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Supreme Court to rule on your First Amendment right to silence

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Guest Nicole

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Robert A. Sedler, Wayne State University

(THE CONVERSATION) New Hampshire’s state motto “Live free or die” is, for many residents, a stirring evocation of the independent spirit of colonial America.

But not all New Hampshirites agree with this well-known slogan that is emblazoned on the state’s license plates. In 1975, George Maynard was sent to jail because he didn’t believe in it.

Maynard and his wife were Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination that teaches that true believers will enjoy eternal life. The couple felt that the state’s motto violated this tenet. So Maynard covered up the “or die” part on his vehicles’ license plates.

Police gave him three different tickets for illegally altering the plates. When he refused to pay the fines, which totaled US$75, he was given a 15-day jail sentence.

Maynard then filed a lawsuit that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment gave Maynard the legal right to cover up those two words. In other words, the First Amendment – which guarantees the right to free speech – can also give people the right to remain silent.

I am a legal scholar, so when I learned that the Supreme Court will decide two right-to-silence cases this term the Maynard case came to mind.

The Maynard decision was not the first time the court ruled in favor of a Jehovah’s Witness’ right to be silent. Both decisions hinge on the justices’ determination that the First Amendment includes, in the court’s words, the right “to avoid becoming a ‘mobile billboard’ for the State’s ideological message.”

It may sound contradictory to say the right to be silent flows from the right to speak, but it is not.

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      “He stated that he wanted to return to Jehovah. He is willing to face the victims and ask their forgiveness. He now wants to obey Jehovah. Before, when he would speak to people on the platform he would not meditate on what he was doing. Although he needed to confess, he felt shameful and had fear of mankind. He would deceive himself thinking that he could continue serving as an elder. Now he realized that he could not change without help. Ever since his expulsion he has not abused anyone. He has read articles of the publications regarding his sin. He says he does not see or read pornographic information. He stated that ever since expulsion he has worked on having a relationship with Jehovah and the expulsion has served to strengthen him spiritually. He does not miss meetings, and he even takes notes of the program. He also said that he is willing to continue accepting Jehovah’s discipline.”
      While the two sides continued to fight over discovery in the Lopez case, another judge issued sanctions against the Watchtower for refusing to turn over documents in the Padron case.
      The Watchtower also appealed that decision as well.
      As covered by the Reader, in November a state appellate court rejected the appeal, sending the case back to state court and keeping the $4000-per-day sanctions in place.
      Meanwhile, as the Padron case was heading back to state court, attorneys for Lopez and Watchtower agreed to settle the Lopez case.
      Lopez’s attorney, Irwin Zalkin, did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication of this article.
      There is no word yet whether Padron's case has also been settled. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The founders of MormonLeaks, a transparency organization that has released hundreds of controversial documents related to inner-workings of the Mormon Church, recently launched FaithLeaks, an ambitious and far-reaching project that aims to expose corruption and abuse across other religious organizations. Today, the new group has published dozens of pages of documents related to sexual assault allegations within the Jehovah’s Witness Church, documents which are presumably part of a database that church officials have refused to relinquish in an unrelated sexual molestation trial, resulting in a one and a half year legal battle and millions of dollars in fines.
      The 69 pages of documents detail how Jehovah’s Witnesses authorities and church officials handled allegations of repeated sexual assault by one of its local leaders. The interviews and detailed notes compiled by church authorities about molestation and rape allegations are horrific. The 33 documents also provide a staggering play-by-play of how the Watchtower Tract and Bible Society—the parent corporation and governing body for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, often simply referred to as “the Watchtower”—handled the case internally over the course of nearly a decade—playing therapist, prosecutor, jury, and judge—and the lengths to which they went to keep these accusations away from the “worldly court of law.”
      The documents show that in 1999, a committee of Jehovah’s Witnesses elders found allegations from two women that their father had sexually abused them to be credible, yet held off on forming an internal judicial committee to take their own form of judicial action against the alleged abuser because one of the daughters was not willing to face the father and formally make the accusations against him, as judicial committee policy requires. Once she went through with the process years later, a spiritually guided trial was held and he was disfellowshipped. However, a year later he was reinstated. The documents show that Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders cast shade on one accuser and her husband for trying to take this matter to secular law enforcement.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Reclaimed Voices, a foundation set up in the Netherlands to denounce sexual abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses, received 46 reports of abuse in just a week's time. The number of reports is shocking, Frank Huiting, one of the founders and himself a victim of sexual abuse in a closed Jehovah's Witnesses community as a child, said to broadcaster NOS. 
      The foundation was launched just over a week ago, based on Huiting's own experiences. He was abused from the time he was seven year's old. When Huiting told his parents, they decided not to report it to the police. An elder in the community advised against it. "Then there will be headlines in the newspaper and we don't want that."
      According to the Reclaimed Voices initiators, victims within the closed Jehovah's Witnesses community are not heard and perpetrators are left to continue unchecked. Over the past week, foundation employees heard stories from a number of people who were abused by Jehovah's Witnesses. "The fact that so many reports have come in actually says enough. There are at least hundreds of cases in the Netherlands that should actually come out", Huiting said, according to NOS. He added that so many victims are too afraid to come forward.
      The main purpose of Reclaimed Voices is to be a listening ear. The employees urge victims to speak out, and hope that they also report the abuse. "People walked around with this secret for years. And the fact that they are coming out, can be a relief for them. That was also my experience. We also want to advise them to seek professional help. Also outside the religious community, for example with a social worker, psychologist or general practitioner", Huiting said.
      The foundation aims to collect as man reports of sexual abuse as possible and present them to the board of Jehovah's Witnesses Netherlands and the Dutch government. "We want to get the government to investigate these abuses. And not to start a fight, but really to focus on the victim."
      Earlier this year Dutch newspaper Trouw spoke to a number of people who were sexually abused as children in the Jehovah's Witnesses community. One victim described the religious society as a "paradise for pedophiles". 

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Children who were sexually abused by Jehovah's Witnesses were allegedly told by the church not to report the crimes.
      Victims from across the UK told the BBC they were routinely abused and that the religious organisation's own rules protected perpetrators.
      One child abuse lawyer believes there could be thousands of victims across the country who have not come forward because of the "two witness" rule.
      A spokesperson for the church said it did not "shield" abusers.
      'Bring reproach on Jehovah'
      BBC Hereford and Worcester spoke to victims - men and women - from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leicester, Worcestershire and Glasgow, one of whom waived her right to anonymity.
      Louise Palmer, who now lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, was born into the organisation along with her brother Richard Davenport, who started raping her when she was four. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse.
      The 41-year-old, formerly of Halesowen, West Midlands, said when she told the church of the abuse she was told not to go to police.
      Read more: 
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      By Guest Nicole
      A 44-year-old man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage boy he had met while working as a teacher in Long Beach, officials said Wednesday.
      Jason Morris Gorski on Tuesday pleaded to two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
      Prosecutors said that Gorski met the 13-year-old victim in 2007 while working as a teacher at Southwestern Longview Private. The school shut down in 2008, state records show.
      Gorski had worked at the school for four years and was an active member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Cypress when he met the boy.
      In 2009, the teenager reported the abuse to the congregation, which then removed Gorski from his position as an elder, but allowed him to remain an active member. Gorski later moved to South Carolina and started attending a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
      The victim reported the abuse to law enforcement in March 2016. The Buena Park Police Department investigated the case and arrested Gorski in June 2016.
      Gorski is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Jan. 26 and he faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in state prison.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Barry W. Bussey: Last week, the Supreme Court was asked to do something courts never do: review the solely religious decision of a church
      On November 2, the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to do something Canadian courts never do: review the solely religious decision of a church community. Until now, the courts have recoiled from getting involved in religious disputes—and for good reason.
      The case involves Randy Wall, who was dismissed from a Jehovah’s Witness church for failing to repent of his religious offences: getting drunk on two occasions and verbally abusing his wife. Wall’s appeal to another church entity was unsuccessful. He then appealed to a court of law by means of “judicial review,” on the grounds that the church had denied him a proper hearing. 
      In Canadian law, in a process known as “judicial review,” a person can ask a court to “review” (i.e. hear) whether the decision of a “public actor” (such as a government licensing agency) was unfairly decided. Courts rarely review decisions of “private actors” (such as a church); they generally do so only if a private actor’s decision engages property or civil rights. In Wall’s case, the court had to determine whether the Jehovah’s Witness church’s decision involved property or contractual rights, which would then enable the court to review the church’s decision.
      "The church argued it was a private religious body, not a public body"
      The church argued it was a private religious body, not a public body, and that its decision did not affect Wall’s property or contractual rights. It also argued that its disciplinary procedure was a religious process involving prayer and scripture reading aimed at reconciling the relationship between Wall and the church. The lower courts both held that religious decisions can be reviewed by courts to determine whether a church gave a fair hearing, even if no property or contractual rights were engaged. However, both courts were also of the view that property rights were an issue in the case. The Supreme Court of Canada must now decide whether those courts were right. The Supreme Court reserved judgment after last week’s hearing; we can expect its decision early in the new year.
      Courts like to “fix things.” They naturally want to find resolutions to disputes; this is what they exist to do. However, courts have historically avoided getting involved in religious cases, recognizing that they lack the expertise and authority to settle religious disagreements. They handle legal cases, such as contractual disputes, but not religious cases that raise metaphysical truths, such as the definition of God.
      Wall argued his case did involve a “property right,” because his dismissal from his church meant the church members were no longer willing to do business with him. As a real estate agent, 50 per cent of his clientele were Jehovah’s Witnesses. His business folded from the loss of their support. He says there is a direct line of causation between his loss of church membership and business loss. It’s likely the case that one caused the other, but that doesn’t mean Wall’s claim is a legally enforceable property right. 
      "A church member is not required to patronize the business of a former church member"
      The reality is, Wall chose to limit his business to Jehovah’s Witnesses and took a personal risk in doing so. The church did not tell him to do so, and certainly there is no known legal principle that says a church is responsible for the economic losses that might flow from a loss of membership. A church member is not required to patronize the business of a former member. In the same way, we would not expect a former husband to maintain business with his ex-wife’s family.
      At last week’s hearing, Wall’s legal counsel tried to persuade the court that, if there are no grounds under Canadian law for the court to interfere in purely religious matters, the court should then consider adopting U.K. law, which does allow this type of review. “Good luck!” Justice Rosalie Abella quipped, prompting everyone to burst into laughter.
      That exchange suggested the court was not persuaded that it is time to change the law to allow courts to get tangled up in reviewing decisions of religious bodies. That would be a good thing, as courts don’t have the moral or legal authority or doctrinal expertise to decide such matters.
      This hearing occurred around the time of the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. If we have learned anything since then, it’s that the law does not need to apply to every nook and cranny of our lives – especially our religious affairs.
      Barry W. Bussey is Director Legal Affairs at the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. He blogs at lawandreligion.org
       

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A group of alleged sexual abuse survivors from across the country have filed a $66-million class action lawsuit against the Jehovah’s Witness, CityNews has learned.
      The suit accuses the religious organization of having rules and policies that protect child sex abusers and put children at risk.
      “The organization’s policy and protocol for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse is seriously flawed, and results in further harm to victims of sexual abuse and results in legitimate allegations of sexual abuse going unreported,” it alleges.
      “This is an issue that the wider community should be concerned with, and not just Jehovah’s Witnesses,” says Tricia Franginha. She says her first 14 years of life as a Jehovah’s Witness were filed with sexual abuse.
      “As a result of their procedures, when abuse allegations come forward, these sexual offenders are left at large,” Franginha says. “As most people know about Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are the ones who come to your door on Saturday mornings, when your kids are home, and for all you know, that person has offended more than once.”
      None of the allegations in this the suit have been tested in Ontario Superior Court. A spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witness says that while the suit has been filed, the organization hasn’t officially received it yet, so they can’t comment on the details.
      “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and would never shield any perpetrator,” says spokesperson Mattieu Rozon. The organization also says congregation elders comply with child abuse reporting laws.
      Franginha says that when she went for help, she was shut down.
      “When I was around 12, I was told that I didn’t have two witnesses and I needed to respect my parents – not to talk about it,” she says.
      The need to have two witnesses corroborate allegations of abuse is singled out in the suit. People who have been sexually abused must present two credible witnesses to their abuse, explains Franginha, who adds that the eyewitnesses must be other Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing in the church.
      “This, obviously, never happens,” she says. “The very nature of the crime is that it’s secret.”
      The suit also alleges that police are not called when allegations surface and instead they’re handled by church elders inside Kingdom Hall.
      “It is our information, based on people who contacted us, that the systems in place don’t guard against [abuse] happening, and when allegations are made, inadequate measures are in place to ensure that the complaint reaches the proper authorities,” says Bryan McPhadden, laywer at McPhadden Samac Tuovi, which is representing the victims.
      The victims are seeking $20 million for damages from sexual and mental abuse by elders, $20 million for failing to protect children, and another $20 million for breach of duty of care.
      The lawsuit is expected to take years to wind its way through the courts. If you believe you qualify to join the class action suit, you can reach out at www.mcst.ca.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Recourse to secular courts
      Religious laws apply to a believer's spiritual life. They don't trump Canada's Criminal Code, civil law or other statutes. 
      Sometimes, secular courts are even called upon to judge whether a faith-based decision is fair.
      On Nov. 2, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear from an 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  a decision made by a Jehovah's Witnesses' judicial committee. Elders disfellowshipped — or expelled — Randy Wall when they decided the Calgary man was not sufficiently repentant for two drunken incidents where he allegedly verbally abused his wife.
      This decision by elders of the congregation required Wall's wife and children to shun him. Wall, a real estate agent, alleges the shunning caused him to lose a large number of Jehovah's Witnesses clients. Courts are sometimes are asked to judge the fairness of a religious rule or decision. The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the case of a Jehovah's Witness who was expelled for alleged verbal abuse of his wife. (Chris Wattie/Canadian Press)
      In 2007, 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  who took action against her ex-husband for refusing to grant her a religious Jewish divorce, known as a get. "The consequences to women deprived of a get and loyal to their faith are severe," Justice Rosalie Abella wrote.
      "They may not remarry within their faith, even though civilly divorced. If they do remarry, children from a second civil marriage are considered illegitimate and restricted from practising their religion."
      Full article: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A lawsuit targeting elders of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation for failing to report suspected child abuse continues to wind its way through Delaware's court system.
      The attorney general's office sued elders of the Sussex County congregation in 2014 for not reporting an unlawful sexual relationship between a woman and a 14-year-old boy, both of whom were congregation members.
      A judge scheduled a teleconference with attorneys Thursday to discuss the case.
      The defendants say they did not have to report what they learned because Delaware's child abuse reporting law exempts communications "between priest and penitent in a sacramental confession."

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Newswise — LAWRENCE — In the 1980s the Unification Church spent millions of dollars on cultural and political programs designed to improve the church's image.
      The religious group's activism, especially its alliance with conservative political leaders, garnered criticism from some who claimed the new religious movement's actions became too involved with politics and stepped over the line of the separation of church and state, laid out by the First Amendment.
      A University of Kansas researcher who studies new and alternative religious movements in the United States said these types of questions have repeatedly followed organizers of new religious movements, particularly because the public often immediately meets them with skepticism.
      "The First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion, but what does that mean?" said Tim Miller, professor of religious studies. "There are a lot of different interpretations of it. And groups have always pushed at the boundaries of the First Amendment. Those issues are still going on today."
      Miller is author of an essay of case studies on new religious movements and politics in 20th century America. It was published recently in the volume Religion and Politics in the U.S., edited by Barbara A. McGraw.
      "One part of my interest in new religious movements is they give you a good look at what the boundaries of practice are," Miller said. "The mainstream groups tend to define the mainstream and its practices, the mainstream being such groups as the Catholic Church or the major Protestant religions. Their practices are mostly just accepted. If you want to find out what the boundaries are, you have to look at the fringe groups."
      It's an important question for the function of a democracy because new religious groups crop up all the time as they have throughout American history, he said. They also often begin as groups that are socially marginal.
      "Some don't last very long. Lots become defunct, and some last for a long time. It's difficult to overcome a negative stigma," Miller said. "Nearly all start out facing a terrific burden of suspicion and hostility. A lot of people are just skeptical, if not downright hostile, toward anything that's new. It's different. Therefore, they don't like it."
      The Church of Scientology for years fought with the Internal Revenue Service about losing and then regaining its tax-exempt status, a case that brought to the forefront the question what the government considers to classify a movement as a religion, Miller said.
      Many times, difficult questions of religious freedom for these groups play out in litigation.
      "The ultimate arbiter of those things is the Supreme Court," Miller said. "And change of personnel on the court can make a real difference in a decision."
      He highlights the 1943 case, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, in which justices 6-3 decided the free speech clause of the First Amendment protected students from being forced to salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Jehovah's Witness members had objected to their children being forced to salute or pledge to symbols based on their religious beliefs.
      The Barnette decision reversed a 1940 case, Minersville School District v. Gobitis, also involving children of Jehovah's Witnesses, that instead found the proper recourse for dissent was to seek to democratically change the school's policy. Three justices had left the court between the two decisions, likely allowing for the change in the outcome.
      In other cases, the courts have drawn certain lines and overruled the argument that a given set of religious practices was protected as free exercise of religion. The Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church was raided repeatedly by state and local authorities for its practice of polygamy, for example.
      Mainly, Miller said these case studies illustrate the importance of the First Amendment and what it means to the function of a free society.
      "The American people by and large are pretty supportive of the First Amendment. If you ask people in the abstract about the separation of church and state, most people will indicate they support it as well as the free exercise of religion," Miller said. "Those ideas are not so controversial, but what does it actually mean and does it extend to everyone? That can be a different ball game and an entirely different matter."

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (Feb. 24, 2017) On February 20, 2017, the Swedish Supreme Administrative Court decided that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right to state funding and that not providing such support would violate articles 14 and 19 of the European Convention on Human Rights. (Case No. 2310-16, Högsta förvaltningsdomstolen [Swedish Supreme Administrative Court], Feb. 20, 2017, HÖGSTA FÖRVALTNINGSDOMSTOLEN [SUPREME COURT REPORTER) (HFD).)
      Background
      Under Swedish law, the government provides state funding to faith-based organizations (trossamfund), provided that they contribute to “upholding and strengthening the fundamental values upon which the [Swedish] society rests.” (3 § 1 Lagen om Stöd Till Trossamfund [Act on Support to Faith-Based Organizations (the Act), Svensk författningssamling [SFS] 1999:932, NOTISUM.)
      The Swedish government has refused to grant money to Jehovah’s Witnesses because of the group’s stance against blood transfusions for minors, which the government considers a risk to “individual children’s life and health.” (HFD at 7.)  This in turn violates the requirement in the Act that the organization must contribute to upholding and strengthen the fundamental values of Swedish society.  (HFD at 7.)  According to the Act’s legislative history, “upholding fundamental principles of [the Swedish] society includes operating with respect for all peoples’ equal value and contributing to developing norms in society that are compatible with that of democracy … .  The organization should also work to develop the conditions for equality between women and men.”  (HFD at 8.)
      The Court’s Ruling
      The Court noted that religious freedom is internationally protected and that any limitation must be a based on “serious and compelling reasons,” as prescribed in the European Convention on Human Rights. (HFD at 10.)  The European Court of Justice has identified some limitations on religious freedom that do not violate the European Convention on Human Rights, such as prohibitions against “polygamy, child marriages, flagrant crimes against the equality between the sexes and acts forced upon members of a religious organization against their will.”  (HFD at 11; Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Nov. 4,1950, as amended), European Court of Human Rights website.)
      The Court found that there is a presumption in Swedish case law (established in HFD 2011 ref 10) that all applicant organizations subscribe to the fundamental values of Sweden. (HFD at 10-11.)  Thus, the burden of proof rests with the government to prove that the organization in question does not support these values.  (Id.)
      The Court observed that Swedish law has long recognized that a patient has an unrestricted right to refrain from medical treatment. (HFD at 12.)  By statute, “healthcare as a rule cannot be provided without the consent of the patient.”  (Id.; 4 ch. 2 § Patientlagen SFS 2014:821.)  Therefore, the Court argued, a personal choice not to accept blood transfusions would not violate the fundamental values of Swedish society; rather, that choice is part of the fundamental value that medical decisions belong to the patient.  (HFD at 12.) Moreover, parents have the right to object to certain treatments on behalf of their children.  (HFD at 13.)  The Court further observed that  Swedish law provides for a system whereby the state can take over the health responsibility of a child (by means of compulsory care under the law on forced treatment of youths) from the parents, and Jehovah’s Witnesses encourage parents, if this happens, to cooperate with the state.  It therefore concluded that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ position against blood transfusions for minors does not violate fundamental Swedish principles.  (HFD at 13; Lag med Särskilda Bestämmelser om Vård av Unga [Act on Special Provisions on Care of Youths [LVU] (SFS 1990:52), LAGEN.NU.)
      One judge dissented and argued that the fact that children belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses have been subject to “compulsory care” by the state for medical reasons demonstrates that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not subscribe to the fundamental principles required to receive state funding.  (HFD at 17.)
      Aftermath of the Court Decision
      The ruling sends the application back to the government, which will have to make a new decision consistent with the verdict. (HFD at 13-14.) If there are no reasons other than the practice of refusing children’s blood transfusions to deny the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ application for funding, the application should be granted.  (HFD at 13-14.)
      Religious organizations may soon see another set of rules apply, however, as the Swedish government is researching a new law on state funding of faith-based organizations; a report is expected to be issued in March 2018.  (Översyn av statens stöd till trossamfund [Review of State Funding for Religious Organizations], REGERINGSKANSLIET (June 30, 2016).) Among the reasons for the review is to evaluate whether the government should withdraw funding when it is discovered that the faith-based organization receiving the grant has developed in a non-democratic direction. (Kommittédirektiv (Dir. 2016:62), Översyn av statens stöd till trossamfund, KULTURDEPARTEMENTET (June 30, 2016), at 3.) Moreover, the committee reviewing the state-funding program has been asked by the Department of Culture to look at ways to make the law more religiously neutral by using language other than “ceremony and service” ( gudstjänst).  (Id. at 6.)  The committee was also directed to propose language that would permit the recovery of funds that have been used to fund non-democratic ideas.  (Id.)
      Several Members of the Swedish Parliament (Sveriges Riskdag), representing five out of seven political groups, have previously voiced similar concerns and objected to the funding of religious organizations that promote gender inequality and discrimination against sexual minorities.  (Fel att skattepengar går till hederskultur [Wrong that Tax Funds Honor Cultures], AFTONBLADET (Feb. 25, 2016).)
      Author: Elin Hofverberg
      Topic: Discrimination, Freedom of religion, Religious minorities
      Jurisdiction: Sweden
      Date: February 24, 2017

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A trial date has been set for a lawsuit between a former City of Key West Department of Transportation bus driver and the city, but a federal judge ordered both sides to attempt to resolve the case via mediation. 
      Bobby Walker Jr. claims that he requested, via a letter dated Oct. 23, 2014, to the city manager’s office, that he not participate in the annual Fantasy Fest parade and that his “participation in the Fantasy Fest parade was contrary to his beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness,” the lawsuit states. 
      Walker claims his civil rights were violated, according to the lawsuit. 
      U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez has tentatively scheduled a trial date for Jan. 23 at the federal courthouse in Key West on Simonton Street. He also set the mediation deadline for Dec. 14, meaning if the case has not been resolved outside of court by then a trial is likely to begin by the January date. 
      Walker claims that during a meeting with superiors, city management officials “openly mocked (Walker’s) religious beliefs and threatened to write up Walker for purportedly not giving enough time to change the schedule,” the lawsuit states.
      According to the employee handbook, drivers are required to give at least two hours’ notice of any schedule change request. Walker claims that his two-day notice was more than ample.
      “A manager treated Mr. Walker differently than persons who were not of Jehovah’s Witness faith by threatening to write Mr. Walker up for not giving him a 48-hour notice of his request for time off, although persons of other religions are only held to a two-hour minimum notice,” Walker’s attorney, Jay Paul Lechner of St. Petersburg, wrote to The Citizen seeking comment. “The same manager made comments to the effect ‘I’ve had enough of this religion stuff,’ and ‘You’re the only one’ causing problems due to religion. Managers also spread rumors to other employees about Mr. Walker, such as that Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘think they are better than others.’”
      With respect to Walker’s race — he is black — Lechner wrote: “A mechanic manager angrily called Mr. Walker a ‘damn boy’ and purposely locked him out of the break room used by white employees. A manager made a comment to another manager to the effect of ‘get rid of that black son-of-a-(deleted),’ referring to Mr. Walker.”
      Immediately after Walker’s meeting with superiors, his “hours were decreased and he was subjected to threats of losing his job, vindictive acts and derogatory comments about his race from other members of the management team,” according to the lawsuit.
      Walker claims he complained to higher-ups but no action was taken, according to the lawsuit.
      On or about Dec. 31, 2014, Walker again requested a shift change so that he would not have to work the late shift on New Year’s Eve, based on his religious beliefs, the lawsuit states.
      He was fired shortly thereafter, according to the lawsuit.
      Walker is accusing the city of violating his civil rights under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as under the Florida Civil Rights Act.
      He is seeking back pay and benefits as well as his attorney’s fees and punitive damages.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      MOSCOW, October 14 (RAPSI, Oleg Sivozhelezov) – Russia’s Supreme Court will announce its ruling on the appeal filed over the liquidation of local Jehovah’s Witness organization in Oryol on October 18, RAPSI learned in the court on Friday.
      On June 14, the Oryol Regional Court liquidated the organization on request of the Ministry of Justice’s regional Directorate. The organization was previously found extremist.
      Representative of the Jehovah’s Witnesses noted that no violations were found during the inspection conducted by the Ministry of Justice on April 1, 2013.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses have had many legal problems in Russia.
      On October 12, a court in the Jewish Autonomous Region ruled to ban a branch of “The Jehovah’s Witnesses” in Birobidzhan because of distributing extremist literature by the organization.
      On June 16, Russia’s Supreme Court declared “The Jehovah’s Witnesses of Stary Oskol” in the Belgorod Region an extremist organization and ruled to liquidate it.
      On June 9, the Jehovah’s Witnesses of Belgorod was banned as extremist organization.
      In March 2015, a court in Tyumen fined the organization 50,000 rubles ($800) and seized prohibited literature.
      In January 2014, a court in Kurgan ruled to ban the organization’s booklets as extremist. The books talk about how to have a happy life, what you can hope for, how to develop good relations with God and what you should know about God and its meaning.
      In late December 2013, the leader of the sect’s group in Tobolsk, Siberia was charged with extremism and the prevention of a blood transfusion that nearly led to the death of a female member of the group.
      In 2004, a court in Moscow dissolved and banned a Jehovah’s Witnesses group on charges of recruiting children, encouraging believers to break from their families, inciting suicide and preventing believers from accepting medical assistance.
      Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization based in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2004 sever branches and chapters of the organization were banned and shut down in various regions of Russia.

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    • Ajit singh, Chinese inv popular, small in comparison to debts africa owes to the west, building much needed infrastructure, jobs for chinese, ... 5g in italy. US is trying  ... aainst free market... if us doesn't want competition, crushes by sanctions. Soviet Union unfree .. ? US goes around interfering in other countries. Marshall plan. This might be confusing. To make a point, I often try to quote admissions by those whose general goal appears to denigrate China. It's like quoting
    • Apartheid means segregation. We mingled in the day and worked together but each night we went home to our own towns. There were many terrorist incidents and demonstrations in 1976 which ended in a shooting of rioters. Steve Biko was held in custody and then died - similar to events now in USA. There was police brutality against an ethnic majority (they were the majority) because they were feared....by the whites. The whites did not want to relinquish to the majority vote because they feared what
    • And to think that Utopia, the Thomas More book of the 1500s that coined the word, describes a society in which religion is integral, with the Christian (Catholic) faith preferred as the most reasonable. I didn’t know that about S Africa. Any thoughts on ‘Cry the Beloved Country’—a favorite of mine? I was surprised many years later to discover that the author opposed the ending of apartheid. To a friend from Europe years ago, a more naive me mentioned how now that China has come int
    • While I agree with you - the CIA atrocities and mingling in affairs of other countries is beyond our imagination - crooked and evil.  BUT China are spinning the above tale to their own people.  The propaganda inside china is now in top gear.  Everything in the west is bad.... just like the propaganda in the mosques. USA is the source of all problems in the world. (while I am sure they are - their exploitive behavior was also the source of China's wealth until now - especially when making Ap
    • They were actually very open about it. Western countries could share in the Chinese market, and make use of Chinese labor and factories and supply chains only if they agreed to turn over their technology and/or give up much of their long term profits. Capitalists often think in the short term. As you say they aren't good with long term plans. The financial services company I worked for for 20-some years wanted to open up offices in China and we had to consider their offers. (I had to work on sta
    • I have not read the 2005 version nor the 2016 version of this book (Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Perkins), but I have heard people for years corroborate and document exactly what he claims has been done. I have no idea if he himself was personally involved in so much of it, of course, but this has been documented for years. I once listened to many hours of the "secret recordings" from the White House phone of Lyndon Johnson. These were once aired on a Cable C-Span channel ma
    • I would say the press is more sympathetic to cultural communist ideas.  I see too much evidence of it. While our prisons are every inch as bad as any other due to privatization, so far the constitution still protects our right to freedom of religion - I guess not for long - because the constitution has been eroded over the past 25 years by congress with many laws which have taken away our personal liberties. Patriot Act is one of them.  They can put JWs in jail under this law without due pr
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Apprenons à connaître et accomplissons les voies de Jéhovah 
      “ Fais-moi connaître tes manières agir, [...] pour que je te connaisse. ” — EXODE 33:13.

      MOÏSE avait été élevé dans la maisonnée de Pharaon et instruit dans la sagesse prisée par la noblesse égyptienne. Cependant, il savait qu’il n’était pas égyptien : ses parents étaient hébreux. Alors qu’il était dans sa quarantième année, il alla rendre visite à ses frères, les fils d’Israël. La vue d’un Égyptien en train de maltraiter un Hébreu lui fut insupportable : il tua l’Égyptien. Moïse choisit d’épouser la cause du peuple de Jéhovah, persuadé que Dieu se servait de lui pour délivrer ses frères (Actes 7:21-25 ; Hébreux 11:24, 25). Lorsque l’incident vint à se savoir, la maison royale d’Égypte considéra Moïse comme un hors-la-loi, et il ne dut son salut qu’à la fuite : pour être utilisé par Jéhovah, il lui faudrait d’abord apprendre à mieux connaître Ses voies (Exode 2:11-15). Mais se laisserait-il enseigner ? — Psaume 25:9.
      Au cours des 40 années suivantes, Moïse vécut en exil et fut berger. Au lieu de s’aigrir du fait que ses frères hébreux ne l’avaient apparemment pas reconnu à sa juste valeur, il accepta cette situation permise par Dieu. De nombreuses années passèrent sans que personne ne semble prêter attention à lui, mais Jéhovah le façonnait. Plus tard Moïse écrirait, non de son propre chef, mais sous l’influence de l’esprit saint de Dieu : “ Or, Moïse était de beaucoup le plus humble de tous les hommes vivant sur la terre. ” (Nombres 12:3). Jéhovah l’a effectivement utilisé en lui confiant des responsabilités extraordinaires. Si, nous aussi, nous cherchons l’humilité, Jéhovah nous bénira. — Sophonie 2:3.
      Chargé d’une mission
      Un jour, près du mont Horeb, dans la péninsule du Sinaï, un ange parla à Moïse au nom de Jéhovah. “ Vraiment, j’ai vu là détresse  de mon peuple qui est en Égypte, lui dit-il, et j’ai entendu leur cri de plainte de ceux qui les poussent aux travaux forcés. Je connais bien les douleurs "qu’ils subissent". Aussi je descends pour les délivrer de la main des Égyptiens et pour les faire monter de ce pays vers un pays bon et vaste, vers un pays ruisselant de lait et de miel. ” (Exode 3:2, 7, 8). Dans cette perspective, Jéhovah avait une mission à confier à Moïse, mission à remplir, cette fois, selon Ses instructions.
      L’ange de Jéhovah ajouta : “ Maintenant viens ; que je t’envoie vers Pharaon, et fais sortir d’Égypte mon peuple les fils d’Israël. ” Moïse hésita. Il ne se sentait pas à la hauteur, et en cela il n’avait pas tort. Toutefois, Jéhovah lui fit cette promesse : “ Je serai avec toi. ” (Exode 3:10-12). Jéhovah allait lui accorder le pouvoir d’accomplir des signes miraculeux attestant qu’il était bien son messager. Aaron, le frère de Moïse, l’accompagnerait et lui servirait de porte-parole. Et puis Jéhovah leur enseignerait quoi dire et quoi faire (Exode 4:1-17). Moïse s’acquitterait-il fidèlement de cette mission ?
      Au début, les anciens d’Israël crurent Moïse et Aaron (Exode 4:29-31). Mais, peu après, “ les préposés des fils d’Israël ” les accusèrent de les avoir fait “ sentir mauvais ” devant Pharaon et devant ses serviteurs (Exode 5:19-21 ; 6:9). Tandis qu’ils sortaient d’Égypte, les Israélites frissonnèrent en voyant les chars égyptiens à leur poursuite. Avec devant eux la mer Rouge et derrière eux les chars de guerre ils se crurent pris au piège, et le reprochèrent encore à Moïse. Quelle aurait été votre réaction ? Les Israélites ne possédaient aucun bateau, et pourtant, conformément aux instructions de Jéhovah, Moïse leur ordonna de lever le camp. Dieu fit alors reculer les eaux de la mer Rouge. Le fond de la mer s’étant asséché, Israël put traverser. — Exode 14:1-22.
      Une préoccupation plus importante que la délivrance
      Lorsqu’il avait exposé sa mission à Moïse, Jéhovah avait souligné l’importance de Son nom. Il était capital de respecter ce nom et Celui qu’il représente. Moïse lui ayant demandé Son nom, Jéhovah avait répondu : “ Je deviendrai, ce que je décide. ” Moïse devait aussi dire aux fils d’Israël : “ Jéhovah le Dieu de vos ancêtres, le Dieu d’Abraham, le Dieu d’Isaac et le Dieu de Jacob, m’a envoyé vers vous. ” Jéhovah avait ajouté : “ C’est là mon nom pour des temps indéfinis et c’est là mon mémorial de génération en génération. ” (Exode 3:13-15). Aujourd’hui encore, Jéhovah est le nom par lequel Dieu est connu de ses serviteurs sur toute la terre. — Isaïe 12:4, 5 ; 43:10-12.
      Face à Pharaon, Moïse et Aaron transmirent leur message au nom de Jéhovah. Mais Pharaon leur répondit avec arrogance : “ Qui est Jéhovah pour que j’obéisse à sa voix en renvoyant Israël ? Je ne connais pas du tout Jéhovah ; d’ailleurs je ne renverrai pas Israël. ” (Exode 5:1, 2). Pharaon avait beau se révéler impitoyable et fourbe, Jéhovah ordonna à Moïse de lui délivrer message après message (Exode 7:14-16, 20-23 ; 8:1, 2, 20). Moïse voyait bien que Pharaon était irrité. Était-il vraiment judicieux de retourner le voir encore et encore ? Israël rêvait de liberté ; Pharaon s’obstinait à la lui refuser. Qu’auriez-vous fait à la place de Moïse ?
      Moïse délivra de nouveau un message, par ces mots : “ Voici ce qu’a dit Jéhovah le Dieu des Hébreux : ‘ Renvoie mon peuple pour qu’il me serve. ’ ” Dieu dit également : “ J’aurais déjà pu avancer ma main pour te frapper, toi et ton peuple, par la peste, afin que tu sois effacé de la terre. Mais, en fait, c’est pour cela que je t’ai laissé exister : c’est pour te faire voir ma force et afin qu’on proclame mon nom dans toute la terre. ” (Exode 9:13-16). Compte tenu de ce qu’il réservait à l’impitoyable pharaon, Jéhovah se proposa de faire la démonstration de sa puissance d’une manière telle qu’elle servirait d’avertissement à tous ceux qui le défient ; à Satan le Diable, entre autres, celui que Jésus Christ surnomma plus tard “ le chef du monde ”. (Jean 14:30 ; Romains 9:17-24.) Comme prédit, le nom de Jéhovah fut proclamé sur toute la terre. Grâce à sa patience, les Israélites furent préservés, et une foule immense et bigarrée se joignit à eux pour l’adorer (Exode 9:20, 21 ; 12:37, 38). Depuis lors, la proclamation du nom de Jéhovah a permis à des millions d’autres personnes d’embrasser le vrai culte.
      En relation avec un peuple difficile
      Les Hébreux connaissaient le nom divin. En effet, lorsqu’il s’adressait à eux, Moïse employait ce nom. Mais ils ne firent pas toujours preuve du respect qui convient envers Celui qui le porte. Peu après que Jéhovah les eut délivrés miraculeusement d’Égypte, que se passa-t-il quand les Israélites ne trouvèrent pas rapidement d’eau potable ? Ils murmurèrent contre Moïse. Ensuite, ils se plaignirent de la nourriture. Moïse les avertit que ce n’était pas seulement contre Aaron et lui qu’ils murmuraient, mais contre Jéhovah lui-même (Exode 15:22-24 ; 16:2-12). Au mont Sinaï, Jéhovah donna au peuple la Loi dans un déploiement de manifestations surnaturelles. Pourtant, les Israélites désobéirent en adorant un veau d’or qu’ils avaient fabriqué, tout en prétendant donner “ une fête pour Jéhovah ”. — Exode 32:1-9.
      Quelle ligne de conduite Moïse devait-il adopter face à un peuple que Jéhovah lui-même qualifiait de peuple au cou raide ? Moïse adressa à Jéhovah cette requête : “ S’il te plaît, si j’ai trouvé faveur à tes yeux, fais-moi connaître tes voies, s’il te plaît, pour que je te connaisse, afin que je trouve faveur à tes yeux. ” (Exode 33:13). Aujourd’hui, les surveillants chrétiens qui prennent soin des Témoins de Jéhovah font paître un troupeau bien plus humble. Ce qui ne les empêche pas de faire cette même prière : “ Fais-moi connaître tes voies, ô Jéhovah ! Enseigne-moi tes sentiers. ” (Psaume 25:4). La connaissance des voies de Jéhovah leur permet de traiter des situations d’une manière conforme à sa Parole et à sa personnalité.
      Ce que Jéhovah attend de son peuple
      Ce que Jéhovah attendait de son peuple, il le révéla d’abord oralement au mont Sinaï. Moïse reçut plus tard deux tablettes de pierre sur lesquelles étaient écrits les Dix Commandements. Tandis qu’il descendait de la montagne, il vit les Israélites en train d’adorer le veau en métal fondu. Sous le coup de la colère, il brisa les tablettes en les jetant par terre. Jéhovah écrivit de nouveau les Dix Commandements, sur des tablettes que Moïse avait cette fois-ci taillées lui-même (Exode 32:19 ; 34:1). Ces commandements n’avaient pas changé par rapport à la première fois. Moïse devait en tenir compte dans ses manières d’agir. Dieu a aussi bien fait comprendre à Moïse quel genre de personne Il est, pour lui montrer comment devait se conduire son représentant. Les chrétiens ne sont pas sous la Loi mosaïque, mais dans ce que Jéhovah a dit à Moïse on trouve de nombreux principes fondamentaux qui n’ont pas changé et qui demeurent valables pour tous Ses adorateurs (Romains 6:14 ; 13:8-10). Examinons-en quelques-uns.
      Accorder à Jéhovah un attachement exclusif. La nation d’Israël était présente lorsque Jéhovah déclara qu’il exigeait un attachement exclusif (Exode 20:2-5). Pour en avoir eu de nombreuses preuves, les Israélites savaient que Jéhovah est le vrai Dieu (Deutéronome 4:33-35). Jéhovah établit clairement qu’il ne tolérerait aucune forme d’idolâtrie ou de spiritisme de la part de ses serviteurs. Peu importaient les pratiques des autres nations. L’attachement à Dieu n’était pas une simple formalité : tous devaient aimer Jéhovah de tout leur cœur, de toute leur âme et de toute leur force vitale (Deutéronome 6:5, 6). Cela devrait se remarquer dans leurs paroles, dans leur conduite, à vrai dire dans chaque aspect de leur vie (Lévitique 20:27 ; 24:15, 16 ; 26:1). Jésus Christ fit, lui aussi, clairement comprendre que Jéhovah exige un attachement exclusif. — Marc 12:28-30 ; Luc 4:8.
      Obéir strictement aux commandements de Jéhovah. Les Israélites avaient besoin qu’on leur rappelle qu’en concluant une alliance avec Jéhovah ils avaient fait le vœu de lui obéir strictement. Ils bénéficiaient d’une grande liberté individuelle, mais, dans les domaines où Jéhovah leur avait donné des commandements, ils étaient tenus d’y obéir pleinement. Ce faisant, ils montreraient leur amour pour Dieu et en retireraient des bienfaits, eux et leurs descendants, car toutes les exigences de Jéhovah étaient pour leur bien. — Exode 19:5-8 ; Deutéronome 5:27-33 ; 11:22, 
      Accorder la priorité aux choses spirituelles. Les Israélites ne devaient pas laisser la satisfaction de leurs besoins physiques détourner leur attention des activités spirituelles. Ils ne devaient pas axer leur vie uniquement sur des objectifs profanes. Jéhovah délimita une période hebdomadaire qu’il déclara sacrée, période destinée exclusivement aux activités liées au vrai culte (Exode 35:1-3 ; Nombres 15:32-36). Il fallait également prendre le temps d’assister, chaque année, à de saintes assemblées décrétées par Jéhovah (Lévitique 23:4-44). C’était là l’occasion de se remémorer les actes de puissance de Jéhovah, de se rappeler ses voies et de lui exprimer sa gratitude pour toute sa bonté. En exprimant son attachement à Jéhovah, le peuple augmenterait sa crainte et son amour pour lui, et cela l’aiderait à marcher dans ses voies (Deutéronome 10:12, 13). Les principes salutaires contenus dans ces instructions sont bénéfiques aux serviteurs de Jéhovah encore aujourd’hui. — Hébreux 10:24, 25.
      Une juste appréciation des qualités de Jéhovah
      Autre chose allait aider Moïse à traiter correctement le peuple : une bonne connaissance des qualités de Jéhovah. En Exode 34:5-7 on lit que Dieu passa devant la face de Moïse en proclamant : “ Jéhovah, Jéhovah, Dieu miséricordieux et compatissant, lent à la colère et abondant en bonté de cœur et en vérité, conservant la bonté de cœur à des milliers, pardonnant la faute et la transgression et le péché, mais en aucun cas il n’accordera l’exemption de punition, faisant venir la punition pour la faute des pères sur les fils et sur les petits-fils, sur la troisième génération et sur la quatrième génération. ” Prenez le temps de méditer sur ces paroles. Demandez-vous : ‘ Quel sens revêt chacune de ces qualités ? Comment Jéhovah les a-t-il manifestées ? Comment les surveillants chrétiens peuvent-ils les mettre en œuvre ? Comment chacune d’elles devrait-elle influencer notre manière d’être ? Arrêtons-nous simplement sur quelques exemples.
       
      Jéhovah est un “ Dieu miséricordieux et compatissant ”. Si vous possédez l’ouvrage de référence Étude perspicace des Écritures, pourquoi ne pas lire ce qui est dit sous l’entrée “ Miséricorde ” ? Où bien, faites des recherches à ce sujet à l’aide de la bibliothèque Jw.org. Servez-vous des outils de recherche pour trouver des versets qui traitent de la miséricorde. Vous constaterez que la miséricorde de Jéhovah non seulement permet parfois un allégement de la punition, mais s’accompagne d’une tendre compassion. Elle pousse Dieu à prendre des mesures pour apporter le soulagement à son peuple. La preuve en est que Dieu combla les besoins physiques et spirituels des Israélites durant leur périple vers la Terre promise (Deutéronome 1:30-33 ; 8:4). Jéhovah fit preuve de miséricorde à l’égard de ses serviteurs d’autrefois : il leur accorda son pardon lorsqu’ils commirent des fautes. À combien plus forte raison devrions-nous nous témoigner de la compassion aujourd’hui ! — Matthieu 9:13 ; 18:21-35.
      La miséricorde de Jéhovah est associée à la compassion. Si vous possédez un dictionnaire, lisez la définition de “ compatissant ”. Puis rapprochez-la de versets qui montrent que Jéhovah est compatissant. Dans la Bible, la compassion manifestée par Jéhovah est teintée d’un intérêt plein d’amour pour les défavorisés au sein de son peuple (Exode 22:26, 27). Quel que soit le pays, les étrangers, mais aussi d’autres personnes, se trouvent parfois désavantagés. En enseignant à ses serviteurs d’autrefois l’impartialité et la bonté à l’égard des étrangers, Jéhovah leur rappela expressément qu’eux aussi avaient été étrangers, en Égypte (Deutéronome 24:17-22). Qu’en est-il de nous, qui forme le peuple de Dieu aujourd’hui ? En faisant preuve de compassion nous contribuons à nous unir et à attirer d’autres personnes vers le culte de Jéhovah. — Actes 10:34, 35 ; Révélation 7:9, 10.
      Cependant, l’empathie à l’égard des gens d’autres nations ne devait pas passer avant l’amour pour Jéhovah et pour ses normes morales. Les Israélites avaient d’ailleurs reçu la consigne de ne pas adopter les coutumes des nations voisines, ni leurs traditions religieuses, ni leur conduite immorale (Exode 34:11-16 ; Deutéronome 7:1-4). Cela s’applique à nous aujourd’hui encore. Nous sommes censés être un peuple saint, comme notre Dieu, Jéhovah, est saint. — 1 Pierre 1:15, 16.
      Afin que Moïse ait une juste appréciation de Ses voies, Jéhovah lui a fait clairement comprendre que, s’il n’approuve pas le péché, il est néanmoins lent à la colère. Il laisse aux gens le temps d’apprendre ses exigences et de s’y conformer. Dès lors qu’il y a repentance, Jéhovah pardonne le péché, même s’il n’exempte pas de la punition pour les fautes graves. Il a prévenu Moïse que la conduite des Israélites aurait une incidence, bonne ou mauvaise, sur les générations à venir. S’ils comprennent bien les voies de Jéhovah, ses serviteurs seront moins tentés de lui attribuer la responsabilité de situations dans lesquelles ils se sont placés eux-mêmes, ni de conclure qu’il tarde à agir.
      Si vous souhaitez approfondir votre connaissance de Jéhovah et de ses voies, continuez à faire des recherches et à méditer lorsque vous lisez la Bible. Examinez attentivement les aspects fascinants de la personnalité de Jéhovah. Réfléchissez dans la prière à la façon de l’imiter et de mieux conformer votre vie à son dessein. Il vous sera ainsi plus facile d’éviter les pièges, d’entretenir de bonnes relations avec vos frères et sœurs qui suivent la Parole de Dieu comme guide d'action, de pensée, de sagesse et d’aider d’autres personnes à connaître et à aimer notre Dieu majestueux.
      Le peuple de la terre que Dieu uni ensemble à son amour véritable sont tous ceux qui chaque jour, lisent la Parole de Dieu et inclus dans leur coeur la sagesse essentielle venant de Jéhovah le Très Haut. Chaque serviteur de Dieu se purifie intérieurement d'une eau purifiante que garde chaque serviteur à l'affût des danger de ce monde et qu'il modèle ses pas vers la voie que Dieu lui à donner pour préserver l'espoir de la promesse de notre Dieu.

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Mettez votre confiance en Jéhovah
       
      Ouvrons nos bibles en Psaumes 37:3,4 regardons un conseil de notre Dieu Jéhovah:
      “Aie confiance en Jéhovah et fais le bien; (...) délecte-toi en Jéhovah.” — PSAUME 37:3, 4.
      AU PREMIER siècle de notre ère, les chefs religieux juifs prétendaient adorer Dieu, mais ils n’avaient pas confiance en lui: ils violaient ses commandements et persécutaient ses représentants (Matthieu 15:3; Jean 15:20). En conséquence, "leur maison fut abandonnée" par Jéhovah (Matthieu 23:38). En l’an 66, les armées romaines détruisirent Jérusalem et son temple, ce qui entraîna la mort d’un grand nombre de chefs religieux et de leurs disciples. Cependant, les personnes qui avaient confiance en Jéhovah furent protégées, car elles avaient suivi l’avertissement de ses porte-parole et elles étaient allées se réfugier dans un lieu sûr. — Matthieu 24:15-22; Luc 21:20-24.
      En ces derniers jours du système de choses,  mettons-nous notre confiance en Jéhovah, le vrai Dieu? Obéissons-nous à ses commandements et fesons-nous sa volonté, ou bien imiton-nous les chefs religieux du Ier siècle que Dieu abandonna? Quelle mode de vie avons-nous de besoin à notre époque, pour espérer bénéficier de la protection divine parce que nous avons confiance en Jéhovah et que nous agissons pour le bien’? — Psaume 37:3.
      Il y a plusieurs années, le pape Jean-Paul II a déclaré que “la survie de l’humanité tout entière était gravement menacée”. Il a mis l’accent sur “les résultats qu’obtiennent divers groupements religieux lorsqu’ils s’unissent pour tenter de conjurer cette menace”. C’est la volonté de Dieu, a-t-il dit, que les responsables religieux “travaillent ensemble” à “la paix et [à] la réconciliation”. Toutefois, si telle est sa volonté, pourquoi Dieu n’a-t-il pas béni les efforts qui sont accomplis en ce sens depuis des siècles? Parce que ces religions ne mettent pas véritablement leur confiance dans le moyen que Dieu a prévu pour instaurer la paix: son Royaume céleste (Matthieu 6:9, 10). Au lieu de cela, elles accordent leur soutien à la politique et aux guerres des nations. En conséquence, au cours des guerres, les croyants d’une nation ont tué les croyants d’une autre nation, et ils ont même tué certains de leurs coreligionnaires. Ainsi, des catholiques ont tué des catholiques, des protestants ont tué des protestants, et il en fut de même dans bien d’autres religions. Cependant, de véritables frères spirituels peuvent-ils s’entre-tuer, tout en prétendant servir Dieu?
      Jésus a établi le critère d'un mode vie qui apporte l'Amour et la protection de son Père,  lorsqu'ils a dit à ses disciples: “Je vous donne un commandement nouveau: que vous vous aimiez les uns les autres, et que, comme je vous ai aimés, vous aussi aimez les uns les autres. Par là tous saurons que vous êtes mes disciples: si vous avez de l’amour entre vous.” (Jean 13:34, 35). Par conséquent, ceux qui pratiquent le vrai mode de vie spirituel doivent s’aimer les uns les autres. Il s’agissait "d’un commandement nouveau”, car Jésus a déclaré: “Que, comme je vous ai aimés, vous aussi vous vous aimiez les uns les autres.” Jésus était disposé à se dessaisir de sa vie pour ses disciples; et ceux-ci doivent être prêts à faire de même: non pas ôter la vie à leurs compagnons dans la foi, mais sacrifier si nécessaire leur vie. C’est en ce sens que ce commandement était nouveau, car la Loi mosaïque n’allait pas si loin.
      Voici ce qu’on peut lire dans la Parole de Dieu: “Si quelqu’un déclare: ‘J’aime Dieu’, mais qu’il haïsse son frère, c’est un menteur. En effet, celui qui n’aime pas son frère, qu’il a vu, ne peut pas aimer Dieu, qu’il n’a pas vu. Et voici le commandement que nous tenons de lui: que celui qui aime Dieu aime aussi son frère.” (1 Jean 4:20, 21). Grâce à cet amour, ceux qui placent leur confiance en Jéhovah connaissent une véritable unité internationale. Paul déclare, en effet, en 1 Corinthiens 1:10: “Je vous exhorte, frères, (...) à parler tous en parfait accord, et à ce qu’il n’y ait pas de divisions parmi vous, mais que vous soyez étroitement unis dans le même esprit et dans la même pensée.” — Voir 1 Jean 3:10-12.
      Selon une encyclopédie (The World Book Encyclopedia), 55 millions de personnes ont été tuées lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, exceptés les Témoins de Jéhovah, des membres de toutes les grandes religions ont pris part à ce massacre. Aucune de ces vies humaines n’a été ôtée par un témoin de Jéhovah, car les témoins ont obéi au commandement de s’aimer les uns les autres et ils ont refusé de prendre part aux guerres des nations. Nombre d’entre eux ont été livrés au martyre en raison de leur neutralité, mais ils avaient pu dire, reprenant les paroles de l’apôtre Paul: ‘Nous sommes purs du sang de tous les hommes.’ — Actes 20:26.
      L’aumônier catholique appartenant à l’unité qui a lâché la bombe atomique sur le Japon en 1945 a récemment déclaré: “Depuis 17 siècles, l’Église présente la guerre sous un jour respectable. Elle fait croire aux gens qu’il s’agit là d’une honorable profession chrétienne. Ce n’est pas vrai. On nous a endoctrinés. (...) Jésus n’a jamais enseigné le dogme de la guerre juste. (...) Rien dans la vie ou l’enseignement du Christ ne laisse supposer que s’il est condamnable d’utiliser la bombe atomique pour réduire en cendres les humains, il n’est pas condamnable de le faire au moyen du napalm ou d’un lance-flammes.”
      Voici ce qu’on pouvait lire dans un quotidien londonien (Catholic Herald): "Les premiers chrétiens (...) respectaient scrupuleusement les paroles de Jésus et refusaient, même au prix de leur vie, de se laisser enrôler dans l’armée romaine. L’Histoire du monde aurait-elle été différente si l’Église était restée attachée à ce principe? (...) Si, aujourd’hui, les Églises toutes ensemble condamnaient la guerre (...), et qu’ainsi tous leurs membres se sentent tenus d’être, comme les premiers chrétiens, des objecteurs de conscience, la paix régnerait sur la terre. Toutefois, nous savons que cela n’arrivera."
      Les multiples religions du monde ont donc gravement transigé avec les lois de Dieu. Elles n’ont pas montré plus de confiance que les Pharisiens. “Publiquement ils déclarent connaître Dieu, mais ils le renient par leurs œuvres, car ce sont des gens détestables, désobéissants et non approuvés pour quelque œuvre bonne que ce soit.” (Tite 1:16). En conséquence, comme il avait abandonné le judaïsme hypocrite du Ier siècle, de même, à notre époque, Dieu a abandonné ces religions qui agissent contre les lois morales de Dieu. — Matthieu 15:9, 14.
      Ceux qui ont confiance en Jéhovah survivront
      Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les solutions humaines aux problèmes du monde. Bien plutôt, confiez-vous en Celui qui peut tenir ses promesses (Josué 23:14). Voyez, par exemple, les événements qui se sont produits au VIIIe siècle avant notre ère, aux jours du roi Ézéchias de Juda. À son sujet, la Bible déclare: “Il faisait ce qui est droit aux yeux de Jéhovah.” (2 Rois 18:3). À l’époque d’Ézéchias, l’imposante Puissance mondiale assyrienne se dressa contre Jérusalem. Le porte-parole de Sennachérib, roi d’Assyrie, vint exiger la reddition de Jérusalem. Il déclara: “Voici ce qu’a dit le roi: ‘Qu’Ézéchias ne vous trompe pas, car il ne peut vous délivrer de ma main! Et qu’Ézéchias ne vous fasse pas vous confier en Jéhovah.’” — 2 Rois 18:29, 30.
      Que fit Ézéchias? La Bible nous dit: “Ézéchias se mit à prier devant Jéhovah et dit: ‘Ô Jéhovah, Dieu d’Israël, qui es assis sur les chérubins, toi seul tu es le vrai Dieu de tous les royaumes de la terre. Tu as fait, toi, les cieux et la terre. Incline ton oreille, ô Jéhovah, et entends. Ouvre tes yeux, ô Jéhovah, et vois, et entends les paroles de Sennachérib, qu’il a envoyées pour provoquer le Dieu vivant. (...) ô Jéhovah, notre Dieu, s’il te plaît, sauve-nous de sa main, pour que tous les royaumes de la terre sachent que toi, ô Jéhovah, tu es Dieu, toi seul.’” — 2 Rois 19:15-19.
      Jéhovah a entendu cette prière et a envoyé le prophète Ésaïe auprès d’Ézéchias pour lui dire: “Voici ce qu’a dit Jéhovah au sujet du roi d’Assyrie: ‘Il n’entrera pas dans cette ville, et il n’y lancera pas de flèche, et il ne se présentera pas devant elle avec un bouclier, et il n’élèvera pas contre elle un rempart de siège.’” Ézéchias devait-il rassembler une armée pour affronter l’Assyrie? Non, il devait placer sa confiance en Jéhovah; et c’est ce qu’il fit. Que se passa-t-il? “L’ange de Jéhovah sortit et abattit dans le camp des Assyriens cent quatre-vingt-cinq mille hommes.” En outre, Sennachérib fut châtié pour avoir défié Jéhovah et ses serviteurs; en effet, il fut plus tard assassiné par ses propres fils. Ainsi, conformément à la parole de Jéhovah, pas une flèche ne fut lancée contre Jérusalem. — 2 Rois 19:32-37.
      Alors que doivent faire les gens de toutes les nations pour survivre à la fin de l’actuel système de choses?
      Des événements semblables vont se produire à notre époque. Ceux qui se confient en Jéhovah survivront aux attaques et à la destruction du monde. “Ceux qui connaissent ton nom se confieront en toi, car tu ne quitteras assurément pas ceux qui te cherchent, ô Jéhovah!” (Psaume 9:10). Néanmoins, avant de détruire ce monde cruel, Jéhovah invite tous les humains sincères à s’approcher de lui pour trouver la sécurité. Ceux qui acceptent son invitation constituent une “grande foule” de personnes qui “viennent de la grande tribulation” et qui sont issues de toutes les nations. Ces personnes survivront à la fin du système de choses actuel parce qu’elles ont confiance en Jéhovah et le servent “jour et nuit”. — Révélation 7:9-15.
      La “grande foule” répond à l’appel qui retentit de plus en plus puissamment dans le monde entier, conformément à la prophétie consignée en Ésaïe 2:2, 3: “Et il adviendra sans faute, dans la période finale des jours, que la montagne de la maison de Jéhovah [son véritable culte] se trouvera solidement établie (...). Et assurément de nombreux peuples iront et diront: ‘Venez et montons à la montagne de Jéhovah (...) et il nous instruira de ses voies, et nous marcherons dans ses sentiers.’”  verset 4 dit: “Et ils devront forger leurs épées en socs de charrue et leurs lances en cisailles à émonder. Une nation ne lèvera pas l’épée contre une nation, et ils n’apprendront plus la guerre.”
      Un bel avenir
      Jéhovah offre le plus bel avenir qu’on puisse imaginer à ceux qui mettent leur confiance en lui. Lorsqu’il remplacera les vieilles structures de la société par de nouvelles, les humains qui vivront sur la terre ne connaîtront ni la crainte, ni la méfiance, ni la misère, ni l’injustice, ni le crime. Il n’y aura plus de guerres ou d’avortements pour priver les humains de la vie. Révélation 21:4 promet même que “la mort ne sera plus; ni deuil, ni cri, ni douleur ne seront plus”, cela pour toujours.
      Comme Jésus l’a promis, avec le temps la terre deviendra un paradis (Luc 23:43). Ceux qui mettent leur confiance en Jéhovah pourront vivre éternellement dans ce Paradis, car la mort disparaîtra. Les paroles de Michée 4:4 se réaliseront: “Ils seront assis chacun sous sa vigne et sous son figuier, et il n’y aura personne qui les fasse trembler.” Vous imaginez-vous vivre dans une société où vous pourriez avoir confiance en tout le monde? Pourquoi en sera-t-il ainsi? Parce que, comme le dit Ésaïe 54:13, “tous tes fils seront des personnes enseignées par Jéhovah, et la paix de tes fils sera abondante”.
      Toutefois, la confiance que les millions de Témoins de Jéhovah portent à Dieu leur procure dès aujourd’hui des bienfaits. Par exemple, les serviteurs de Jéhovah ont moins de risques de contracter le cancer du poumon parce qu’ils obéissent à ses lois et à ses principes relatifs au tabac. Vivant dans un milieu moralement pur, ils sont moins menacés par l’épidémie mondiale des maladies sexuellement transmissibles, telles que le SIDA. Parce qu’ils ne se droguent pas, ils sont à l’abri de maladies que de nombreux toxicomanes par voie intraveineuse ont contractées, maladies qui peuvent altérer les facultés mentales et entraîner la mort. Étant donné qu’ils n’acceptent pas de transfusions sanguines, les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont bien mieux protégés contre les maladies véhiculées par le sang. Chaque année, aux États-Unis, l’une de ces maladies, l’hépatite virale, tue ou lèse de façon permanente plus de dix mille personnes ayant reçu du sang.
      Même si certains de ceux qui se confient en Jéhovah meurent à cause de leur âge, de la maladie ou bien des suites d’un accident, Jéhovah viendra à leur secours. Il les ramènera à la vie par le moyen de la résurrection. C’est pourquoi l’apôtre Paul nous encourage à ‘avoir confiance, non pas en nous-mêmes, mais dans le Dieu qui relève les morts’. — 2 Corinthiens 1:9.
      Jéhovah soutiendra toujours ses serviteurs fidèles
      Souvenez-vous que “le monde entier gît au pouvoir du méchant”, Satan le Diable (1 Jean 5:19). Par conséquent, si vous vous confiez en Dieu, Satan et le monde qu’il domine s’opposeront à vous; ils essaieront de saper votre foi en vous ridiculisant ou en vous persécutant, comme ils l’ont fait à Jésus. Après qu’il eut été cloué sur le poteau de supplice, “les passants parlaient de lui en mal, hochant la tête et disant: ‘(...) Si tu es fils de Dieu, descends du poteau de supplice!’ Pareillement les prêtres en chef aussi se moquaient de lui, ainsi que les scribes et les anciens, et disaient: ‘Il en a sauvé d’autres; il ne peut pas se sauver lui-même! (...) Il a mis sa confiance en Dieu; qu’Il le délivre maintenant, s’Il veut de lui.’” — Matthieu 27:39-43.
      Trois jours après ces événements, Dieu a délivré Jésus en le ressuscitant d’entre les morts. Les moqueurs de la génération d’alors ont été quant à eux massacrés ou emmenés en esclavage par les armées romaines. Puisque le Christ, en sa qualité de Roi du Royaume céleste de Dieu, présidera à la résurrection, si ces individus sont ressuscités, il leur faudra se soumettre à celui-là même dont ils se seront moqués 2 000 ans auparavant! Oui, Jéhovah défend ses serviteurs, qui diront: “En Dieu j’ai mis ma confiance. Je n’aurai pas peur. Que peut me faire l’homme tiré du sol?” — Psaume 56:11.
      Voici ce que Jéhovah déclare à propos de ses serviteurs: “Béni l’homme valide qui met sa confiance en Jéhovah, et dont Jéhovah est devenu l’assurance! Et certes il deviendra comme un arbre planté près des eaux, qui envoie ses racines près du cours d’eau; et il ne verra pas quand la chaleur arrivera, mais son feuillage restera touffu. Et dans l’année de la sécheresse il ne s’inquiétera pas, et il ne cessera pas de produire du fruit.” Il dit également: “Maudit l’homme valide qui met sa confiance dans l’homme tiré du sol et qui fait de la chair son bras, et dont le cœur se détourne de Jéhovah! Et assurément il deviendra comme un arbre solitaire dans la plaine déserte et il ne verra pas quand le bien arrivera.” — Jérémie 17:5-8.
      En ces temps décisifs, donc, "ayons confiance en Jéhovah et faisons le bien; résidons sur la terre et agissons avec fidélité. De plus, délectons-nous en Jéhovah, et il nous donnera les demandes de notre cœur". (Psaume 37:3, 4.) Que soient exaucées les demandes que vous ferez, entre autres celle de goûter le don de la vie éternelle dans le monde nouveau et juste promis par Dieu, Celui en qui nous pouvons avoir confiance!

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric, merci pour cet exposé sur Hanna, Bonne journée. Michel
      ENTRETIEN AVEC DIEU.pptx
      · 5 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LA FOI D'HANNA ENVERS DIEU APPORTE SA RÉCOMPENSE
      UNE femme de foi adresse une prière à Jéhovah. Convaincue que c’est Dieu qui l’a relevée de la poussière, transformant son abattement en exultation, elle le loue à haute voix.
      Cette femme, c’est Hanna. Qu’est-ce qui explique son spectaculaire changement d’état d’âme ? Pourquoi est-elle à présent si joyeuse ? En quoi ce qu’elle a vécu peut-il nous être utile ? Intéressons-nous à son histoire.
      Une famille sous pression
      Hanna est l’une des deux femmes d’Elqana, un Lévite de la région d’Éphraïm (1 Samuel 1:1, 2a ; 1 Chroniques 6:33, 34). Bien que n’entrant pas dans le dessein originel de Dieu pour l’humanité, la polygamie est autorisée et réglementée sous la Loi mosaïque. Elle est néanmoins une source fréquente de discorde. La vie de cette famille, qui pourtant adore Jéhovah, en témoigne.
      Hanna est stérile, tandis que Peninna, l’autre femme d’Elqana, a plusieurs enfants. Peninna se comporte en rivale. — 1 Samuel 1:2b.
      Pour une Israélite, la stérilité est un déshonneur, et même un signe de la défaveur divine. Mais, dans le cas de Hanna, rien n’indique que son incapacité de procréer soit liée à la désapprobation de Dieu. Peninna ne la console pas pour autant ; elle se prévaut au contraire de son statut de mère pour l’humilier.
      Au sanctuaire de Jéhovah
      Malgré ces tensions, la famille entreprend le voyage annuel en direction du sanctuaire de Jéhovah, à Shilo, pour y offrir des sacrifices. L’aller-retour de quelque 60 kilomètres se fait vraisemblablement à pied. Cet événement doit être particulièrement pénible pour Hanna. En effet, Peninna et ses enfants reçoivent plusieurs portions du sacrifice de communion, alors que Hanna, elle, n’en reçoit qu’une seule. Peninna trouve là une opportunité supplémentaire de la blesser et de la mettre dans l’embarras ; il semble que Jéhovah ait “ fermé sa matrice ”, et elle ne manque pas de le lui rappeler. Tous les ans, c’est le même calvaire. Tous les ans, Hanna pleure et cesse de manger. Ces voyages qui normalement devraient la mettre en joie la plongent dans une profonde détresse. Hanna se rend néanmoins chaque année au sanctuaire de Jéhovah. — 1 Samuel 1:3-7.
      Voyez-vous en quoi Hanna est un bel exemple ? Comment réagissez-vous lorsque vous êtes déprimé ? Vous isolez-vous et évitez-vous les contacts avec vos compagnons chrétiens ? Ce n’est pas ce qu’a fait Hanna. Les rassemblements avec les adorateurs de Jéhovah étaient pour elle une habitude de vie. Même face à des circonstances éprouvantes, il devrait en être de même pour nous. — Psaume 26:12 ; 122:1 ; Proverbes 18:1 ; Hébreux 10:24, 25.
      Elqana tente de réconforter Hanna et il l’amène à exprimer ses sentiments profonds. “ Hanna, pourquoi pleures-tu et pourquoi ne manges-tu pas ? Pourquoi ton cœur a-t-il mal ? lui demande-t-il. Est-ce que je ne vaux pas mieux pour toi que dix fils ? ” (1 Samuel 1:8). Peut-être n’a-t-il pas conscience de la malveillance de Peninna. Et peut-être Hanna préfère-t-elle se taire plutôt que de se plaindre. Quoi qu’il en soit, cette femme spirituelle se tourne vers Jéhovah dans la prière pour retrouver la paix intérieure.
      Le vœu de Hanna
      Les sacrifices de communion étaient consommés dans le sanctuaire. Après avoir quitté la salle à manger, Hanna prie Dieu (1 Samuel 1:9, 10). “ Ô Jéhovah des armées, implore-t-elle, si tu ne manques pas de regarder l’affliction de ton esclave et si vraiment tu te souviens de moi, si tu n’oublies pas ton esclave et si vraiment tu donnes à ton esclave un descendant mâle, oui je le donnerai à Jéhovah pour tous les jours de sa vie, et le rasoir ne viendra pas sur sa tête. ” — 1 Samuel 1:11.
      La prière de Hanna est précise. Elle demande un fils, et elle fait le vœu que cet enfant sera toute sa vie un naziréen de Dieu (Nombres 6:1-5). Ce vœu nécessite l’approbation de son mari, et certaines actions ultérieures d’Elqana montrent qu’il approuve l’engagement pris par sa chère femme. — Nombres 30:6-8.
      À cause de la manière dont Hanna prie, le grand prêtre Éli la croit ivre. Il voit effectivement ses lèvres frémir, mais il ne l’entend pas parler. C’est qu’en fait Hanna prie dans son cœur, avec ferveur (1 Samuel 1:12-14). Imaginez ce qu’elle ressent lorsque le grand prêtre l’accuse d’être ivre ! Pourtant, elle lui répond respectueusement. Comprenant alors que Hanna était en train de prier “ dans l’abondance de [son] inquiétude et de [son] dépit ”, il lui dit : “ Que le Dieu d’Israël accorde ta requête. ” (1 Samuel 1:15-17). Sur ces paroles, Hanna s’en va ; elle mange et “ son visage ne par[aît] plus soucieux ”. — 1 Samuel 1:18.
      Que nous enseigne tout cela ? Lorsque nous prions Jéhovah à propos de nos inquiétudes, nous pouvons lui exprimer ce que nous ressentons et lui adresser des requêtes sincères. Si nous avons fait tout notre possible pour résoudre le problème, alors nous devrions laisser les choses entre ses mains. C’est ce qu’il y a de mieux à faire. — Proverbes 3:5, 6.
      Après une prière fervente, il est fréquent que des serviteurs de Jéhovah ressentent une sérénité comparable à celle que Hanna a éprouvée. Voici ce qu’a écrit l’apôtre Paul au sujet de la prière : “ Ne vous inquiétez de rien, mais en tout, par la prière et la supplication avec action de grâces, faites connaître vos requêtes à Dieu ; et la paix de Dieu, qui surpasse toute pensée, gardera vos cœurs et vos facultés mentales par le moyen de Christ Jésus. ” (Philippiens 4:6, 7). Après nous être déchargés de notre fardeau sur Jéhovah, nous devons le laisser s’en occuper. Puis, comme dans le cas de Hanna, il n’y a plus lieu de s’inquiéter. — Psaume 55:22.
      Un fils “ prêté ” à Jéhovah
      Dieu se tourne alors vers Hanna. Peu après, elle porte un enfant. Elle met au monde un garçon (1 Samuel 1:19, 20). C’est l’une des rares fois où la Bible fait état de la responsabilité de Dieu dans la naissance de l’un de ses serviteurs. L’enfant d’Elqana et de Hanna, Samuel, deviendra effectivement le prophète de Jéhovah, un prophète qui jouera un rôle important dans la mise en place de la monarchie d’Israël.
      Il est certain que Hanna parle de Jéhovah à Samuel dès sa petite enfance. Mais oublie-t-elle le vœu qu’elle a fait ? Absolument pas ! “ Dès que le garçon sera sevré, je devrai l’amener ; il devra paraître devant Jéhovah et habiter là pour des temps indéfinis ”, déclare-t-elle. Et en effet, une fois l’enfant sevré — peut-être à l’âge de trois ans ou un peu plus —, elle l’amène au sanctuaire, comme elle l’avait promis. — 1 Samuel 1:21-24 ; 2 Chroniques 31:16.
      Après avoir offert un sacrifice à Jéhovah, Hanna et son mari présentent Samuel à Éli. Hanna tient certainement la main de son petit garçon lorsqu’elle dit à Éli : “ Pardon, mon seigneur ! Par la vie de ton âme, mon seigneur, je suis la femme qui se tenait près de toi, en ce lieu, pour prier Jéhovah. C’est à propos de ce garçon que je priais, pour que Jéhovah m’accorde ma requête, ce que je lui demandais. Et moi, à mon tour, je l’ai prêté à Jéhovah. Oui, tous les jours qu’il sera, c’est quelqu’un de demandé pour Jéhovah. ” Ainsi commence, pour Samuel, une vie au service de Dieu. — 1 Samuel 1:25-28 ; 2:11.
      Le temps passe ; bien sûr Hanna n’oublie pas son fils. Les Écritures relatent : “ Sa mère avait coutume de lui faire un petit manteau sans manches, et elle le lui montait, d’année en année, quand elle montait avec son mari pour sacrifier le sacrifice annuel. ” (1 Samuel 2:19). Hanna prie sans aucun doute pour Samuel. Tous les ans, lorsqu’elle lui rend visite, elle l’encourage à coup sûr à demeurer fidèle dans son service pour Dieu.
      Pendant l’une de ces visites, Éli bénit les parents du garçon. Il déclare à Elqana : “ Que Jéhovah t’assigne une descendance de cette femme, à la place du prêt qui a été prêté à Jéhovah. ” C’est ainsi que le couple est récompensé par la naissance de trois autres fils et de deux filles. — 1 Samuel 2:20, 21.
      Quel formidable exemple pour les parents chrétiens ! Beaucoup de mères et de pères se montrent, eux aussi, disposés à prêter, figurément parlant, leurs enfants à Jéhovah ; en effet, ils les encouragent à entreprendre une forme de service à plein temps, même si cela implique que leur fils, ou leur fille, vive loin d’eux. De tels parents aimants méritent des louanges pour les sacrifices qu’ils font. Jéhovah les récompensera.
      Une prière qui déborde de joie
      Comme Hanna est heureuse, elle que la stérilité affectait tant autrefois ! Les Écritures ne contiennent que peu de prières faites par des femmes. Mais, en ce qui concerne Hanna, elles en rapportent deux. La première expose ses sentiments alors qu’elle est humiliée et affligée. La seconde exprime son exultation et son action de grâces ; elle commence par ces mots : “ Oui, mon cœur exulte en Jéhovah. ” Hanna se réjouit ensuite que ‘ même la stérile ait mis au monde ’. Et elle loue Jéhovah, celui “ qui élève [...], qui relève le petit de la poussière ”. Vraiment, il est celui qui “ de la fosse aux cendres [...] fait remonter le pauvre ”. — 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
      Cet épisode de la vie de Hanna, dont le récit a été inspiré par Dieu, montre que les imperfections, voire la malveillance, des autres peuvent nous blesser. Toutefois, nous ne devons pas permettre à ce genre d’épreuves de nous priver de notre joie de servir Dieu. Jéhovah est, par excellence, Celui qui entend la prière, qui répond aux appels à l’aide de ses fidèles et qui les délivre de l’affliction. Il leur accorde une paix profonde et de nombreuses autres bénédictions. — Psaume 22:23-26 ; 34:6-8 ; 65:2.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      1 Samuel 2 : 1-10
      Hannah pria Dieu en ces mots:
      Mon cœur se réjouit au sujet de Jéhovah
      ma force grandit grâce à Jéhovah.
      Ma bouche s’ouvre toute grande contre mes ennemis,
      car je me réjouis de tes actes sauveurs.
      Il n’y a personne qui soit saint comme Jéhovah,
      il n’y a personne qui soit comme toi,
      il n’y a pas de rocher comme notre Dieu.
      Arrêtez de parler avec orgueil ;
      que rien d’arrogant ne sorte de votre bouche,
      car Jéhovah est un Dieu qui sait tout
      et il juge les actions avec justice.
      Les arcs des hommes forts sont brisés,
      mais les hommes faibles reçoivent de la force
      Ceux qui mangeaient bien doivent trouver du travail pour avoir du pain,
      mais les affamés ne souffrent plus de la faim.
      La femme stérile a donné naissance à sept fils,
      mais celle qui avait beaucoup de fils est devenue stérile.
      Jéhovah tue et il garde en vie,
      il fait descendre dans la Tombe et il en fait remonter.
      Jéhovah fait devenir pauvre et il fait devenir riche,
      il abaisse et il élève.
      Il relève le petit de la poussière
      et fait remonter le pauvre du tas de cendres
      pour les faire asseoir avec les princes
      et leur offrir une place d’honneur.
      À Jéhovah appartiennent les fondations de la terre ;
      sur elles, il pose le monde
      Il veille sur les pas de ses fidèles,
      mais les méchants seront tués dans l’obscurité,
      car ce n’est pas par la force que l’homme triomphe. 
      Jéhovah anéantira ceux qui combattent contre lui ;
      pour exprimer sa colère, il fera gronder le tonnerre dans le ciel.
      Jéhovah jugera jusqu’aux extrémités de la terre,
      il donnera du pouvoir à son roi et il fera grandir la force de son oint.
       
       
       


      · 1 reply
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