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You're in the Army Now: Jehovah's Witnesses No Longer Exempt From Finnish Draft

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The Finnish government has ruled that the current law allowing Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid military service, in place for several decades, is discriminatory and contradicts the constitution.

In the future, Finnish Jehovah's Witnesses* will be obliged to either serve in the nation's military or perform civil service on the same terms as everyone else, the government ruled, submitting a corresponding proposal to parliament, national broadcaster Yle reported.

According to the 1987 law, Jehovah's Witnesses were not only freed from the military draft, they were freed of any obligation to perform community service as a pacifist alternative, a common option among other young people in Finland. The Finnish government has decided that this preferential treatment is discriminatory and contradicts the constitution. Repealing the law will allow all religious groups to get equal treatment in terms of conscription, the government's press release said.

The government proposed a three-month transition period. Those applying for suspension within the three-month period before the new law enters into force shall be allowed to skip military service. After the transition period, exemptions will be no longer granted.

Abolishing the Jehovah's Witnesses' draft exemption has been considered several times before, in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013, but nothing came of the discussions. However, the debate was re-kindled this year, when the Helsinki Supreme Court overruled a prison sentence against a conscientious objector who refused to perform community service. The court found it discriminatory to sentence a conscientious objector, when Jehovah's Witnesses don't need to do any military or community service whatsoever.

"Today we have a kind of two-storied definition of personal convictions. Jehovah's Witnesses enjoy statutory liberation from military service, while others with pacifist convictions don't," former Defense Minister Stefan Wallin, who has long pushed for the abolition of differential treatment, explained.

Veikko Leinonen, a Jehovah's Witnesses information officer in Finland, said this isn't a "working solution."

"It's problematic. The belief the Jehovah's Witnesses follow opposes all forms of war and killing," Leinonen stressed. "Ideally, we should keep the system that exists today. It has worked well and does not violate anyone's rights," he added.

This move is expected to cover some 130 people annually. According to Teemu Penttilä, the leader of the task force behind the investigation, the number of "total objectors" refusing both military service and community service won't rise significantly. In 2017, 33 conscientious objectors were sentenced in Finland.

The Finnish Defense Forces operate on the principle of universal male conscription, although women are allowed to volunteer and have been availing themselves of this opportunity increasingly. With a peacetime strength of about 16,000 troops, Finland is capable of mobilizing up to 230,000 troops and service personnel within four weeks, making it the largest force in Scandinavia.

The total number of Jehovah's Witnesses is estimated at about 20,000 in Finland.

* Jehovah's Witnesses are banned in Russia

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201809211068220658-finland-jehovah-witnesses-army/

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      "If some group or other has exemptions based on their beliefs, then in this day and age they should always be evaluated to make sure different groups are treated equally," said Häkkänen.
      Häkkänen added that participation in national defence is mandated in the Finnish constitution, and that exceptions to that are based on religious convictions.
      "How are those interests weighed against each other in different situations, especially in a changing world, then that's a big constitutional law question as well," said Häkkänen. "This is an interesting issue that must now be resolved fairly."
      EDIT: This story was edited on 23 February to add comments from the Justice Minister.
      https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/jehovahs_witness_exemption_from_conscription_deemed_prejudicial_in_pivotal_ruling/10089261?origin=rss
    • By Queen Esther
      REFUGEES,  WITNESSES  IN  FINLAND
      Russian Jehovah's Witnesses who have come to Finland in search of asylum. Also a Finnish presidential candidate mentioned that the highest percentage of asylum seekers in a particular Finnish refugee center at this time are the Russian Jehovah's Witnesses. The immigration office states that 1,000 Russian Witnesses have sought asylum last year and even earlier.
      Apparently, there was systematic harassment of Witnesses in Russia and a law was passed that the Witnesses can lose custody of their children, if it is proved that the children are indoctrinated by their parents.
                         ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
    • By The Librarian
      The immediate response from the branch office after the tragedy provided comfort and reassurance to both Witnesses and non-Witnesses shaken by the event.
      Source
      Original news report:
       
    • By Kurt
      The daughter Laila Johansson greets her at least twice a week. Then she often read a piece from the Bible
      Biography
      Helfrid Eriksson was born on 23 June 1908 in Pernå, Southern Finland, Finland. Her father was a bricklayer and her mother a housewife. Helfrid and her sister studied at a girls' school in Helsinki. She married taxi driver Paul Eriksson and they had a daughter and two sons. Her mother and father lived to be 95 years old.
      source
      Oldest living by country
       
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (CNN)The Finnish government has set an ambitious goal for residents in a bid to benefit their health -- and their bank balances.
      Officials plan to make the country tobacco-free by 2040, meaning they want less than 2% of their adults to consume tobacco -- in any form -- by that deadline.
      So that's more than 98% of the Finnish population saying no to cigarettes, snuff and other forms of smokeless tobacco, cigars, pipes and even e-cigarettes.
      As per the trend in industralized countries, smoking rates in Finland have been on the decline in recent decades due to measures such as bans on advertising and shop displays, and the creation of smoke-free public spaces. In 2013, 16% of 15- to 64-year-olds in Finland smoked on a daily basis, while nearby in the UK, 19% of adults were smokers in 2014.
      But at the start of this year, a new level of control measures came into force.
      Continue reading
    • By Bible Speaks
      In the ministry in Finland. Photo shared by @vera_laaksonen
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Made these as gifts to give to the brothers and sisters in the special convention in Helsinki, Finland.

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      http://fi.jw2016.org/
       
       

    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      More than 3,000 farmers in Finland on Friday descended on Helsinki to protest against the government's agriculture and food policy. 
      The farmers, along with 600 tractors, came from across the country and parked on Senate Square in the heart of the capital to call on the government to support the country's agricultural sector, which has been suffering as a result of falling food prices and European Union sanctions on Russia, a key export market for the sector.
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    • So the " great crowd"  will learn all things by themselves?  They do not need an organized  place to attend meetings? .... which is instructed by the bible to attend so we can strengthen each other? This is why I call you out as misleading and false....... where is your worldwide organization which is providing place for people of all nations to gather and worship jehovah?  And teach them live and neutrality so they truly view themselves as one nation with no borders dividing them...... There are so many other scriptures which indicate otherwise while you create an argument over the only scripture that 'may' indicate it because of an argument over a preposition....... are you changing the entire truth based on your 'desire' to start 'ruling now?    We are being 'taught ' now by that 'slave'  you hate.     But you may be running ahead about the 1000 year reign..... don't you think?   Don't be patronizing to me..... I know that because of jehovahs spirit working in them.   But the bible clearly indicates that they will judge and rule when they are in heaven......   
    • Nothing is beyond your extreme criticism lol.  Go buy yourself a little patch in London or in any other capital city like New York and see what it costs you.   If they needed a space for someone or a worker, or even for guests or whatever, they would have bought it because it was needed at the time and is now no longer needed.   Says the exceedingly worldly guy......  If they sell the property to help brothers they are wicked and if they buy it to help brothers they are wicked....... do you sound reasonable to yourselves?   Thanks to Jehovah you are not the final judges because you will put all JWs in Auschwitz......just for being JWs..... ah, you may still help the world to do that in future ..... who knows? 
    • Now I understand why many executives disallow any reports to them longer than one page. They KNOW how easy it is to be hypnotized by many words, which for some, is a finely tuned art form.
    • Lol. Same thoughts here. That is why I posted it, genuinely wondering if anyone really read it when it was first published. But then people did read a lot more 50 years ago...... but then they also might have been clueless and just, like I said, zeroed in on the number 1975, which was a mere 7 years away at the time..... If it's any consolation, I only read to about paragraph 10 😃
    • Nope we can’t blame their lack of inspiration by Holy Spirit on distance.  What they do blame it on, is Jesus.  Of course, Jesus did not tell us that his faithful slave would produce perfect spiritual food. w17 February p. 26 In light of this admittance, what is absolutely ironic is the emphasis on “pure language”. It is especially noteworthy that the language that God gives his servants is said to be pure. This is true, not because of grammatical construction, but because it gives evidence of moral and spiritual cleanness. There is no allowance in this language for lying, deceit, or a tricky tongue. Those who speak this language must always speak truth. w91 4/1 p. 24-25 The organization boasts that “pure language” is found in the organization, when at the same time its leaders fail in providing truth.  Jesus did promise to teach his faithful servants “all things”, which would be “perfect spiritual food”.  John 14:26; 1 John 2:27  Since the GB cannot receive it, neither do they receive the “pure language” from God...or anyone who learns from them.        
    • Anna: .... I tried to read all that stuff from the 1968 Watchtower you posted.  I REALLY did. But I concluded that the whole thing could probably be condensed to two short paragraphs, and to read it in it's entirety would probably be fatal to me, from the handful of caffeine tablets I would need to finish it. ...continuing with TTH's comments about John F. Kennedy being the impetus to get mankind to the Moon ..... the thought just occurred to me that with all his foibles, weaknesses, and missteps, ( Bay of Pigs .. what's THAT?), and setting the stage for the Vietnam War, etc., he was sorta like the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, with all their foibles and general cluelessness. What he did RIGHT ... makes up for everything else, with change left over. Same thing.
    • My opening scriptures were Rev 5:9,10.  If you will look again at the WT’s Greek Interlinear, it states that the kings/priests will reign ON the earth.  Do you want to change that truth, Arauna?  If you could only see that a “new creation” is both heavenly and human.  They will serve God in heaven and as the early priests were commissioned to do – teach and serve the people under the direction of their High Priest, Jesus Christ..  Mal 2:7; Rev 1:5,6; 7:15  Can God’s priesthood teach the people if they remain in a spiritual state that the rest of God’s children do not have access to?  Can they say these words and be heard if they are out of contact with God’s future children?... “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And the one who hears, let him say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty, let him come. The one who wants, let him take the water of life freely.”  Rev 22:17 Can “New Jerusalem” prepared as a bride, come down from heaven if it is to remain in heaven?  Rev 22:2 Remember, the “144,000” are the Temple, the Holy City.  They bring God’s Spirit/direction/guidance to His children.   And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with humanity, and he will take up residence with them, and they will be his people and God himself will be with them.  Rev 21:3 The dwelling of God is the Temple/House of God – 1 Cor 3:16,17; 1 Cor 6:19; Eph 2:20-22 So, his ability to come back to earth has now passed.  Is this what you are saying?  Where are the scriptures that support this?  I have provided scripture that show Jesus returning to the earth. And after he had said these things, while they were watching, he was taken up, and a cloud received him from their sight. 10 And as they were staring into the sky while he was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood by them 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand there lookin] into the sky? This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven like this will come back in the same way you saw him departing into heaven!” Acts 1:9-11 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “And let all the angels of God worship him.”  Heb 1:6  I am pretty amazed that Gen 28:12-17 and John 1:51 do not help you see that Jesus will be on the earth in the Kingdom.  I hope you actually read them.  A symbolic stairway in Jacob's vision is set up between heaven and earth.  The descendants of Jacob in Genesis, are “Israel”.  His descendants, the “144,000” inherit the earth.  Jesus referred to the stairway again in John, with his “angel”/messengers “ascending and descending” upon the Son of Man.   An anointed, refined and found faithful can be sealed while on the earth.  Yet even so, their obedience only to Christ must continue until he returns.  1 Cor 1:21,22; Eph 1:13; 4:30 Can you see you are creating a doctrine with no sound basis?  How do you know this?  You speak of unity among all in the organization, yet they are all individuals, both men and women.  You have even in error, designated that the organization's members are the Body of Christ.  But, when it comes the the true anointed Body of Christ you now say there will be no men or women, but clones as your GB portray them, once God's Kingdom arrives.  You are applying two sets of standards, which is hypocrisy.    Yes they do...in heaven.   You can see the slaves however you like, but I detect you looking through the lens of the GB who are telling all JWs lies about the anointed ones.  I see what scripture points out clearly, that the elders have usurped the role of God’s priesthood. Matt 24:15,16; 2 Thess 2:3,4; Rev 11:1-3; 13:6  Revelation’s “Jezebel” feeds God’s servants/slaves lies, and expects gratitude given to an organization, an idol.  Your very words speak their lies. The ancient Jezebel killed the prophets of God (1 Kings 18:13);  today’s “Jezebel” spiritually “kills” any anointed as well as their companions who see truth and reveal “her” lies.  Rev 13:11,14-17 But I have against you that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, the one who calls herself a prophetess,(Rev 13:11) and teaches and deceives my slaves to commit sexual immorality (spiritual harlotry) and to eat food sacrificed to idols.  Rev 2:20 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear, and will produce great signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even the elect    
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