jehovah's witnesses can serve as police??

by candidlynuts 17 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • candidlynuts

    i know this is from 2003 but i havent been here that long. anyone recall this or comment?

    Secret order banishes religious minorities from police

    By Felix Corley

    Forum 18 News Service (25.04.2003) / HRWF Int. (29.04.2003) Website - Email [email protected] - Human rights activists, the Baptists and the Jehovah's Witnesses have criticised a secret order issued by the head of the police service last December banning members of religious minorities from working for the police. "This order is unconstitutional and violates human rights," Mikael Danielian, chairman of the Helsinki Association, told Forum 18 News Service from the Armenian capital Yerevan on 25 April. Officials are reluctant to discuss the issue. Asked by Forum 18 whether in the light of the order members of religious minorities can work for the police, Edik Kazaryan, chief of staff of the police service, responded: "This is the first I have heard of it, so I cannot reply to the question." He declined to answer any further questions over the telephone but promised an official response in writing.

    Forum 18 contacted the secretariat of the police service in Yerevan on 25 April, but they declined a telephone interview with Lt-Gen Hayk Harutyunyan, the head of the police service who signed the order.

    Colonel Arshaluis Budagyan, deputy head of the personnel department of the Lori regional police who had originally sacked Jehovah's Witness Zemfira Voskanyan in February on the basis of the order, told Forum 18 on 25 April that it applies to serving police officers, not to "technical staff" employed by the police. However, he refused to answer questions on why members of religious minorities cannot serve as police officers. "I haven't seen this order," he claimed. "I'm new in this job." He then put the phone down.

    Echoing Danielian's criticisms of the order was Asatur Nahapetyan, general secretary of the Baptist Union. "We regard this order as very negative," he told Forum 18 from Yerevan on 25 April. He said he had first learnt about it back in January from Baptists who work in the police but had not seen a copy of the text. He regarded the order as part of a general pattern of obstruction to the activity of any religious group apart from the dominant Armenian Apostolic Church.

    Drew Holiner, a Jehovah's Witness lawyer who defended Voskanyan in court, also vigorously condemned the order. "It is clearly discriminatory," he told Forum 18 from Yerevan on 23 April. "It requires dismissal in pretty unambiguous terms of those who belong to other groups than the Armenian Apostolic Church." He declared that such discrimination violates the Armenian Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European human rights convention.

    The order, No. 551-A, signed by Lt-Gen Harutyunyan on 3 December, was apparently sent to all police departments. Employees of the police appear to have been given it to read soon after it was issued and some were required to sign it to say they had read and understood it. However, the order has not been published and Forum 18 has so far been unable to obtain a copy of it from the police service, from human rights community or from diplomatic sources in Yerevan.

    On 18 April, local journalist Vahan Ishkhanyan published on the news website ArmeniaNow what he said were extracts from the order. He said that the order specified that police department employees who are members of any religion other than the Armenian Apostolic Church must be identified and those who do not recant their faith are subject to dismissal. According to the order, "unlike the Armenian traditional national Church, new religious movements and organisations represent corrosive totalitarian cults or sects. Their activities are directed against individuals and families as well as society."

    Attempts by the Jehovah's Witnesses to obtain a copy of the order through the court failed. Likewise the Helsinki Association failed. "Our branch in Vanadzor asked the local police verbally for a copy of the order but they refused," Danielian declared.

    Holiner objected not only to the content of the order but to the fact that it was unpublished. "Article 6 of the Armenian Constitution says that normative acts which are not published have no legal effect," he declared. "There is a question as to whether this order is valid."

    Rustam Khachatryan, a Yerevan-based Jehovah's Witness lawyer, told Forum 18 on 23 April that Voskanyan is the first and so far only Jehovah's Witness to have been sacked as a result of the December order. "Some other Jehovah's Witnesses have left their jobs in the police because of the atmosphere, though not specifically because of the order."

    Nahapetyan told Forum 18 that to his knowledge no Baptists had so far been dismissed from the police as a result of the order. "No-one has had any problems yet, but maybe that will come soon." An official of the Baha'i community in Yerevan also confirmed to Forum 18 on 25 April that none of their members had encountered problems as a result of the order. Nor had the Helsinki Association learnt of anyone apart from Voskanyan who had been sacked in the wake of the order.

    The Helsinki Association plans in the coming days to work on having the order revoked, Danielian reported. "It is difficult to say whether we will be successful."


  • candidlynuts

    a follow up article..

    Police reinstate Jehovah's Witness

    By Felix Corley

    Forum 18 News Service (25.04.2003) / HRWF Int. (24.04.2003) - Email: [email protected] - Website - A Jehovah's Witness who was sacked from her job with the police in the wake of a secret December decree requiring members of minority faiths to be removed from the police (see separate F18News article) has regained her job. After Zemfira Voskanyan from Stepanavan in Armenia's northern Lori Region challenged her dismissal in court the police backed down. "We reinstated her in her job," Colonel Arshaluis Budagyan, deputy head of the Lori regional police personnel department who had originally sacked her, told Forum 18 News Service on 25 April. "She is back at her desk." He blamed a "mistake" for Voskanyan's dismissal, saying the order to remove non-Armenian Apostolic Church members from work in the police applies only to serving officers, not to support staff.

    However, Drew Holiner, an American lawyer who works for the Jehovah's Witness centre near the Russian city of St Petersburg, who represented Voskanyan in court, remains concerned that she could still be removed from her job for her faith.

    Voskanyan, who was sacked on 20 February as head of the accounts department of the Stepanavan police, had worked for the police for nearly two decades. She earns 23,000 drams (297 Norwegian kroner, 38 Euros or 42 US dollars) a month and says it is the only means of supporting her 13-year old son.

    The police legal department's written decision to fire Voskanyan stated that she "is a member of Jehovah's Witnesses' religious and sectarian organisation. After work she participates at the religious lessons." It added that the dismissal followed Labour Code regulations for dismissing an employee when "incompatibility with the work status is detected".

    "Your being a Jehovah's Witness and working in the police is incompatible," Colonel Budagyan reportedly declared.

    Holiner reported that at the first hearing on 9 April at the Lori regional court Budagyan admitted that Voskanyan had been dismissed solely on the basis of her faith as a Jehovah's Witness. He based the dismissal on Order 551-A, issued by the head of the Armenian police, Lt-Gen. Haik Harutunyan on 3 December. Although Voskanyan's legal team asked the court to instruct the police service to make the text of this order available to them, the court refused. The case was then adjourned.

    At the second hearing on 22 April, the police brought an order unilaterally restoring Voskanyan to her position and providing her with back pay for the months she had not been at work. "There's a certain aspect to this, though," Holiner warned. "The court terminated the proceedings saying there was no further basis for them." He told Forum 18 that Voskanyan was reinstated only on a formality: that the police had failed to consult her trade union. "It fails to remove the threat to her job caused by this discriminatory order," Holiner insisted. He said she is now considering a further appeal.

    Members of religious minorities in Armenia - especially Jehovah's Witnesses - face strong popular dislike. The dominant Armenian Apostolic Church enjoys extensive influence over public policy.

    Source: F18News

  • blondie

    Jehovah's Witnesses cannot carry guns in the performance of any job duties, whether it be in law enforcement or for security agencies. They will lose any "privileges" such as being an elder or ministerial servant or a pioneer or helping on the mikes, as an attendant, reading at the meetings, or helping with other official duties at the congregation. It is not a disfellowshipping offense (yet). This is a "peronal choice" by the JW.

    This article seems to indicate that it is the employer making the decision not to hire them. In this case, it seems to involve more than just JWs. I expect that the other religions will fight this decision since they seem to have no qualms about carrying firearms for their job. There are some other religions that may find it distasteful, such as Mennonites and Quakers.


  • Bonnie_Clyde

    I believe it was in 1983 or 1984 when the WT came down harder on carrying or using a gun although they had spoken of it negatively a lot in the past. However, an article in the Awake back in 1976 or 1977 said that using a gun was according the individual Christian's conscience. It used the scripture in Exodus 22 (verse 1 or 2?, don't have Bible in front of me). We had a friend who was a sheriff's deputy and back in the early 70's he wrote a letter to the Society about whether he could carry a gun and the reply was that it was OK as it was for peace keeping purposes and not for war. We have a sister now in our congregation who was a police officer until recently, but decided that she would have to quit. She now works as a waitress.

  • new light
    new light

    The way I always understood it was that a man could not have privileges in the cong ifn he was a gun toter. A hunting rifle is one thing, but pistols and any other "self-defense" firearms would exclude one from being a servant. I know brothers who worked as security guards, but active police duty involving a gun is frowned upon heavily, at least in the U.S.

  • undercover
    "Your being a Jehovah's Witness and working in the police is incompatible," Colonel Budagyan reportedly declared.

    Isn't what this Colonel said exactly how the WTS feels about working in a police department?

    Is it not hypocritical for the WTS to claim discrimination when the police fire an employee for being a JW and then turn around and discriminate against the JW who joins the police?

  • blondie

    new light, using guns for self-defense is still "frowned upon" by the WTS: (Of course, application of this material may differ from area to area as all "rules" do in the WTS)

    w98 12/15 p. 22 When Armed Robbers Strike

    Some people desperately seek security by arming themselves with guns. Christians, though, take seriously the words of Jesus, who said: "Those who take the sword will perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) God?s people have ?beaten their swords into plowshares? and do not buy guns to protect themselves from robbery or assault.?Micah 4:3.

    But then takes it to another level

    What about arranging for armed security guards? While this would be a matter for personal decision, remember that such an arrangement puts the gun in the hands of someone else. What would an employer expect of the guards if a robber came along? Would he expect the guards to shoot the thief if necessary to protect the people and possessions that were being guarded?

    The stand that Christians take in rejecting magic and weapons as tools of protection may seem foolish in the eyes of those who do not know God. The Bible, however, assures us: "He that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected." (Proverbs 29:25) While Jehovah protects his people as a whole, he does not intervene in every case to shield his servants from robbery. Job was outstandingly faithful, yet God allowed marauders to plunder Job?s livestock, with loss of life to the attendants. (Job 1:14, 15, 17) God also permitted the apostle Paul to experience "dangers from highwaymen." (2 Corinthians 11:26) Nonetheless, God teaches his servants to live by principles that reduce the risk of robbery. He also equips them with knowledge that helps them to react to robbery attempts in ways that will reduce the likelihood of injury.

    As to hunting, guns for that purpose are allowed by the WTS with an exception clause,

    w83 7/15 p. 25 "Seek Peace and Pursue It" ***

    Would it be fitting for the Christian to possess firearms for the purpose of hunting animals for food? Since the Flood, God has permitted the killing of animals for food, though the blood must be poured out on the ground, not eaten. (Genesis 9:3, 4; Deuteronomy 12:23-25) When allowed by local law, some Witnesses keep guns for protection against wild animals or for shooting game. (Matthew 22:21) To them this may be an important or practical source of food. But never should anyone think that Jehovah would approve of taking animal life for sport, for the thrill of killing?as has been the way with ancient and modern "Nimrods." Since "the soul of the flesh is in the blood," this is precious in Jehovah?s sight.?Leviticus 17:11, 14.

    If a sizable number of Witnesses in a congregation should be disturbed in that someone is hunting animals merely for sport, and not for obtaining food, he might not be in position to receive special service privileges, because of his offensive reputation.?1 Timothy 3:2.

    But if it were protection, the gun carrier would lose privileges in the congregation.

    w83 7/15 p. 25 "Seek Peace and Pursue It" ***

    It is similar if one of Jehovah?s Witnesses insists on carrying or having firearms for protection against humans, or on learning the martial arts. The spiritual elders should take immediate steps to counsel and help him to remedy the situation. (Micah 4:3) Anyone who thus continues to carry personal arms or otherwise equips himself to become "a smiter" would cease to qualify for special privileges in the congregation.?1 Timothy 3:2, 3.

    This 1983 article continues to show that those using guns in their employment would lose their privileges.

    w83 7/15 pp. 25-26 "Seek Peace and Pursue It"/Use of Arms in Civilian Employment

    If someone has employment that involves carrying a weapon for use against other humans, or if he is required to be trained in the martial arts, such as judo and karate, what should he do? In making his personal decision he must bear in mind that a follower of Jesus is to pursue peace. (Romans 12:17, 18) In view of what is stated at Isaiah 2:4, most of Jehovah?s Witnesses avoid such employment. Even though the employment may be for the purpose of protecting the public (or property) in harmony with Romans 13:4, experience has shown that there is always the danger of incurring bloodguilt by taking life with the weapon, with harm to the individual?s conscience, as well as there being a danger of injury or death to oneself due to retaliation. (Psalm 51:14; compare Numbers 35:11, 12, 22-25.) Certainly it is best to avoid such dangers by selecting employment where they do not arise.

    During these "last days," many employees are expected to carry a firearm. Bank or security guards, watchmen and policemen may even be required to do so to hold employment. But what of the Christian, who is obligated to "provide for those who are his own"? (1 Timothy 5:8) His Bible-trained viewpoint would be different from that of worldly persons, who feel free to carry such weapons and to use them as they see fit in any dangerous situation that may arise. (Ephesians 5:15-17) He will want to avoid bloodguilt, having in mind Jehovah?s viewpoint on the sanctity of blood. (Genesis 9:6; Psalm 55:23) A mature Christian should try to find unarmed employment. Some Witnesses by talking with their employer have been successful in changing to a job that does not require carrying a weapon.

    As the world becomes increasingly violent we can no longer regard as exemplary a brother who continues in armed employment. He could be allowed six months to make a change. If he does not make a change, he would not be in a position to hold special privileges of service and responsibility in the congregation.?1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:5, 6.
  • oneofmany

    They can work desk jobs in a police department which do not call for carrying a gun. For example they can be dispatchers.

  • TallTexan

    I love the hypocrisy (in the WT?, nah, surely not). Growing up in the south, nearly every elder I knew hunted and a number of them had quite the impressive gun collection. Just don't carry them on the job to help make the world safer for all of us - idiots!

  • JT

    Jehovah's Witnesses cannot carry guns in the performance of any job duties, whether it be in law enforcement or for security agencies


    well not quite true, they can but they can't hold any positions- in my congo in NC were i grew up Rich Square NC we had 4 brothers

    1 was a state trooper, 1 was a game warden and 2 worked at the Prison- now just to show you how TECHNICAL the wt can get- all these men were either elders or ms-

    when the article came out it was hotly contested as to what was meant letters were sent to bethel folks in the hall took side, it was a fu%$King mess

    anyway the trooper and warden didn't quit, they lost their strips- the 2 prison guards were allowed to keep their titles since they DON'T CARRY GUNS 8HOURS like the other 2, only during prison riots would a guard get a gun, they made arrangments with the prison not to work in the Lookout TOWERS since it requires carrying a gun 8hours

    this was based on the bro position that if a RIOT BROKE OUT THEY WOULD REFUSE AND THEN SUFFER WHATEVER CONSQUCENCES, IN THE meantime they kept their State Jobs and Flunky Elder titles-

    so the question came up well what about yearly Refresher gun training class, wells since this was just Target practice and they would not be in real harm it was permitted

    it is this stupid BS technical rules and policies and procedures that just makes the wt a damn joke

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