support for charities is an explanation given in this article on the website of GlassPockets, an advocacy group for transparency in non-profit groups, for the anonymity of philanthropic ventures Prince undertook in the years before his death.
Even with all of the press attention, much remains unknown about Prince’s philanthropy. As a Jehovah’s Witness, Prince may have felt compelled to keep his giving private. Jehovah’s Witnesses are politically neutral and are discouraged from engaging in voting, advocacy or activism. These factors may have spurred the singer-songwriter’s desire to remain anonymous about his philanthropy.
It is of interest to see that the foundation he set up, Love 4 One Another, founded in the mid 1990s before he converted, is based on the famous quote from John 13:35: "By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (ESV)"
However, the NWT translates that last phrase to "if you have love amongst yourselves." This is an ingenious way Watchtower can make this mandate, used as a point of proof of JWs' argument as being the one true religion, become exclusively applied to showing love to others of like faith. "Love for one another" has a much more broadened application that is more aligned with Christ's message of universal love as illustrated in the story of the neighborly Samaritan.
Also, I came across an editor's column in the latest copy of Utne magazine, a quarterly periodical that reprints inspirational articles for the New Age-type crowd. The editor made an example of Prince's quiet streak of donating to community-based social causes. I cannot provide a web link, as it is subscription-only digital access, but here is the quote from the paper copy:
Musical moments aside, the most moving tribute I watched didn't get nearly as much attention as it should have. Speaking with CNN's Don Lemon, political commentator Van Jones spoke from the heart about the Prince he knew through their work together on numerous humanitarian causes. As Jones explains, "He was a Jehovah's Witness so he was not allowed to speak publicly about any of his good acts or charitable activities, but I was one of the people in his life that helped him with all of that. . ." Jones mentions that Prince would often set up multi-night shows in certain cities as a cover for his dedicated interest in collaborating with community groups and leaders to make a difference.
Okay, here's the YouTube link for that interview:
Of course, Prince had every reason to keep confidential his charitable donations, being the intensely private artist he was. We also know a true Christian would have no personal need to bring attention to his or her gift-giving. However, this is another strange prohibition JWs enforce that further paints unfavorable light upon their self-righteous posturing. A reasonable person would hear or read this and ask, "Why would they not allow him to speak about his charitable activities?" Prince may have been able to accomplish much more if others had known of the projects he supported. There must have been quite an internal conflict for Prince, as he went as far as using his concerts to cover his intentions of helping local causes.
Exactly what does Watchtower say about supporting "worldly" charitable organizations? I know how they may reason on "putting Kingdom interests first" and all that newspeak, but what exactly is their position? And is it really the way of love?
"I can't be in this world and see all this pain and suffering and not do something about it." -- Prince