On their official website, JW.org, Jehovah’s Witnesses have a series of videos aimed at children titled “Become Jehovah’s Friend.” This series follows young Caleb and Sophia and their unnamed parents, as the children learn all about the incessant demands put upon them in order to be god’s friend. The first video, released back in 2012, showed Caleb throwing away a toy given to him by a school chum because it was “magic” and would make Jehovah “sad.”
If that sounds a bit creepy and heavy-handed to you, the latest video in the series, “One Man, One Woman” is sure to rile you up and ruffle some rainbow feathers.
When Happiness Is Not Enough
In this video, Sophia, who is probably supposed to be about 10 years old, comes home from school with a drawing she made of her family. She tells her mother that a classmate, Carrie, made a drawing with *gasp* two mommies. This of course gets an immediate reaction from Sophia’s mom, the same look of controlled shock I get when someone tells me they eat sheep guts or drive a stick shift. Sophia relates that her teacher said, “…all that matters is that people love each other and that they’re happy.”
That sounds like an amazing, positive thought for any child to embrace. Love and happiness are two very important ingredients for any relationship, and for any family home where children are being raised.
Also, it’s probably none of Sophia’s family’s business how another family lives, right?
Perhaps in your world, yes, but this is the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses, where everyone and everything is their business and where everything that doesn’t fit their rules and thinking must change. Setting aside her daughter’s wonderful, beautiful thought about love, the mother immediately begins with a contradictory, “Well…” which is your first sign that love and happiness mean nothing in the JW world. She then tells her daughter about what is “right and wrong,” and literally waves a bible in the girl’s face as she says that Jehovah “wants us to be happy.”
That’s interesting, because Sophia just said that Carrie’s two mommies were happy, and the drawing the little girl had made of those two mommies certainly seemed to back that up. Despite that, mom goes on to talk about how Jehovah made marriage with a man and his wife, and that his standards haven’t changed.
Love Equals Baggage
Mom then likened the prospect of getting into paradise to that of going on an airplane. “What would happen if someone wanted to bring something on the plane that wasn’t allowed?” The little girl gets the point that you wouldn’t be able to go on the trip. The mother then continues this cruel tirade, dripping in condescending sweetness, by saying that, to get to paradise, “…we have to leave some things behind.”
You know, like the spouse you so dearly love and with whom you’ve built such a happy family, whose life overlaps yours, who held your hand when your mother died and held your hair when you got food poisoning that one time, and who tells you every day that you’re beautiful and who laughs with you and who makes you cry and who makes you think and who challenges you and supports you, but who just happens to have the same genitalia as you. That “thing.”
To drive home this point, the cartoon video depicts a man trying to walk through a metal detector-like device in order to get to paradise on the other side, and dropping his shoulder bag in order to be let through. That’s right, your spouse, your partner, your friend and lover, the one who just happens to be of the same gender as you, is an old bag you just drop and sprint away from, like so much dead weight.
As if this horrific lecture on abandoning your family and those that you love simply because they are of the same gender is not hateful enough, Sophia’s mother announces with unmistakable certainty, “People can change!”
She then begins to work with her daughter to devise a plan on what she can tell her classmate about how her wonderful family can get to their version of paradise, provided her two loving, happy mommies give each other up, break up their home and relationship, and simply “change” their sexuality, emotions, and everything else important to them and ingrained into them. This is the message that Sophia’s mother is telling her daughter and is encouraging the daughter to share with another classmate, at the tender age of about ten.
I can only imagine the enormous pain of this message, if it were received by that classmate, and the outright fear and panic she might experience at her young age. Religious foundation for your beliefs aside, telling a pre-teen child that their parents should break up and stop being together would be nothing short of traumatizing, and perhaps even a form of harassment and bullying. In my humble opinion, it’s a type of hate crime and child abuse.
Telling two other grownup adults that you don’t like their relationship and sexuality is harassing, hurtful, judgmental, and intrusive enough; this is not something you tell a child.
Of course, there is also the issue that Sophia’s mother completely missed an opportunity to teach her daughter respect for other people and their beliefs, and respect for another classmate’s feelings. I hate the idea of teaching a child that gay couples are not getting into their religion’s promised paradise but will instead die a horrible, agonizing death at Armageddon; I would think the mother could have the common sense to temper that lesson with one on not inflicting that judgmental, arrogant, self-righteous attitude onto others.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a good track record when it comes to their attitude on homosexuals; as I bring out in this post, they even went so far so as to blame homosexuals for the prevalence of pedophilia, woefully ignoring the fact that being gay and being a child rapist are two entirely different things, and woefully overlooking the pedophilia that exists in their own religion despite the fact that homosexuals are not allowed.
As bad as that was, they have obscenely overstepped their bounds with this latest video. Despite its cheerful, upbeat tone and colorful graphics, it is obviously meant to create little fanatics and foot soldiers who are sent out to tell, not just adults, but even young children that their families are going to die and never get into paradise unless they change their ways and come ’round to the JW way of thinking.
Any family who follows the lead of this video and sends their child out to tell the children of gay parents that their family needs to break up and stop loving each other in order to get into paradise is probably going to face a harassment lawsuit, and rightly so. It’s shameful and disgusting that they would send their children to do this dirty work for them, but even more disgusting that the audience they find for their hurtful message will be other impressionable, sensitive children. For some reason, I can’t imagine Carrie’s two loving, happy mommies doing the same to Sophia.
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