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Controversies Concerning The Beliefs And Practices Of Jehovah’S Witnesses

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Section 2 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms entitles people to freedom of conscience and religion, but, in section 1, it states: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. Unfortunately, many of the practices of the Jehovah’s Witness violate this law. These include; not voting, not celebrating Remembrance Day, not standing for the national anthem, and refusal to transfuse blood. They are also notorious for their recruitment tactics.

Many practices of the Jehovah’s Witness could be considered unpatriotic or treasonous. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in “Christian Neutrality”, the following is an excerpt from Reasoning from the Scriptures, which was part of a series on different religions,

The position of those who do not take sides with, or give support to, any of two or more contending parties. It is a fact of ancient and modern-day history that in every nation and under all circumstances true Christians have endeavored to maintain complete neutrality as to

conflicts between factions of the world. They do not interfere with what others do about sharing in patriotic ceremonies, serving in the armed forces, joining a political party, running for a political office, or voting. (Rhodes 269)

Jehovah’s Witnesses also do not celebrate Remembrance Day, salute the flag or stand for a national anthem. This is because of their belief that you should only give allegiance to Jehovah (God) and not man-made institutions. Common celebrations and religious or national holidays such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are regarded as pagan and not celebrated. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses have been imprisoned or executed due to these beliefs, and though these punishments may be a little too harsh, some form of punishment should be justified, as what they are doing is wrong and unethical. Some Jehovah’s Witnesses may say that they have freedom of religion as per the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but section one states that: “…demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.

Many of their beliefs do not fall under the category of democratic, as for a democratic society to succeed, it requires participation of all citizens.

One of the most controversial issues surrounding Jehovah’s Witness is their views on blood transfusions. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible prohibits eating blood, and that this includes the storage and transfusion of blood. Unfortunately there have been many times when the transfusion of blood is required to save someone’s life, and either the person or their guardian, has refused to undergo the transfusion. The Watchtower Society (The governing body of the Jehovah’s Witness) warned that accepting a blood transfusion could prevent them from living eternally in God's new world, the goal of the Jehovah’s Witness. The Watchtower Society was once quoted in response to criticism on the topic: "It may result in the immediate and very temporary prolongation of life, but that at the cost of eternal life for a dedicated Christian." The following is their doctrine concerning blood, these are based of biblical texts such as Genesis 9:3; Leviticus 17:10 and Acts 15:29:

• Blood is sacred to God

• Blood means life in God's eyes

• Blood must not be eaten or transfused

• Blood leaving the body of a human or animal must be disposed of

• Blood was reserved for only one special use, the atonement for sins, which

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