News article: No potentially deciding votes among Jehovah's Witnesses
Thanks for posting that, catchthis, I thought I remembered that there was a Questions from Readers on this subject.
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.
Not in that particular Q & A. but the article makes it abundantly clear (in that typical WT vague sort of way where contentious issues are involved) that JWs are expected not to vote. As well the elder in the article never said it was an automatic DA or DF. What he said was:
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."
Now even though the Q&A doesn't actually itself say anything about DA or DF (let alone an automatic one) notice the criteria involved in these scenerios as spelled out in the Q&A :
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.
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.?
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."?
Now compare that against what is expected of JWs where the above scenerios of force or coersion is not involved:
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.?
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.
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 and you all know that "causing division" is a Disfellowshipping offense.
The wts is loosing its grip because it has made tooo many amendments. For example at the talk today we were reminded not to vote this election. This has never happend as long as I have been a JW apparently some JWs want to vote now that the think they can. Todays talk was like a JW refresher coarse on jwism. It implied that jws dont do oral sex (mainly by giving a list of disease you can get but not commenting on morals of the act), vote, and a few other tid bits. It also seems to be saying very expecitly that the RF need to "leave the truth" or get with the party line. In other words "we can't tolerate this new class of JWs that don't give a damn".
Also whom ever said the brach does not set the policy for JWs is too out of the loop to comment. The corporate HQ in NY is a whole other outfit. They attempt to set unilateral policy or doctrinal trends and claim to be the "offical" HQ. The branches are the ones that act like indepentdant fiefdoms tailoring the JW belief to local laws or customs. For example each branch has its own KM. Also the WTS has tried to force new speak on JWs. Prefering to be called the brach instead of the society on more formal situations. I mean the Mexico malawi incident is a perfect case and that was 30 years ago. It is much worse now. I am not saying the branches are apostate or what ever, but they are the real crossroads of jw policy. If the HQ was so powerful there would be one unilateral constitution or bill of rights type reference like the PA books for the elders. The thing is as soon as the branch hands out the books they are free to tell the elders what to write in the corners with impunity. You end up with "that may be what it says, but this is how you handle it". Infact the branch policies may be basically confidental so you nevefr know it is being handled differently from jws in the rest of the world.
I am sorry XQ but you are contradicting yourself here:
Also whom ever said the brach does not set the policy for JWs is too out of the loop to comment
The corporate HQ in NY is a whole other outfit. They attempt to set unilateral policy or doctrinal trends and claim to be the "offical" HQ.
The branches are the ones that act like indepentdant fiefdoms tailoring the JW belief to local laws or customs
To continue...HQ doesn't attempt to set policy, they do set policy as dictated in the publications which eminate from HQ.
As well, policy is set unilaterally as the average JW sure as heck doesn't get polled on it before it is released for their thought and opinions.In any event, as you said the branches only "tailor" <----- these are your words. Tailoring and setting (core belief) policy are two massively different things.
Additionally, while latitude is permitted by WT HQ for regional purposes, the HQ closely monitors the latitude for the reaons spelled out already in this thread to promote unity. Only the bare minimum latitude is allowed and it is closely controlled through the District and Circuit Overseers who report to WT HQ.
Your statement about Branch policies being confidential I find unbelievable. WT HQ has always monitored this through the DAs and COs. The notion that they would allow Kingdom Halls to act independantly with little or no accountability (especially since HQ provides the mortgage on the Kingdom Halls) is nonsensical. Who are you trying to fool ? Those service records that you fill out, are you telling me that they never go beyond the elder's eyes ?
If I am wrong on this I will gladly apologize as I have been critical but I am of the impression that you are looking at your JW religion through some rose colored glasses.
I don't have a problem with the WTS, as a religion or organization, remaining neutral in politics. Seperation of church and state is a good thing. It would be good if all religions, as a whole, remained neutral.
The problem arises when the WTS coerces its members to not vote. It's fine and dandy that the WTS does not endorse a candidate or spout political propaganda(God knows they spout enough of their own anyway), but to basically take away the freedom and right to vote from its members is going too far.
Even though the latest WTS article lists voting as a conscience matter, the vast majority of JWs see voting as a DFing or DAing offense. The elder quoted in the news article mentioned DFing as a result if someone chooses to vote. Even if this isn't coming straight from the legal dept., it represents what the local body of elders would do it faced with the situation. I'd like to see what the ACLU would have to say if presented with this situation. An American citizen is black-listed from his church. His family is forced to dis-own him. All because he chose to share in one of the freedoms and rights granted the citizens of the USA, voting for representatives in their government. How can any group, religious or otherwise take away that right?
Hmmmmm....just where do y'all think all these 'extra' voters are coming from...eh?
Got to ask one question here....why would a reporter from Lil OLD Flint Michigan decide to conduct such a topically specific interview with a local elder about politics?
In such a close election, with so many people extremely divided, it's a story of people who are oblivious (in more ways than one) to what the rest of the country is experiencing. Some people would probably be wondering how that can be, which makes a good story idea.
It's one more angle to cover other than covering the constant back and forth jabs between the war hero and the cheerleader.
Hmmm. Christian Longo was from that same area. It's interesting that they would punish someone who voted tomorrow or served in the military the same way they would someone who is a con artist and family killer. That might make a good letter to the editor. It might even erase all of the good PR the JWs think they are getting from this story.
It's fine and dandy that the WTS does not endorse a candidate or spout political propaganda(God knows they spout enough of their own anyway), but to basically take away the freedom and right to vote from its members is going too far.
They cant it is against the law or I should say the Tax code they file under. Wouldn't iy be halarious if this whole JW not voting thing is propagated for the sole purpose of not paying certain taxes. I mean the corporate end of the WTS is very political, and they have many lobbiest. Yet JWs are not supposed to vote. How come the corp does not stay out of the court rooms and coallitions if they are so no part of the world. Other religions don't go to court in the same fashion the wts does.