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Concerns grow over Jehovah’s Witnesses Irish child sex abuse files


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    • By Isabella
      Publisher BMG has plunged itself into a copyright lawsuit with elements that are so bizarre it's hard to fathom what the company was thinking of. According to the complaint, BMG illegally used a song owned by religious group Watchtower in a for-profit Christmas album, featuring songs from other faiths, which are set to be sung in cathedrals. Needless to say, Jehovah's Witnesses are outraged.
      Music publisher BMG is best known on these pages for its aggressive copyright infringement action against ISP Cox Communications in the United States.
      After filing a lawsuit accusing the ISP of doing little to prevent its customers from pirating music time and again, the case went through a tortuous process that eventually led to a “substantial settlement.”
      Given the nature of its business and a history of picking over the intricacies of copyright law, it was a surprise to see BMG named as a defendant in a US copyright lawsuit this week. Unusually, however, it’s not simply the copyright aspect of this case that makes it so unusual and interesting.
      Singer Aled Jones Releases Album in November
      Last month, Welsh singer Aled Jones, who shot to fame as a youngster in the 1980s, teamed up with BMG to release a new album titled ‘Blessings’. The album aims to be religiously inclusive by bundling songs associated with Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, and Quakers. But trying to appeal to everyone can have its pitfalls, especially where religion is concerned.
      The problem lies in a song on the album called “Listen, Obey and Be Blessed”, a work owned by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the supervising body and publisher for the Jehovah’s Witness religious group. The appearance of this song on a commercial album immediately raised alarm bells among the religion’s followers who, through their teachings and knowledge of their faith, knew this track shouldn’t have been used in this manner.
      Read more: 
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    • By Isabella
      The Truth and Transparency Foundation — the nonprofit group behind the controversial MormonLeaks website — has settled a copyright infringement lawsuit with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      The settlement comes after the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the publisher for the religious group, sued the nonprofit, alleging it violated copyright when it published Jehovah’s Witnesses’ educational videos on its FaithLeaks website.
      The lawsuit alleged that the Truth and Transparency Foundation, run by Ryan McKnight and Ethan Dodge, published 74 copyright videos on its website. A post detailing the leak described the videos as content shown exclusively during annual conventions. Those who attempted to distribute or upload the videos were met with threats of a lawsuit if they didn’t take the videos down, the post says, which has included the Truth and Transparency Foundation in the past.
      The nonprofit had said it intended to fight the lawsuit, asserting the release of the videos is covered under a constitutional right to free speech. But after fundraising efforts came up short, the group settled the lawsuit instead.

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    • By Isabella
      April 30, 2020, 2:12 PM
      COURT: S.D.N.Y.
      TRACK DOCKET: No. 1:20-cv-03366 (Bloomberg Law Subscription)
      An entity owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses sued the owners of the religious whistleblower site FaithLeaks on Thursday for allegedly infringing copyrights by posting the group’s materials publicly on the internet.
      The Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society of Pennsylvania says the Truth & Transparency Foundation illegally reproduced 74 of its in-house videos on the FaithLeaks site.
      FaithLeaks’ website says it is a “religious document archival project” that collects documents from whistleblowers in religious communities. It has published internal Watch Tower documents concerning the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ handling of sexual abuse claims and personal data.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Jehovah's Witnesses may appeal a judgment that gave the green light to a class-action lawsuit against them for alleged sexual assault on minors.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses in Quebec may appeal a judgment that gave the green light to a class-action lawsuit against them for alleged sexual assault on minors.
      The Quebec Court of Appeal on Monday granted them the right to appeal a judgment authorizing the class action, handed down in February by Justice Chantal Corriveau of the Superior Court.
      At the heart of the class action is whether the church failed to protect its members when they tried to denounce sexual abuse.
      The class action argues the church’s internal reporting policies conceal abuse and have silenced hundreds of sexual assault complaints through the years. It seeks at least $250,000 in damages for each alleged victim.
      The lawsuit targets the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, the parent company of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the country, and another society based in Pennsylvania that’s responsible for the church’s communications and publications.
      At the heart of the class action is whether the church failed to protect its members when they tried to denounce sexual abuse.
      According to the lawsuit, Lisa Blais, now in her 40s, first spoke out about the alleged abuse when she was 16 years old. She sought help from her parents, another Jehovah’s Witness and an elder — members who act as spiritual leaders in different congregations — but says she was discouraged from reporting the abuse in order to protect the community.
      Blais left her family at 17 and was officially disfellowshipped at 24.
      In seeking leave to appeal Corriveau’s judgment, Watch Tower Canada described the decision as “unprecedented in Quebec.” The alleged assaults did not take place in an institutional setting, the organization noted, and it was not leaders or employees of the religious organization who allegedly committed the acts.
      The Quebec Court of Appeal found that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ arguments deserve to be further assessed. Jehovah’s Witnesses will now have to plead their case before the Court of Appeal, at a date yet to be determined.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      More than 70 victims of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses have come forward with their stories since the public network aired a documentory about it last week, reports the nonprofit organisation Reclaimed Voices Belgium.
      The documentary brought to light that the organisation had been covering up sexual abuse of minors via an internal 'disciplinary' system for years, concluded Pano. That way, none of the claims were reported to the police. One of the witnesses in the documentary was very straightforward in calling it "a paradise for paedophiles".

      According to CIAOSN, an independent centre set up by Belgium's Department of Justice to study sectarian organisations, there are similar findings in 12 other countries. The report concludes that the issues in all other countries are the same. Due to the strict hierarchy of the organisation, it's very difficult to come forward, reports CIAOSN.

      The elders of the organisation usually don't listen to the victims, or don't help them. They usually tell them to keep their mouths shut, said one of the witnesses. "I was told to keep the abuse to myself. 'We don't want to slander God's name.' I had to trust them to take care of it. They told me to pray some more and everything would be fine."

      Jehovah's Witnesses disapprove of sexual abuse, but they don't have any policies to prevent it or report it to the police. Victims that quit the organisation are ignored completely and lose all social contact. Another issue that returns frequently in CIAOSN's report is that victims have to give their statements about the abuse in the presence of their abusers. If the accused denies involvement, they'll only further the investigation after two other witness statements. In all these 13 countries, there is not one woman involved in the internal disciplinary system.

      "Noteworthy is the number of people that talk about the severe psychological damage that the exclusion by the community brings with it," the statement of Reclaimed Voices Belgium said. "In conversations we've had with victims so far, it seems that the trauma caused by the exclusion that follows when a victim speaks up about the abuse has an even bigger impact than the abuse itself."

      Maïthé Chini
      The Brussels Times

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    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      From the Newspaper the “San Diego Reader” - October 12, 2017
      Jehovah's Witnesses look in other direction
      Lawyers for religious group argue against daily fines in sex-abuse case
      By Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
       
      Attorneys for the Jehovah's Witness church appeared before a state appellate court yesterday (October 11) in hopes of overturning the $4000 daily sanctions that a trial court ordered them to pay for refusing to turn over documents in one of two sex-abuse cases.
       
      Osbaldo Padron, a former parishioner of the Linda Vista Jehovah's Witness congregation, filed his lawsuit against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ governing body, in 2013. Padron was one of seven people who sued the kingdom over sexual abuse they suffered by a former church elder, Gonzalo Campos.
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Campos admitted to molesting seven children from 1982 to 1999. Despite his admission, church elders agreed to let Campos rejoin the congregation after a four-year expulsion.
       
      In a 1999 letter, Linda Vista church elder Eduardo Chavez argued for reinstating Campos. He wrote, “In our meeting with him he said he was very repentant for what he did. 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."
       
      In 2010, five victims sued the Watchtower for allowing Campos to serve as an elder despite having knowledge that he molested several children in the congregation. Watchtower settled that case in 2012. The terms of the settlement as well as the evidence against the Watchtower were sealed.
       
      Two more victims, Padron and José Lopez, followed suit.
       
      In 2013, San Diego Superior Court judge Joan Lewis ordered Watchtower to pay $13.5 million for repeatedly refusing to turn over documents that showed the church was aware of sexual abuse and did nothing to stop it.
       
      Attorneys for the Watchtower filed an appeal. They argued that Judge Lewis had acted too soon in issuing the $13.5 million in sanctions and instead the trial court should have imposed less severe sanctions. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
       
      In their ruling, the justices wrote, "We conclude the court erred in ordering terminating sanctions because there was no evidence that lesser sanctions would have failed to obtain Watchtower's compliance with the document production order and because there were other possible sanctions that could have effectively remedied the discovery violation. On remand, the court has broad discretion to start with a different sanction that does not wholly eliminate Watchtower's right to a trial."
       
      Then, last year in the Padron case, a different superior court judge, Richard Strauss, followed the appellate court's advice and instead of issuing terminating sanctions Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. for refusing to turn over the documents that Padron's attorneys had requested.
      Again, Watchtower's attorneys filed an appeal.
       
      On October 11, those attorneys appeared before the Fourth District Appellate Court to argue that the trial court was wrong to issue daily sanctions — exactly what they had argued for in the appellate court Lopez case just months prior.
       
      Justice Richard Huffman did not hide his displeasure that Watchtower's attorneys were arguing against what they had previously supported to the same court.
      "You can't have it both ways," Huffman said during argument. "[The Lopez] ruling has come around to bite you and now you're saying, 'not fair, not fair.' You were headed in one direction before and now youÂ’re headed another way. It's a breathtaking position to listen to."
      The appellate court has 90 days to issue its formal ruling."
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Our donations are being used to OBSTRUCT JUSTICE !
       
    • By Jack Ryan
      What is it like to be a Jehovah’s Witness family in Ireland?
      'It is a very joyful life and we are very, very happy'
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday heard arguments in a fight over a church’s “shunning” practice, and said it would release a ruling later, but the congregation involved and several other groups argued that the justices had no right to even take part in the fight.
      The fight is between Randy Wall, a real estate agent, and the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary.
      Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued a church appeals process, unsuccessfully, then went to court because he said the church’s “shunning,” that is, practice of not associating with him in any way, hurt his business.
      He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
      A lower court opinion explained, “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
      The “much distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
      See the WND Superstore’s collection of Bibles, including the stunning 1599 Geneva Bible.
      Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
      During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to say that congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
      The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining if, and when, such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
      The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
      A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that the Canada’s courts should not be involved.
      The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing, “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      Previous case law has confirmed the ability of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
      But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question is one of property or civil rights.
      The Association for Reformed Political Action, described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
      Its position is that the court should keep hands off the argument.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said, “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
      He continued, “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere. Here we need separation of church and state.”
      The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the fight was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
      “Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
      The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
      The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
      “Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
       
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      BETHESDA — The village voted Thursday to end its K-9 program and donate its police dog to the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office on the same night that the board accepted the resignations of two more police officers.
      Meanwhile, the police department’s interim chief and its only remaining full-time officer — who was just hired in April — said they are trying to put the department back together with the hope of rebuilding the public’s trust.
      Interim Police Chief Fred Thompson made the request to transfer the police dog, Frankie, to the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office. He said he believes the dog was an unnecessary expense that had never been used.
      “I think this canine was purchased to be a dog-and-pony show,” said Thompson. “It was a publicity stunt. We don’t need the dog.”
      Mayor Martin Lucas said the K-9 units at Barnesville and the sheriff’s office are willing to help when needed.
      “If that dog bites somebody, I’m not sure we have enough liability coverage,” Lucas said.
      “It’s not being used. It’s sitting in Bridgeport doing absolutely nothing.”
      The dog’s handler is Bethesda Police Chief Eric Smith, who was suspended in April and is being investigated by the Ohio Attorney General’s office for allegations that he misused the state’s law enforcement data sharing system. Misuse of the system is a felony, the attorney general’s office has said.
      The mayor said Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas has agreed to take Frankie.
      “The sheriff has guaranteed that the dog will be used in our village as needed,” he said.
      Meanwhile, two more full-time police officers have resigned from the Village of Bethesda Police Department. Both had served as resource officers for the Union Local School District.
      Lucas announced Thursday the resignations of Francesca Y. Ceccanese and Kyler Hanlon. They join the roster of resignations of police, council members and the former solicitor who have left in the wake of an investigation of Smith.
      Lucas said the village’s contract with the school district ends with the school year. He said the village would determine at a later date if it intends to pursue renewing the contract with the school district.
      Mike Menges, safety director at the school district, said Thursday night that the district had hired retired state highway patrolman Jason Greenwood as its safety officer coordinator. However, he also said he could not comment on the status of the district’s contract with the village of Bethesda. He said Bethesda police officers are still in Union Local buildings.
      After the most recent resignations, the police force has one full-time patrolman, Pete Busack; Fred Thompson, who is serving as interim chief in an administrative-only role; and four part-time officers.
      Lucas also said the village had received more complaints about how people were treated while Smith was leading the department. He said the village had received notification from legal representation of Jehovah’s Witnesses alleging that the police department, under Smith’s administration, had harassed Jehovah’s Witnesses and told them to leave. The religious group’s lawyers did not specify an officer’s name or a date when the harassment may have occurred.
      “I’ll seek some legal advice on returning a letter to this attorney, saying that will no longer happen,” Lucas said.
      Lucas also said Bethesda is aware that the village of Belmont intends to form its own police department. Bethesda’s contract to provide law enforcement will for Belmont will end June 1. Belmont officials have said this is unrelated to Bethesda’s police department issues. Lucas said the departments will have an agreement of mutual aid.
      Also, Busack gave an update on the state of the village’s police department. He said he and Thompson have focused on reorganization.
      “We haven’t had a lot of patrol due to the fact that we have a lot of office work,” he said.
      Among the issues they’ve had to address is creating a system of keeping track of an officer’s keys during shifts and removing the tinting from the front windows of the patrol cars.
      “You want to be able to look outwardly and wave to people when they wave back at you, and when you have black windows, which, No. 1, is illegal in the State of Ohio on the front windows, you can’t see in,” he said.
      He also said removing the tint will allow better communication with other motorists.
      “The entire office, in our opinion, was out of order, and it still to a degree is out of order, and things like that can’t be fixed overnight,” said Busack who also said they were in the process of organizing the evidence room and weapons cabinet.
      “I tried to account for all the weapons, tasers and related equipment,” he said. “In the future, we will do a full inventory of the weapons and of the evidence that’s in there.”
      Additionally, an activity log will be available for council members to access and see the daily activities of police officers. Busack said no sensitive information would be included.
      “Chief Thompson and I will work to restore the trust, confidence and integrity to the citizens of the village of Bethesda and all the surrounding communities,” Busack said.
      “I appreciate your efforts,” Lucas said. “I can’t thank you enough for trying to put this back together.”
      Also, Lucas announced the current $210 fines for speeding tickets would be reduced. He also said that it is the province of mayor’s court to set fines. A new amount will be determined.
      Also, the council will henceforth meet 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month and the fourth Thursday.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses community in the Netherlands will not hold an independent inquiry into the sexual abuse of members, despite being urged to do so by justice minister Sander Dekker. By last month, 267 reports of sexual abuse involving Jehovah’s Witnesses had been made to a hotline set up by the Reclaimed Voices foundation in 2017 after Trouw published a report on the growing scandal. Dekker told RTL Nieuws on Tuesday that the organisation’s decision is ‘disappointing’ and that it is ignoring the victims who want to be heard. He has no powers to force the organisation to hold an inquiry.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      On Friday, May 25, 20/20 will do "something special" for longtime co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas.
      You can call it a going-away party (10/9c, ABC). After 22 years at ABC (14 with the newsmagazine), the Emmy and Peabody Award–winning veteran journalist heads to A&E, where she’ll work under their new primetime banner, A&E Investigates.
      Tell us about your first two A&E shows.
      They’re the first in a nine-part series called Cults and Extreme Beliefs(premieres Monday, May 28, 10/9c). Each episode centers on a person who recently left the group we focus on.
      Our premiere looks at the [so-called “self-help”] NXIVM ring that made headlines when leader Keith Raniere and actress Allison Mack, a high-ranking member, were indicted for sex trafficking. We talk to Sarah Edmondson, who feels enormous regret that she recruited so many people into NXIVM and we follow her as she reaches out to some of them.
      And the second episode?
      It’s about an apocalyptic cult called Twelve Tribes. Our contact is a woman born into the group, cut off from the outside world. She now helps people to escape.
      What have you learned about these insular communities?
      That many of those involved are bright, well-meaning and incredibly altruistic. Some of these groups exist alongside modern society, with no one noticing. For instance, we profile the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has a history of protecting alleged child molesters because they don’t believe in going to the police.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By 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.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      ST. PETERSBURG, May 3. /TASS/. The St. Petersburg city court has upheld the decision to confiscate from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania in New York the compound in the community of Solnechnoye on the Gulf of Finland and convert it to state property, the St. Petersburg courts’ press service said on Thursday.
      Earlier, a court of lower instance found that officially the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia in 2000 donated the real estate compound on the coast of the Gulf of Finland to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, registered on US territory. However, according to the courts’ press-service, the Administrative Center continued to use the facilities as before, which was a reason enough to declare the transaction fictitious and void. The property was taken over by the state.
      The compound consists of sixteen items - plots of land, homes and buildings more than 880 million rubles ($13.9 million) worth.
      Earlier, TASS reported that the defendants had disagreed with the lower instance court’s ruling and filed an appeal at the St. Petersburg city court. In particular, they argued that substantive law had been violated and anti-extremist law sanctions were used against them without a reason.
      Russia’s Supreme Court had declared Jehovah’s Witnesses an extremist organization and outlawed its activity in Russia.


      More:

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The number of reports of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witnesses now stands at 267, Reclaimed Voices, a foundation that manages the hotline for this type of abuse, said to newspaper Trouw.
      Reclaimed Voices was established last year after Trouw published the stories of a number of Jehovah's Witnesses who were abused during their youth. One victim called the religious group a "paradise for pedophiles", because the Jehovah's Witnesses elders tend to keep sexual abuse quiet. In the first week of its existence, the hotline received nearly 50 sexual abuse reports. 
      According to the newspaper, the victims of sexual abuse asked the Jehovah's Witnesses elders for a meeting to discuss this abuse six months ago, but still haven't heard anything. This has a big affect on the victims, Frank Huiting of Reclaimed Voices said to Trouw. "They are angry, they haven't known where they stand for some time and feel disappointed about the entire process. They still aren't being heard, is what it comes down to."
      Minister Sander Dekker for Legal Protection also instructed the leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses to start a conversation with the victims. 

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The parents of a 14-year-old boy with bone cancer won a legal challenge against a Mesa hospital that attempted to override their religious objections to blood transfusions.
      The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that a lower court's emergency hotline used by hospitals to authorize medical treatment on behalf of patients is not allowed under state law.
      The parents of a 14-year-old boy with bone cancer challenged Banner Cardon Children's use of a Maricopa County Superior Court emergency hotline to authorize blood transfusions on behalf of the child. The parents and boy are Jehovah's Witnesses and objected to blood transfusions on religious grounds. 
      While Banner Cardon's medical-treatment plan initially consisted of alternative therapies to fit the parents' religious views, hospital staff later determined that blood transfusions were medically necessary. 
      Hospital staff called the Maricopa County Superior Court hotline multiple times from October through December last year to seek authorization for the blood transfusions. The court granted three of five requests, according to court documents.
      The parents filed a petition with the Arizona Court of Appeals seeking to halt the transfusions.    
      The parents, identified as Glenn and Sonia H., argued that the Superior Court hotline "lacked jurisdiction" for such emergency medical requests and also argued that hospital staffers did not justify the medical need for blood transfusions. 
      The lower court said that such emergency requests were "standard practice" nationwide and the hotline rotated among Superior Court judges who answered requests after hours. 
      In an opinion written by Judge Kenton D. Jones, the appellate court concluded that the question of whether the lower court had jurisdiction to OK emergency medical treatment was one "of significant statewide importance."
      Jones noted that Arizona law allows a Juvenile Court that has jurisdiction over a child to order a parent or guardian to get medical treatment for a child. However, the appellate court did not find any such jurisdiction for a Superior Court emergency hotline.
      "Our review of Arizona statutes and rules of procedure reveals no provision ... authorizing the superior court to maintain an emergency hotline for the purpose of ordering medical treatment for a non-consenting minor," Jones wrote. 
      Therefore, the lower court's order authorizing medical treatment on behalf of the boy is void, the appellate court said. 
      The parents filed the appellate-court action in November but did not request a stay of the lower court's order. The boy received blood transfusions on Dec. 1 and Dec. 5 before his parents relocated his care to a medical facility in Portland, Oregon. 
      Banner Health officials said the health-care provider has not yet decided whether to appeal the appellate court's decision.
      Representatives of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, which filed a legal brief on behalf of the parents, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
      A Jehovah's Witnesses website said the religion considers blood transfusions a "religious issue rather than a medical one," citing multiple biblical passages.
      Patients who develop certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, often require blood transfusions as a part of treatment.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Why JW.ORG does not show development regarding sexual abuse cases as it does with other legal issues? 
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      On December 29th, 2017, Watchtower attorney Armin Pikl filed a lawsuit against Rowohlt Publishing Company, the highly regarded publishing house in Germany which produced the acclaimed book Goodbye Jehovah!, authored by former Jehovah’s Witness Misha Verollet. The autobiographical novel is subtitled “How I left the world’s most notorious cult.”
      Goodbye Jehovah!
      The suit followed a December cease and desist order from Watchtower which demanded the redaction of numerous passages along with the destruction of all current editions of the book in circulation. Rowohlt ignored Watchtower’s plea, resulting in legal action.
      Goodbye Jehovah! was published in 2014 under the author’s pen name Misha Anouk, and was well received in Germany, reaching #22 on the German best-sellers list.  Media attention was widespread across Germany, Switzerland and Austria, resulting in numerous television appearances, articles and radio interviews. While it was a clear winner in Europe, more than three years later the Jehovah’s Witness organization has opted to take issue with a book which is apparently having an effect on its German-speaking members.
      While Jehovah’s Witnesses are not permitted to read “apostate” books or any materials critical of their religion, Verollet believes some German-speaking JWs are reading his book. During an interview with JW Survey he stated:
      The average E-book share of book sales is 5 percent. With my book, over 20 percent were sold as E-books. This is an absolute outlier for the industry
      Because hardcopy books are easily found and confiscated, Verollet believes a number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are reading his book by downloading it to their tablets and phones. Witnesses are less likely to be caught with the electronic version of a book.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      ST. PETERSBURG, January 17 (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – A ruling to confiscate property worth 881.5 million rubles ($15.5 million) belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses organization banned in Russia has been appealed, the St. Petersburg courts’ press office has told RAPSI.
      The appeal was filed by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania registered in the U.S.
      The Jehovah's Witnesses assets included 16 property items in St. Petersburg, according to prosecutors.
      A court earlier found that the Administrative Centre of Jehovah's Witnesses transferred its property complex to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania under a donation agreement on March 1, 2000. However, the court declared the deal fraudulent because the Jehovah's Witnesses continued using the property after its transfer to the foreign organization, and confiscated the property complex in profit of the Russian Federation.
      In April 2017, the Supreme Court of Russia ordered liquidation of the Jehovah's Witnesses managing organization and all its 395 local branches. In August, the Administrative Centre of Jehovah's Witnesses was added to the list of banned extremist organizations.
      Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization has had many legal problems in Russia. Since 2009, 95 materials distributed by the organization in the country have been declared extremist and 8 Jehovah's Witnesses’ branches have been liquidated, according to the Justice Ministry.
      Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization based in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2004 several branches and chapters of the organization were banned and shut down in various regions of Russia.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A lawsuit is now settled between a former victim of sexual abuse and Jehovah's Witnesses. According to the court's website, the case is under a "conditional settlement." The terms and conditions of the settlement are not public.
      José Lopez filed the lawsuit back in 2012, nearly 20 years after church elder Gonzalo Campos molested him and several other young children who were members of the Linda Vista congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
      As reported by the Reader, Campos, who fled to Mexico to escape criminal charges, admitted to committing the acts to Lopez’s and another victim's attorney, Devin Storey, while giving testimony in one of the cases.
      “I touched him in his private parts,” Campos testified.
      Attorney Storey: “Did you touch his penis?”
      Campos: “Yes.”
      Storey: “Did you penetrate him?”
      Campos: “Yes. Yes.”
      Storey: “How many times?”
      Campos: “More than once. I don’t know.”
      In 2009, five other alleged victims sued the Watchtower and Bible and Tract Society of New York, the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses, over the molestation by Campos and the Watchtower's refusal to act.
      That case settled for an undisclosed amount in 2012, the same year that Lopez filed his lawsuit and a year before another victim, Osbaldo Padron, filed his.
      Then, in 2015, a state court judge ruled that the Watchtower had failed to cooperate with discovery in the Lopez case. The judge awarded a $13.5 million judgment in favor of Lopez.
      The Watchtower later appealed the decision and managed to get the decision rescinded and promised to produce the requested documents.
      Meanwhile, a fight over documents was also occurring in Padron's case, the one filed shortly after Lopez’s lawsuit.
      At issue was Watchtower’s refusal to turn over a letter from headquarters that asked for the names of alleged sexual abusers in the church.
      But at the same time other documents had been released by the Linda Vista congregation, which showed the congregation and headquarters were aware that Campos had sexually assaulted young boys and a girl but still considered him eligible to return to the congregation.
      “In our meeting with him he said he was very repentant for what he did,” wrote an elder at Linda Vista's congregation to Watchtower headquarters in New York in 1999.
      “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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    • Guest Nicole
      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
      (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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    • Claud's Lst  »  misette

      Bonjour ma sœur Misette. Comment vas-tu ? J'espère avec l'aide de Jéhovah toute la communauté et especialement toi vont bien. 
      Je n'ai pas reçu la réunion de cette semaine, est-ce qu'il y a un problème pour cette semaine ? 
           Bonne journée ou soirée 
                                   Agape 
      · 1 reply
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Bonjour Eric merci pour cet exposé.
      Bonne journée Michel
      1LE BATEAU.pdf
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      La sagesse est plus précieuse que l’or et la crainte envers Jéhovah est notre salut.
       
      La vraie sagesse de Dieu est un cadeau inestimable, car seul ceux qui obéissent et suivent ces préceptes en recoivent les bienfaits. En Psaume 111:10 déclare ceci: “La crainte de Jéhovah est le commencement de la sagesse.”
      Qu’est-ce que cela veut dire? La sagesse est la capacité d’utiliser efficacement sa connaissance et son intelligence pour résoudre un problème, éviter un danger, atteindre un objectif. Elle sous-entend un bon jugement. Le commencement, la première partie, le fondement de cette sagesse, c’est la crainte de Jéhovah. Pourquoi cela? Bien que toute création est l’œuvre de ses mains et dépend de lui. Il a accordé aux humains le libre arbitre, mais pas la faculté de diriger leurs pas avec succès sans tenir compte de sa direction (Josué 24:15; Jérémie 10:23). Nous ne connaîtrons le succès durable qu’à la condition de bien saisir ces idées fondamentales sur la vie, et de nous y conformer. Si notre connaissance de Jéhovah nous donne la ferme conviction que la volonté divine est promise au succès, et qu’il tiendra sa promesse de récompenser ses fidèles, alors la crainte pieuse nous poussera à agir sagement. — Proverbes 3:21-26; Hébreux 11:6.
      Prenons un exemple: Il y a quelques dizaines d’années, un jeune homme fréquentait l’université de Saskatchewan, au Canada. Au programme de sa formation figurait la biologie, et on lui a enseigné l’évolution. Après avoir été diplômé, il s’est spécialisé dans la physique nucléaire, profitant d’une bourse pour continuer ses études à l’université de Toronto. Au cours de ses études, il a constaté dans la structure des atomes révélaient des témoignages stupéfiants d’un ordre et d’une finalité extraordinaire . Mais personnes ne répondait pas à ces questions: Qui a conçu tout cela? Quand? Et pourquoi? Sans ces réponses, pouvait-il utiliser sagement ses connaissances dans un monde remplis interrogations ? Qu’est-ce qui le guiderait? Le nationalisme? Le désir de gratifications matérielles? Avait-il acquis la vraie sagesse?
      Peu après avoir été diplômé, cet homme ainsi que sa femme se sont mis à étudier la Bible avec les Témoins de Jéhovah. Dans la Parole de Dieu, ils ont peu à peu trouvé les réponses qui leur manquaient. Ils ont appris à connaître le Créateur, Jéhovah Dieu. En étudiant ce qui est arrivé à Moïse à la mer Rouge, à Daniel et à ses compagnons à Babylone, ils ont appris l’importance de craindre Dieu, et non les hommes (Exode 14:10-31; Daniel 3:8-30). Cette crainte pieuse mêlée d’un amour sincère pour Jéhovah a commencé à les animer. Rapidement, leur vie a changé. Enfin cet homme connaissait Celui dont il avait étudié l’œuvre en biologie. Il a progressivement compris le dessein de Celui dont il avait constaté la sagesse dans ses cours de physique. Au lieu d’employer sa connaissance à élaborer des instruments de destruction, il a choisi, avec sa femme, d’aider autrui à aimer Dieu et son prochain. Ils ont entrepris le service de prédicateurs du Royaume de Dieu à plein temps. Par la suite, ils ont suivi les cours de Galaad, l’École biblique de la Société Watchtower, et ont été nommés missionnaires.
      Bien entendu, tout le monde ne peut pas être missionnaire. Mais tous nous pouvons bénéficier de la sagesse fondée sur la crainte de Jéhovah. Si nous cultivons cette sagesse, nous ne consacrerons pas le meilleur de notre vie à étudier les philosophies humaines, qui n’échafaudent que des suppositions sur le but de la vie. Nous nous appliquerons à l’étude de la Bible, livre inspiré de Jéhovah Dieu, la Source de la vie, celui qui peut nous donner la vie éternelle (Psaume 36:9; Colossiens 2:8). Au lieu de nous rendre esclaves d’un système commercial chancelant, au bord de la ruine, nous écouterons Jéhovah, qui nous conseille de nous contenter de la nourriture et du vêtement, et d’accorder à nos relations avec lui la priorité dans notre existence (1 Timothée 6:8-12). Au lieu de nous comporter comme si notre avenir dépendait d’une belle situation dans le monde actuel, nous croirons la Parole de Jéhovah, qui nous affirme que le monde est en train de passer, de même que le désir du monde, alors que celui qui fait la volonté divine demeure pour toujours. — 1 Jean 2:17.
      Dans le livre de Proverbes 16:16, Salomon nous encourage par cette déclaration certaine: “Acquérir la sagesse [la sagesse qui commence par la crainte de Jéhovah], oh! combien cela vaut mieux que l’or! Et acquérir l’intelligence est préférable à l’argent.” Poussés par cette sagesse et cette intelligence, nous considérerons l’accomplissement de la volonté de Dieu comme le premier centre d’intérêt de notre vie. Et quelle activité Dieu a-t-il confiée à ses Témoins en cette période de l’histoire humaine? Faire connaître son Royaume par la prédication et aider les personnes sincères à devenir de vrais disciples de Jésus Christ (Matthieu 24:14; 28:19, 20). Il s’agit d’une activité dont on retire une satisfaction véritable et un grand bonheur. C’est donc à propos que la Bible dit: “Heureux l’homme qui a trouvé la sagesse, et l’homme qui acquiert le discernement.” — Proverbes 3:13.
      Elle nous retient de commettre le mal
      Un deuxième bienfait que nous procure la crainte de Dieu est qu’elle nous retient de commettre le mal. Celui qui respecte profondément Dieu ne détermine pas par lui-même ce qui est bien et mal. Il ne tient pas pour mauvais ce que Dieu déclare bon, ni ne considère comme bon ce que Dieu déclare mauvais (Psaume 37:1, 27; Ésaïe 5:20, 21). De plus, celui que motive la crainte pieuse ne se contente pas de savoir ce que Jéhovah déclare bon ou mauvais. Une telle personne aime ce que Jéhovah aime et elle hait ce que Jéhovah hait. En conséquence, elle agit en harmonie avec les préceptes divins. Ainsi, comme le dit Proverbes 16:6, “par la crainte de Jéhovah, on se détourne du mal”. Cette crainte pieuse devient une motivation puissante qui permet d’atteindre des résultats qu’on n’obtiendrait pas même si une personne commence tout juste à l’éprouver, la crainte pieuse peut lui donner le courage de ne pas faire quelque chose qu’elle regretterait le restant de ses jours. Au Mexique, par exemple, une femme enceinte a demandé à une chrétienne Témoin de Jéhovah ce qu’elle pensait de l’avortement. La chrétienne lui a lu plusieurs versets bibliques, puis lui a tenu ce raisonnement: “Pour le Créateur, la vie est très importante, même la vie de ceux qui ne sont pas encore nés.” (Exode 21:22, 23; Psaume 139:13-16). Des examens laissaient entendre que le bébé serait anormal. Néanmoins, après ce qu’elle avait vu dans la Parole de Dieu, cette femme a décidé de garder son enfant. Son médecin a refusé de la revoir, et son mari l’a menacée de la quitter, mais elle a tenu bon. Elle a finalement donné naissance à une magnifique petite fille, normale et en bonne santé. Par gratitude, elle a recherché les Témoins et s’est mise à étudier la Parole de Dieu avec eux. Moins d’un an après, son mari et elle se faisaient baptiser. Quelques années plus tard, à une assemblée de district, tous deux ont été enchantés de rencontrer la chrétienne qui avait parlé à la femme la première fois. Ils lui ont présenté leur jolie fillette de quatre ans. Incontestablement, le respect de Dieu et le désir puissant de ne pas lui déplaire exercent une grande influence.
      La crainte pieuse peut nous garder d’un grand nombre de mauvaises actions (2 Corinthiens 7:1). Cultivée avec soin, elle est capable d’aider quelqu’un à mettre un terme à des péchés cachés, connus de lui seul et de Jéhovah. Elle peut l’aider à se libérer de la dépendance de l’alcool ou de la drogue. Un ancien drogué d’Afrique du Sud a raconté: “Au fur et à mesure que j’apprenais à connaître Dieu, la crainte de le décevoir ou de lui déplaire grandissait en moi. Je savais qu’il m’observait, et je désirais ardemment son approbation. Cela m’a incité à me débarrasser de la drogue qui était en ma possession en la jetant dans les toilettes.” La crainte pieuse a aidé des milliers de personnes de la même manière. — Proverbes 5:21; 15:3.
      La crainte salutaire de Dieu nous préserve également de la crainte de l’homme. La plupart des humains connaissent, à des degrés divers, la crainte de l’homme. Les apôtres de Jésus Christ l’ont abandonné et se sont enfuis lorsque les soldats se sont emparés de lui dans le jardin de Gethsémané. Plus tard, dans la cour du grand prêtre, désarçonné et en proie à la crainte, Pierre a nié faire partie des disciples de Jésus et même le connaître (Marc 14:48-50, 66-72; Jean 18:15-27). Mais grâce à l’aide qu’ils ont reçue, les apôtres ont retrouvé leur équilibre spirituel. Par contre, aux jours du roi Jéhoïakim, Urie, fils de Schémaïah, fut terrassé par la crainte au point d’abandonner son service de prophète de Jéhovah et de fuir le pays, ce qui ne l’empêcha pas d’être capturé et tué. — Jérémie 26:20-23.
      Comment vaincre la crainte de l’homme? 
      Après nous avoir prévenus que “trembler devant les hommes, voilà ce qui tend un piège”, Proverbes 29:25 ajoute: “Mais celui qui se confie en Jéhovah sera protégé.” La réponse tient donc dans la confiance en Jéhovah. Cette confiance s’appuie sur la connaissance et l’expérience. L’étude de sa Parole nous démontre que les voies de Jéhovah sont droites. Nous découvrons des événements attestant qu’il est digne de confiance, que ses promesses sont sûres (y compris celle de la résurrection), qu’il est amour et qu’il est tout-puissant. Lorsqu’ensuite nous agissons conformément à cette connaissance, accomplissant ce que Jéhovah demande et rejetant fermement ce qu’il condamne, nous commençons à constater dans notre propre cas qu’il prend soin de ses serviteurs avec amour et que l’on peut compter sur lui. Nous acquérons personnellement la certitude que sa puissance est à l’œuvre pour que s’accomplisse sa volonté. Notre confiance en lui s’accroît, de même que notre amour pour lui et notre désir sincère de ne pas lui déplaire. Cette confiance est bâtie sur un fondement solide. Elle est un rempart contre la crainte de l’homme.
      Notre confiance en Jéhovah, alliée à la crainte pieuse, nous rendra fermes en faveur du bien dans le cas où un employeur menacerait de nous renvoyer si nous refusions de participer à des pratiques commerciales malhonnêtes (voir Michée 6:11, 12). Grâce à cette crainte pieuse, des milliers de chrétiens persévèrent dans le vrai culte malgré l’opposition de membres de leur famille. Elle donne aussi aux jeunes le courage de se faire connaître comme Témoins de Jéhovah à l’école, et elle les affermit face aux moqueries de leurs camarades de classe qui méprisent les principes bibliques. Ainsi, une adolescente Témoin de Jéhovah a dit: “Ce qu’ils pensent m’est bien égal. L’important, c’est ce que pense Jéhovah.”
      La même conviction donne aux vrais chrétiens la force de rester attachés aux voies de Jéhovah lorsque leur vie est en jeu. Ils savent qu’ils risquent d’être persécutés par le monde. Ils sont conscients que les apôtres ont été fouettés et que même Jésus Christ a été frappé et tué par des hommes méchants (Marc 14:65; 15:15-39; Actes 5:40; voir aussi Daniel 3:16-18). Mais les serviteurs de Jéhovah sont assurés qu’il peut leur donner la force d’endurer, qu’avec son aide ils peuvent remporter la victoire, que Jéhovah récompensera sans faute ses fidèles, si besoin en les ressuscitant dans son monde nouveau. Leur amour pour Dieu ajouté à la crainte pieuse les pousse puissamment à éviter toute action qui pourrait lui déplaire.
      C’est parce qu’ils étaient animés d’une telle motivation que les Témoins de Jéhovah ont supporté les horreurs des camps de concentration nazis dans les années 30 et 40. Ils ont pris à cœur le conseil de Jésus consigné en Luc 12:4, 5: “D’autre part, je vous le dis à vous, mes amis: Ne craignez pas ceux qui tuent le corps, et qui après cela ne peuvent rien faire de plus. Mais je vais vous indiquer qui vous devez craindre: craignez celui qui, après avoir tué, a le pouvoir de jeter dans la Géhenne. Oui, je vous le dis, Celui-là, craignez-le.” Par exemple, Gustav Auschner, un Témoin qui avait été interné dans le camp de concentration de Sachsenhausen, a écrit plus tard: ‘Les SS ont exécuté August Dickmann et ont menacé de nous passer tous par les armes si nous refusions de signer un document par lequel nous abjurions notre foi. Pas un seul n’a signé. Notre crainte de déplaire à Jéhovah était plus forte que la crainte de leurs balles.’ La crainte de l’homme mène aux compromis, mais la crainte de Dieu nous affermit pour faire le bien.
      La préservation de la vie
      Noé a connu les derniers jours du monde antédiluvien. Jéhovah avait décidé de détruire le monde d’alors en raison de la méchanceté des humains. Toutefois, en attendant, Noé a vécu dans un monde où régnaient la violence, l’immoralité sexuelle choquante et le mépris de la volonté divine. Noé a prêché la justice, et pourtant “ils ne s’aperçurent de rien jusqu’à ce que le déluge vînt et les emportât tous”. (Matthieu 24:39.) Noé n’a cependant pas renoncé à l’activité que Dieu lui avait confiée. Il fit “selon tout ce que Dieu lui avait ordonné. Ainsi fit-il”. (Genèse 6:22.) Qu’est-ce qui a permis à Noé, année après année et jusqu’au déluge, de toujours agir comme il convenait? Hébreux 11:7 répond: “Par la foi, Noé, divinement averti de choses qu’on ne voyait pas encore, fit montre d’une crainte pieuse.” Pour cette raison, sa femme, ses fils, leurs femmes et lui ont été sauvés du déluge.
       Notre époque ressemble de bien des manières à celle de Noé (Luc 17:26, 27). De nouveau un avertissement est lancé. Révélation 14:6, 7 parle d’un ange qui vole au milieu du ciel et invite les gens de toute nation et tribu et langue à ‘craindre Dieu et à lui donner gloire’. Quel que puisse être le comportement du monde autour de vous, obéissez à ces paroles, puis transmettez l’invitation à autrui. À l’instar de Noé, agissons avec foi et manifestons une crainte pieuse. Par cela, des vies peuvent être sauvées: la vôtre et celle de nombre de vos semblables. Lorsque nous considérons les bienfaits dont profitent ceux qui craignent le vrai Dieu, nous ne pouvons que souscrire aux paroles du psalmiste divinement inspiré qui chanta: 
      “Heureux est l’homme qui craint Jéhovah, dans les commandements de qui il prend grand plaisir!” — Psaume 112:1.

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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      I can not open study material 
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    • Darlene  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Can not open weekly study material 
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