“On Faith” (an online joint venture by the Washington Post and Newsweek magazine) published an essay called “Witness to Separation of Church and State,” by Joel P. Engardiom, on June 5, 2007. Joel was the director, writer and narrator of “Knocking,” the documentary about Jehovah’s Witnesses that ran on the PBS series Independent Lens.
Yet as otherwise law-abiding, taxpaying citizens, they remind us that the America worth fighting for is an America that does not force people to follow a single ideology with patriotic fervor. And as a group with fundamental religious beliefs, they remind us that it is possible to stand firm in your faith without feeling threatened by those who choose a different path.
Right. Although I agreed with his larger point about not trying to hijack the country, that’s the bit that encouraged me to comment.
The supreme irony to me is that their contributions to the history of civil liberties legislation in the U.S. are not honored in any way in their own congregations. There is no discussion or debate, expressions of individual spiritual calling or questioning or research are forbidden.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has created a free sales force, using fears about a killer God and the end of the world. I am in contact with many recovering Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I help people with JW relatives and friends to navigate the minefield of potential problems in dealing with them.
I applaud the results of the JW legal team on civil rights, but they didn’t do it for the sake of America, which to them is simply part of the Satan-controlled “system of things.” The most recent accomplishment of their legal team was to pay off a cluster of child abuse cases – with a gag order.
I agree with the sentiment about ideological fervor, but it’s just blatantly false that JWs do not feel “threatened by those who choose a different path.” Ask their non-JW family members about that.
JWs don’t even vote, and they are forbidden to run for office. Not exactly the banner group for the Constitution…
(See blog posts on JWs by clicking on my website link above.)