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Aunt questions whether Jehovah's Witness refused blood transfusion before death

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Éloïse Dupuis was giddy with excitement the day before she gave birth to her first child, a son she and her husband named Liam.

In a Facebook message to her aunt Manon Boyer, the 27-year-old said “she couldn’t wait to see him, to hold him and to rock him.”

“She said the dream of her life was about to come true and she couldn’t wait to introduce him to me,” Boyer recalled, one week after her niece died in a hospital following complications from a difficult delivery.

Dupuis was a Jehovah’s Witness and had signed a document, when she became an adult, saying she would not accept a blood transfusion. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that passages in the Bible order them to abstain from taking blood, even when their life is in danger.

The young woman died six days after giving birth in a hospital in Lévis, near Quebec City, after being transferred from a birthing centre when complications arose. The exact cause of death has not yet been determined. However, reports suggesting she didn’t accept a blood transfusion have created a stir in Quebec, with friends, some family members and politicians questioning whether she made the decision freely. 

Her parents, her husband and her in-laws were with her for six days before she died, Boyer said.

“I don’t believe she would have refused blood after having her baby if she knew her life was in danger. I don’t think she had the capacity to make a free choice because she was ill from two surgeries. The family never notified us that she was ill.”

Boyer said she is happy that coroner Luc Malouin is investigating her niece’s death, because he will probably question the nurses and doctors who treated Dupuis at the hospital. Boyer said she has already spoken to Malouin about the death.

Boyer said she felt that something was amiss when Dupuis, and her niece’s mother, failed to answer Facebook messages she had sent inquiring about the birth on Oct. 6.

“I sent a message congratulating her on being a grandmother, but she didn’t answer,” Boyer recalled. “The next day, I sent a message saying I know they’re busy, but could they let me know if Éloïse is fine. But that wasn’t answered either.” 

A few days later, Boyer noticed a message on Dupuis’s Facebook wall, congratulating her and her husband on their second wedding anniversary. However, the person who posted the message said that they knew “it wasn’t a happy time but that the couple would have other times to celebrate.”

Boyer said she was confused by the message, so she replied to it asking for news about her niece.

“Why isn’t it a good day to celebrate when you just had a baby?” she wondered.

It was then that someone wrote that Dupuis was fighting for her life and had lost a lot of blood.

Boyer said her daughter called the hospital to find out what was going on. A nurse said she would ask a member of Dupuis’s family to speak to her, but family members refused to come to the phone, she said.  

“The nurse said we could come to the hospital to visit, but she said that Éloïse’s heart was beating slowly and it was just a question of hours before she would die.”

After hearing the news, Boyer contacted Cassandra Zélézen, a childhood friend of her niece. Zélézen and her two sisters, who are triplets, drove to the hospital from their home in Rawdon, in the Lanaudière region, to try to see their ailing friend.

Zélézen told the Montreal Gazette that Dupuis’s father refused to allow them to see his daughter. Dupuis’s husband told the triplets that he had regrets about having the baby at the birthing centre and wondered about the decision not to have a blood transfusion. 

“Now, it’s too late,” Zélézen recalled the husband saying.

Her friend died a short time later. 

While at the hospital, Zélézen said that Dupuis’s husband showed her a note that Dupuis had written, while intubated, after having her uterus removed. 

“It’s OK, we can adopt,” the note read.

After Dupuis’s death, her friends messaged her aunt saying: “She’s dead, she’s dead.”

On the day Dupuis died, three elders from a Jehovah’s Witness congregation were present at the hospital, according to Zélézen.

John Redwood, a former Jehovah’s Witness from Maryland who wrote about Dupuis’s death on his website, said the organization has a Hospital Liaison Committee made up of trained elders who are dispatched to hospitals any time a Witness may require a blood transfusion.

“Their purpose is to support the family in their decision (and) to avoid being coerced into taking blood,” said Redwood, 49, who left his congregation three years ago. “They may not have ever met the patient, but these are the enforcers of the policy.”

He said there is a second committee, called the Hospital Visitation Committee, made up of members who visit and pray with sick patients but don’t “interfere with blood policy.”

Simon Picard, a spokesperson for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada, denied that elders are sent to hospitals to ensure that blood transfusions do not take place.

“We have members who will be there to provide support, but the choice to not have a blood transfusion is an individual choice,” he said. “When you’re in a crisis situation, you like to have members to support you in a decision you have made.”

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard called Dupuis’s death “terrible,” but said it was important for society to respect the law and individual choice.

“The jurisprudence has been very clear: if a person of sound mind refuses medical treatment, even if it costs them their life, we can’t go against their will.”

In Quebec City, the Coalition Avenir Québec described the incident as “troubling,” and said it raises serious questions about the health care system.

“I don’t have answers today, but I say to myself: ‘How can it be that we let someone die in Quebec for religious reasons?’ ” CAQ Leader François Legault said. 

Nathalie Roy, the CAQ critic for secularism, wondered whether Dupuis “had really given free and clear consent. Are there people who spoke for her, who decided for her? Did she know she was going to die leaving her child there?” 

Dupuis, whose immediate family could not be reached for comment, had moved to the Beauce region two years ago, following her marriage, but still remained in touch with Boyer and her family.

“It’s unbelievable that you could die a few days after having a baby,” Boyer said. “The baby will be raised by them (Dupuis’s family) and we will never see him. We have lost a beautiful girl. She was full of love and was ready to help anyone, anywhere, any time.”

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"entrance to the hospital Oct. 6 until his death on 12, almost a week later" - 

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a week in hospital without receiving the necessary care seems to me suspicious.

an investigation is underway to find out who is guilty of this tragedy

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    • By JOHN BUTLER
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      This meant life was precious and should be saved even if it meant going against the Law.
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      This topic is aimed toward asking ADMIN these questions. I do not know who Admin are. Some folks here seem to have made friends with Admin where as I just use the forum. 
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      Am I therefore wrong when i only talk about Jehovah's Witnesses and have no interest in other religions ?
      There are those on here that regularly 'bite my ears off' because i only talk about the JW's, but I thought that was the intention of this forum.
      Admin please clarify these matters for me, please ...... 
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      YELM, Wash. — Authorities on Wednesday were investigating after someone tried to set fire to the Kingdom Hall of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in Yelm.
      This comes after four other recent attacks on Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Thurston County that are being investigated as hate crimes.
      In the latest incident, authorities were called around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday to the report of an attempted arson at the Kingdom Hall on Vail Road SE in Yelm.
      The ensuing investigation closed a large section of Vail Road for most of the day.
      Church elders had arrived to find fire logs stacked up against an outside wall that was smoldering. They doused the logs with water and prevented any further damage to the building.
      The elders reported finding a suspicious device placed on the ground on the west side of the building. It “had the appearance of being an explosive device,” so deputies called the bomb squad to the scene.
      People living nearby the church told Q13 News they were told by law enforcement to evacuate for their own safety.
      “I got woken up by my roommate Zachary saying there was a device on the church next door to our house and we needed to evacuate,” said Richard McIntire.
      McIntireÂ’s shared his concern about living so close to whatÂ’s become a repeated target.
      “I don’t understand why people have to target churches,” he said.
      Neighbors in rural Yelm expressed their worries about the attacks and hoped police would soon make an arrest before someone gets hurt.
      By late afternoon investigators determined the suspicious device wasn’t dangerous. The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office later tweeted, “The suspicious device was made to look like a real bomb but in the end, it was found to be fake.”
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Many of the children described conditions at US Customs and Border Protection facilities, where they were taken and processed during the first days after crossing the border. In the reports they were only identified by their first names. Timofei, 15, from Russia, who sought asylum on the border with his parents for his beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses, said they were crowded night and day in the closed and crowded room, detained along with other boys. He said there was only one window that opened onto an empty hallway and that they did not have soap in the bathroom, and that only sometimes, they gave him a toothbrush for individual use. He also said that he was offered a shower when he arrived at the facilities in San Ysidro, California, but he did not and the second or third day there did not allow him to do so.
      https://www.clarin.com/mundo/trataron-chicos-separados-padres-frontera-relatan-dias-detenidos-unidos_0_SJh7dyam7.html
    • By Jesus.defender
      BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS
      Watchtower Teaching WT forbids blood transfusions because of Genesis 9:4 ‘But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat’.
      The WT teaches that a blood transfusion is the same as eating blood, because it resembles intravenous feeding. This doctrine was invented in 1944.
      Bible Teaching and Historical facts:
      1) Thousands of JWs and their children have died because they followed this WT error.
      QUESTION: Would you really allow your baby to die because of this WT instruction?
      2) Most JWs are unaware that their leaders have a history of making medical prohibitions,then later changing their minds to allow them. Examples include:
      (i) Vaccinations were forbidden by the WT from 1931 to 1952. JWs had to refuse vaccinations because the WT taught that ‘vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made’ (Golden Age, 4 Feb 1931, p 293).
      Awake of 22 Aug 1965 admitted that vaccinations have caused a decrease in diseases(p.20)
      QUESTION: How did the parents of children who died from not being vaccinated, feel when the WT reversed its view in 1952? How many of these children died needlessly?
      (ii) Organ transplants were allowed by the WT up to 1967, but were forbidden in 1967 saying that ‘organ transplants amounted to cannibalism and are not appropriate for Christians’ (WT, 15 Nov 1967, p 702-4, and Awake 8 June 1968, p 21). Hence all organ
      transplants were forbidden for 13 years, during which time many JWs died needlessly.
      Then in 1980, the WT changed its mind to allow them saying that ‘organ transplants are not necessarily cannibalistic’ (WT, 15 March 1980, p 31).
      (iii) Blood plasma and blood particles were forbidden to be used by JW haemophiliacs (Awake, 22 Feb 1975, p 30). Shortly after, the WT changed its mind to permit certain blood particles to be used, but failed to put it into print for 3 years until 15 June 1978, p
      30 (WT). Only those haemophiliacs who phoned WT headquarters from 1975-78 discovered the change. Others were left to suffer and die.
      QUESTION: How long before the WT changes its view on blood transfusions?
      QUESTION: Why does the WT keep changing its mind on medical issues?
      QUESTION: Is it right for an infallible prophet of God organisation (such as the WT claims to be) to keep changing its mind.
      (iv) In 1984, they allowed for a bone-marrow transplant. Bone marrow is the very source of blood. However, they would disfellowship you for receiving a bloodtransfusion.
      3) In Genesis 9:4 the context is God forbidding the eating of animal blood (as pagans did), not the transfusion of human blood. A blood transfusion is not intravenous feeding, because the blood so given does not function as food. When one gives a transfusion, it is not a loss of life, but a transference of life from one person to another. It replenishes and saves a life.
      QUESTION: Since blood is not taken in as food to digest, but as life sustaining fluid, is it not clear that transfusion is different from eating?
      4) Leviticus 3:17 ‘You must not eat any fat or any blood at all.’ (NWT)
      QUESTION: Why do WT leaders forbid blood transfusions but allow the eating of fat? Why not forbid both? The WT is not consistently interpreting the Bible. Leviticus 17:11,12: ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood’. Blood transfusion does not function as food, but simply transfers life from one person to another as an act of mercy.
      Key: Leviticus 3:17 prohibits eating animal blood, not transfusing human blood.
      QUESTION: Where is loss of salvation mentioned in Acts 15:9,11 for receiving a blood transfusion?
      Key: Acts 15:28,29. A blood transfusion uses blood for the same purpose that God intended, (as a life-giving agent in the bloodstream). Drinking blood is not God’s intended purpose for
      blood
      Conclusion: Even though JWs try to support blood transfusions with Scripture, their real reason for believing it is blind obedience to the WT. If the WT organisation lifted its ban on blood transfusions, JWs would freely accept them if needed.
      For the WT to admit they were wrong would cause too great a stir in their ranks. Therefore any changes must be presented as ‘new light’ in order to make it appear that ‘Jehovah’ is making the changes, rather than a few men on the governing body.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday heard arguments in a fight over a church’s “shunning” practice, and said it would release a ruling later, but the congregation involved and several other groups argued that the justices had no right to even take part in the fight.
      The fight is between Randy Wall, a real estate agent, and the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary.
      Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued a church appeals process, unsuccessfully, then went to court because he said the church’s “shunning,” that is, practice of not associating with him in any way, hurt his business.
      He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
      A lower court opinion explained, “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
      The “much distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
      See the WND Superstore’s collection of Bibles, including the stunning 1599 Geneva Bible.
      Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
      During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to say that congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
      The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining if, and when, such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
      The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
      A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that the Canada’s courts should not be involved.
      The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing, “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      Previous case law has confirmed the ability of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
      But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question is one of property or civil rights.
      The Association for Reformed Political Action, described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
      Its position is that the court should keep hands off the argument.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said, “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
      He continued, “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere. Here we need separation of church and state.”
      The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the fight was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
      “Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
      The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
      The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
      “Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
       
       
    • By Bible Speaks
      RARE VIDEO OF STEVE: Last night in parts of Canada, dogs started barking at the midnight sky. The canines were responding to a bright purple ribbon of light--also known as "STEVE." The apparition, which occurred during a G1-class geomagnetic storm, was so long-lasting that at least one onlooker had time to capture rare video of the phenomenon. This is a still frame from a video of STEVE captured on April 10th by Matthew Wheeler of Robson Valley BC Canada. .
      .
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The parents of a 14-year-old boy with bone cancer won a legal challenge against a Mesa hospital that attempted to override their religious objections to blood transfusions.
      The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that a lower court's emergency hotline used by hospitals to authorize medical treatment on behalf of patients is not allowed under state law.
      The parents of a 14-year-old boy with bone cancer challenged Banner Cardon Children's use of a Maricopa County Superior Court emergency hotline to authorize blood transfusions on behalf of the child. The parents and boy are Jehovah's Witnesses and objected to blood transfusions on religious grounds. 
      While Banner Cardon's medical-treatment plan initially consisted of alternative therapies to fit the parents' religious views, hospital staff later determined that blood transfusions were medically necessary. 
      Hospital staff called the Maricopa County Superior Court hotline multiple times from October through December last year to seek authorization for the blood transfusions. The court granted three of five requests, according to court documents.
      The parents filed a petition with the Arizona Court of Appeals seeking to halt the transfusions.    
      The parents, identified as Glenn and Sonia H., argued that the Superior Court hotline "lacked jurisdiction" for such emergency medical requests and also argued that hospital staffers did not justify the medical need for blood transfusions. 
      The lower court said that such emergency requests were "standard practice" nationwide and the hotline rotated among Superior Court judges who answered requests after hours. 
      In an opinion written by Judge Kenton D. Jones, the appellate court concluded that the question of whether the lower court had jurisdiction to OK emergency medical treatment was one "of significant statewide importance."
      Jones noted that Arizona law allows a Juvenile Court that has jurisdiction over a child to order a parent or guardian to get medical treatment for a child. However, the appellate court did not find any such jurisdiction for a Superior Court emergency hotline.
      "Our review of Arizona statutes and rules of procedure reveals no provision ... authorizing the superior court to maintain an emergency hotline for the purpose of ordering medical treatment for a non-consenting minor," Jones wrote. 
      Therefore, the lower court's order authorizing medical treatment on behalf of the boy is void, the appellate court said. 
      The parents filed the appellate-court action in November but did not request a stay of the lower court's order. The boy received blood transfusions on Dec. 1 and Dec. 5 before his parents relocated his care to a medical facility in Portland, Oregon. 
      Banner Health officials said the health-care provider has not yet decided whether to appeal the appellate court's decision.
      Representatives of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, which filed a legal brief on behalf of the parents, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
      A Jehovah's Witnesses website said the religion considers blood transfusions a "religious issue rather than a medical one," citing multiple biblical passages.
      Patients who develop certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, often require blood transfusions as a part of treatment.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Christian es el demandante representativo en una demanda colectiva de $66 millones que se ha entablado contra los Testigos de Jehová en Canadá. Es en nombre de él y de otros sobrevivientes de abuso sexual infantil, quienes acusan a la secta de proteger a los depredadores sexuales de la justicia.
      La demanda, que aún no ha sido certificada por el tribunal, es simplemente la última en lo que se ha convertido en una creciente presión internacional sobre la secta religiosa para cambiar la doctrina que los críticos dicen que protege a los pedófilos.
      Se llama la Regla de los Dos Testigos. Al citar las Escrituras, los testigos de Jehová requieren que haya al menos dos testigos de actos de abuso sexual infantil antes de que se pueda tomar alguna medida contra presuntos abusadores sexuales, a menos que haya una confesión.
      A través de una investigación que se extiende desde Canadá, EE. UU., Inglaterra y Australia, el programa W5 expone cómo la organización desalentó las acusaciones de agresión sexual de ser denunciadas a la policía.
      También revela que los Testigos de Jehová mantienen una base de datos secreta, documentando cada alegato de abuso sexual contra miembros que alguna vez se haya realizado.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      After being transported to Batroun Hospital suffering traumatic injuries, doctors were baffled after the girl's parents rejected a blood transfusion critical to save their daughter's life.
      BEIRUT: Farah D., the young girl who was involved in a recent car crash, received a blood transfusion Thursday after the Prosecutor of North Lebanon authorized Batroun Hospital Director Ayoub Moukhtar to perform the procedure despite her family's refusal because it goes against their beliefs as Jehovah Witnesses. 
      After being transported to Batroun Hospital on Wednesday suffering traumatic injuries, doctors were baffled after the girl's parents rejected a blood transfusion critical to save their daughter's life. 
      This bizarre development forced Moukhtar to contact his district's Prosecutor, who directed him to go ahead with the grueling operation which involved a set of blood transfusions. 
      The prosecutor argued the hospital was legally bound to save the girl's life.
      "I contacted the prosecutor, who stressed the need to save the girl's life regardless of the parent's religious beliefs, and the hospital duty is to keep the girl alive," he said.
      According to Moukhtar, Farah is now recovering from her injuries.

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    • By Bible Speaks
      CANADA STUDIES THE BEHAVIOR AFTER THE DENUNCIATION OF A POLITICS AGAINST JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES.
      For this, they will consult with Jehovah's ExWitnesses.
      The press article says:
      This is the report of the medical examiner Luc Malouin the death of Eloise Dupuis, a young Jehovah's Witness died a week after giving birth and who had refused a blood transfusion, causing the member of Taschereau to act.
      The letter sent to the Vice-president of the Commission of Institutions, the member of the Parliament for Verchères Stéphane Bergeron, specifically mentions members of sects who are in emergency medical situations, especially women.
      Although the Liberal Party has a majority in the Institutions Committee, Ms. Maltais hopes that she can convince the majority of the members to study the matter in a parliamentary committee. "Jehovah's Witnesses, former Jehovah's Witnesses, representatives of hospitals and public health could testify, the idea is to understand, because forensic reports will always say that all the rules have been respected. free and voluntary consent when a person has been in a cult for years and is under pressure, "says Maltais.
      Published last week, the coroner's report indicated that Malouin is independent and without undue influence how her religious community Eloise Dupuis had rejected a blood transfusion in October 2016. The 27-year-old resident of San Marguerite, Beauce died in the Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis a week later.

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    • By Srecko Sostar
      A group of alleged sexual abuse survivors from across the country have filed a $66-million class action lawsuit against the Jehovah’s Witness, CityNews has learned.
      The victims are seeking $20 million for damages from sexual and mental abuse by elders, $20 million for failing to protect children, and another $20 million for breach of duty of care.
      links:
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Barry W. Bussey: Last week, the Supreme Court was asked to do something courts never do: review the solely religious decision of a church
      On November 2, the Supreme Court of Canada was asked to do something Canadian courts never do: review the solely religious decision of a church community. Until now, the courts have recoiled from getting involved in religious disputes—and for good reason.
      The case involves Randy Wall, who was dismissed from a Jehovah’s Witness church for failing to repent of his religious offences: getting drunk on two occasions and verbally abusing his wife. Wall’s appeal to another church entity was unsuccessful. He then appealed to a court of law by means of “judicial review,” on the grounds that the church had denied him a proper hearing. 
      In Canadian law, in a process known as “judicial review,” a person can ask a court to “review” (i.e. hear) whether the decision of a “public actor” (such as a government licensing agency) was unfairly decided. Courts rarely review decisions of “private actors” (such as a church); they generally do so only if a private actor’s decision engages property or civil rights. In Wall’s case, the court had to determine whether the Jehovah’s Witness church’s decision involved property or contractual rights, which would then enable the court to review the church’s decision.
      "The church argued it was a private religious body, not a public body"
      The church argued it was a private religious body, not a public body, and that its decision did not affect Wall’s property or contractual rights. It also argued that its disciplinary procedure was a religious process involving prayer and scripture reading aimed at reconciling the relationship between Wall and the church. The lower courts both held that religious decisions can be reviewed by courts to determine whether a church gave a fair hearing, even if no property or contractual rights were engaged. However, both courts were also of the view that property rights were an issue in the case. The Supreme Court of Canada must now decide whether those courts were right. The Supreme Court reserved judgment after last week’s hearing; we can expect its decision early in the new year.
      Courts like to “fix things.” They naturally want to find resolutions to disputes; this is what they exist to do. However, courts have historically avoided getting involved in religious cases, recognizing that they lack the expertise and authority to settle religious disagreements. They handle legal cases, such as contractual disputes, but not religious cases that raise metaphysical truths, such as the definition of God.
      Wall argued his case did involve a “property right,” because his dismissal from his church meant the church members were no longer willing to do business with him. As a real estate agent, 50 per cent of his clientele were Jehovah’s Witnesses. His business folded from the loss of their support. He says there is a direct line of causation between his loss of church membership and business loss. It’s likely the case that one caused the other, but that doesn’t mean Wall’s claim is a legally enforceable property right. 
      "A church member is not required to patronize the business of a former church member"
      The reality is, Wall chose to limit his business to Jehovah’s Witnesses and took a personal risk in doing so. The church did not tell him to do so, and certainly there is no known legal principle that says a church is responsible for the economic losses that might flow from a loss of membership. A church member is not required to patronize the business of a former member. In the same way, we would not expect a former husband to maintain business with his ex-wife’s family.
      At last week’s hearing, Wall’s legal counsel tried to persuade the court that, if there are no grounds under Canadian law for the court to interfere in purely religious matters, the court should then consider adopting U.K. law, which does allow this type of review. “Good luck!” Justice Rosalie Abella quipped, prompting everyone to burst into laughter.
      That exchange suggested the court was not persuaded that it is time to change the law to allow courts to get tangled up in reviewing decisions of religious bodies. That would be a good thing, as courts don’t have the moral or legal authority or doctrinal expertise to decide such matters.
      This hearing occurred around the time of the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. If we have learned anything since then, it’s that the law does not need to apply to every nook and cranny of our lives – especially our religious affairs.
      Barry W. Bussey is Director Legal Affairs at the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. He blogs at lawandreligion.org
       

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    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The judicial committee of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses asked the Supreme Court of Canada today to rule that Canadian courts do not have the authority to review the expulsion of one of their members — arguing that judicial review by the courts should not extend to decisions by private and voluntary associations that have no effect on the public at large.
      The Highwood Congregation, located in northwest Calgary, brought its appeal to Ottawa after Randy Wall took the congregation to court for expelling him from the church. The congregation’s judicial committee “disfellowshipped” Wall in the spring of 2014 after his family reported to the group’s elders that he had been drunk on two occasions and was verbally and emotionally abusing them — and after determining he was not “not sufficiently repentant” for those actions.
      After three internal and unsuccessful appeals, Wall applied for judicial review of the congregation’s decision-making process, insisting it was flawed and that the congregation’s judicial committee had “breached the principles of natural justice and the duty to be fair.” Both the Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal in Alberta declared that it is within the jurisdiction of the superior court to review Wall’s case.
      The congregation’s appeal of those two rulings, heard by the Supreme Court Thursday morning, has attracted a lot of attention from legal experts and religious communities across the country. Echoing the congregation’s plea today in the packed Ottawa courtroom were 12 religious, political and civil liberties groups — all of them unanimous in arguing the top court should not interfere in the membership decisions of religious bodies.
      The consequences of such interference, they said, would be detrimental to the self-determination of religious groups.
      “It (would) fundamentally alter our nation and not for the better,” counsel for the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms said in court.
      “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind,” the group wrote in its written submission to the Supreme Court. “For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      This question of jurisdiction is one that has been explored and decided on by the courts — including the Supreme Court of Canada — in the past. Case law shows the top court has recognized the the autonomous ability of religious and private voluntary associations to govern their own affairs and dictate who can and cannot be a member of a congregation.
      The courts have determined, however, there is room to intervene in specific cases when a membership decision turns on property or civil rights — or is of “sufficient importance to deserve the intervention of the court.”
      Wall — who does not dispute the allegations against him that formed the basis of the congregation’s decision to kick him out — argues his case meets those requirements because his “disfellowship” caused him to lose business clients, suffer “significant economic harm” and experience fraught family relations.
      In return, the congregation argues that neither Wall’s property rights, nor his civil rights, were affected by their decision. Justice Russell Brown also remarked during the hearing that “one does not have a justiciable right to earn a living.”
      The congregation also argued that it did not ask or force its members to boycott Wall’s business — but people choose to do so in line with their religious convictions. Counsel for the congregation also said that “the door is not closed” to Wall and he can be reinstated in the congregation in the future.
      More generally, the congregation argued that it would be inappropriate for the courts to review the internal decision-making processes of religious groups because those processes are ecclesiastical.
      In a news release, the Association for Reformed Political Action — one of the 12 intervening groups — said the case before the Supreme Court has “profound implications for the separation of church and state” and it believes the court should maintain a hands-off approach to membership decision-making by religious groups.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” the association’s director of law and policy, André Schutten, wrote in the statement. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      The Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association took a slightly more nuanced position, arguing in its factum that “there will inevitably be cases where judicial intervention in the decisions of religious groups is ‘warranted'” but courts “should intervene … only in the rare case where required by a prevailing public interest.”
      Thursday’s hearing was heard by all nine justices on the Supreme Court bench. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin said the court will reserve its decision after today’s hearing.
      Overflow seating was set up in the front hall of the Supreme Court to accommodate all the people who came to see the hearing live.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Mrs Mortimer was undergoing a hip operation when she refused the blood transfusion
      A Jehovah's Witness lost her life after she refused a blood transfusion during a major hip operation due to her religious beliefs.
      Barbara Mortimer, 69, went against doctors' advice and sadly died on May 24, 2017, shortly after a hip replacement.
      A final hearing was held at The Old Courthouse in Hatfield yesterday (Wednesday, October 18) before Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan.
      The court heard that in January of this year, Mrs Mortimer visited her GP Mark Penwell with "severe left hip pain."
      Doctor Penwell said: "She was struggling to walk with it, even using a stick.
      "The only useful intervention was a hip replacement."
      He admitted however, that he had concerns about Mrs Mortimer, of Portland Road, Bishop's Stortford, who would decline any blood products due to her being a Jehovah's Witness.
      Mrs Mortimer also suffered what was thought to be a heart attack in 2006 and acute coronary syndrome after having chest pain in 2010.
      For her hip, Mrs Mortimer was referred to consultant orthopaedic surgeon Rajeev Sharma.
      He said: "She came to see me in the clinic on Thursday, March 23.
      "She came in with a diagnosis of hip arthritis on one of the sides.
      "She had an X-ray that showed the joints were worn out."
      Risks associated with the procedure including displacing the hip, heart attack and most commonly infection, were discussed with Mrs Mortimer.
      Mrs Mortimer chose to ungergo surgery, but was taking aspirin at the time which thins the blood. There was also a risk that she would need a blood transfusion during the operation.
      Steps included administering tranexamic acid, swabs soaked in adrenalin and a spinal aesthetic as opposed to general, as these all help to prevent and restrict blood loss.
      Mr Sharma said: "We needed to be sure our surgery is in such a manner to prevent bleeding.
      "It was safe to proceed providing we take all the necessary precautions."
      The procedure went ahead with Mrs Mortimer's haemoglobin levels being within an acceptable range.
      But during the operation after the joint was dislocated, the living part of the bone began to bleed.
      The bleed then became "exponentially massive," according to Mr Sharma following the removal of hard cartilage.
      The adrenalin swabs, an alternative method to stopping the bleed due to Mrs Mortimer's belief's, were inserted to constrict the blood vessels as well as a plastic membrane.
      Mr Sharma said: "We continued with the procedure, it was the best way to stop the bleeding.
      "I could not think why such a lot of bleeding would take place.
      "Was it the aspirin? Would it have had a significant effect on her or was there an anomaly in the pelvic bone?"
      Following the surgery, Mr Sharma spoke with Mrs Mortimer's family.
      "The recommended blood products were declined," he said.
      "We were struggling to keep her alive if we can't give her any blood. Persistent refusal was risking her life."
      Mrs Mortimer faced the decision of accepting blood products or hope that the fluids given to her post-operation would stimulate cell production after such a huge blood loss.
      She died during the early hours of the morning at Rivers Hospital in Sawbridgeworth.
      Mr Sharma was challenged in court by Counsel Kate Smith, who asked whether further enquiries should have been made prior to the hip replacement due to her age, religious beliefs, medical history and the fact she was taking aspirin.
      Ms Smith presented a booklet in court regarding Jehovah's Witnesses and surgery.
      It said "should avoid any medication that could increase blood loss," referring to aspirin which thins the blood and makes the likelihood of needing a blood transfusion more likely.
      Mrs Mortimer signed a refusal form indicating her religious convictions that "no blood transfusions are to be administered in any circumstances".
      Mr Sharma said in "hindsight" there are things that would have been done differently but at that stage all the safety precautions had been made.
      The operation was also not considered to be life-threatening.
      He was also challenged whether Mrs Mortimer needed to be on aspirin. The decision to take this course was made working on the basis that she had suffered a heart attack – later found to be untrue.
      Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan, said: "I cannot see a short form conclusion.
      "The adequate way to my mind is a narrative verdict to encompass blood loss [from the] surgical procedure and declining of blood products.
      "She was admitted to Rivers Hospital, she had advanced decision not to accept blood products, and asked to consider accepting blood products, but declined to do so."

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      TORONTO.- La demanda acusa a la organización religiosa de tener reglas y políticas que protegen a los que abusan sexualmente de menores y ponen a los niños en riesgo.
      “La política y el protocolo de la organización para hacer frente a las denuncias de abuso sexual está gravemente dañada y resulta en más daño a las víctimas de abuso sexual y en alegatos legítimos de abuso sexual que no se denuncian”, dice el documento.
      “Esta es una cuestión que la comunidad en general debe preocuparse, y no sólo los testigos de Jehová”, dijo Tricia Franginha. Agrega que sus primeros 14 años de vida como Testigo de Jehová fueron llenos con abuso sexual.
      “Como resultado de los procedimientos, cuando se presentan acusaciones de abuso, a estos delincuentes sexuales se les dejan en libertad”, dice Franginha. “Como la mayoría de la gente sabe acerca de los testigos de Jehová, es que ellos son los que vienen a su puerta los sábados por la mañana, cuando sus hijos están en casa y por lo que saben, esa persona ha ofendido más de una vez”.
      Todavía ninguna de las acusaciones en esta demanda ha sido probada en el Tribunal Superior de Ontario. Un portavoz de los Testigos de Jehová dijo que mientras la demanda ha sido presentada, la organización aún no la ha recibido oficialmente, por lo que no pueden comentar los detalles.
      “Los Testigos de Jehová aborrecen el abuso infantil y nunca protegerían a ningún perpetrador”, fue la explicación el portavoz Mattieu Rozon. La organización también dice que los ancianos de la congregación cumplen con las leyes de reportes de abuso infantil.
      Franginha dijo que cuando ella fue a buscar ayuda, fue callada.
      “Cuando tenía alrededor de los 12 años, me dijeron que debía tner dos testigos y que tenía que respetar a mis padres – callarme y no hablar de ello”, explicó.
      La necesidad de que dos testigos corroboren las denuncias de abuso es señalada en la demanda. Las personas que han sido abusadas sexualmente deben presentar dos testigos creíbles de su abuso, explica Franginha, quien añade que los testigos deben ser otros Testigos de Jehová en buen estado en la iglesia.
      “Esto, obviamente, nunca sucede”. “La naturaleza misma del crimen es que es secreto”.
      La demanda también alega que la policía no es llamada cuando las acusaciones de abuso sexual salen a la superficie y en su lugar son manejadas por los veteranos de la iglesia dentro del Salón del Reino.
      “Es nuestra información, basándonos en personas que nos contactaron, que los sistemas que tienen no protegen contra el abuso sucedido, y cuando se hacen denuncias, se toman medidas inadecuadas para asegurar que la queja llegue a las autoridades apropiadas” dice Bryan McPhadden, ayudante de McPhadden Samac Tuovi, que representa a las víctimas.
      Las víctimas buscan $20 millones por daños por abuso sexual y mental perpetradas por personas mayores, $20 millones por no proteger a los niños y otros $20 millones por incumplimiento del deber de cuidado.
      La demanda se espera que tome años para abrirse paso a través de los tribunales.
      Si usted cree que califica para unirse a la demanda colectiva, puede comunicarse con los abogados en www.mcst.ca.

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