By James Thomas Rook Jr.
If a JW votes in a national election ... will there be congregational sanctions against him?
The last thing I heard was in 1999 in the Watchtower that it had changed that we were now allowed to follow our consciences, in voting quoted here:
" Questions From Readers
How do Jehovah’s Witnesses view voting?
There are clear principles set out in the Bible that enable servants of God to take a proper view of this matter. However, there appears to be no principle against the practice of voting itself. For example, there is no reason why a board of directors should not take a vote in order to arrive at decisions affecting their corporation. Congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses often make decisions about meeting times and the use of congregation funds by voting with a show of hands.
What, though, of voting in political elections? Of course, in some democratic lands, as many as 50 percent of the population do not turn out to vote on election day. As for Jehovah’s Witnesses, they do not interfere with the right of others to vote; neither do they in any way campaign against political elections. They respect and cooperate with the authorities who are duly elected in such elections. (Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State. (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. ) In making this personal decision, the Witnesses consider a number of factors.
First, Jesus Christ said of his followers: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) Jehovah’s Witnesses take this principle seriously. Being “no part of the world,” they are neutral in the political affairs of the world.—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
Second, the apostle Paul referred to himself as an “ambassador” representing Christ to the people of his day. (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. ) Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ Jesus is now the enthroned King of God’s heavenly Kingdom, and they, like ambassadors, must announce this to the nations. (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. ) Ambassadors are expected to be neutral and not to interfere in the internal affairs of the countries to which they are sent. As representatives of God’s heavenly Kingdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses feel a similar obligation not to interfere in the politics of the countries where they reside.
A third factor to consider is that those who have a part in voting a person into office may become responsible for what he does. (Compare Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , The New English Bible.) Christians have to consider carefully whether they want to shoulder that responsibility.
Fourth, Jehovah’s Witnesses greatly value their Christian unity. (Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) When religions get involved in politics, the result is often division among their members. In imitation of Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses avoid becoming involved in politics and thus maintain their Christian unity.—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. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
Fifth and finally, their keeping out of politics gives Jehovah’s Witnesses freeness of speech to approach people of all political persuasions with the important message of the Kingdom.—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
In view of the Scriptural principles outlined above, in many lands Jehovah’s Witnesses make a personal decision not to vote in political elections, and their freedom to make that decision is supported by the law of the land. What, though, if the law requires citizens to vote? In such a case, each Witness is responsible to make a conscientious, Bible-based decision about how to handle the situation. If someone decides to go to the polling booth, that is his decision. What he does in the polling booth is between him and his Creator.
The Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , said: “Where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote . . . [Witnesses] can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith. It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot.”
What if a Christian woman’s unbelieving husband insists that she present herself to vote? Well, she is subject to her husband, just as Christians are subject to the superior authorities. (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. ) If she obeys her husband and goes to the polling booth, that is her personal decision. No one should criticize her.—Compare Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
What of a country where voting is not mandated by law but feelings run high against those who do not go to the voting booth—perhaps they are exposed to physical danger? Or what if individuals, while not legally obliged to vote, are severely penalized in some way if they do not go to the polling booth? In these and similar situations, a Christian has to make his own decision. “Each one will carry his own load.”—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
There may be people who are stumbled when they observe that during an election in their country, some Witnesses of Jehovah go to the polling booth and others do not. They may say, ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses are not consistent.’ People should recognize, though, that in matters of individual conscience such as this, each Christian has to make his own decision before Jehovah God.—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
Whatever personal decisions Jehovah’s Witnesses make in the face of different situations, they take care to preserve their Christian neutrality and freeness of speech. In all things, they rely on Jehovah God to strengthen them, give them wisdom, and help them avoid compromising their faith in any way. Thus they show confidence in the words of the psalmist: “You are my crag and my stronghold; and for the sake of your name you will lead me and conduct me.”—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ."
Now, all this is well and good .... but if a Brother's conscience will allow him to vote in national elections ... will he be chastised, sanctioned, or punished for the free exercise OF his conscience, by the CCJW ?
By James Thomas Rook Jr.
WHY would Jehovah's Witnesses reject Government calls for Independent Inquiry into sexual abuse?
By Bible Speaks
What Government was Jesus Christ Supporting? What Can We Do today to support God's Government?
“Oppose the Devil” as Jesus Did
“Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.”—JAS. 4:7.
Concerning one of the temptations Jesus experienced in the wilderness, the Scriptures state: “The Devil took him along into the holy city, and he stationed him upon the battlement of the temple and said to him: ‘If you are a son of God, hurl yourself down; for it is written, “He will give his angels a charge concerning you, and they will carry you on their hands, that you may at no time strike your foot against a stone.”’” (Matt. 4:5, 6)
Supposedly, this would result in a spectacular display of Jesus’ Messiahship.
In reality, though, it would have been an improper, arrogant act that would not
have had God’s approval and support.
Once more, Jesus maintained his integrity to Jehovah and responded by quoting a scripture. He said: “Again it is written, ‘You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.’”—Matt. 4:7; Deut. 6:16.
Still another temptation that the Devil used in the wilderness involved an offer to give Jesus political power. Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” (Matt. 4:8, 9)
What an unscrupulous attempt to get the worship belonging to Jehovah and to induce Jesus to prove unfaithful to God!
By meditating on the desire to be worshipped, that once loyal angel had become the sinful, covetous, and grossly evil tempter Satan the Devil. (Jas. 1:14, 15)
In stark contrast, however, Jesus was determined to remain faithful to his heavenly Father and therefore declared: “Go away, Satan! For it is written, ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”
Thus Jesus again opposed the Devil in clear and definite terms. God’s Son wanted no part of Satan’s world and would never worship that wicked one!—Matt. 4:10; Deut. 6:13; 10:20.
By showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, the Devil was offering him unprecedented human power. Satan hoped that what Jesus saw would appeal to him and convince him that he could become the earth’s most powerful political leader.
Today, the Devil does not offer us kingdoms, but he does attempt to corrupt our hearts through our eyes, ears, and minds.
The Devil is in control of this world. Hence, he controls its media. It is not surprising, therefore, that the world’s viewing, listening, and reading material is saturated with immorality and violence.
This world’s advertising elements try to build in us a desire for a flood of consumer goods that we do not need. By such means, the Devil constantly tempts us with materialistic attractions that can appeal to our eyes, ears, and minds.
But when we refuse to view, listen to, and read Scripturally unacceptable material, we are in effect saying: “Go away, Satan!”
We thus imitate Jesus in being firm and decisive in our rejection of Satan’s unclean world. The fact that we are no part of Satan’s world is also seen in how we courageously identify ourselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christ’s followers at work, at school, in the neighborhood, and among our relatives.—Read Mark 8:38.
Why does opposing Satan mean being continually alert?
After the Devil’s third unsuccessful attempt to get Jesus to compromise His integrity to God, “the Devil left him.” (Matt. 4:11)
However, Satan did not intend to stop tempting Jesus, for we are told: “So the Devil, having concluded all the temptation [in the wilderness], retired from him until another convenient time.” (Luke 4:13)
When we succeed in opposing the Devil, we should thank Jehovah. But we should also seek God’s continued help, for the Devil will return to tempt us at another time convenient for him—and not necessarily when we may be expecting a temptation.
Hence, we must remain alert at all times, ready to persevere in rendering sacred service to Jehovah regardless of the tests we must face.
Something else helped Jesus to oppose the Devil, and it can help us too. The Bible states: “For the joy that was set before [Jesus] he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
We can have similar joy by upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty, honoring his holy name, and keeping the reward of everlasting life before us.
What joy we will experience when Satan and all his works are obliterated forever and ‘the meek ones themselves possess the earth and find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace’! (Ps. 37:11)