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LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS | Germany Grants Highest Legal Status to Jehovah’s Witnesses

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James Thomas Rook Jr. -
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In Germany, as in MANY of the European countries, you put your religious denomination on your tax filing documents, and the German Government takes out additional taxes FROM YOUR PAY,  to pay your registered affiliation organization.

FREE MONEY ... and a LOT OF IT!

Many religious people list as "atheists" so as to not have their pay confiscated and forwarded.

This is certainly WORTH a 26 year legal battle ... as the money spent can be made up very quickly, and the rest is pure PROFIT for the religious organization.  

It also forges an almost unbreakable bond between that religious organization, and the European Governments, as they are now surgically joined at the hip, the religious organizations promising NOT to have sex with the "Kings of the Earth", ... but hey ... things happen!

Such are the immutable lessons of civilization's history.

Primarily, the legal status they now have ... is a tax collection status.

Who needs a collection plate with a scheme like that?

" Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany are grateful that their sincere religious activity has been recognized by the government as qualifying for public law status. They hope that such recognition will alleviate some of their past challenges and will benefit them as individuals and as a religious community. "

If you are a JW in Germany .... Check your pay-stub next payday .

 

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They may or may not. PLC "Public Law Corporation" may levy up to 9% against congregants on their tax return and the state does collect a fee for this service. However, this is voluntary on the part of the PLC and from what I read not all PLCs avail themselves of the service. 

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Care to make a guess whether or not the WTB&TS has "signed up"?

They confiscated a home that a Sister left to the Local Congregation I attend and SOLD IT for the money.

If you ask the German Branch office, do you think they will give you a truthful answer ? ... or send three Elders to your home ?

 

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"Germany Grants Highest Legal Status to Jehovah’s Witnesses" - i tried to found this article on Croatian JWorg to see how some terminology was translated to be able better understand the article but there is not existing this article - ??

Some quote from main source JWorg (english):

"Now that the Witnesses have finally been granted public law status in all German states, they are viewed as a single religious entity and enjoy the benefits that this status provides....the Witnesses applied for public law status because of the benefits...registered throughout the country as a public law corporation,...more than 2,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany now function under a single corporate structure... Adjustments in an association’s structure resulting from an appointment of new elders, purchase of property, or the renaming or merging of congregations had to be reported to the government...A longtime elder in one congregation commented: “Now we have greater freedom to use donated funds to support the public ministry of congregation members.”...Without the superior legal status of public law, Jehovah’s Witnesses were not viewed as a mainstream religion...many false allegations against the Witnesses can be refuted....false allegation that they belonged to a ‘sect’ rather than to a religion.”...

All in all, WT corporation in Germany are now  lifted on higher level of religious bureaucracy (german people always has been organized very well :)))  and WT long asking, searching that JW be recognized as mainstream religion was successful. Now they are  officially  joined to  Babylon the Great with all others mainstream and less mainstream religions. Because of money issue of course, as first and main reason :))) at least they are now "function under single e corporate structure" according to article. 

Definition of corporate  Merriam-Webster

1a :formed into an association and endowed by law with the rights and liabilities of an individual :incorporated
b :of or relating to a corporation - a plan to reorganize the corporate structure
c :of, relating to, or being the large corporations of a country or region considered as a unit - the latest trend in corporate America
d :having qualities (such as commercialism or lack of originality) associated with large corporations or attributed to their influence or control - corporate rock music -corporate art
2:of, relating to, or formed into a unified body of individuals
  • Human law arises by the corporate action of a people …
  •  —George H. Sabine

 

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6 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Care to make a guess whether or not the WTB&TS has "signed up"?

They confiscated a home that a Sister left to the Local Congregation I attend and SOLD IT for the money.

If you ask the German Branch office, do you think they will give you a truthful answer ? ... or send three Elders to your home ?

 

Confiscated it from whom? The sister or the congregation she left it to? If she left it to the local congregation then I expect the reasoning was all property belonging to the local congregation really belongs to the umbrella corporation and as such was theirs to sell. Think this is what happened to several congregations last year when corporate ownership changed and the WTS wanted to merge congregations and get rid of superfluous buildings. (if memory servers me correctly, this did not set well with some congregations)

At any rate, this does not really affect me. Not answerable to Jehovah for what corporate officers, elders, or for that matter others in general do. The last time I voiced an opinion about a local issue I was told by the COTBOE that it was not my concern and others were handling the matter. Since that time I just keep my opinions to myself and let things rock on. 

Cheers mate

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6 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Care to make a guess whether or not the WTB&TS has "signed up"?

They confiscated a home that a Sister left to the Local Congregation I attend and SOLD IT for the money.

If you ask the German Branch office, do you think they will give you a truthful answer ? ... or send three Elders to your home ?

 

Oh, but to answer your question, the last time I had a financial question I asked the CO and he was very upfront about the answer and was rather pleasant about it. (my question had to do with assembly hall finances) I suspect if I was to ask him, assuming he actually knows the answer, he would be just as forthcoming with truthful information. 

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OCTOBER 10, 2017 GERMANY
Germany Grants Highest Legal Status to Jehovah’s Witnesses ?

After more than 26 years of legal proceedings, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany obtained the same legal status as that granted to major religions in the country. On January 27, 2017, North Rhine-Westphalia was the last state of the 16 German states to grant public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The decision is significant for the Witnesses because even though they have been present in Germany for well over 100 years, their national headquarters and the thousands of congregations in the country were considered independent religious associations. Now that the Witnesses have finally been granted public law status in all German states, they are viewed as a single religious entity and enjoy the benefits that this status provides.

The Long Struggle to Obtain Public Law Status

In 1921, Jehovah’s Witnesses were first registered in Germany under private law. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the Witnesses applied for public law status because of the benefits available to religious organizations that have it.
In order for a religious association to be registered throughout the country as a public law corporation, the law requires that it first obtain public law status in the German state where it is based. It may then apply for this status in the 15 other German states. In 1990, the religious association Jehovas Zeugen in Deutschland (Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany) first applied to the state of Berlin, where it maintains its legal address. Although most religious organizations seeking public law status obtain it within a short period of time, perhaps within a year or two, the Berlin government refused to grant public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses for many years.

One reason the government cited was that the Witnesses refrain from voting in national elections. However, this argument is not valid, since the law does not require German citizens to vote; to do so is entirely voluntary.

This issue eventually came before the courts. On March 24, 2005, the Higher Administrative Court in Berlin ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany must be acknowledged as a “corporation of public law.” Over a year later, the state of Berlin relented and granted public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses, ending a 16-year legal struggle with the Berlin government.

Next, the Witnesses applied for public law status in the remaining 15 German states. In 2009, 11 states granted public law status; another 3 states followed in subsequent years; and the last state, North Rhine-Westphalia, granted public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses on January 27, 2017. The persistent efforts of Jehovah’s Witnesses to obtain the same legal status as that granted to major religions in Germany finally ended after 26 years of legal proceedings.

The Benefits of Having Public Law Status
The national headquarters and the more than 2,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany now function under a single corporate structure.

In the past, because each association representing at least one congregation was viewed as an independent religious association, it was subject to state laws requiring the submission of annual reports and tax returns. Adjustments in an association’s structure resulting from an appointment of new elders, purchase of property, or the renaming or merging of congregations had to be reported to the government. In the past these reporting requirements required much effort and time on the part of congregation elders, but now they can focus more fully on the pastoral care of congregation members.

The lack of public law status also required congregations to pay fees for the processing of reports. A longtime elder in one congregation commented: “Now we have greater freedom to use donated funds to support the public ministry of congregation members.”

Without the superior legal status of public law, Jehovah’s Witnesses were not viewed as a mainstream religion, even though some 274,000 Witnesses and their associates were attending their meetings in Germany.

Armin Pikl, an attorney for the national headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany, observed: “During the more than 26 years of legal efforts to obtain the status as a corporation of public law, the media published hundreds of untrue and defamatory statements about our religion, sometimes almost weekly. Now the flood of untrue and defamatory statements has subsided.” Werner Rudtke, a longtime Witness, stated: “Since a religious association that wants to become a public law corporation must be law-abiding in every way, many false allegations against the Witnesses can be refuted.” Another Witness, named Petra, mentioned the past challenges facing schoolchildren. She said: “This kind of recognition is very helpful for children in school. Until now it has been the tendency of teachers to discriminate against Witness students as a result of the false allegation that they belonged to a ‘sect’ rather than to a religion.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany are grateful that their sincere religious activity has been recognized by the government as qualifying for public law status. They hope that such recognition will alleviate some of their past challenges and will benefit them as individuals and as a religious community.

https://www.jw.org/en/news/legal/by-region/germany/grants-highest-legal-status-to-jehovahs-witnesses/

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    • Wouldn't a core doctrine be one in which we put "unwavering" faith. This is the whole reason I mention "core" or "key" doctrines. If we were to be killed unless we publicly renounced our faith in Jehovah God as the Creator, and Jesus Christ as the one through whom the Ransom comes, we should be willing to die for that doctrine. I would not be willing to die over my certainty that Jesus was only using hyperbole when he said that the men of Sodom would do better in a resurrection of the unrighteous on Judgment Day, than persons in towns that rejected Jesus during his earthly ministry. (Only the most diabolical of inquisitors would ask such a question anyway. I think I would go for "theocratic war strategy. 😉 )
    • I like that. It's an excellent explanation of one of the points made in the day's text and commentary. Perhaps. And so were all the 1 year old babies destroyed in the Flood. And so were the 185,000 of Senacherib's troops. I used that one because it's one for which most of us would be the least surprised if we discovered that the WT changed the teaching again.  Not sure what you mean. I already believe that the primary core doctrine is God's value through his Son's ransom sacrifice. Other doctrines are also just as necessary, though.  There actually is a contradiction between the Bible and AD 1914. And we don't need any independent understanding not supported by Scripture, such as the independent understanding of John Aquila Brown, or more specifically, that of Nelson H Barbour, neither of which were supported by Scripture. It should ALWAYS be the exploit of any faithful Witness to uncover truth and try to resolve any contradictions that can be resolved by Scripture itself, not anything independent of Scriptural support.  On the matter of the 1914 doctrine, an easier explanation with human controversy --but no scriptural controversy-- has already been posted. Easier isn't proof that it's better, but it's definitely easier. Here it is: Jesus came to earth to preach about a God's Kingdom through Christ and give himself over to death as a perfect ransom for sin, to fulfill the Law, and SIT AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND and therefore RULES AS KING since the time of his resurrection in 33 CE. That's it. Simple. No contradictions with any Scripture. From that point on, in 33 CE he SITS AT GOD'S RIGHT HAND and therefore RULES AS KING ruling in the midst of enemies, including war, famine, sickness, and will continue ruling as king until God has put all enemies under his feet, including the last enemy: death.  The current belief in 1914 creates a contradiction with this very point, because we are currently forced to ignore 1 Cor 15:25, which indicates that "sitting at God's right hand" is the same as "ruling as King." Right now, our current teaching is that Jesus sat at God's right hand in 33, and THEN LATER began ruling as king in 1914. Paul says that Jesus began ruling as king WHEN he sat at God's right hand. I'm swapping them because they mean exactly the same thing to me. No difference. Doctrine means teaching. True but notice the words that Paul used instead of "sit at my right hand" here: (1 Corinthians 15:25) 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. Turns out that when a king sits on a throne, this is actually an expression meaning rule as king. Just like when we say that a man "sat on the throne" starting in AD 1066, for example. Turns out that a king does not have to stand up from a throne to begin ruling as king. Turns out that sitting on a throne is not a synonym for just waiting around. By that logic, Jesus is not even NOW ruling as king, because God has not yet put the last enemy Death beneath his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:25,26) 25 For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. 26 And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.
    • If only you would stop quoting outside sources, and just be more basic with your comments, then i may understand them . Yes I understand 'if your throw out all the good, only the bad is left.  But the reverse is, if you only see the good, you are not being honest with yourself or others.  @Arauna is a case in point.  
    • @JW Insider Quote " The day's text is about the resurrection, and the commentary speaks of the importance of including this among our key doctrines, as if it might not have been "up there" with the rest. " That seems rather strange to me. But then they are getting short of things to say.  However, i would have thought every Christian, no matter what ever 'sect' or  pigeon hole you put them in, would definitely believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and put it up near the top of important beliefs.  However making Bible Facts, doctrines, seems unfair to God and to the Bible itself.  doctrine a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.   It's as if the JW Org tries to 'own' such things. @TrueTomHarley quite often goes on about the things that the JW Org teaches. As if those things 'belonged to the JW Org'.  Whereas a lot of the same beliefs are held by thousands of people, and they not all being of the same organisation.     Quote " The Teaching about Christ's Kingdom -  Of course that final one might be a nod to "1914" as a key teaching, but it is worded here in such a way that no one could dismiss Christ's Kingdom as a key teaching. "   Now here we see a difference between Bible truth and JW doctrine.    Christ's Kingdom is Bible truth.   1914 is JW Org doctrine.   (This would bring us back to. Would a person be d/fed or 'watched' if they did not believe the 1914 doctrine?)    Matthew 22 v 44    ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet”’? So if Jesus was to sit at Gods right hand, until God had put Jesus' enemies beneath Jesus' feet.  Then Jesus could not have had the power to do it himself. Therefore surely Jesus was not ruling as King immediately ?    As for 1914, we know that no one of the Bible Students or JW leaders, were or are inspired of Holy Spirit. So maybe 1914 is just another guess or misuse of scriptures.    What is your view of the difference between 'Core doctrines' and Key teachings ?    And you seem to keep swapping expressions from Core doctrines, to Core teachings, to Key teachings.  Can you explain the difference please ?    
    • I confess that I am falling well short of the 100 times a day that I ought. I ask your forgiveness. Human limitations is the only excuse I have to offer. If you negate the upside, then all there is left to look at is the downside, and that is the case with many here.  I keep coming back to a line from The Scarlet Letter: “It is remarkable, that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society.” Nobody speculates more boldly, departing from the herd-like thinking of this world, than Jehovah’s Witnesses. True to that Hawthorn line, they have no difficulty conforming to the “external regulations of their society.” Though Hawthorn does not say it, the reverse is also true. Those who cannot “conform to the external regulations of that society” and so leave it, perhaps guys like Shiwiiiii, are the most non-bold thinkers of all. They are individualistic in superfluous ways, but conformist in all the ways that matter.
    • Perhaps you are reading something into the book of Jude that I haven't been able to see. To me, the reason for the letter was this: Jude 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. This was similar to the problem in Corinth, where certain brothers were PROUD that they could put up with a notorious case of incest, due to a misunderstanding and misuse of "undeserved kindness." (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2) . . .Actually sexual immorality is reported among you, and such immorality as is not even found among the nations—of a man living with his father’s wife. 2 And are you proud of it? Should you not rather mourn, so that the man who committed this deed should be taken away from your midst? Such persons who used the idea of forgiveness, mercy, and undeserved kindness (grace), as an excuse for loose/brazen conduct were not blowing the whistle on wrongdoing, but were PROMOTING wrongdoing. It was the same as dismissing and speaking abusively against things that Jesus himself had said to "prove false to our only owner and Lord, Jesus Christ." Michael wouldn't even speak abusively of the Devil and yet these people are going to go further than that and think it's OK to speak abusively of Jesus and the angels? It's also possible that the leaders (elders) are considered the "glorious ones" but this makes less sense to me. Perhaps a topic for further discussion?
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