Persecution of our Jehovah's Witnesses friends

Apr 2017
196
Mexico
Dear all

Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) are Christians that, like Bahai, have been persecuted since mid XIX centurty and right now, as I write this, are subject to active persecution by the Russian government.

The JW, like the Bahai, stress the oneness of God, the distinction between God and Jesus as Manifestation of God, and the spiritual (not physical) resurrection of Christ. Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist and do not actively seek political power. My mother is currently a JW and now I am now sharing with her my interest in the Bahai Faith.

Please read the related article and include them in your prayers.
Preserving liberties of every human being around the world is something that concerns us all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/25/jehovahs-witnesses-russia-putin-persecution
 
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Jcc

Mar 2013
597
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
Dear all

Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) are Christians that, like Bahai, have been persecuted since mid XIX centurty and right now, as I write this, are subject to active persecution by the Russian government.

The JW, like the Bahai, stress the oneness of God, the distinction between God and Jesus as Manifestation of God, and the spiritual (not physical) resurrection of Christ. Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist and do not actively seek political power. My mother is currently a JW and now I am now sharing with her my interest in the Bahai Faith.

Please read the related article and include them in your prayers.
Preserving liberties of every human being around the world is something that concerns us all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/25/jehovahs-witnesses-russia-putin-persecution
Camacho,

You are right it is sad and tragic that Russia has decided to persecute and ban Jehovah's Witnesses. They have done nothing to deserve it, and are no harm to any government, since they strictly avoid politics.
 
Dec 2012
207
Earth
Greetings Camachoe,

Religious persecution is often founded on fear. If any government has any concerns over the way followers of any religious community practices their faith they can always engage is discussions with them or introduce legislation to curb any activities they find offensive. A complete ban that criminalises a religious practice however, as ruled by the Russian Supreme Court on the 20th of April against Jehovah Witnesses, is a rather extreme solution to a religious community that will obey the government and the law of the land.

Earth
 
Sep 2012
360
Panama
...sad and tragic that Russia has decided to persecute and ban Jehovah's Witnesses. They have done nothing to deserve it...
Refusing to obey laws necessary for sustaining the State is not "nothing"; from the article:

...important tenet of their faith is their refusal of military service. They refuse conscription and even non-violent “war work”. This stance led them to be persecuted in almost all the countries that fought the second world war. They were imprisoned in Britain and the US...

imho putting the State at risk will always have consequences.
Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist...
We need to be clear that Baha'is are not pacifists. We serve when ordered and while we request non-combatant status we bear arms when the request is denied.
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
Westerns...

Refusing to obey laws necessary for sustaining the State is not "nothing"; from the article:

...important tenet of their faith is their refusal of military service. They refuse conscription and even non-violent “war work”. This stance led them to be persecuted in almost all the countries that fought the second world war. They were imprisoned in Britain and the US...

imho putting the State at risk will always have consequences.
We need to be clear that Baha'is are not pacifists. We serve when ordered and while we request non-combatant status we bear arms when the request is denied.
Well, I'm still a fan of old Western movies. 'Pull your wagons in a circle, pilgrims."
And if the Sheriff of Mecca says he needs a posse and all able bodied men are expected to saddle up, then so be it.
Its a test, for sure, that hits many conscientious objector types, including Baha'is of that nature, but individually so, as the Instututions of the Baha'i Faith do not categorically back up the conscientious objector position (to my understanding, pilgrim)
Rather, if called upon, we are to serve, although we are encouraged to seek non-combatant service where possible.
The government of any country must be able to rely upon its citizenry, and of course the Baha'is are to obey the government.
But when the government, or those it places in authority, cross certain lines of morality, i.e. My Lai massacre of Viet Nam in 1968, or Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 ... etc, every soul must follow his or her conscience.
Even in the case of the Martyrdom of the Bab, He instructed Sam Khan, commander of the Armenian Regiment ordered to execute the Bab:

. "Follow your instructions... and if your intentions be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity."
 
Oct 2014
1,829
Stockholm
Dear all

Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) are Christians that, like Bahai, have been persecuted since mid XIX centurty and right now, as I write this, are subject to active persecution by the Russian government.

The JW, like the Bahai, stress the oneness of God, the distinction between God and Jesus as Manifestation of God, and the spiritual (not physical) resurrection of Christ. Like the Bahai, they have no clergy, are overtly pacifist and do not actively seek political power. My mother is currently a JW and now I am now sharing with her my interest in the Bahai Faith.

Please read the related article and include them in your prayers.
Preserving liberties of every human being around the world is something that concerns us all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/25/jehovahs-witnesses-russia-putin-persecution
Dear camachoe,

I much appreciate this post. I too feel that we should consider the tribulations of others who suffer for important causes. I also agree with the comments, but as a Bahá'í itt happens now and then that I am struck but the amount of truth that can be found in different religious communities. Not so long ago, I run into a smallchurch in Sweden that has had lots of trouble with authorities. When reading their texts, I realized that very much of their analysis of the ills of today's society was right to the point. It had, however, led them to a stance of opposition to authorities.

So, although we cannot support their fights with the authorities, we can show our respect for their principles and maintain good relations with them as individuals.

Best from

gnat
 
Jul 2015
75
Berlin, Germany
Camachoe,

thank you for posting this.

A friend of mine is a Jehova's Witness, and this new ruling in Russia has caused sadness in his community. Immediately had to think of him when I read about it.

It's so sad when people are persecuted for their faith.
 
Jul 2015
75
Berlin, Germany
Well, I'm still a fan of old Western movies. 'Pull your wagons in a circle, pilgrims."
And if the Sheriff of Mecca says he needs a posse and all able bodied men are expected to saddle up, then so be it.
Its a test, for sure, that hits many conscientious objector types, including Baha'is of that nature, but individually so, as the Instututions of the Baha'i Faith do not categorically back up the conscientious objector position (to my understanding, pilgrim)
Rather, if called upon, we are to serve, although we are encouraged to seek non-combatant service where possible.
The government of any country must be able to rely upon its citizenry, and of course the Baha'is are to obey the government.
But when the government, or those it places in authority, cross certain lines of morality, i.e. My Lai massacre of Viet Nam in 1968, or Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 ... etc, every soul must follow his or her conscience.
Even in the case of the Martyrdom of the Bab, He instructed Sam Khan, commander of the Armenian Regiment ordered to execute the Bab:

. "Follow your instructions... and if your intentions be sincere, the Almighty is surely able to relieve you of your perplexity."
I haven't studied the rulings of the UHJ on that topic, but my first thought is that passive resistance is a different thing than active opposition, too.

To my knowledge, Jehova's Witnesses do not actively obstruct the states they are living in either, they just practize passive resistance by not obeying orders they consider immoral.

If I remember correctly, Baha'is do the same, i.e. if a government declares its worship or institutions illegal, or make laws that directly contradict the Faith. We do not take actions, let alone weapons for revenge -- but passively denying obedience is well possible in many cases, or isn't it? For example, I can't imagine if a Baha'i serving in Nazi Germany is asked to deliver Jews to the authorities, he is supposed to obey...

Maybe someone with more knowledge on the matter can elaborate.
 
Apr 2017
196
Mexico
There is a wonderful movie about persecution and passive resistance, called "SILENCE". I truly recommend you to watch it and reflect on it.

The movie presents a fictional story based on true events related to the persecution of the first Japanese Christians.

Three situations are presented:

  1. A priest that must choose between renege on his faith or being tortured, and chooses his faith.
  2. A priest that must choose between renege on his faith or having other people tortured, and chooses to renege on his faith.
  3. The most interesting one for me: A Christian that must choose between renege on his faith or being tortured, chooses to renege on his faith, but then re-assumes its faith and helps his tortured fellows, and repeats this as many times as needed to deceive his persecutors and keep assisting the priest in his suffering. By the end of the story, he survives but is haunted by guilt and inextricable internal conflict.

One key issue here, in the movie, is that "reneging on your faith" meant you were forced to make a visible, almost ritual sign of rejection, such as stepping your foot on a cross or spitting on a cross. It did not entail things being forced to kill, steal, rape, etc.

It is a very moving movie that makes you frame difficult questions to yourself: What would I do if....?
 
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Nov 2013
26
Costa Rica
If I remember correctly, Baha'is do the same, i.e. if a government declares its worship or institutions illegal, or make laws that directly contradict the Faith. We do not take actions, let alone weapons for revenge -- but passively denying obedience is well possible in many cases, or isn't it? For example, I can't imagine if a Baha'i serving in Nazi Germany is asked to deliver Jews to the authorities, he is supposed to obey...

Maybe someone with more knowledge on the matter can elaborate.
See a relevant letter from Shoghi Effendi on the subject:

The only way that society can function is for the minority to follow the will of the majority.
My understanding of it is, that "the will of the majority" is to be defended against aggression. So, if the war is other than defensive, or if it is not clear whether or not it is a defensive measure, one is justified in denying to take up arms.