Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jehovah's Witnesses Considered "Extremists"

I couldn't help but be struck by the irony of the recent statements made by the secretary for the Supreme Court's Civil Cases Division, in this Forum 18 News article (which elaborates on the reasons behind yesterday's ruling against our religious freedom by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation).

Not only are we described as being "extremists" but apparently even Jesus himself must have been an "extremist" (according to their definition), since one of the publications they have banned is the recent Come Be My Follower book (one of my favorites) which is the most innocent and tender accounts describing Jesus' ministry, and the love he showed for people. Convenient timing wouldn't you say?...considering that's the book which all the congregations are scheduled to begin studying this spring, after we finish the Keep Yourselves in God's Love book. Oh, and here's the kicker...even the children's picture book: My Book of Bible Stories (which was one of my favorites as a kid) is also on the list of "extremist" literature.

Here's a statement made by the secretary in the article:
"The secretary for the Supreme Court's Civil Cases Division, who would not give her name, told Forum 18 News Service: "The Jehovah's Witnesses are extremist." Asked if they have for example killed anyone, she responded: "To a certain extent, yes." (Are you kidding me???)
She also made the statement: "The Jehovah's Witnesses here are not like they are in other countries. They propound extremist views."

Oh really? hmmm...that doesn't seem to reflect the feelings expressed by the local Russian people in the following article, who awarded our Russian Branch Office a certificate of merit.

(article and photo on pg 29 of the August 2008 Awake!)

“Thank You for Your Great Love for People”

▪ In the eastern Siberian city of Chita, a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses used a school classroom for Christian meetings until they moved into their new Kingdom Hall. Because the Witnesses kept the classroom clean, made repairs, and were kind and courteous, the school directors wrote a letter of appreciation to the congregation.
In part, it said: “Thank you for your great love for people, which is evident to everyone you meet, and for your missionary and humanitarian activities among the general population. We will never forget the impressions gained during the years we have worked together, which demonstrate that those believing in God are decent, conscientious, kind and, most of all, goal-oriented people with faith and a purpose in life.” Jehovah’s Witnesses appreciate those sentiments.
▪ Approximately 3,500 miles [5,500 km] west of Chita, a representative of the Russia branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses was invited to a special ceremony hosted by the administration of the district of St. Petersburg. The reason? After the snow has melted each year, local Witnesses help to clean up the litter that has accumulated on a 40-mile [60 km] stretch of road not far from the branch. Showing appreciation for this community spirit, an official formally presented a certificate of merit to the branch representative. The audience heartily applauded. Interestingly, when a host speaker at the ceremony mispronounced the divine name, Jehovah, several non-Witnesses in attendance quickly corrected him, showing that they were familiar with both God’s name and the people known by it.
The main reason for this familiarity is the public ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses, of whom there are approximately 150,000 in Russia. It is their goal to continue showing a “great love for people” by sharing the Bible’s comforting message with all who will hear.—Matthew 22:39.

Boy, that sure sounds "extremist" to me! lol.