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  1. James Thomas Rook Jr.

    James Thomas Rook Jr.

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    • By Witness
      "Will there be a disfellowshipping? Bethelites are facing a crisis of conscience with the revelation that one of their prominent Governing Body members will no longer be associated with their organization."
      Premiers at 4:00 EST
       
       
       
       
    • By Srecko Sostar
      Part 1.  In this part we will meet few quotes in article from one WT magazine which describes administrative functions in WTJWorg past. Many of them stayed till today. 
      Please be free to comment. 
       
      Following Faithful Shepherds with Life in View - 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. This means we must prove our faith by our course of action, by the things we do. It means that righteous requirements of the King Jesus Christ must be met.......Therefore, in submitting to Jehovah’s visible theocratic organization, we must be in full and complete agreement with every feature of its apostolic procedure and requirements.
      UNITY MAINTAINED BY SUBMISSION
      ...In this way today too the governing body of the Christian congregation serves the entire organization. Solutions to problems arising in one locality are widely circulated so that the unity and oneness of the entire organization might be maintained...In submitting yourself to Jehovah’s visible organization as administered by such servants, you are still not required or expected to follow men..... It is the faith of these men that is to be imitated and their course of conduct that is to be observed....These men too, though occupying responsible positions of oversight themselves, recognize and submit to the superior appointment of the “faithful and discreet slave.”....The account says: “In those days there was no king in Israel.” (Judg. 21:25) So it was in the earlier days of the modern theocratic organization. Jehovah’s administration of righteousness took a pronounced forward step with the return of the Christian congregation to apostolic teachings. But before the King, Jesus Christ, was enthroned in 1914 C.E. the organization was loosely administered. Each “ecclesia” or congregation was self-governed by elected “elders” and “deacons.” But in 1914 Jehovah enthroned his King Jesus Christ, and from 1919 onward the time became due for Jeremiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled: “‘And I myself shall collect together the remnant of my sheep out of all the lands to which I had dispersed them, and I will bring them back to their pasture ground, and they will certainly be fruitful and become many. And I will raise up over them shepherds who will actually shepherd them; and they will be afraid no more, neither will they be struck with any terror, and none will be missing,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.”—Jer. 23:3, 4.
      12 This benefit of theocratic administration did not come all at once. In 1932 the “elective elders” were replaced in the congregation by an appointed “service director,” who was assisted by a group of mature members of the congregation democratically elected to their positions. But not until 1938 did the final change to strictly theocratic order take place. In that year, through the columns of The Watchtower, it was revealed from the Scriptures that the power of appointment of servants in congregations rightfully rests with the governing body of the “faithful and discreet slave” as directed by Jesus Christ from Jehovah’s temple.Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  This important step in the restoration of theocratic order assured Jehovah’s “sheep” that they would not again be separated into independent “flocks” by unscrupulous “shepherds.” The shepherds that Jehovah promised through Jeremiah would be those fully in agreement with Jesus’ words that “they will become one flock, one shepherd.”—Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .
      14 In 1942 the change came. In the throes of World War II, with the change in administrations of the second and third presidents of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society,...The years since 1942 have told their tale regarding the exploits of the anointed Elisha class, accompanied by an ever-increasing number of the “great crowd.”—Rev. 7:9-17.
      On February 1, 1943, the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead was set up for training missionaries and special representatives of the Watch Tower Society to serve in all parts of the earth. That same year, 1943, a new training program, the Theocratic Ministry School, began in the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. At first only male students were enrolled in these schools, but in 1958 provision was made for the women of the congregations to enroll and participate.
      20 Such a theocratic view of matters will enable you always to keep pace with the organization, neither running ahead nor lagging dangerously behind. You will encounter trying circumstances. Do not be overcome by them. Wait on Jehovah and put your hope in him. (Ps. 37:34; 27:14) It might even be that reproof will be necessary on occasion. Do not become offended. If you do, you are undoubtedly taking yourself too seriously, failing to see the point of the reproof. Nor should you persuade yourself that you are of no use to the organization and quit simply because some mistake may be drawn to your attention. Rather, “my son, do not belittle the discipline from Jehovah, neither give out when you are corrected by him; for whom Jehovah loves he disciplines; in fact, he scourges every one whom he receives as a son.”—Heb. 12:5, 6.
      21 On the other hand, it may be that your advancement will be rapid. Guard against an attitude of super-faithfulness. It might ensnare you. Do not feel that others in the congregation are slow and backward. You might even become impatient with the organization. Consider instead the example of Moses, who pleaded with Jehovah to spare his typical theocratic nation when some faithless ones in the organization sinned against Jehovah and brought his anger down upon the entire congregation. (Ex. 32:1-14) Neither should you wait constantly to be directed as to the theocratic activity assigned. Eagerly assume individual responsibility and seek ways of advancing the Kingdom interests in harmony with the program currently outlined by the “faithful and discreet slave.”
      22. Why, then, should we stick loyally to Jehovah’s visible organization?
      22 The Bible sets forth every inducement and encouragement to place the theocratic organization ahead of oneself, to accept it in all its features and stick to it loyally. The theocratic pace of activity is still increasing. What Jehovah will yet require of his faithful servants on earth before Armageddon he will reveal in due time. Staying close to his visible theocratic organization is the only way to find out. Having identified that organization and God’s righteous requirements expressed through his channel, never let it go. Follow Jehovah’s faithful shepherds so that, “just as sin ruled as king with death, likewise also undeserved kindness might rule as king through righteousness with everlasting life in view through Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Rom. 5:21.
    • By admin
      Did you know that every single Norwegian citizen indirectly owns 0.000114 BTC?
      ''Oljefondet'' is a fond controlled by the Norwegian goverment where alot of Norways oil profits goes and are invested.
      Every norwegian owns an equal part of this fund.
      ''Oljefondet'' Owns a 1,51% Stake in Microstrategy (source:https://www.nbim.no/no/oljefondet/beholdningene/beholdninger-per-31.12.2019/?fullsize=true)
      Microstretegy owns approx 40,824 BTC (soruce: https://bitcointreasuries.org/)
      The Norwegian population is 5 367 580 (source: https://www.ssb.no/befolkning/statistikker/folkemengde/aar-per-1-januar)
       
      That means that every Norwegian citizen owns 0.00011485 BTC or approx 2 USD.
       + another 0,000000728 BTC pr Citizen from Square Inc. (4709 BTC where Norway has a 0,83% of the shares)

    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      Any collective belief in some approach as "the way" to solve problems is, literally, a bringing together of individuals (re = again, ligio = bond, reverence, and religare = to bind).
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Tomorrow, human righs judges will announce their decision in a complaint against Georgia brought by 13 Jehova’s Witnesses.
      Tsartsidze and Others v. Georgia (no. 18766/04)
      The applicants are 13 Georgian nationals who are all Jehovah’s Witnesses. The case concerns alleged harassment of Jehovah’s witnesses in Georgia.
      The applicants submit that in 2000 and 2001 they had been the victims of various instances of intimidation and aggression towards Jehovah’s Witnesses either by Orthodox religious extremists or by the authorities, including the police.
      In five separate incidents some had been prevented from attending a religious meeting when stopped at a police checkpoint and others had had their religious meetings disrupted or had been stopped in the street by the police in possession of religious tracts; of those applicants some had been taken to police stations and had either been beaten or forced to sign a written undertaking not to hold any more gatherings in the future.
      All allege that religious equipment and literature had been confiscated or stolen from them, and in one case had subsequently been publicly burned.
      The events described by six of the applicants in two of the incidents have been examined in a case already brought to the European Court of Human rights (Begheluri and Others v. Georgia, application no. 28490/02).
      All the applicants lodged administrative complaints against the Ministry of the Interior, police officers allegedly involved either directly or indirectly (on account of their failure to intervene in the various incidents) and the local authorities, claiming compensation.
      Their complaints were all later dismissed, ultimately at the level of the Supreme Court, because the police’s or the authorities’ involvement in the incidents had not been proven.
      The applicants essentially complain about the religiously motivated violence to which they were subjected, alleging that it breached their right to freely practise their religion via meetings and the distribution of religious literature.
      They also complain about the courts’ subsequent failure to provide any redress, alleging in particular that the civil and administrative legal remedies in the face of allegedly state-tolerated religious violence in Georgia was inefficient and inadequate.
      They rely on Article 6 (right to a fair trial), Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience, and religion), Article 11 (freedom of association), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).

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    • By Srecko Sostar
      google translation from article in Sweden, - 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. 25 000 000 SEK = cca 2.400.000,00 EUR (2.800.000,00 US Dollar)
       
      Jehovah's Witnesses demand 25 million from the state
      Published 9 Jul 2020 at 17.00
       
      Jehovah's Witnesses have been denied state funding for several years. 
      Last year, the government overturned the decision - and now the organization is demanding SEK 25 million in compensation. 
      After being denied state subsidies twelve years in a row, the government last year approved the organization as eligible to receive grants for denominations. 
      The reason was a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court which ruled that the practices of Jehovah's Witnesses - such as denying blood transfusions - do not in themselves constitute sufficient grounds for denying state subsidies. 
      Requires SEK 25 million
      Jehovah's Witnesses believe that their rights under the European Convention have been violated. 
      Jehovah's Witnesses are now applying for damages of nearly 25 million in compensation for the years without support, as evidenced by documents produced by News Agency Siren. 
      The claim, which has been sent to the Chancellor of Justice, applies to both financial and non-pecuniary damage. Jehovah's Witnesses also include legal costs to claim their case.
    • 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.
      TTH:
      Just wait until YOU get to be 73, and find battle scars galore.
      A lot of mature restraint is really just being too TIRED.
      Ya wanna FIGHT!?
      ..... yeah, yeah, yeah ....... start without me.
      I need to take a nap.
      ==============================================================
       
      ... except for the Governing Body.  
      When THEY make mistakes, they pay no price whatsoever.
      WE DO.
      They .... never miss a meal.
    • By 4Jah2me
      So lets try to be a bit positive.  A question.  How is the GB and the JW Org moving forward SPIRITUALLY ?
      What progress has it made in the last fifty years ?   I'm not talking about physical things, not buildings, not books, not meeting times........ 
      I'm talking about purely spiritual matters.  Spiritual guidance, true spiritual love from the top of the Org down, mercy, understanding of people, serving the congregants as a way of serving God Himself (as Jesus did), showing patience without having weakness, making true adjustments according to true scripture not according to man's guesses. 
      You may of course comment as to what you feel would make for good spiritual progress within the JW Org too. 
    • Guest Indiana
      By Guest Indiana
      Workers in Qatar continue to be mistreated despite promises to improve rights ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty International says.
      A new report from the human rights group says thousands of workers are going unpaid.
      It adds that a new commission set up to help improve workers' rights is failing to protect them.
      Amnesty has urged Qatari authorities to "end the shameful reality of labour exploitation".
      "Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers," said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International's deputy director of global issues.
      "Migrant workers often go to Qatar in the hope of giving their families a better life - instead many people return home penniless after spending months chasing their wages, with too little help from the systems that are supposed to protect them."
      https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/49747688

       
      Qatar has imported hundreds of thousands of construction workers for the 2022 World Cup, with seven new stadiums being constructed specifically for the tournament
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      I realize there are many reasons to go to an Assembly, or Convention, and when my children were living at home they would go to others' conventions  for a variety of reasons, as well as their own.
      I would always ask them when they returned home "What did you learn that was new?" .  This was important to me as I had to work long hours to afford to finance their explorations and socialization, which I thought was important ... but I still expected them to learn something new ... and since I was paying for their travels, to tell me what was going on.
      Generally, attendance to an out of town Convention nearby would cost about $200 a day, times three days, so that would be $600.
      Now that I am retired, and my income has been cut by about 80%, it's even MORE important to me to want to get good value for the time and money I would be spending for my wife and I to spend three days, traveling out of town, to learn something of lasting value .... something worth at least three days of our time, which is painfully obviously shorter, and the what is now considerable effort and considerable expense.
      In Engineering it's important that the "Law of diminishing returns" be observed so that you do not go physically, mentally or emotionally bankrupt.
      Perhaps I am just asking for some encouragement that the effort is worth the cost and effort, and that the benefit is worth it, so if I may ask ......
      WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT WAS NEW AT THE 2019 "LOVE NEVER FAILS" REGIONAL CONVENTION ?
      ......
       
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Is it fair?
       
       
      Is it FAIR.wmv
    • By JOHN BUTLER
      I find it interesting when so much is compared between the Jews and the JW's.
      But in my opinion, one big difference between being a Jew before and in the time of Jesus, and being a JW, is choice. 
      If a person was born into the Nation of Israel, they were born under Law and ruled over by the Religious leaders (and the Romans) at that time. There was no choice of being a Jew or not being a Jew. They were born into it. So of course many of them, probably all of them, committed 'sin' and had to make sin offerings. God had chosen that Nation, those people had responsibility but not of their choice. 
      Now, people that enter the JW religion do so voluntarily.  ( Unfortunately for those born into it, they have to go through the motions of serving the JW Org until they are of an age whereby they can leave home. Then, when of age they too can volunteer to be a JW or chose to leave the Org.). 
      There is a big difference from being born into a Nation which you may not like, than voluntarily joining a religion which you do like.
      So the big question is, if 'millions' of people voluntarily join this JW Org, why do so many commit child abuse, adultery and many other sins ? 
      If this is supposed to be 'THE true religion', why are the people not guided by God through Jesus  Christ ?  Just reading comments on here from so called JW's makes me laugh. There is no love, no mercy, no understanding, no respect even. 
      Being an ex JW and seeing things from both sides i have found more genuine love, kindness, friendship, respect, warmth, understanding etc outside of the Org than inside. Inside the Org people have to be told to 'love one another', outside the Org people do it anyway. 
      It has amazed me how JW's can really believe that God is with them when they are so cold and selfish.
      With the Jews that were born into that Nation, they had no choice about their way of life. It was basically a dictatorship by God. The Laws were from 'above'. Obviously for the right reason, to bring forth Jesus Christ who in turn would 'rescue' the human race from complete destruction. But it was a totally different situation to the JW Org today.
      So now all you 'JWs', think on it. Do you truly believe you are in this' special environment' within the Org ? Do you really think that your Org has God's approval ? 
      Think deeply about all the problems within JW Org. All the disgusting things being done voluntarily by all the volunteer JW's. 
      Now ask yourself, are you really a volunteer JW or are you trapped in the Org for fear of losing all those 'so called friends' ? 
      You know that you can only have your family and 'friends' as long as you are a JW.   Do you feel like the Jews must have felt, trapped in that Nation ? 
      As we know many of the Jews left the Jewish religion and way of life to follow Christ, but it was difficult for them. However, they did have God's approval and God, through Christ made this known clearly. And it seems that many are leaving the JW Org to seek God's approval too. 
      But remember that all JW's are volunteers, or should be, so why oh why is there so much trouble in that Org ? 
       
    • 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.

    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Here is another question.
      If Christ has ALREADY come to Earth as an invisible presence, and is ruling as King NOW ......  starting in 1914 ...... why are we still celebrating the Memorial?
    • 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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