If you read this post, you will see that Jehovah’s Witnesses employ what they call a “two witness” rule when it comes to cases of suspected pedophilia or child sex assault within their congregations. They firmly believe that anyone bringing an accusation against another person needs a second witness to that crime or wrongdoing, if the accused person doesn’t confess. If there is no second witness to the crime or wrongdoing, the matter is typically dropped.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have also strongly discouraged parents in these cases from calling the police, as they don’t want to “bring reproach on Jehovah’s name,” or make themselves look bad to anyone outside the organization. They adhere to a scripture in 1 Corinthians 6, which talks about not taking your brother to court.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses are free to interpret scriptures any way they wish, there is a problem with insisting on these organizational procedures for children. Adults are able to make an informed decision about whether or not they agree with a religion and its teachings and procedures, but these rules about requiring two witnesses and not going to the police are decisions being made for children. These children have not agreed to these rules.
Let’s explain it this way. If you, as an adult, are being viciously, brutally raped and molested by someone in your congregation, and you decide to allow it to continue because you don’t have a second witness to this molestation, and also decide that you don’t want to call the police and “bring reproach on Jehovah’s name,” that’s certainly your choice. I personally think any adult who would do that is drooling bat-shit crazy, but again, you’re an adult, and you can make this decision for yourself.
However, these things are not happening to adults. It’s children who are being raped and molested and tortured and abused. These children are not making a conscious, informed decision as to whether or not they want to allow these things to continue, and they are not in a position to say if they agree with this interpretation of scripture.
Inflicting Your Morality and Beliefs on Your Children
Think for a moment about the idea of child brides, girls as young as five or six being given away by their parents to old men as their wives. Do you agree with this practice? Hopefully not; this child has not agreed to marry this man and can’t make a decision to be his wife, and to submit sexually to him at such a young age. Many people view this type of practice as being obscene and barbaric; how dare the parents agree to this type of arrangement, where is their compassion for the children, who are they to enslave these babies to such a horrific life and to what amounts to a legalized form of child rape?
The same can be said for an adult who would prostitute their own child. If an adult wants to have sex with a stranger for money, that’s typically illegal, but it’s also their choice. However, for them to decide that they will allow an adult to have sex with their child is vulgar and disgusting.
How is this resistance on the part of Jehovah’s Witnesses to call the police for each and every credible accusation of child molestation any different? They, as adults, as men, have decided that this “two witness” rule must apply even in cases of pedophilia, but they have made this decision for children. Not only have they inflicted this decision on the children, but the children have not said whether or not they agree with these rules of what is essentially their parents’ religion. They have not made a conscious decision to let these rules dictate their lives.
Children Who Are Not Jehovah’s Witnesses at Heart
According to a recent survey done by PewResearch, “Jehovah’s Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religious tradition. Only 37% of all those who say they were raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses still identify themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses.” As someone who was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I can remember many families where, perhaps, only one child remained as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some that had all the children fall away from the faith.
The point of including that statistic in this post is that only 1 out of every 3 children you see in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses will decide, as an adult, that they want to remain as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only 1 in 3 will go on to agree with its doctrines and organizational arrangements.
That means that of all the children who are victims of pedophilia in the organization, and who need to continue to endure this abuse because of the JW interpretation of the “two witness” rule and because of their refusal to call the police, 2 out of every 3 are actually not Jehovah’s Witnesses at heart. Once they are old enough to make their own choices, 2 out of 3 will choose something different and say that they don’t agree with the religion or its teachings.
The Hypocrisy of Demanding Respect
Jehovah’s Witnesses are being very hypocritical in this issue, as they insist that others respect them and their beliefs, no matter what those other people think and feel. As an example, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept whole blood transfusions even in emergency situations, when their life is at stake. They demand doctors respect this, despite a doctor’s belief that a life should be saved. Jehovah’s Witnesses expect to be given accommodations at work and at school when it comes to their beliefs; for example, those who work in a retail store may refuse to hang up Christmas decorations, and a secretary may refuse to plan holiday parties, since JWs don’t observe holidays.
Why would Jehovah’s Witnesses demand so much respect from others over even trivial things like Christmas decorations, but they don’t respect the beliefs and rights of children in their care when it comes to whether or not they agree with this “two witness” rule? If that child cannot consciously and reasonably agree with the decision to dismiss accusations of pedophilia, why do JWs inflict that belief and their decisions on them?
As an adult, you have the right to choose your religion and all the beliefs and rules and direction that come with it. I would ask why Jehovah’s Witnesses are overextending those rights when it comes to forcing them on these innocent children, who may not agree with those doctrines or decisions in the first place.
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