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Are Jehovah's Witnesses allowed to vote?


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THE WATCHTOWER (SIMPLIFIED EDITION) APRIL 2016Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. 2 One way we pay back “God’s things to God” is by not taking sides in the political issues of this world. We are neutral in these matters. ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) Since Jehovah  allows human governments to rule, we do not oppose them. We also do not get involved in any patriotic or nationalistic activity.

I think the question is not so stupid. Ask any Jehovah's Witness in Greece and will tell you that the voting was forbidden in the past. And even now some brothers and sisters advertise in the preaching work that we go to vote but we vote with a white paper... and of course the people answer:... then why go voting in the first place.... because in Greece the winner takes all neutral votes... so is like voting the winning party. Anyway I think God will not be displeased if I will vote a good mayor

ARE  WE  NOW  ALLOWED  TO  VOTE ? The WTB&TS is involved in all kinds of political activity ... most recently having the Brotherhood of 8 million people and more (?) sent letters trying to persuade the Russian Federation to change its political policies towards Freedom of Religion, and non-interference with Jehovah's Witnesses.  An estimated 64 MILLION of Jehovah's Witnesses letters flooded the country's leaders to try and get them to change their policies. Unintended consequ

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Yes, the way the question was asked is as if we are brain dead or something. We can do whatever we want. But the real question why would we if we truly love Jehovah as our God. And believe that his kingdom is our only hope? Are we allowed?, that question is somewhat insulting. But I overlooked that person stupidity in asking it, due to their ignorance of our core beliefs.

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I think the question is not so stupid. Ask any Jehovah's Witness in Greece and will tell you that the voting was forbidden in the past. And even now some brothers and sisters advertise in the preaching work that we go to vote but we vote with a white paper... and of course the people answer:... then why go voting in the first place.... because in Greece the winner takes all neutral votes... so is like voting the winning party. Anyway I think God will not be displeased if I will vote a good mayor who will fix the road in front of my house over a mafioso who will go to elections for mayor just to steal people's money. I mean there is no connection between my mayor and God's kingdom.

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THE WATCHTOWER (SIMPLIFIED EDITION) APRIL 2016
    Hello guest!

2 One way we pay back “God’s things to God” is by not taking sides in the political issues of this world. We are neutral in these matters. (

    Hello guest!
) Since Jehovah  allows human governments to rule, we do not oppose them. We also do not get involved in any patriotic or nationalistic activity. (
    Hello guest!
) We do not try to change governments or try to influence politicians, and we do not vote in political elections or become politicians

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ARE  WE  NOW  ALLOWED  TO  VOTE ?

The WTB&TS is involved in all kinds of political activity ... most recently having the Brotherhood of 8 million people and more (?) sent letters trying to persuade the Russian Federation to change its political policies towards Freedom of Religion, and non-interference with Jehovah's Witnesses. 

An estimated 64 MILLION of Jehovah's Witnesses letters flooded the country's leaders to try and get them to change their policies.

Unintended consequences of that gave the Russians approximately 11 boxcar loads of paper to dispose of  (firewood?), and through the Universal Postal Union's terminal duty contracts with all nations, 70% of the face value of the stamps, which amounted to 56 MILLION DOLLARS, CASH, of the Brotherhood's hard earned money. 

This does not count the time of about ( 64m x 20 minutes per letter  = 21,333 hours, or 10.3 "man years" ) of Jehovah's Witnesses time and productivity .... TO POLITICAL ACTIVITY.

My wife just told me that now ... the Society's policy is that voting is a matter of personal conscience .... where "before", it was strictly forbidden under pain of disfellowshipping.

I apparently have not kept up if this is true.

So my question is ... is this true ?

.... and if so ... why did the corporation policy change?

Are we now allowed to vote ?

 

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Jehovah's Witnesses are known to be politically neutral and for refusing to vote. They have suffered imprisonment and even death (such as Malawi) for abstaining from involvement in political affairs. However, the requirement not to vote has varied over time. Although few Witnesses vote, since 1999 it is technically a conscience matter. The latest elders manual - Shepherd the Flock of God - does not mention voting at all.

Conscience Matter

Watchtower 1999 11/1 pp.28-29

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 JehovahÂ’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 JehovahÂ’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. (Romans 13:1-7) As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State. (Matthew 22:21; 1 Peter 3:16) 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." (John 17:14) Jehovah’s Witnesses take this principle seriously. Being "no part of the world," they are neutral in the political affairs of the world.—John 18:36.

Second, the apostle Paul referred to himself as an "ambassador" representing Christ to the people of his day. (Ephesians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20) JehovahÂ’s Witnesses believe that Christ Jesus is now the enthroned King of GodÂ’s heavenly Kingdom, and they, like ambassadors, must announce this to the nations. (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:15) 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 GodÂ’s heavenly Kingdom, JehovahÂ’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 1 Timothy 5:22, 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. (Colossians 3:14) 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.—Matthew 12:25; John 6:15; 18:36, 37.

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.—Hebrews 10:35.

In view of the Scriptural principles outlined above, in many lands JehovahÂ’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 November 15, 1950, issue of The Watchtower, on pages 445 and 446, 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. (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 2:13-17) If she obeys her husband and goes to the polling booth, that is her personal decision. No one should criticize her.—Compare Romans 14:4.

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."—Galatians 6:5.

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.—Romans 14:12.

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."—Psalm 31:3.

Not Allowed

"Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock" (1991) pp.139,140
Jehovah's Witnesses maintain neutrality with regard to the political and military affairs of the nations. (John 17:16; rs pp. 269-76)

elders-p140-voting.jpg

They do not interfere with what others do as to voting in political elections, running for or campaigning for political offices, joining non-neutral organizations, shouting political slogans, and so forth. (w86 9/1 pp. 19- 20; w68 6/1 pp. 351-2) [See also w99 11/1 pp28-9 Q from R]

Since true dedicated Christians are "no part of the world," if a member of the congregation unrepentantly pursues a course in violation of his Christian neutrality, he thereby disassociates himself from the neutral Christian congregation. (John 15:19; 17:14-16; w82 1/15 p. 31)

Elders should talk to one known to be contemplating taking such a course, since he may be doing so in ignorance. (Ps. 119:67; Gal. 6:1; 1 Tim. 1:13)

If he disregards the help proffered and pursues a course in violation of Christian neutrality, a committee should send the facts substantiating the disassociation to the branch office on the S-77 and S-79 forms. [See also ks91 p143]


What Does the Bible Really Teach? Chapter 15 paragraph 12
as shown at

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April 3rd 2010

True worshipers are no part of the world. When on trial before the Roman ruler Pilate, Jesus said: “My kingdom is no part of this world.” (John 18:36) No matter what country they live in, Jesus’ true followers are subjects of his heavenly Kingdom and thus maintain strict neutrality in the world’s political affairs. They take no part in its conflicts. However, Jehovah’s worshipers do not interfere with what others choose to do about joining a political party, running for office, or voting.


jv p.673
In some lands, voting in political elections is viewed as an obligation. Failure to vote is punished by fine, imprisonment, or worse. But JehovahÂ’s Witnesses support the Messianic Kingdom of God, which, as Jesus said, "is no part of this world." Therefore, they do not participate in the political affairs of the nations of this world.


uw p.166
However, JehovahÂ’s Witnesses do not meddle in politics, no matter what the country in which they live. They do not interfere with what others do as to joining a political party, running for office or voting in elections. But, since Jesus said that his disciples would be "no part of the world," JehovahÂ’s Witnesses take no part whatsoever in political activities.


sj p.16
In many schools, students are voted into an office or a position, such as class president. Some schools have small-scale political campaigns, including campaign buttons and posters advertising candidates. The purpose is to familiarize young people with the machinery of politics. However, Witness youths do not mix in school politics, either by accepting an elective office or by voting others into office. So if either nominated for or elected to an office, they tactfully decline. In this way they follow the example of Jesus who withdrew when the people wanted to make him king


Watchtower 1964 5/15 p.308
To mature Christians, the question of what attitude should be taken in the matter of political elections presents no issue. In totalitarian countries oftentimes people are forced by law to go to the election polls and sometimes persons are even picked up at home and brought to the polls. Even in certain democracies the law makes it compulsory for the citizens to go to the election places. In no country do Jehovah’s witnesses take part in politics. They are not of this world. (John 17:14) Therefore they do not take part in voting at elections. They do not compromise their neutral standing in matters of politics, however, if they go to the polls and make the ballot void in some manner, either by crossing it out or by putting down, for example, the words "For God’s Kingdom." That is telling what he is for. By doing this their ballot will become void; it will not count in the election of a man. They have complied with the law and gone to the polls and likely avoided punishment. Remember Jesus’ counsel: "Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves." (Matt. 10:16) No one should be condemned for acting so. "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God."—Rom. 14:10.


Watchtower 1959 7/1 p.398
Jesus Christ was not subversive though he was so accused by his religious opposers. (Luke 23:2) He refused to become politically active in this worldÂ’s affairs because, as he said: "No one can be a slave to two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other." (Matt. 6:24) It is because of such admonition by Jesus that JehovahÂ’s witnesses have refused to mix these interests in government. But this does not make them subversive. The refusal of JehovahÂ’s witnesses in the past to fulfill such patriotic duties as voting, saluting a flag or participation in the armed forces, is an insurance to every country that JehovahÂ’s witnesses will not endanger the security of that nation, because they have been refraining from the same activities in all other countries at the same time.


Watchtower 1952 6/1 p.346
If he made improper appointments he would become responsible for the sins of such appointees, since he put them in position to commit their sins that hurt the congregation in GodÂ’s sight. So the people who either vote wicked rulers into office or allow them to remain in power must accept responsibility for such rulersÂ’ official acts and sins against God and man.


Watchtower 1952 9/1 p.526
"Voting is compulsory, and because the brothers have refused to vote they have been frequently beaten and imprisoned.

Conscience Matter

Watchtower 1950 11/15 pp.445-446 Subjection to the Higher Powers
21 In view of not recognizing worldly political powers as the “superior authorities” ordained by God, but recognizing only God and Jesus Christ to be such now, the Christian witnesses conscientiously refrain from taking part in the politics of this world, yes, even from voting. This has been true of them from the first century on. Testifying to this fact, Ancient Times—A History of the Early World, by Jas. H. Breasted, Ph.D., LL.D., says, under the heading, “1070. Rome persecutes the early Christians,” the following: “The officers of government often found these early converts not only refusing to sacrifice to the emperor as a god but also openly prophesying the downfall of the Roman State. The early Christians were therefore more than once called upon to endure cruel persecution. Their religion seemed incompatible with good citizenship, since it forbade them to show the usual respect for the emperor and the government.”—Page 663, edition of 1916.

22 In some countries today the legislature wants to make all the adult citizens responsible for the government. To enforce the democratic way upon them they are required by law to vote in the national elections. Under such circumstances what are Christians to do, since they are under divine command to keep themselves unspotted from this world? By dedicating themselves wholly to God through Christ they have vowed their unswerving allegiance to the kingdom of God, and they cannot divide their allegiance. So how are they now to proceed? Can they register as qualified voters? Yes. The apostle Paul held onto his Roman citizenship and fought for its rights, even appealing to Caesar in defending his right to preach the gospel. In lands where military conscription is in force JehovahÂ’s witnesses register the same as all others within the age limits, and they write down their relationship to the matter. They remember how Joseph and Mary complied with CaesarÂ’s decree and traveled to Bethlehem-Judah in order to be registered at their home town. (Luke 2:1-5, NW) But it is when these ministers of JehovahÂ’s Word are called up for induction into the army that then they present themselves and take their stand according to GodÂ’s Word and pay to him what belongs to him. Likewise where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote. After they have registered and when election day comes, they 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.

23 It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot. They must act in accord with their conscience as enlightened by the study of GodÂ’s Word. In lands where voting is not compulsory, the ministers of JehovahÂ’s Word remember that his people are theocratically organized. According to the divine law under which they are organized the popular vote of the majority does not put servants in office, but all appointments in the theocratic organization are from God and through those whom he puts in authority in his organization.

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@James Thomas Rook Jr. No, Christians who are serious about neutrality are not suppose to be voting, however they can be in defense of Freedom of Religion, which is in conjunction with what the Apostle Paul taught regarding Civil Disobedience and when and where and how it is done by the Christians, in this regard, the Jehovah's Witnesses are in a defense of trying to preserve what they practice and preach, as well as the Bible, for the Kremlin has been cracking down on all Bibles prior to the ban, they say they target JW Bibles, but really you can get can a visit from the police or FSB if you have a Bible in public.

Plus there is also another factor, for JWs in Russia are Anti-Nationalist, not even taking part in war glorification ceremonies and or often targets in institutions and threaten, and prior to the election, Jehovah's Witness crackdowns were in full force, for the Kremlin believed that JWs neutrality would hinder those who are not of the faith to not vote, perhaps not vote for Putin, for this was included in a list of things as to why the ban was issued.

Also I think it is obvious of how Putin won, that end result for the election was clearly rigged, but if you say something, you'll end up like most Kremlin Critics, or perhaps end up like Boris Nemtsov.

So in short, Christians will be in defense of religious Freedom, even if it means Civil Disobedience against a political party, but never will they take sides, granted all sides and spots on those sides are held by the Kremlin and their connections.

Other than that, this is all the Russian Church, the Kremlin and the Duma care about, this video speaks for itself:

53465768798.si_-e1466842996527.jpg

This other image is whom was in connection with the Pope to get rid of JWs to begin with:

220px-Patriarch_Kirill_of_Moscow.jpg

The master mind:

dvorkin.jpg

So even if they had the chance to vote, they get pegged with rocks with the crest of the Kremlin (Coat of arms of Russia) painted on it, figuratively speaking.

For the biggest clue that people missed is the fact a JW family had been awarded, and the only reason Putin was present is because the RoC and the Duma were not there during the ceremony - for a very specific reason.

@Matthew9969 Not really, for if there was a halt to prevent the JWs from influencing neutrality, clearly the Kremlin had put in motion on how to get rid of them, but little did they know Religious Freedom is held to a high regard to the Russians, mainly to those who are outside of and against the RoC. The Kremlin do not even let them preach near any political office that is in regards of voting. Other than that, fighting for religious freedom has nothing to do with voting, if the case involving baker and the 2 homosexual men had taught us anything or that of the two women some days ago.

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@Jack Ryan Fighting for religious freedom has nothing to do with voting. Granted this is Russia, JWs are not only allowed to vote, they are kept away from voters because of suspected influence of neutrality, mainly for the fact that there is a HUGE amount of Russians who are Anti-Kremlin/RoC, which resulted in them being called heroes, for said heroes are targeted, hence the various websites having the pictures and information of people as if they are targets for the hunt should the situation call for it.

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It seems that 1999 was the last time the WTB&TS gave it's corporate guidance on this matter.

Anybody know about any current updates ... either via publications, talks, or actual practice?

I am thinking about voting in the November Senatorial Elections, here in the United States, with a clear conscience ... but I of course do not want to run afoul of the Congregation's Elders current conceptions or mis-conceptions, and be "burned at the stake".

uh .... so to speak.

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    • 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.
      Hey Robert ....
      I "talk" with my brother, Robert, on the telephone about politics .... well.... he talks .... and I listen.
      My brother, who lives about 250 miles away, hates Donald Trump with a salivating and spittle, foaming at the mouth passion, and nearly goes into stroke-mode lambasting him, at which time I cannot get a word in edgewise.  After about 45 minutes he slows down, and I can hear his wife in the background telling him to calm down, Robert, calm down, calm down.
      Today he called, and I casually mentioned he seems to have a dilemma .....as currently it seems Bernie Sanders, avowed true believer Socialist and Communist, who got married in Moscow, seems to be the front-runner for the Democrat Primaries going on, and may be the Democrat Party Candidate for President of the United States!
      I told him ... "Hey Robert ... it looks like you have a choice between Bernie Sanders, and voting for Donald Trump, to keep the USA from going Socialist !"
      Even though he was on the phone, I thought I heard the "AAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!," outside my house.
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Norway is the great catalyst that will force the GB to start thinking about basic human rights, as currently there is a lot of discussion in the Norwegian Government about " ... Why are we giving the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Norwegian dollars (Kroners) every year from Tax money for their charities ... for EACH and every of the approximately 112,000 JWs in Norway (paraphrased), when they prohibit their members to vote"... which THEY consider to be an inalienable, and non-negotiable human right of all peoples, everywhere.
      The WTB&TS is currently being governed by the Lawyers, Accountants, and the Finances department, with the GB not admitting being personally responsible for ANYTHING.
      What we consider "reasonable", they consider EXTREMIST, and many European nations give tax money to ALL legitimate churches, without restriction on how they spend it.
      By violating what these governments' and peoples' basic understanding on what constitutes extremism, soon, if not already, it is going to affect the flow of cash into the Society's Treasury.
      One of several major concerns of the Governing Body is to not hemorrhage money, as it has been doing for years in the constant Child Sexual Abuse court cases.
      THIS is what will drive any change .... not love ... not justice ...not fairness .... MONEY!
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      By the way .... has the Society recently decided that voting is a matter of personal conscience?
      What I have read is so "weasel worded", I cannot tell.

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      With the congregation of Southwest Niagara Falls today. A list of our 608 brothers and sisters currently in prison for maintaining their neutrality.

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Intolerance has a chilling effect on freedom of thought and discussion. It places democracy under siege.

      An unmistakable feature of any nation which professes to be democratic is the prevalence of tolerance therein. Tolerance is not merely a goody-goody virtue. It is vital because it promotes the receiving or acknowledging of new ideas and this helps to break the status quo mentality. Tolerance is particularly needed in large and complex societies comprising people with varied beliefs, as in India. This is because readiness to tolerate views other than one’s own facilitates harmonious coexistence.
      A liberal democracy accepts the fact that in a free country, one can have different opinions and should have equal rights in voicing them. This is pluralism, and tolerance is its ultimate rationale.
      Tolerance accords high respect for human rights, especially freedom of conscience and freedom of thought. Disagreement with the belief and ideology of others is no reason for their suppression, because there can be more than one path for the attainment of truth and salvation. Even if there is only one truth, it may have a hundred facets.
      Intolerance stems from an invincible assumption of the infallibility and truth of one’s beliefs, the dogmatic conviction about the rightness of one’s tenets and their superiority over others, and with the passage of time, this leads to forcible imposition of one’s ideology on others, often resulting in violence. At present, the virus of intolerance has acquired global dimensions. Religious and political persecution has become rampant and curiously that too sometimes in the name of God Almighty or some Divine Power.
      An intolerant society does not brook dissent. Suppression of dissent by censorship is an indispensable instrument for an intolerant authoritarian regime. Censorship, indeed, is its natural ally.
      The necessity for tolerance has been internationally recognised. It is noteworthy that the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations proclaims that to achieve the goals of the Charter we need to “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”. Another significant UN instrument is the Declaration of November 25, 1981 on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief which emphasises that it is essential to promote tolerance and requires states to adopt all necessary measures for the speedy elimination of intolerance in all its forms and manifestations. It is evident that there is an essential linkage between tolerance, human rights, democracy and peace.
      Intolerance does not always emanate from official or state action but also from certain groups or sections in society. A not too recent instance was the determined effort to ban the exhibition of the film Ore Oru Gramathiley by a group of persons who regarded its theme and presentation as hostile to the policy of reservation of jobs in public employment and seats in educational institutions in favour of Scheduled Castes and backward classes. There were threats of attacking cinema houses where the film would be shown.
      The Madras High Court in an incredible judgment revoked the certificate granted by the Board of Censors to the film and restrained its exhibition. The Supreme Court promptly reversed the judgment in a landmark decision, S. Rangarajan vs P. Jagjivan Ram, where Justice K. Jagannatha Shetty, speaking for the court, laid down an extremely important principle: “Freedom of expression protects not merely ideas that are accepted but those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the
      population. Such are the demands of the pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no democratic society”.
      Intolerance has a chilling, inhibiting effect on freedom of thought and discussion. Remember how Galileo suffered for his theory that the sun was the centre of the solar system and not the earth. Darwin was a victim of intolerance and was lampooned and considered an enemy of religion for his seminal work, The Origin of Species. Nearer home we have the example of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, whose efforts for reform, especially for the abolition of Sati, evoked fierce opposition because of intolerance. We must not revert to those dark days because when that happens democracy is under siege.
      We must combat intolerance and its manifestations resulting in human rights violations by appropriate legal remedies. However, the crucial point is that tolerance cannot be legislated. No law can compel a person to be tolerant. Therefore, we must develop the capacity for tolerance by fostering an environment of tolerance, a culture of tolerance. Stereotypes and prejudices about certain classes and communities must be eschewed. Educational institutions have a vital role to play in this connection. The immense value of tolerance must be ingrained in the hearts and minds of the students.
      Our Supreme Court’s judgment in Bijoe Emmanuel vs. State of Kerala is significant. Students belonging to the faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, stood up when the national anthem was sung to show their respect but declined to sing along. The students were expelled by the school authorities. Their expulsion was upheld by the high court.
      The Supreme Court reversed the high court judgment. Justice Chinnappa Reddy, who headed the bench, in the course of the judgment, observed that the students did not hold their beliefs idly or out of any unpatriotic sentiment but because they truly and conscientiously believed that their religion forbade singing the national anthem of any country. After a careful consideration of the issues, the Supreme Court concluded: “Our tradition teaches tolerance; our philosophy preaches tolerance; our Constitution practices tolerance. Let none dilute it”.
      This is a classic judicial affirmation of tolerance. Let us resolve to promote tolerance in our multi-religious, multi-cultural nation and thereby strengthen and enrich our pluralist democracy which is the pride of our nation.
      Certain fundamental duties have been prescribed by Article 51 A of the Constitution. To my mind, the practice of tolerance is the most fundamental duty of every citizen to curb the growing menace of intolerance.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      PANAJI: The build up to the elections, the hullabaloo on polling day and the much-awaited results on counting day mean nothing for the 600-odd members of the Christian sect Jehovah's Witnesses in Goa. Just like their counterparts in other countries and "like the first century- Christians", JW members choose to maintain political neutrality for religious reasons."There are no restrictions on us and our individual decisions," one member said, adding, "The Bible says we must obey God rather than man. Whether to obey God or not is our own decision."
       
      A 62-year-old member from Margao, on the condition of anonymity, said he was introduced to the sect as a child when his entire family joined. He told TOI that he has never voted for any political party or candidate in any election. "If one's conscience allows then they may vote but this is generally not done. We have voting cards and follow all the rules and regulations of the government, no matter which government is in power, but we don't take active part in the political process," he said, adding that the sect doesn't raise any slogans against the government either.Explaining the belief, he said, "We're citizens of God's kingdom and although we are in this world we are not part of this world. The world is full of corruption but we're not involved in it. This kingdom belongs to Satan. We're purely looking for God's kingdom to come when peace and security will be there."
      Members also consider bowing to a flag or saluting it in conjunction with an anthem to be non-scriptural as they do accepting blood transfusion.According to the Christian breakaway group, there are 44,000-odd members (witnesses) divided into 600-odd congregations in the country. In Goa, the group has its presence in Margao, Vasco, Panaji, Mapusa and Siolim where regular meetings are held in English, Konkani and Hindi at premises known as Kingdom Halls of JW and at rented premises.

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    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Question:  Why did Jehovah’s Witnesses  recently organize a worldwide letter writing campaign due to the persecution in Russia and not for other countries where there is also persecution?
    • By The Librarian
      An older instructional video a brother made to help others out.
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      I read this question at another site, it is interesting to me since as far as I know in Spanish we don't use that phrase: 
       
      JWs don't say, "I am a Jehovah's Witness."
      Instead, they say, "I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses."
      What does the second way of saying it convey that the first does not?
      In other words, why does the organization prefer the second formulation?
      This isn't a teaser.
      I really don't know the answer.
       
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      "Esto es un completo disparate. Tenemos que investigar esto con cuidado ”, comentó Vladimir Putin sobre la inclusión de los Testigos de Jehová en la lista de organizaciones extremistas.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Is not that equivalent to boast about the "many" hours you dedicate preaching about God over others who have not the same agenda?
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      What should I gift a new born of Jehovah's Witnesses?
    • By The Librarian
      Ripped jeans are not appropriate for christian sisters. I Peter 2:16
    • By She
      How can I get comments for watchtower study’s  pictures ?
    • By JAMMY
      How do you respond to "Have you voted yet?"
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      .
      Why doesn't the Society translate and provide the Russian Court Transcripts for us?
      Since somewhere around 5.5 million Brothers spent somewhere around 20 million hours writing letters to the officials of the Russian Federation mailing an average of somewhere around 4 letters each at an international postage rate of perhaps 80 MILLION DOLLARS, total ... why has the WTB&TS not translated FOR THE BROTHERHOOD, translations of the Russian REAL transcripts, so we will know exactly what is going on?
      You would think that for 80 or so MILLION DOLLARS, some usable hard data would be forthcoming, from people that reportedly are the world's best translators !!
      This affects the Brotherhood worldwide, as well as being banned in the Russian Federation .... I sure hope this is not a repeat of the Haiti Relief Fiasco, where the news was so onerous, the WTB&TS Relief efforts intertwined with the United Nations, and the Red Cross that the news of what really happened throughout the relief effort could not be published on the Society's "News" portion of the web site.
      Why doesn't the Society translate and provide the Russian Court Transcripts for us?.
      ... and the WORLD at large!
      .That is hard news EVERYBODY can use!
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      This article from July 2018 states: 
      If an unmarried couple spend the night together under improper circumstances, would that constitute a sin meriting judicial action?
      Yes, if there are no extenuating circumstances, a judicial committee would be formed on the basis of strong circumstantial evidence of sexual immorality.—1 Cor. 6:18.
      The body of elders carefully evaluates each situation to determine whether a judicial committee is warranted. For example: Have the couple been pursuing a romantic relationship? Have they been previously counseled regarding their conduct with each other? What circumstances led to their spending the night together? Did they plan ahead to do so? Did they have a choice in the matter, or were there extenuating circumstances, perhaps an unforeseen occurrence or genuine emergency that left them with no choice but to spend the night together? (Eccl. 9:11) What were the sleeping arrangements? Since each situation is different, there may be other relevant factors that the elders will consider.
      After the facts are established, the body of elders will determine whether the couple’s conduct warrants judicial action.
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      My questions are: What could be those improper circumstances? Is not there the "two witnesses rule" for the elders to form a  judicial committee and accuse you? 
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Are JWs   allowed to get this treatment? 
      "Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), also known as autologous conditioned plasma, is a concentrate of platelet-rich plasma protein derived from whole blood, centrifuged to remove red blood cells."
      For example to reduce wrinkles on the face
       
       
    • By The Librarian
      Question sent in to to me....
      Answer: Yes. And usually only sisters attend them.
    • By Jack Ryan
      Can you add an example of a JW Cultural Rule from YOUR area?
      Example Trimmed moustaches are not ok in certain areas.....and WHERE are you located?
      Oh it’s sorta like when you want to grow a beard, but thereÂ’s no Biblical basis for not being able to grow one, but the elders say NO simply because itÂ’s “cultural”. You mean like that?

    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      ARE  WE  NOW  ALLOWED  TO  VOTE ?
      The WTB&TS is involved in all kinds of political activity ... most recently having the Brotherhood of 8 million people and more (?) sent letters trying to persuade the Russian Federation to change its political policies towards Freedom of Religion, and non-interference with Jehovah's Witnesses. 
      An estimated 64 MILLION of Jehovah's Witnesses letters flooded the country's leaders to try and get them to change their policies.
      Unintended consequences of that gave the Russians approximately 11 boxcar loads of paper to dispose of  (firewood?), and through the Universal Postal Union's terminal duty contracts with all nations, 70% of the face value of the stamps, which amounted to 56 MILLION DOLLARS, CASH, of the Brotherhood's hard earned money. 
      This does not count the time of about ( 64m x 20 minutes per letter  = 21,333 hours, or 10.3 "man years" ) of Jehovah's Witnesses time and productivity .... TO POLITICAL ACTIVITY.
      My wife just told me that now ... the Society's policy is that voting is a matter of personal conscience .... where "before", it was strictly forbidden under pain of disfellowshipping.
      I apparently have not kept up if this is true.
      So my question is ... is this true ?
      .... and if so ... why did the corporation policy change?
      Are we now allowed to vote ?
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The annual report by the Council of Europe assessing the execution rate of judgments by the European Court of Human Rights points to 36 judgments involving Georgia which have yet to be executed. The report calls on Georgia to accelerate the execution process, as it is “imperative for the insurance of human rights.”
      The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers is responsible for monitoring the implementation, or “execution,” of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights and publishes an annual report with the results for each European country.
      The monitored cases are classified into different categories to allow for ease of understanding. All cases are classified as either “leading” or “repetitive.” Leading cases are those revealing new structural and/or systemic problems, whereas repetitive cases relate to issues that have already been raised before the Committee.
      Georgia was involved in 10 new cases in 2017, a light increase from 2016 with its 7 new cases. Of these 10 cases, three were leading cases, and seven were repetitive. Countries often lack behind in the implementation process for years, trying to avoid necessary measures or pointing to an unfavorable situation to implement legislative amendments. In 2016, Georgia still had 39 pending cases to implement, decreasing slightly to 36 last year, out of which 23 are repetitive and 13 leading.
      The Committee selected six pending cases to be under enhanced supervision, which is a supervision procedure for cases requiring urgent individual measures, pilot judgments, and judgments revealing important structural and/or complex problems as identified by the Court.
      Presently, Georgia has five such pending cases, which have been awaiting execution for more than five years. With regards to monetary compensation, also called “just satisfaction,” Georgia awarded €120,151 in 2017, almost twice less than in 2016 (€221,000). However, the State itself is tasked with payment to the victims, which rarely takes place in a timely manner. In 2017, Georgia respected the payment deadline in eight cases, while for four cases, the payment was still pending past the set deadline.
      The report highlights two main pending cases, which it urges the government to implement due to their importance regarding human rights. The first case is Tsintsabadze vs Georgia, dealing with the lack of effective investigations into allegations of ill-treatment or violations of the right to life. Although the monitoring team observed improvements, they continue to monitor the case.
      The second case is Identoba et.al. vs Georgia, dealing with the lack of protection against homophobic attacks during a demonstration. Touching again the issue of the first case, as adequate investigation procedures were missing also for this case, the European Court’s judgment points to a “Failure to adequately protect against inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted by private individuals to LGBT activists (in May 2012) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (in 1999-2001) during marches or meetings.” Following the broad scope of the judgment, this case deals with the freedom of religion and the freedom of assembly and association.
      Furthermore, the report highlights essential improvements undertaken by the government with regard to closed cases. The Committee closed the Gharibashvili vs Georgia case, as the effectiveness of investigations was improved through the better involvement of the victims in the investigation, new rules for witness interrogation, and reinforced institutional independence for investigating bodies. In addition, the prevention of excessive use of force by the police in the course of arrest and ill-treatment in custody has been improved, notably through the creation of internal monitoring mechanisms in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Corrections.
      Monitoring legal improvement and law amendments, the Committee praises Georgia for the law “On Common Courts,” foreseeing that all judicial acts, including the operative part of decisions adopted, will be published on the website, thus increasing transparency. In conjunction with these measures, numerous training and awareness-raising measures have been undertaken.
      Besides the assessment of improvements based on specific cases, the report highlights general advances in the field of human rights and safety. The power of bailiffs to arrest individuals is better circumscribed, and guarantees for the holding of a public hearing and respect for the equality of arms have been adopted. The possibility for detained persons to obtain compensation for their illegal or unjustified detention is ensured, independently of conviction or acquittal.
      Rehabilitating GeorgiaÂ’s past, legislative amendments were adopted in 2011 and 2014 in order to grant compensation to the victims of Soviet-era repression. Improvements have also been observed in the electoral law.
      Clear criteria were introduced to define when the Central Electoral Commission can use its power to invalidate elections, alongside the introduction of an effective remedy against its decisions.
      On a European level, the countries with the highest total number of pending cases at the end of 2017 were Russia (1,689), Turkey (1,446), Ukraine (1,156), Romania (553) and Italy (389). Of the 7,584 pending cases at the end of 2017, 1,379 (18%) were leading cases and 6,205 (82%) were repetitive cases. The countries with the highest number of leading cases pending at the end of 2017 were Russia (216), Turkey (177), Ukraine (136), Bulgaria (77) and Moldova (76). The countries with the highest number of repetitive cases pending at the end of 2017 were Russia (1,473), Turkey (1,269), Ukraine (1,020), Romania (495) and Italy (335). A strong decrease in pending cases could also be observed on a European level, as 3,849 pending cases were under enhanced supervision at the end of 2017, down from 6,718 at the end of 2014 (a drop of 43%).
      Although Russia tops the statistics in pending cases, they strongly lag behind resolving or implementing them, surpassed by Italy and Hungary. The countries that closed the highest total number of cases in 2017 were Italy (2,001), Hungary (296), Russia (254), Romania (144) and Poland (133).
      In 2017, the court awarded €14.6m in “just satisfaction” against Russia, €12.5m against Italy, €11.6m against Turkey, €5.9m against the Slovak Republic and €3.7m against Greece. The total figure is €60.4m compared to €82.3m in 2016.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Men are granted waivers from conscription if they can show they are active members of the denomination. All other men must carry out either military or non-military service.
      The Finnish Defence Ministry has set up a panel to reconsider the exemption from conscription granted to members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The non-mainstream Christian denomination urges its members not to participate in military service, even in unarmed roles.
      The ministry said on Friday that it has established a working group to consider revising the legislation that waives Jehovah’s Witnesses’ obligation to perform military service.
      All Finnish men aged 18 to 60 must carry out either military or non-military service. Under current law, a man can be granted a deferment of service for three years at a time as long as he can certify that he is an active member of a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation.
      "Problematic" from equality standpoint
      The Defence Ministry says that previous studies of the issue have found the current practice to be problematic, particularly from the standpoint of equality.
      The legislation on Jehovah’s Witnesses’ conscription was originally passed as a special act before the present constitution came into force.
      The committee is to complete its work by late June.

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    • By Bible Speaks
      Refusing to Buy a Party Card Meant Death ~ Could You Stand Up To The Truth? 
      Refusing to purchase this party card invited death and persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Malawi, many fleed into exile, it was a tough time!! Glad today we are free of this and we worship free from all bans with Timson Samuel Chimwala

    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
       
      News 23.2.2018 14:34 | updated 24.2.2018 10:53
      Jehovah's Witness exemption from conscription deemed prejudicial in "pivotal" ruling
      A Finnish court has ruled that the exemption from military service currently enjoyed by Jehovah's Witnesses is discriminatory.
      A new court ruled on Friday that the Finnish practice of allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription is discriminatory.
      The Helsinki Court of Appeal on Friday voted 4-3 for naming the policy discriminatory against other conscientious objectors. The ruling came in a discrimination case brought by a man who was imprisoned in 2016 for refusing conscripted service the year before.
      The decision is the first court verdict that directly denounces the decades-old exception (instated in 1987), which says that men belonging to the Jehovah's Witness denomination will uniquely not be sent to prison if they refuse both military and civilian service.
      The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Defense Ministry have long held that the law contradicts the constitution's principle of equality as well as its prohibition on discrimination.
      Basis in faith
      The majority of the court held that Finland has taken significant measures to improve equality since the exemption became law more than 30 years ago, such as signing the European Convention on Human Rights.
      Under current legislation Jehovah's Witnesses may postpone their entry into service for three years at a time (starting at age 18), until their obligation officially ceases at age 29.
      Proponents of the Christian faction cite their pacifist reading of the Bible as the basis of their objection, for which they receive no punishment. No other groups in Finland have the same right, except women, who have never been legally bound to enter conscripted service.
      "Pivotal" step follows international condemnation
      The Union of Conscientious Objectors (Finnish acronym AKL) tweeted about the news on Friday, calling the court's decision "pivotal" in the process towards banning conscription altogether.
      Robin Harms, a senior advisor to the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, has acted as legal counsel to the imprisoned man who originally brought the case to the Eastern Uusimaa District Court in 2015.
      "Favouring Jehovah's Witnesses in this way is an embarrassment for Finland," Harms says.
      More than that, human rights organisations including Amnesty International and the UN Human Rights Committee have long chastised the Finnish government for its ongoing practice of forced conscription. Only male (non-Witness) Finns are obliged to choose between military service, a longer civilian service term and a six-month prison (or remote monitoring) sentence.
      AKL reports that an average of some 40 objectors have annually refused both military and civilian service since the beginning of the 21st century. Some 100 Jehovah's Witnesses plead the law of exception to avoid conscription each year. While 72 percent of young men enter military service (minimum 6 months) when called, some 2,000 men opt for a civilian service period (minimum 347 days).
      All men who are jailed for objecting to conscription are considered by Amnesty International to be prisoners of conscience.
      Justice Minister: Consider exemption anew
      Justice Minister Antti Häkkänen said after the verdict that the current exemptions from military service should be evaluated in the light of the verdict.
      "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.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Born to a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baek Jong-keon realized the price of his faith in South Korea at an early age. 

      His father had gone to jail for refusing to take up arms, and his three older brothers chose the same path when the time came for them to serve their mandatory military service. 
       

      Baek Jong-keon works as an assistant at a law firm in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Bak Se-hwan/The Korea Herald
      In a country where all able-bodied men are required to serve in the military to defend against North Korea’s 1.2 million-strong armed forces, it seemed like a bleak future awaited him, too. 

      “I grew up watching my father -- and my three brothers -- go to jail for objecting to the mandatory military service. It was hard to overcome the fear and the pain as a kid,” said Baek, 33, in an interview with The Korea Herald. 

      “That’s why I wanted to become a lawyer -- to change the situation.” 

      Baek also chose the life of a conscientious objector in South Korea -- or the life of a convicted “draft dodger.” He was sentenced to 18 months in jail by the Supreme Court in 2016. 

      He served his prison term and was released in May this year. The Korean Bar Association suspended his lawyer’s license for five years, a possibility that he had known since he was preparing for the bar exam. 

      All this, however, does not mean Baek is accepting things as they are. Now working as an assistant at a small law firm, he is fighting to regain his license. He has been rejected once, but is still fighting. 

      He is also fighting for the sake of other conscientious objectors to have the government and society recognize their freedom of conscience and offer them alternative ways to serve the country. 

      “Roughly 400 young conscientious objectors are currently in jail. I think that we should seriously consider giving them alternative forms of military service instead of just treating them as outlaws,” he said. 

      Since 2013, nearly 2,500 people were prosecuted for failing to enlist in the military, according to data from the Military Manpower Administration. The military service law mandates a prison sentence of up to three years for men who avoid the draft. 

      A majority of the 2,500 are Jehovah’s Witnesses, who object to any form of militarism. Of the total, 15 are unreligious, objecting conscription based on their personal beliefs and the principles of “no violence” and “no war.” 

      But there are growing signs that the judicial system may be easing its stance on conscientious objectors. This year alone, 40 acquittals were made at lower courts for conscientious objectors, five times more than in 2016, reflecting a possible change in legal perceptions. 

      Although no final decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the acquittals has been made yet, the repeated rulings in favor of the objectors are pressing the government to react.

      The Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the constitutionality of the conscription law, with several complaints filed regarding conscientious objection.

      During his confirmation hearing at the National Assembly last month, new Constitutional Court chief Lee Jin-sung hinted at the need to change the long-entrenched judicial practice against conscientious objection. 

      “We should take the situation seriously where people endure being sent to prison for their adherence to their conscience,” Lee said. 

      Views on conscientious objection seem to be changing as well.

      According to a survey by the National Human Rights Commission, 46.1 percent of people said last year the government should allow conscientious objection, up 12.8 percentage points from 33.3 percent in a 2011 poll. 

      “The answer is simple,” Baek said. “We just have to adopt legislation that allows conscientious objectors to carry out an appropriate alternative service of a length comparable to that of military service.” 

      Three bills are pending at the National Assembly seeking to add alternative options to the mandatory military service system. 

      Critics argue it is premature to adopt an alternative service program, especially amid ongoing threats from North Korea. It would also affect the morale of conscripted soldiers to see those citing faith -- which is hard to prove -- being allowed to avoid the tough life in barracks. 

      “We do not ask for special treatment,” Baek said. 

      “Some people wrongly assume that we would be exempted from the national duty mandated to all male citizens of South Korea once the court rules in favor of conscientious objection.

      “But we are willing to serve our country once an alternative service for objectors is introduced. That will allow us to contribute to the community in a way that does not conflict with our conscience, for instance, in the areas of public health, social welfare, the environment and labor,” Baek added. 

      He also believes that religious conscientious objectors have an important role to play. 

      “It is our part not to give up and to keep hope alive. I hope they do not resign themselves to be sent to jail, but keep appealing against the prison term to bring about change,” Baek said. 

      By Bak Se-hwan (sh@heraldcorp.com)

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    • Eric Ouellet

      Sauve-moi, ô Dieu, car les eaux menacent ma vie.
      Je m’enlise dans la boue profonde, où il n’y a pas de sol ferme.
      Je coule dans des eaux profondes,
      et le courant m’emporte.
      Je suis fatigué d’avoir crié ;
      ma gorge s’est enrouée.
      Mes yeux se sont épuisés à attendre mon Dieu.
      Ceux qui me haïssent sans raison
      sont plus nombreux que mes cheveux.
      Ceux qui voudraient me supprimer,
      mes ennemis sournois, sont devenus nombreux.
      J’ai été forcé de rendre ce que je n’avais pas volé.
      Ô Dieu, tu connais ma bêtise,
      et ma culpabilité ne t’est pas cachée.
      Que ceux qui espèrent en toi n’aient pas honte à cause de moi,
      ô Souverain Seigneur, Jéhovah des armées !
      Que ceux qui te recherchent ne soient pas humiliés à cause de moi,
      ô Dieu d’Israël !
      Car je subis la honte pour toi ;
      l’humiliation me couvre le visage.
      Je suis devenu un inconnu pour mes frères,
      un étranger pour les fils de ma mère.
      Le zèle pour ta maison brûle en moi,
      et les insultes de ceux qui t’insultent retombent sur moi.
      Je me suis humilié en jeûnant,
      ce qui m’a valu des insultes.
      Je me suis habillé d’une toile de sac,
      et je suis alors devenu pour eux un objet de mépris.
      Les gens assis à la porte de la ville parlent de moi
      et les ivrognes font de moi le thème de leurs chansons.
      Mais que ma prière vienne jusqu’à toi,
      ô Jéhovah, en un temps où tu y es favorable.
      Dans ton immense amour fidèle, ô Dieu,
      réponds-moi par tes infaillibles actes sauveurs.
      Sauve-moi de la boue ;
      ne me laisse pas m’enliser.
      Sauve-moi de ceux qui me haïssent
      et des eaux profondes.
      Ne laisse pas le courant m’emporter,
      ni les profondeurs m’engloutir,
      ni le puits fermer sa bouche sur moi.
      Réponds-moi, ô Jéhovah, car ton amour fidèle est bon.
      Dans ton abondante miséricorde, tourne-toi vers moi
      et ne détourne pas ton attention de ton serviteur.
      Réponds-moi vite, car je suis dans la détresse.
      Approche-toi de moi et sauve-moi ;
      rachète-moi à cause de mes ennemis.
      Tu sais qu’on m’insulte, qu’on me couvre de honte et qu’on m’humilie.
      Tu vois tous mes ennemis.
      L’insulte m’a brisé le cœur, et la blessure est incurable.
      J’espérais de la compassion, mais rien ;
      des consolateurs, mais je n’en ai pas trouvé.
      Ils m’ont plutôt donné pour nourriture du poison,
      et pour apaiser ma soif, du vinaigre.
      Que leur table devienne pour eux un piège ;
      et leur prospérité, un filet.
      Que leurs yeux s’obscurcissent pour qu’ils ne voient pas,
      et fais trembler leurs hanches constamment.
      Déverse sur eux ta fureur,
      et que ton ardente colère les atteigne.
      Que leur campement soit désert ;
      qu’il n’y ait pas d’habitants dans leurs tentes.
      Car ils poursuivent celui que tu as frappé,
      et ils ne cessent de raconter les souffrances
      de ceux que tu as blessés.
      Ajoute de la culpabilité à leur culpabilité,
      et ne les considère pas comme justes.
      Qu’ils soient effacés du livre des vivants
      et qu’ils ne soient pas inscrits avec les justes.
      Moi, je suis affligé et je souffre.
      Que ton pouvoir de sauver, ô Dieu, me protège.
      Je veux louer le nom de Dieu par des chants
      et je veux le glorifier par des remerciements.
      Cela plaira à Jéhovah plus qu’un taureau,
      plus qu’un jeune taureau ayant des cornes et des sabots.
      Les humbles verront cela et s’en réjouiront.
      Vous qui recherchez Dieu, que votre cœur reprenne vie.
      Car Jéhovah écoute les pauvres
      et il ne méprisera pas son peuple captif.
      Que le ciel et la terre le louent,
      les mers et tout ce qui y vit.
      Car Dieu sauvera Sion
      et rebâtira les villes de Juda ;
      son peuple y habitera et le possédera.
      Les descendants de ses serviteurs en hériteront
      et ceux qui aiment son nom y résideront

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      L'amour de Jéhovah nous modèle vers l'excellence de notre être 
      Ô Jéhovah, tu es notre Père. Nous sommes l’argile, et tu es notre Potier ; nous sommes tous l’œuvre de ta main. Isaie 64 :8  » Un potier a le pouvoir de faire avec l’argile le récipient qu’il désire. L’argile n’a pas son mot à dire. Il en va de même de l’homme par rapport à Dieu. Il n’est pas plus en droit de contester les actes de Dieu que l’argile du potier, qui, de ses mains, lui donne forme (lire Jérémie 18:1-6).
      Jéhovah a montré sa capacité d’agir sur l’Israël antique comme le potier agit sur l’argile. Nous notons cependant une grande différence. Le potier peut transformer sa motte d’argile en n’importe quelle sorte de récipient. Mais Jéhovah façonne-t-il arbitrairement les personnes, ou les nations, faisant les unes bonnes et les autres mauvaises ? D’après la Bible, ce n’est pas le cas. Jéhovah a doté l’homme d’une faculté très précieuse : le libre arbitre. La manière dont il exerce son autorité souveraine ne nous prive pas de cette faculté. Chacun doit décider s’il se laissera façonner par le Créateur (lire Jérémie 18:7-10).
      Et si un humain refuse obstinément de se laisser modeler, comment le Grand Potier exerce-t-il son autorité ? Pense au sort d’une argile qui devient impropre à l’usage que le potier veut en faire. Eh bien, il peut soit en faire un autre récipient soit la jeter ! Toutefois, quand l’argile est inutilisable, c’est généralement de la faute du potier. Mais en ce qui concerne notre Potier, ce n’est jamais le cas (Deut. 32:4). Quand une personne ne cède pas au modelage de Jéhovah, c’est toujours de sa faute à elle. Le Grand Potier exerce son autorité sur les humains en s’adaptant à la manière dont ils réagissent à son modelage. Ceux qui réagissent bien sont façonnés en récipients utiles. Par exemple, les chrétiens oints sont des « vases de miséricorde » qui ont été façonnés en « récipient[s] pour un usage honorable ». En revanche, ceux qui s’opposent obstinément à Dieu finissent par être des « vases de colère devenus dignes de destruction » (Rom. 9:19-23).
      Jéhovah modèle les humains notamment en les conseillant ou en les corrigeant. Voyons comment il exerce son autorité sur ceux qu’il façonne en nous intéressant aux deux premiers rois d’Israël : Saül et David. Quand David a commis l’adultère avec Bath-Shéba, il a causé du tort tant à lui-même qu’à d’autres. Jéhovah ne s’est pas retenu de le reprendre avec fermeté, il fut ainsi avec les hommes qui furent sous Sa direction. Par le prophète Nathân, il lui a adressé un message sévère (2 Sam. 12:1-12). Comment David a-t-il réagi ? Touché en plein cœur, il s’est repenti et a bénéficié de la miséricorde divine (lire 2 Samuel 12:13).
      Par contre, Saül, le roi qui a précédé David, a mal réagi aux conseils. Par l’intermédiaire du prophète Samuel, Jéhovah lui avait formellement ordonné de vouer à la destruction tous les Amaléqites et tout leur bétail. Mais Saül a désobéi. Il a épargné le roi Agag ainsi que les meilleures bêtes. Pourquoi ? Notamment pour s’attirer des louanges (1 Sam. 15:1-3, 7-9, 12). Quand il a été conseillé, il aurait dû être malléable, se laisser façonner par le Grand Potier. Mais il a résisté. Il s’est justifié, prétextant qu’il avait agi à bon droit parce que les bêtes seraient offertes en sacrifice. Il a minimisé le conseil de Samuel. Il a donc été rejeté par Jéhovah. Il ne méritait plus d’être roi et n’a jamais retrouvé de bonnes relations avec le vrai Dieu (lire 1 Samuel 15:13-15, 20-23).
      DIEU N’EST PAS PARTIAL
      Jéhovah offre la possibilité d’être façonné non seulement à des individus mais aussi à des nations. En 1513 av. n. è., les fils d’Israël, libérés de l’esclavage en Égypte, sont entrés dans une relation d’alliance avec Dieu. Étant sa nation choisie, Israël avait l’honneur d’être modelé par lui, d’être en quelque sorte sur le tour du Grand Potier. Cependant, le peuple n’a pas cessé de faire ce qui est mauvais aux yeux de Jéhovah, allant même jusqu’à rendre un culte aux dieux des nations voisines. Maintes et maintes fois, Jéhovah a envoyé des prophètes pour le ramener à la raison, mais il n’a pas écouté (Jér. 35:12-15). Son obstination lui a valu d’être sévèrement repris. Comme des « vases » devenus « dignes de destruction », le royaume du Nord, formé de dix tribus, et celui du Sud, formé de deux tribus, ont été vaincus l’un par l’Assyrie et l’autre par Babylone. Quelle leçon puissante ! Nous ne tirerons profit du façonnage de Jéhovah qu’à condition de bien y réagir.
      Jéhovah a également offert aux habitants de Ninive, la capitale assyrienne, la possibilité de tenir compte de ses avertissements. Il a dit à Jonas: « Lève-toi, va à Ninive la grande ville, et proclame contre elle que leur méchanceté est montée devant moi. » Ninive était vouée à la destruction (Jonas1:1, 2 ; 3:1-4).
      Cependant, quand Jonas a annoncé son message de condamnation, « les hommes de Ninive se mirent à avoir foi en Dieu ; ils proclamèrent alors un jeûne et se revêtirent de toiles de sac, du plus grand d’entre eux au plus petit d’entre eux ». Leur roi « se leva de son trône, ôta son vêtement officiel de dessus lui, se couvrit d’une toile de sac et s’assit dans la cendre ». Réceptifs à la tentative de modelage de Jéhovah, les Ninivites se sont repentis. Jéhovah n’a donc pas fait venir le malheur sur eux (Jonas 3:5-10).
      Bien qu’étant une nation choisie, Israël n’a pas été exempté de la correction. Les Ninivites, quant à eux, n’étaient pas dans une relation d’alliance avec Dieu. Pourtant, Jéhovah leur a adressé un message de condamnation et leur a fait miséricorde quand ils sont devenus de l’argile malléable entre ses mains. Ces deux exemples ne prouvent-ils pas que Jéhovah « ne se montre partial envers personne » ? (Deut. 10:17).
      JÉHOVAH EST RAISONNABLE ET SOUPLE
      La manière dont Dieu est disposé à nous modeler indique qu’il est raisonnable et souple. Témoin des situations où il prononce des jugements justes mais les révise ensuite selon la réaction des concernés. Au sujet du premier roi d’Israël, les Écritures déclarent que Jéhovah a « regrett[é] d’avoir fait régner Saül comme roi » (1 Sam. 15:11). La Bible dit encore que, lorsque les habitants de Ninive se sont repentis et sont revenus de leur voie mauvaise, « le vrai Dieu regretta le malheur qu’il avait parlé de leur causer ; et il ne le causa pas » (Jonas 3:10).
      Le terme hébreu traduit par « regretta » se rapporte à un changement de point de vue ou d’intention. Jéhovah a changé de point de vue à l’égard de Saül : il l’avait choisi pour être roi, mais il a fini par le rejeter. Ce changement s’est produit non parce que Jéhovah avait fait un mauvais choix, mais parce que Saül a manqué de foi et est devenu désobéissant. Le vrai Dieu a éprouvé du regret dans le cas des Ninivites : son intention à leur égard a changé. Quel réconfort de savoir que Jéhovah, notre Potier, est raisonnable et souple, compatissant et miséricordieux, prêt à réviser son jugement quand un transgresseur se réforme !
      NE REJETONS PAS LA DISCIPLINE DE JÉHOVAH
      Aujourd’hui, Jéhovah nous façonne principalement par sa Parole, la Bible, et par son organisation (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). Ne devrions-nous pas accepter tout conseil ou toute correction que nous recevons par ces moyens ? Quelles que soient les années que nous avons passées à servir Dieu, ou nos attributions de service, continuons d’accepter les conseils de Jéhovah, laissons-nous façonner en vases pour un usage honorable. 
      Le Grand Potier est notre Père. Et ne l’oublions jamais, « celui que Jéhovah aime, il le reprend, comme un père reprend le fils en qui il prend plaisir ». Alors, « ne rejettons pas [...] la discipline de Jéhovah, et n’ayons pas son blâme en aversion » (Prov. 3:11, 12).

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric, merci pour tes bons sujets. Bonne journée Michel
      OUI certains jours.mp4
      · 1 reply
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bâtissons chaque but de notre vie avec amour
      L'homme à toujours chercher le sens véritable de l'amour. L'homme réfléchissant à cette vertu, il sépara cette qualité en trois phases et uni en une seule.  Les millénaires passèrent et l'homme à compris que les trois phases de l'amour sont des étapes que l'on ne peut trépasser.
      La première partie est appelé" L'Éros."
      L'éros fut le premier chemin que Dieu entama dans son Esprit ( pensée en action) (verbe) intérieur avant de faire ce monde magnifique que nous vivons. L'Éros est le feu qui nous anime dans le début d'une pensée qui nous traverse l'esprit.
      L'Amour éros est une énergie très puissante, car d'elle, d'une seule image non réalisée, l'éros active cette image en rêve, uni à notre pensée et propulse dans notre vision, un rêve ultime qui nous pousse à chercher au fond de nous, le sentiment qui nous anime puissamment.
      Nous recherchons en nous d'autres images pour connaitre d'avantage cette vibration qui se manifeste, telle un feu ardent.
      D'un rêve, l'amour de ce but te pousse à créer et fonder ce rêve dans ta réalité, construire le but ultime de ta vie.
      La flamme de Yah, s'anime en toi ( Chant de Salomon)
      Le désir sexuelle ne fait pas parti de cet Amour.
      L'Éros te propulse dans tout les côtés des variantes d'un but non réalisé, dont tu ne connais point comment construire ce but qui s'anime en toi; et même comment pourrais-je réaliser ce but?
      Quand le rêve d'un projet d'avenir est dans l'Éros, il ne faut pas qu'il devienne en nous une obsession intense. Nous ne savons pas comment contrôler notre feu intérieur de ce but, de cette vision qui anime nos pensées, jour après jour et souvent dans les images de notre sommeil, elles peuvent envahir nos nuits.
      L'amour " Éros" nous confrontes à plusieurs désirs qui nous anime et qu'avec le temps nous apprenons à assembler le casse tête de la réalisation de notre vie, les pièces maîtresses de notre rêve qui nous poussent sans cesse à trouver les outils et l'instructions nécessaires à notre cheminement qui s'accomplit pendant une grande période de notre vie, pour atteindre l'objectif premier de notre vie, le vrai but que nous voulons accomplir.
      Quand notre but est assemblé, telle un film intérieur, de sa première image (début), à son dénouement et cela jusqu'à son accomplissement , alors notre rêve se voit construit dans notre esprit alors nous sommes prêt; nous pouvons commencer la deuxième étapes de l'amour qui construit notre but.
      L'AMOUR PHILIA UNE ÉTAPE TRÈS IMPORTANTE DE L'AMOUR
      La connaissance de l'amour apporte à réaliser le rêve de notre but vers la réalisation de notre projet en ce monde au bonheur de chacun.
      Les étapes de réalisation de chaque but, doit être construit avec l'Amour philia à (suivre)...

      · 1 reply
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