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LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS | Germany Grants Highest Legal Status to Jehovah’s Witnesses


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After more than 26 years of legal proceedings, the Witnesses now have the same legal status as that granted to major religions in the country. Source

In Germany, as in MANY of the European countries, you put your religious denomination on your tax filing documents, and the German Government takes out additional taxes FROM YOUR PAY,  to pay your reg

Care to make a guess whether or not the WTB&TS has "signed up"? They confiscated a home that a Sister left to the Local Congregation I attend and SOLD IT for the money. If you ask the Ge

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In Germany, as in MANY of the European countries, you put your religious denomination on your tax filing documents, and the German Government takes out additional taxes FROM YOUR PAY,  to pay your registered affiliation organization.

FREE MONEY ... and a LOT OF IT!

Many religious people list as "atheists" so as to not have their pay confiscated and forwarded.

This is certainly WORTH a 26 year legal battle ... as the money spent can be made up very quickly, and the rest is pure PROFIT for the religious organization.  

It also forges an almost unbreakable bond between that religious organization, and the European Governments, as they are now surgically joined at the hip, the religious organizations promising NOT to have sex with the "Kings of the Earth", ... but hey ... things happen!

Such are the immutable lessons of civilization's history.

Primarily, the legal status they now have ... is a tax collection status.

Who needs a collection plate with a scheme like that?

" Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany are grateful that their sincere religious activity has been recognized by the government as qualifying for public law status. They hope that such recognition will alleviate some of their past challenges and will benefit them as individuals and as a religious community. "

If you are a JW in Germany .... Check your pay-stub next payday .

 

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They may or may not. PLC "Public Law Corporation" may levy up to 9% against congregants on their tax return and the state does collect a fee for this service. However, this is voluntary on the part of the PLC and from what I read not all PLCs avail themselves of the service. 

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Care to make a guess whether or not the WTB&TS has "signed up"?

They confiscated a home that a Sister left to the Local Congregation I attend and SOLD IT for the money.

If you ask the German Branch office, do you think they will give you a truthful answer ? ... or send three Elders to your home ?

 

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"Germany Grants Highest Legal Status to Jehovah’s Witnesses" - i tried to found this article on Croatian JWorg to see how some terminology was translated to be able better understand the article but there is not existing this article - ??

Some quote from main source JWorg (english):

"Now that the Witnesses have finally been granted public law status in all German states, they are viewed as a single religious entity and enjoy the benefits that this status provides....the Witnesses applied for public law status because of the benefits...registered throughout the country as a public law corporation,...more than 2,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany now function under a single corporate structure... Adjustments in an association’s structure resulting from an appointment of new elders, purchase of property, or the renaming or merging of congregations had to be reported to the government...A longtime elder in one congregation commented: “Now we have greater freedom to use donated funds to support the public ministry of congregation members.”...Without the superior legal status of public law, Jehovah’s Witnesses were not viewed as a mainstream religion...many false allegations against the Witnesses can be refuted....false allegation that they belonged to a ‘sect’ rather than to a religion.”...

All in all, WT corporation in Germany are now  lifted on higher level of religious bureaucracy (german people always has been organized very well :)))  and WT long asking, searching that JW be recognized as mainstream religion was successful. Now they are  officially  joined to  Babylon the Great with all others mainstream and less mainstream religions. Because of money issue of course, as first and main reason :))) at least they are now "function under single e corporate structure" according to article. 

Definition of corporate  Merriam-Webster

1a :formed into an association and endowed by law with the rights and liabilities of an individual :incorporated
b :of or relating to a corporation - a plan to reorganize the corporate structure
c :of, relating to, or being the large corporations of a country or region considered as a unit - the latest trend in corporate America
d :having qualities (such as commercialism or lack of originality) associated with large corporations or attributed to their influence or control - corporate rock music -corporate art
2:of, relating to, or formed into a unified body of individuals
  • Human law arises by the corporate action of a people …
  •  —George H. Sabine

 

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6 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Care to make a guess whether or not the WTB&TS has "signed up"?

They confiscated a home that a Sister left to the Local Congregation I attend and SOLD IT for the money.

If you ask the German Branch office, do you think they will give you a truthful answer ? ... or send three Elders to your home ?

 

Confiscated it from whom? The sister or the congregation she left it to? If she left it to the local congregation then I expect the reasoning was all property belonging to the local congregation really belongs to the umbrella corporation and as such was theirs to sell. Think this is what happened to several congregations last year when corporate ownership changed and the WTS wanted to merge congregations and get rid of superfluous buildings. (if memory servers me correctly, this did not set well with some congregations)

At any rate, this does not really affect me. Not answerable to Jehovah for what corporate officers, elders, or for that matter others in general do. The last time I voiced an opinion about a local issue I was told by the COTBOE that it was not my concern and others were handling the matter. Since that time I just keep my opinions to myself and let things rock on. 

Cheers mate

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6 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Care to make a guess whether or not the WTB&TS has "signed up"?

They confiscated a home that a Sister left to the Local Congregation I attend and SOLD IT for the money.

If you ask the German Branch office, do you think they will give you a truthful answer ? ... or send three Elders to your home ?

 

Oh, but to answer your question, the last time I had a financial question I asked the CO and he was very upfront about the answer and was rather pleasant about it. (my question had to do with assembly hall finances) I suspect if I was to ask him, assuming he actually knows the answer, he would be just as forthcoming with truthful information. 

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OCTOBER 10, 2017 GERMANY
Germany Grants Highest Legal Status to Jehovah’s Witnesses ?

After more than 26 years of legal proceedings, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany obtained the same legal status as that granted to major religions in the country. On January 27, 2017, North Rhine-Westphalia was the last state of the 16 German states to grant public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The decision is significant for the Witnesses because even though they have been present in Germany for well over 100 years, their national headquarters and the thousands of congregations in the country were considered independent religious associations. Now that the Witnesses have finally been granted public law status in all German states, they are viewed as a single religious entity and enjoy the benefits that this status provides.

The Long Struggle to Obtain Public Law Status

In 1921, Jehovah’s Witnesses were first registered in Germany under private law. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the Witnesses applied for public law status because of the benefits available to religious organizations that have it.
In order for a religious association to be registered throughout the country as a public law corporation, the law requires that it first obtain public law status in the German state where it is based. It may then apply for this status in the 15 other German states. In 1990, the religious association Jehovas Zeugen in Deutschland (Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany) first applied to the state of Berlin, where it maintains its legal address. Although most religious organizations seeking public law status obtain it within a short period of time, perhaps within a year or two, the Berlin government refused to grant public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses for many years.

One reason the government cited was that the Witnesses refrain from voting in national elections. However, this argument is not valid, since the law does not require German citizens to vote; to do so is entirely voluntary.

This issue eventually came before the courts. On March 24, 2005, the Higher Administrative Court in Berlin ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany must be acknowledged as a “corporation of public law.” Over a year later, the state of Berlin relented and granted public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses, ending a 16-year legal struggle with the Berlin government.

Next, the Witnesses applied for public law status in the remaining 15 German states. In 2009, 11 states granted public law status; another 3 states followed in subsequent years; and the last state, North Rhine-Westphalia, granted public law status to Jehovah’s Witnesses on January 27, 2017. The persistent efforts of Jehovah’s Witnesses to obtain the same legal status as that granted to major religions in Germany finally ended after 26 years of legal proceedings.

The Benefits of Having Public Law Status
The national headquarters and the more than 2,000 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany now function under a single corporate structure.

In the past, because each association representing at least one congregation was viewed as an independent religious association, it was subject to state laws requiring the submission of annual reports and tax returns. Adjustments in an association’s structure resulting from an appointment of new elders, purchase of property, or the renaming or merging of congregations had to be reported to the government. In the past these reporting requirements required much effort and time on the part of congregation elders, but now they can focus more fully on the pastoral care of congregation members.

The lack of public law status also required congregations to pay fees for the processing of reports. A longtime elder in one congregation commented: “Now we have greater freedom to use donated funds to support the public ministry of congregation members.”

Without the superior legal status of public law, Jehovah’s Witnesses were not viewed as a mainstream religion, even though some 274,000 Witnesses and their associates were attending their meetings in Germany.

Armin Pikl, an attorney for the national headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany, observed: “During the more than 26 years of legal efforts to obtain the status as a corporation of public law, the media published hundreds of untrue and defamatory statements about our religion, sometimes almost weekly. Now the flood of untrue and defamatory statements has subsided.” Werner Rudtke, a longtime Witness, stated: “Since a religious association that wants to become a public law corporation must be law-abiding in every way, many false allegations against the Witnesses can be refuted.” Another Witness, named Petra, mentioned the past challenges facing schoolchildren. She said: “This kind of recognition is very helpful for children in school. Until now it has been the tendency of teachers to discriminate against Witness students as a result of the false allegation that they belonged to a ‘sect’ rather than to a religion.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany are grateful that their sincere religious activity has been recognized by the government as qualifying for public law status. They hope that such recognition will alleviate some of their past challenges and will benefit them as individuals and as a religious community.

https://www.jw.org/en/news/legal/by-region/germany/grants-highest-legal-status-to-jehovahs-witnesses/

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