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Switch to Forum Live View Jehovah's Witnesses and National Oaths of Allegiance
4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 5:26PM #31
Newtonian
Posts: 12,196

Imperfect-tense - There is no contradiction - it is all in your contentious attitude.  The fact that only one political party was allowed in Malawi is actually quite similar to Nazi Germany under Hitler. 


The issue was neutrality in political affairs, btw.  Here is a brief report on this:


"Early in the 1960’s, the spirit of nationalism was running high in Malawi. In harmony with an agreement made with Britain, full self-rule was to be granted in mid-1964 after a general election. In the meantime, Dr. Banda was installed as an internal prime minister for the colony. Before the general election, the government arranged for a voluntary registration of voters to take place from December 30, 1963, to January 19, 1964.


It was at this time that Jehovah’s Witnesses in Malawi first found themselves thrust into what the San Francisco Examiner (published in the U.S.A.) later described as “a religious war . . . a very one-sided war, pitting force against faith.” Jehovah’s Witnesses were not the ones that declared war. In accord with Bible teachings, they show respect for secular rulers and conscientiously pay their taxes. (Luke 20:19-25; Rom. 13:1-7) However, because Jesus Christ said that his followers would be “no part of the world,” Jehovah’s Witnesses also maintain a position of strict neutrality as to the wars of the nations and their political affairs.—John 17:16; Acts 5:28, 29.



As the fever of voter registration gripped the country, the Witnesses exercised their right not to register. When party officials noticed their neutral stand, however, violent persecution broke out. Efforts were made to force the Witnesses to change their minds and buy party membership cards." - "1999 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses," pp. 171-172.


Note this was registering to vote.  Jehovah's Witnesses do not vote as this also involves one in that country's political affairs.  Buying a politcal party card involves one in that country's political affairs - obtaining a passport does not involve one in that country's political affairs.  And obtaining a passport is a matter of conscience among us - how is it you do not realize this?

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 5:43PM #32
Ivandefendingtruth
Posts: 366

They pledged allegiance not to the country but to the constitution. There's a difference there. 


Anyhow, it would be beneficial to review the Awake! 1975, July 22nd to know the true position of Jehovah's Witnesses with respect to oaths, and not the misrepresentations by "Marvin Shilmer"


 


*** g75 7/22 pp. 27-28 The Taking of Oaths ***


What Is the Bible’s View?The Taking of OathsAN OATH has been defined as “a solemn appeal to God, or to some revered person or thing, to witness one’s determination to speak the truth or to keep a promise.” How do you feel about oath taking? Some religious groups, such as the Mennonites and Quakers, refuse to take oaths. And because certain individuals have conscientious objections to oath taking, affirmation often is accepted as an alternative.


It has been contended that remarks made by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount forbid his followers to take oaths. Jesus stated: “Again you heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You must not swear without performing, but you must pay your vows to Jehovah.’ However, I say to you: Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne; nor by earth, because it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Nor by your head must you swear, because you cannot turn one hair white or black. Just let your word Yes mean Yes, your No, No; for what is in excess of these is from the wicked one.”—Matt. 5:33-37; compare James 5:12


Did Jesus mean that it is wrong for his followers to take oaths of any kind? No, we cannot draw that conclusion, for various reasons. Consider: Upward of fifty times in Scripture, Jehovah God himself is referred to as making oaths. For instance, the Christian writer of the letter to the Hebrews pointed out that “when God made his promise to Abraham, since he could not swear by anyone greater, he swore by himself, saying: ‘Assuredly in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply you.’” (Heb. 6:13-18) The Bible shows that humans also have taken oaths acceptable to Jehovah. Abraham swore by God, and under certain circumstances the Mosaic law required that individuals take oaths. (Gen. 21:23, 24; Ex. 22:10, 11; Num. 5:21, 22) Even Jesus Christ raised no objection, but answered when the Jewish high priest declared: “By the living God I put you under oath to tell us whether you are the Christ the Son of God!” (Matt. 26:63, 64) So, how are we to understand Jesus’ words about swearing?


Please notice that Christ mentioned swearing by heaven, earth, Jerusalem and even one’s head. Apparently, many persons living during Jesus’ earthly ministry emphasized every declaration with an oath. It was as though a statement had to be sworn to in order to be believed. Such oaths were unnecessary if people were truthful and meant what they said. Hence, in saying, “Just let your word Yes mean Yes, your No, No,” Christ meant that individuals should be straightforward in their speech. It does not appear that his words were directed against the taking of solemn oaths in courts of law.


Thoughtful Christians weigh the matter in the light of Bible principles before taking any sworn oath. In doing so, they find that some oaths are Scripturally unacceptable. For example, in the days of the Third Reich, every German soldier was required to take this oath: “I swear by God this holy oath that I shall render unconditional obedience to the Führer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and that as a brave soldier I shall be prepared at all times to risk my life for this oath.” A person dedicated to Almighty God cannot bind himself unconditionally to a sinful human, for Jehovah exacts “exclusive devotion.” (Deut. 5:9) Moreover, would it be proper for a true Christian, who Jesus said would be “no part of the world,” to get involved in the controversies of the world? (John 15:19; Jas. 1:27; Isa. 2:4) Hence, despite severe persecution, faithful Christian witnesses of Jehovah in Germany would take no oaths binding them to Adolf Hitler.


A true Christian, then, would not take an oath that would involve him in the controversies of the world or that would subject him unquestioningly to the will of another human. But what if a nation required that such an oath be taken by those desiring to become citizens? Could a person dedicated to God take an oath of that kind with mental reservations, reasoning that sex, age or other factors would make it unlikely that what had been sworn would ever be required? The individual must decide, but it would not be Christian to make a false oath of any kind, even if refusal to do so resulted in being denied the rights of citizenship.—Eph. 4:25; compare Hosea 10:1, 4.


A citizen of the United States of America who desires to travel abroad will find the following oath on a passport application: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations, or purpose of evasion: So help me God.” If an applicant finds this objectionable, he is permitted to strike this oath from the passport application, and he will not be denied the document on that basis.


A godly person also appropriately weighs matters from the standpoint of Jesus Christ’s statement: “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” (Luke 20:25) If anything conflicts with God’s law, the Christian cannot conscientiously swear to it. Yet he might take an oath to ‘support and defend’ the provisions of the law of the land that are not out of harmony with the law of God. Enlightened nations that grant citizens freedom of worship do not require Christians to do things contrary to their Biblical beliefs and obligations to Almighty God.


But how might a Christian ‘support and defend’ the law or the Constitution of a land granting religious liberty? By engaging only in proper and legal conduct that also harmonizes with the law of God. He can also do this by his spoken word, including the giving of truthful testimony in a court of law. No one can reasonably object to a Christian’s swearing to do something that God expects him to do, and relative subjection to governmental authorities is required of Christ’s followers.—Rom. 13:1.


There are numerous oaths, of course. For instance, some unions require members to swear: “I will bear true allegiance to it and will not sacrifice its interests in any manner.” As usually applied, this means that the member will not engage in strikebreaking or similar activities considered detrimental to the union. If a godly person decided that complying with such an oath would not conflict with his Christian activities, he might choose to take it.Individual conscience, then, enters the picture when any oath is being considered. Of course, a person devoted to Jehovah would take Bible principles into account. This, after all, is vital if such an individual is to keep a close relationship with God.

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 5:43PM #33
Janetthebandit
Posts: 251

Hi Newtonian,


I was wondering if you knew there was a post made to you (or any Jehovah's Witness who wanted to comment) pertaining to a question covering Revelation 12th chapter. Here is the link:


community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/3...


...I wasn't sure you knew about it.


Thanks, Smile


Janet


 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 6:03PM #34
Truthwillset
Posts: 1,267

Newt, I can’t believe you don’t see the contradiction!  First, let me point out that oddly enough registering to vote does not go against the direction of the GB anymore.  In fact, one could even go to the poles and write in a vote!  So how do you think the Malawian brothers would feel about this today knowing what happened then?


Second, how is holding a card that says you are a member of a political party in a one party state different than holding documentation that you are a citizen of any country?  How does simply possessing a card involve one in the politics anymore than paying taxes?


Finally, either you are politically neutral or not.  If I had to guess I’d say signing an oath to uphold the constitution of the US is not remaining “politically neutral”.


You see the problems that arise when you start dictating policy it just becomes an endless cycle of what to do and not to do in all sorts of various circumstances.  That is so out of harmony with scriptural principles I don’t know how anyone can’t see that…

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 8:52PM #35
Newtonian
Posts: 12,196

Truthwillset - Did you note Ivan's post?  He is clearly actually one of Jehovah's Witnesses - notice he accurately represents what we believe.


Now, you view things differently - I see things as Ivan does - there is no contradiction. 


Jehovah's Witnesses do not belong to any political party in any country - whether they allow more than one party - as in the United States - or where they did not - as in Malawi and Nazi Germany. 


And, yes, we can vote a write in if we are forced to.  This did happen - I think it was in Kentucky.  When forced to vote, we wrote in: Jesus Christ.


And I was thinking the same thing Ivan was thinking - giving allegiance to the U.S. Constitution is not the same as giving allegiance to the United States.  It is more the judicial branch which we follow the apostle Paul's example and often appeal to Caesar. 


There is a line we will not cross - this Scripture is one of many involved:


(Matthew 22:21) . . .“Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”


 In fact, Jehovah's Witnesses have made a number of Constitutional appeals to the U. S. Supreme Court - in reality, the U. S. Constitution is essentially in harmony with the Bible - partly because those who drafted it believed in the Bible.


And good news for me!  I had missed what Ivan caught!  I can legally cross out that phrase and get a passport!  I did not know that!  I might add that this thread is changing my view - I will have to research the Constitution more carefully to see if there is  something in it I could not fully support - I am not aware of anything - but, of course, I do not remember all of it in detail! 

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 9:01PM #36
Marvinshilmer
Posts: 515

Jun 2, 2010 -- 2:49PM, Newtonian wrote:

Nor would I ever pledge allegiance to any human government.



Watchtower's top leadership does not share that value of yours. I recommend you take your issues up with them.


Marvin Shilmer

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 9:12PM #37
Marvinshilmer
Posts: 515

Jun 2, 2010 -- 5:43PM, Ivandefendingtruth wrote:

Anyhow, it would be beneficial to review the Awake! 1975, July 22nd to know the true position of Jehovah's Witnesses with respect to oaths, and not the misrepresentations by "Marvin Shilmer"




Watchtower publishes:


"Since [Witnesses] can give their allegiance only to Jehovah God and his kingdom".--(Watchtower, Feb. 1, 1973)


Watchtower publishes:


"[Y]ou won’t find Jehovah’s Witnesses saying a pledge of allegiance to any country."--(Watchtower, Feb. 15, 1980)


Watchtower does:


"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations, or purpose of evasion; So help me God."--(Nathan Knorr's "oath of affirmation of allegiance to the United States.”—22 C.F.R. 51.23(O) (January 1, 1966))


Let readers make of it what they will.


Marvin Shilmer

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 9:20PM #38
Marvinshilmer
Posts: 515

Jun 2, 2010 -- 5:43PM, Ivandefendingtruth wrote:

They pledged allegiance not to the country but to the constitution.




If Knorr did not pledge allegiance to the United States then he lied in his passport application. Under the law the oath Knorr pledged is “The applicant’s oath of affirmation of allegiance to the United States.”—22 C.F.R. 51.23(O) (January 1, 1966)


Did Knorr lie? Or did Knorr pledge allegiance to the United States?


Which is it?


Also, precisely what does it mean to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies"? Nathan Knorr pledged to do this. "All enemies". Think about that.


Watchtower teaches that the Constitution represents an obvious continuation of the trend started in Eden when humans decided to do things their way rather than God’s way.


Marvin Shilmer

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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 9:27PM #39
Oeste
Posts: 3,417

Jun 2, 2010 -- 6:03PM, Truthwillset wrote:


becomes an endless cycle of what to do and not to do in all sorts of various circumstances.  That is so out of harmony with scriptural principles I don’t know how anyone can’t see that…





I agree with you TWS. Either Knorr gave his allegiance to the United States or he did not. When he pledged allegiance to the Constitution, he pledged allegiance to all those national institutions framed by the Constitution.


These institutions include the Executive branch (President), the Judicial branch (the courts) and the Legislative branch (the congress).


How Newt and Ivan attempt to separate these institutions from  United States, or allegiance to one from allegiance to the other is beyond me. Can they tell us what the United States of America is without the Constitution and these institutions? I would say "a name only" . That is, without the Constitution we have no United States, but perhaps they can better explain.


It should be an interesting dance to watch.

Never argue with stupid people. They will drag
you down to their level and then beat you with
experience ~ Mark Twain

If you are neutral on situations of injustice
you have chosen the side of the oppressor ~
Desmond Tutu
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4 years ago  ::  Jun 02, 2010 - 10:16PM #40
Svetlana
Posts: 11,315

Jun 2, 2010 -- 9:27PM, Oeste wrote:


It should be an interesting dance to watch.



It's also very sad.  Newtonian, Ivan, Older, Nomi, and others are devout JWs, dedicated to the WTS, and are struggling to justify the WTS's hypocrisy.  They can't, of course, but it's painful to watch for those who hold them in affection, as I do.  They're trying to defend the WTS having spit in their faces with their feeble excuses.

"No matter how big and bad you are, when a two-year-old hands you a toy phone, you answer it."  ~ (common sense)

"Never place a period where God has placed a comma."  ~ Gracie Allen

"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." ~ Abraham Lincoln

"I wonder sometimes if we ever give God a headache." ~ Dontay Hall, age 8
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