JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES: ARE THEY BANNED OR NOT?
by Katerina Chernova
Suchan, 26 April 2017
Like a stormy wave throughout all the news media of Russia rolled some triumphant articles to the effect that supposedly the "sect" of Jehovah's Witnesses had been banned on the legislative level. . . . This is not true.
It was an amazing fact that this news was picked up literally on the fly by everybody who was not too lazy, referring to the fact that the Supreme Court ruled the organization "Administrative Center of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia" to be extremist and banned its activity. People who attend meetings of an organization with a name that includes the words "Jehovah's Witnesses" were harassed, insulted, humiliated, slandered, and called all manner of nasty words. And why? What did these people do that was bad for society in their meetings? We conducted a small investigation and we are prepared to describe it.
For starters, let's clarify the situation in the legal field. At the present moment no judicial decision HAS TAKEN LEGAL EFFECT prohibiting the activity of the so-called Jehovah's Witnesses. What for a week has been blared "into all horns" by all news media, social networks, and simply "proactive" people, as an order, which incidentally is not ruled out, is just one decision of the Supreme Court which at the present time is being appealed and has still not taken legal effect, and consequently is a judicial act on paper, with which the defense did not agree and so it is appealing it.
What is more, an earlier initiative for placing Jehovah's Witnesses outside the law has already been overturned judicially . . . although one should not forget the kind of "cunning" with which the destruction of an organization may be approached. That is, first deliberately refuse to recognize it as illegal but then in the process of further judicial investigations nevertheless ban it in general and pretend that the decision was reached in an equal conflict of two sides and not treacherously and against the wishes of millions of people, infringing their constitutional right to freedom of religious confession. That is for the courts. So that keep in mind that so far, for the present time, Jehovah's Witnesses are within the law and are not banned!!!
And now about particulars. . . . The position of citizens . . . . It is very negative in many cases. But in digging deeper into the topic, those citizens who vehemently spoke out AGAINST Jehovah's Witnesses still were not able to establish their position adequately and justifiably. In all cases completely, people began almost hysterically to get angry and accuse Witnesses of taking people's money, property, and other valuables and to talk about imaginary cottages built with this money. . . . But when they are asked to name just one victim from whom money, apartments, or something else was taken by the Witnesses, NOBODY was able to remember A SINGLE case in fact! So we asked to show us or give the address of just one cottage of a Jehovah's Witness, built with money stolen from people. And again, nobody knows a single real instance.
So why such persecution of this organization? Everything is explained quite simply. Witnesses in the recent past preached too aggressively and insistently, they pestered people on the street, they knocked on doors, they went to workplaces, which irritated atheists and people who believed otherwise. As a result, in a few years they were able to provoke such antipathy against themselves among simple people—that's all! But! At the same time their ranks, strange as it seems, grew. The organization accumulated members while nobody was left without apartments and money.
Many people turned around their personal life because at the meetings they learned humility and forgiveness of loved ones, many cast off harmful and addictive habits, some found for themselves the meaning of life, and generally no evil came of it.
It is not without importance that various rituals of the type of "baptism," "weddings," and the like are conducted among the Witnesses on a cost-free basis. Take note, Witnesses for a long time have not been pestering people on the streets, they do not go from house to house, and they do not "tug" anywhere, they live quietly and peacefully, and they try to serve people and God—just so.
At the same time we have not noted particular growth of the popularity of the Orthodox Church. We have heard many complaints against it regarding the impossibility of performing any ritual in the event that a person does not have money. That is, you want to be "baptized,"--some "donation;" you want to be "married,"--it takes so much cash; a "funeral,"-- it is also not for free. People murmur, priests in gold and jeeps, but candles in churches are only for contributions. Just so.
It was possible to find a version that "the war on the Witnesses" was declared out of fear that they will overtake Orthodoxy, that people will be drawn to them sincerely, they will leave fat priests, and this is impermissible!
In general, think for yourself and do not go along. As always, we are not justifying anybody; we do not take anybody's side. We are for justice. The court's decision has not taken legal effect, and people should not be deceived that THEY ARE BANNED, SHUT DOWN, and outside the law already! This is not true! The court's decision has still not taken legal effect. They are within the law and have the right to their own meetings and activity.
The editors appeal to those citizens who have reliable information about incidents of extortion or seizures of property by Jehovah's Witnesses. Come to our offices and we will help you recover everything by legal procedure. And indeed we would like to see just one such person from whom something has been stolen. We have not been able to find such. (tr. by PDS, posted 4 May 2017)
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