News article: No potentially deciding votes among Jehovah's Witnesses
Sounded to me like the reporter didn't take good notes and was paraphrasing. Several parts of the story didn't ring true for me, especially our lord and king jesus. No mention of Jehovah? No way, they never pass up that opportunity.
I think there was either a Kingdom Ministry or a Question to the Readers about voting a few years ago that implied this was a conscience matter. Probably Blondie or someone else could quote that exactly. They said, in that article, the usual stuff about not being able to be a Ministerial Servant or Elder if you did but it was vaguely worded like the blood stuff, so that someone could think you could vote. At the time I remember thinking "more theocratic warfare." We'll make it look like you can but at the same time the unspoken rule has not changed.
I do not see this as fishy, it is after all accurate as to what the witnesses believe, and how they would deal with someone known to vote
I suspect that Br.Ragan of Flint Michigan (wherever that may be) is a local elder who spoke honestly and in a practical way untainted by the diplomatic doublespeak that may come out of Brooklyn. They would probably disapprove
"We watch TV, listen to the radio and read newspapers like other people,"
Sorry BB but you would call that honest?
JWs don't watch TV "like other people". They watch it assuming most of the programs are demonized. Anything that is presented on TV that would shed new light on them or contradict the WT teachings is assumed to come from Satan. That is not the way other people watch TV ! The same goes for radio and newspaper media. He is clearly being sophisticated at portraying JWs as not that much different than regular folk; they just don't vote. This is far from the reality of JWs.
Also, I doubt an elder would give a newspaper interview of that length these days without clearing it through WT (legal) first.
Well, I suspect he meant that they watch TV and enjoy the series' just like anyone else... Certainly we always did in our house, and it is certainly the case for the dubs in my extended family.. A while back it was always the case that you met another one when when popping the video tape back to the hire shop on a Sunday on the way to the meeting.
Of course they are dissmissive of "Scientific" programmes that clash with their beliefs , but I dont think this guy was thinking too deeply when he spoke.. Thats why it was certainly not scripted from Bethel
He could have very easily left out the line "like other people". This is something which I have read in countless interviews of the JWs in the media. We know that it is not true that they are "like other people". Even they teach in their beliefs that thaey are to not be like worldly people. This inclusion of "like other people" appears often and my opinion is that it is a deliberate deception especially since it is not necessary to add that line.
Do JWs watch TV ? Yes. Do they watch videos YES. But are you sure it's only scientific programs they are told could be demomized ? LOL The JWs I knew thought that 95 percent of the TV shows were in one way or another demonized. Guess they think differently there in the U.K.
Besides that he was not talking about watching the series he said it in the context of watching all of the "political hoopla" which JWs would certainly not view it "like other people".
Now let's look at some of the other carefully constructed words, phrases and lines in that article:
"We don't get caught up in all the politics,"
Why used the word caught instead of involved?
"The only thing we do is remain neutral, and that's no secret to people who know us."
This line is designed to imply that JWs have nothing to hide - we know that's not true.
"We appreciate and respect the position of government, but we realize they are just men"
Not true they teach that it's much more than men in fact it's Satan who controls the worldly Governments
"It's their decision to make,"
Deceptive. This implies free choice. Free choice involves no coersion. Disfellowship and shunning is a punishment and that is extreme coersion.
"Witnesses respect and cooperate with authorities, so it's not a matter of being irritated or affected by what's going on in politics,"
Not true. How many times have we heard of cover ups or even children abducted in custody cases by a JW parent and JWs who know where the children say "We don't know". Also, look at the last French Tax Court Ruling. Not only did they not pay the taxes they argued with the authorities and challenged them to a lengthy legal battle.
"The subject of politics just does not come up at our meetings, because of our beliefs,"
How many times has a political issue been brought up in a Kingdom Hall ? There is a steady stream of attention brought to political issues whether it is JWs in foreign countries who are not allowed to Witness or Blood Issues before a countries Government or Court and even Legal Decisions. The Hall I went to a few times openly discussed these worldly political issues and also even discussed local political issues related bylaws against door-todoor soliciting. They used to discuss how the elders (under legal direction from WT legal dep't) were going to use civil disobedience in this local town which enacted a bylaw against door-to-door and get arrested going door-to-door just so they could fight it in court. The whole Hall cheered. I think witnesses are conditioned to think that they don't discuss politics but sorry to these discussions and subjects are politics. What they do is discuss their own JW political issues but that is still discussing politics and it makes the above quote also a lie.
"We make every effort scripturally to readjust that person before further steps are taken,"
Is that true ? Do they really make every effort ?
I guess my question is do readers just nod and say "oh, uhuh" and keep going or do they come to a screeching halt and think "what????" Especially that bit about if you vote for someone you're responsible for their policies. If that's true (and I can imagine the argument) it is just as true that by being a Jehovah's Witness you are responsible for any/all harm the Watchtower causes and never mind about new light. Speaking of new light, is it not now the standard defense against evidence of Watchtower mistakes/unethical behavior that they are only "just men?"
THis is a great article its show the average elder stance of usa jws. You can vote for anything that does not have a D or R on it with out fear of reprisal. If you vote in partisan politics then they wont df you for it they will just tell you not to do it again. If you let them know you did it again, or get found out (with absentee voting it is nearly impossible to find out unless your family goes into your mail) then they will council you sternly and will DA or DF you if you don't make a U-turn.
While this is not the "offical" wts policy it is suprisingly truthful incorporating the new stances on voting and how the average jw elder would interpet it in america. THe branches are the ones that rule the JWs (with nudging from ny as needed), and set the policy for what is allowed for jws in that area. SO moving a few miles to a neightboring country would change what is acceptable. For example in some african country being married to a politician was a dfing offense. WIth the violent political climate in africa, and the dueling jw churches (there is still a schizm there that even the wts admitts, but claims the other jws are not "real" JWs ), it is not suprising.
While I agree that there are definitely visible regional differences with the JWs in terms of the nuances relating to level of tolerance for behaviour, I disagree with your statement "THe branches are the ones that rule the JWs (with nudging from ny as needed), and set the policy for what is allowed for jws in that area."
The Governing Body and WT legal set policy and not the elders of a congregation. The fact that the policy might be applied differently according to local elders does not change that and certainly on major issues like voting, blood transfusions and the view that Governments are under Satan's control.
Also with regard to your other comment "it is suprisingly truthful incorporating the new stances on voting and how the average jw elder would interpet it in america"
What new stances on voting in America ? It has always been a punishable act for a JW. The WTS policy has always been (at least in the last 25 years) to council (more like elder tribunal) before Disassociating or Disfellowshipping someone.
And with regard to this one "You can vote for anything that does not have a D or R on it with out fear of reprisal. If you vote in partisan politics then they wont df you for it they will just tell you not to do it again. If you let them know you did it again, or get found out (with absentee voting it is nearly impossible to find out unless your family goes into your mail) then they will council you sternly and will DA or DF you if you don't make a U-turn."
Where are you reading this in the article ?
You can vote for anything that does not have a D or R on it with out fear of reprisal. Really ? Does that mean JWs can go vote for Ralph Nader?
If you vote in partisan politics then they wont df you for it they will just tell you not to do it again. If you let them know you did it again, or get found out (with absentee voting it is nearly impossible to find out unless your family goes into your mail) then they will council you sternly and will DA or DF you if you don't make a U-turn. Really is that what it says ? Because that implies your allowed as much as two turns at the voting bat but the article clearly says once:
So, what would happen if a Witness were to weigh in Tuesday by casting a ballot?
Ragan said the congregation would make efforts to return such a person to good standing in the church - but also held out the prospect of complete shunning, or "disfellowshiping."
*** w99 11/1 pp. 28-29 Questions From Readers ***
Howdo Jehovah?s Witnesses view voting?
There are clear principles set out in the Bible that enable servants of God to take a proper view of this matter. However, there appears to be no principle against the practice of voting itself. For example, there is no reason why a board of directors should not take a vote in order to arrive at decisions affecting their corporation. Congregations of Jehovah?s Witnesses often make decisions about meeting times and the use of congregation funds by voting with a show of hands.
What, though, of voting in political elections? Of course, in some democratic lands, as many as 50 percent of the population do not turn out to vote on election day. As for Jehovah?s Witnesses, they do not interfere with the right of others to vote; neither do they in any way campaign against political elections. They respect and cooperate with the authorities who are duly elected in such elections. (Romans 13:1-7) As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of Jehovah?s Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State. (Matthew 22:21; 1 Peter 3:16) In making this personal decision, the Witnesses consider a number of factors.
First, Jesus Christ said of his followers: "They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world." (John 17:14) Jehovah?s Witnesses take this principle seriously. Being "no part of the world," they are neutral in the political affairs of the world.?John 18:36.
Second, the apostle Paul referred to himself as an "ambassador" representing Christ to the people of his day. (Ephesians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20) Jehovah?s Witnesses believe that Christ Jesus is now the enthroned King of God?s heavenly Kingdom, and they, like ambassadors, must announce this to the nations. (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:15) Ambassadors are expected to be neutral and not to interfere in the internal affairs of the countries to which they are sent. As representatives of God?s heavenly Kingdom, Jehovah?s Witnesses feel a similar obligation not to interfere in the politics of the countries where they reside.
A third factor to consider is that those who have a part in voting a person into office may become responsible for what he does. (Compare 1 Timothy 5:22, The New English Bible.) Christians have to consider carefully whether they want to shoulder that responsibility.
Fourth, Jehovah?s Witnesses greatly value their Christian unity. (Colossians 3:14) When religions get involved in politics, the result is often division among their members. In imitation of Jesus Christ, Jehovah?s Witnesses avoid becoming involved in politics and thus maintain their Christian unity.?Matthew 12:25; John 6:15; 18:36, 37.
Fifth and finally, their keeping out of politics gives Jehovah?s Witnesses freeness of speech to approach people of all political persuasions with the important message of the Kingdom.?Hebrews 10:35.
In view of the Scriptural principles outlined above, in many lands Jehovah?s Witnesses make a personal decision not to vote in political elections, and their freedom to make that decision is supported by the law of the land. What, though, if the law requires citizens to vote? In such a case, each Witness is responsible to make a conscientious, Bible-based decision about how to handle the situation. If someone decides to go to the polling booth, that is his decision. What he does in the polling booth is between him and his Creator.
The November 15, 1950, issue of The Watchtower, on pages 445 and 446, said: "Where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote . . . [Witnesses] can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith. It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot."
What if a Christian woman?s unbelieving husband insists that she present herself to vote? Well, she is subject to her husband, just as Christians are subject to the superior authorities. (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 2:13-17) If she obeys her husband and goes to the polling booth, that is her personal decision. No one should criticize her.?Compare Romans 14:4.
What of a country where voting is not mandated by law but feelings run high against those who do not go to the voting booth?perhaps they are exposed to physical danger? Or what if individuals, while not legally obliged to vote, are severely penalized in some way if they do not go to the polling booth? In these and similar situations, a Christian has to make his own decision. "Each one will carry his own load."?Galatians 6:5.
There may be people who are stumbled when they observe that during an election in their country, some Witnesses of Jehovah go to the polling booth and others do not. They may say, ?Jehovah?s Witnesses are not consistent.? People should recognize, though, that in matters of individual conscience such as this, each Christian has to make his own decision before Jehovah God.?Romans 14:12.
Whatever personal decisions Jehovah?s Witnesses make in the face of different situations, they take care to preserve their Christian neutrality and freeness of speech. In all things, they rely on Jehovah God to strengthen them, give them wisdom, and help them avoid compromising their faith in any way. Thus they show confidence in the words of the psalmist: "You are my crag and my stronghold; and for the sake of your name you will lead me and conduct me."?Psalm 31:3.
Does anyone see any instance of automatic DA or possible DF'ing in this article? I think someone should email the writer of that article and pass on this QFR to show that the elder is WRONG in his assumption.
We watch TV, listen to the radio and read newspapers like other people," he said, "but to us, our king is our Lord Jesus.
ooo this fellas gonna get in trouble for using Jesus's name too much instead of Jehovah!