Jehovah’s Witnesses forced by British judge to allow their child a transfusion

It’s been a long day, what with preparing to leave and all, but there’s some good news at the end of it. A short article in the Guardian reports that a British judge has ordered that the child of two Jehovah’s Witnesses, a child suffering from bad burns, undergo a transfusion. As you may know, the Witnesses refuse transfusions because of two Biblical verses abjuring the “eating of blood.” (They will allow transfusion of some components of blood, like hemoglobin, which of course means they’re cherry-picking even those verses.)

What struck me is how polite the judge was. I’m not sure I’d have been able to restrain myself in the face of such religiously-inspired stupidity:

[Mr. Justice] Moylan said he hoped that the boy’s parents would understand.

“I am extremely grateful to [the boy’s] father for so clearly and calmly explaining to me the position held by himself and [the boy’s] mother,” said the judge.

“I have no doubt at all that they love their son dearly. I also have no doubt that they object to the receipt by [their son] of a blood transfusion because of their devout beliefs. I hope they will understand why I have reached the decision which I have, governed as it is [their son’s] welfare.”

I talk about this issue in detail in The Albatross, and, after reading about many such cases in the U.S. in which children, enduring or abiding by their parents’ religious beliefs, died, I am struck by two things. The first is that the parents usually either get off scot-free or are given a legal slap on the wrist, although if they withheld medical care on other than religious grounds they’d be punished severely for child abuse, mistreatment, or neglect.

The second is that although these parents insist that they are good parents, they show a striking lack of affect concerning the death of their child. Time after time I’ve read about parents martyring their child for their faith, and then showing no remorse at all about it—often ascribing the child’s death to “God’s will”. There are often no tears and no second-guessing.

Such are the dangers of faith. The parents say they loved their children, but they love their imaginary god more.

Here’s a slide I use in my talk about science vs. faith; the pictures, portraying dead children (who refused blood) as glorious martyrs, “Youths Who Put God First”, comes from an issue of the church’s Awake! magazine from 1994. Every child pictured died from refusing transfusions.This is about the sickest religious propaganda I’ve seen:

screen-shot-2014-09-01-at-6-26-12-am

 

65 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    sub

    • Filippo
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      sub

  2. Frank Wagner
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Ian McEwan’s new book, The Children Act, deals with such a case, although the child is almost 18 years old, apparently the age of adulthood in Britain, and refuses the transfusion. A portion of the Amszon summary:

    Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge who presides over cases in the family court. She is called on to try an urgent case: Adam, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, is refusing for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents echo his wishes. Time is running out. Should the secular court overrule sincerely expressed faith? In the course of reaching a decision, Fiona visits Adam in the hospital—an encounter that stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy. Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

    I’m just up to the decision, so can’t give any spoilers.

    I agree that the child’s interests should come first.

    • steve oberski
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never understood how “sincerely expressed” or “sincerely held” exculpates the holder of said belief.

      Sincerity is no excuse for bad behaviour.

      And as usual religion gets a free pass here, how often do you hear about say holocaust deniers “sincerely held” beliefs.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. If the “sincerely held belief” was white supremacy and someone was refusing a blood transfusion from someone who wasn’t white or Christian or straight, they wouldn’t get any sympathy, so why the difference with religion?

        • Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Suppose the sincerely held belief is that of Aztecs centuries ago and you gouge the hearts out of your children. Is that okay? According to these wacky religious exemptions, I can’t see what the argument against it is if these things are applied consistently. And naturally, if the Aztecs still roamed the Earth in great numbers, this post would be construed by the PC-left crowd as Aztecophobia.

  3. Heather Hastie
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    This abuse of children in the name of a god is the thing I hate most about religion. One of my earliest memories is of a child who lived in the same city who tripped while running with scissors and the scissors went into his eye. No medical treatment was sought because it was God’s will. The authorities intervened, but too late to save the eye, but at least they prevented death from infection.

    Of course, the child was allowed back to his “loving” parents. At 6, I reasoned that God made doctors, so these people were wrong, and was assured by my parents that I was correct.

  4. bonetired
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Jerry – this case is unusual in that it got to court. What frequently happens is that a game is played between the doctors and the parents which goes somewhat along these lines: sick child is brought into hospital, obviously requiring a transfusion. Parents object on religious grounds. Doctors threaten court action ( which both sides damn well know who will win, as today’s report demonstrates) and parents “reluctantly” acquiesce. Child saved, honour kept on all sides.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      What surprises me about such cases is that the parents are not then reported to the child care authorities for their child abuse and separated from all their children.
      Pussy-footing accommodationism like this is simply going to prolong the abuse.

    • oldgothchick
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      sorry but no reluctant acquiescence will ever take place with a devout Jehovah’s Witness as it is a disfellowshipping matter and if they were disfellowshipped they would be shunned by everyone and it would even be required of the child to shun them once it became an adult if they remained in that state (it is not easy to get reinstated and involves time and humiliation)AND it is the belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses that to be in a disfellowshipped state is to merit eternal death and is a spiritual desolation that makes living worthless. For Jehovah’s Witnesses there will always be a fight (it may not be entirely whole-hearted) because they stand to lose more if they don’t fight (in their brainwashed opinion.) I know this. I was a third-generation, daughter of an “anointed” elder and “pioneer” missionary until I was able to escape the cult at 34 yrs old. And I lost everything and everyone to leave.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        …and gained the whole world. I hope it’s a fair swap for you.

      • Keith Cook or more
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Thanks for that, along with Alan Feuerbacher #20 and yourself I now have a better insight of what motivates these people and of their consequential behaviour.

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        As GB James said below to Alan F., [t]hanks for the insight into the JW world,” with this and your subsequent posts and links.

  5. Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    they show a striking lack of affect concerning the death of their child.

    I would think that they would need to numb themselves emotionally to be able to deal with it. Surely it would destroy them if they started to second guess themselves after they had let a child suffer and die. Has this ever occurred?

    • Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Oh, indeed it has; in fact, I end my book with a story of someone who came to his senses after letting two children die and suffered terribly. See also the story of Rita Swan, a former Christian Scientist whose untreated son died of meningitis. She and her husband went on to found a really good organization, CHILD (Children’s Healtcare is a Legal Duty) which lobbies against religious exemptions from medical care.

    • Jeff Lewis
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Or if they’re that religious, they may not see it as a huge tragedy. In their minds, the child is now in heaven. Sure, they’ll be missed for the several decades it takes for the parents to die and join them, but that’s only temporary.

      • steve oberski
        Posted December 9, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Strangely enough the parents never seem willing to immediately join their murdered children in paradise.

  6. kurtzs
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    One might think that natural selection would be at work via increased mortality due to such irrational, self-destructive behavior. There are likely genetic/epigenetic predispositions involved in such ultra-blind faith addiction. However, a related predisposition seems to be high fecundity which I think dwarfs the increased mortality.

  7. Keith Cook or more
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    It seems these religionist bigots want everyone dead, friend or foe.
    We have a pastor Logan Robertson here in New Zealand who is praying an author of a book about being a gay christian will commit suicide, which also included the gay journalist who wanted to interview him about it.
    Nice guy meet them everywhere! and just in time for Xmas.
    Search the pastors name if you wish to read more.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I tw**ted the TVNZ story about that. It got a bit of attention. He’s such a revolting man. With a bit of luck he’ll become an ex-pat and hook up with Ray Comfort, who, embarrassingly, is also a NZer.

      • Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Please send more awkward musical comedy duos but keep your crackpot god-botherers, thanks very much.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      At least in NZ people like Heather Hendrickson can get on what I gather is the NZ equivalent of the BBC and talk about recent scientific papers and other technical advances of general interest.

  8. Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    💉

  9. Randy Schenck
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    As child abuse goes I wonder how the kids dying because their religious parents don’t believe in whatever it is would compare to the pedophiles in the catholic church. Just thinking about all the good religion does.

  10. Diane G.
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Hooray that one child’s been spared. I rather wish the judge hadn’t been so conciliatory.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      The judge might have thought it wise to step gently here because of other parents who may be faced with the same decision. Too harsh an “are you out of your freakin’ minds?” here and some other couple later on may think the line has been drawn with no possible compromise. Best to sound like a kindly aunt or uncle.

      Dealing with the pious can be like handling toddlers … or adolescents.

      • ratabago
        Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Another thing about this is that it reduces the opportunity for the Jehovah’s Witnesses to play the burning martyr card.

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        That makes sense. But it assumes they’re too stupid to realize there was no compromise here, either. But maybe another couple will think, “if we just explain it better…”.

      • Filippo
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        “The judge might have thought it wise to step gently . . . Best to sound like a kindly aunt or uncle.

        Dealing with the pious can be like handling toddlers … or adolescents.”

        As I was at home late a.m. today prepping to go for a mid-afternoon physical, a JW mother and son (appeared to be third-graderesque), rang the doorbell. I conjecture that the presence of the child is calculated to keep the object of proselytizing civil,whatever other purposes, eh?

        I wasn’t in the mood to talk, in fact felt a wee bit ornery. But I decided to put on a pleasant face and be “accommodating.” I wanted to practice my niceness and patience, and also to not feed any sense of martyrdom. (One would [reasonably] think that a JW visitor would note my housecoat and disheveled appearance. I certainly gave her every opportunity to say, “I’m so sorry to catch you at a bad time – could I come back at another time?” But no, my convenience is apparently immaterial. But just let anyone try that on her, eh?)

        Yes, it was fine by me for her to read a Bible passage. No, I replied, I did not have any request of Jesus to express (out loud for her benefit). Yes, I would be glad to read your literature. No, as I talked at length to a couple of JW gentlemen a few months ago, I believe that my conversation with them was quite sufficient for the indefinite future. I thanked her for her trouble in stopping by.

        I thought of broaching with her the topic of this thread, but I had miles to go before I slept.

  11. Sastra
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    … although if they withheld medical care on other than religious grounds they’d be punished severely for child abuse, mistreatment, or neglect.

    What about parents who withhold standard scientific medical care in favor of some form of quackery? There seems to be some similar tip-toeing around “alternative” forms of medicine. Again, it’s parents with good intentions who are not rationally fit to make good decisions by the ordinary standards, but they’re claiming the right to work by some other system.

    Of course, alt med is frequently connected to spirituality — so it may just be a variation on the same theme.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Again, the authorities have an obligation to intervene in the favour of the child’s safety. Why they don’t carry out their legal obligations is pure politics.

  12. dev41
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Years ago, prior to the development of blood substitutes and surgical techniques requiring less blood replacement, co-members of a university hospital administrative staff shared 24-hr on-call responsibilities for administrative emergencies. We would frequently be called on weekends and at night to contact the on-call superior court judge to have him/her declare a JW child in urgent need of a blood transfusion to declare the child a ward of the court. The court appointed guardian would then authorize the hospital staff to transfuse blood against the stated wishes of the parents.

    Often the parents would thank the medical staff for saving their child. That way the child was kept alive and the parents avoided the shame/expulsion from their sect. I don’t know what the JW theology has to say about the possibility of a child with transfused blood getting into heaven.

    • Dominic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      Did you add that to the medical bill?!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        Dev41 used the term “ward of the court”, which I think indicates this was in the English legal system (I’d have to check on the Scottish system). If that is true then the “medical bill” becomes irrelevant.

    • oldgothchick
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      exactly! see my earlier comment on the repercussions to Jehovah’s Witnesses “co-operating” or acquiesing to the transfusion. It is a relief when the authorities take it out of their hands, but it is the organization that makes it so and they are afraid for their eternal lives to disobey the organization.

      • steve oberski
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        I can certainly understand their fear of sanctions from members of their peer group but what is going on in their minds when they think that their self admittedly omniscient and omnipotent god can be fooled by such legal shenanigans ?

        Can their god not look into their minds and discern their true intentions ?

        This is similar to the ways that observant Jews use to get around the restrictions on work on the sabbath, for example having elevators stop at every floor so they don’t have to press the buttons (I have actually seen this at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, it was pretty creepy when the door opened to emptiness on every floor) or timers on stoves (which also circumvent the ban on starting and extinguishing fires, our gas stove has the “sabbath minder” option, I swear I am not making this up) and my favourite, taping the light switch on the refrigerator door closed.

        It would appear that the god of many believers is a very stupid, dim witted and easily fooled god.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          Of course, in an engineering sense, they do ‘work’ every time they take a step. And far more work walking up stairs than pushing a lift button. In fact their hearts and lungs are doing work (pumping blood under pressure and breathing) even when they’re lying down. So the only way not to do any work on the Sabbath is to spend it unconscious hooked up to a heart-lung machine.

          But of course that’s a different definition of ‘work’, I guess.

          Back in the real world, Richard Feynman had an account of the lift-button-pressing conundrum, IIRC he wasn’t very complimentary about it.

          My take is the same as Steve’s, however one sneaks around the prohibition, an observant God would see right through it.

  13. Helen Hollis
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for bringing this out. I was a child victim of this cult.
    You have opened the door for many to see how they can find a way to get out of this organization by realizing they are not sharing the “truth” with anyone, let alone themselves.

  14. Posted December 9, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s called having your cake and eating it too. They do not believe that a forced transfusion disqualifies them for entry into Paradise. They think their deity is forgiving enough to see that their hands were tied, and will give them points for putting up a struggle. So no loss, and they gain their child back, thanks to a secular state that intervenes on behalf of parents whose judgment is clouded by visions of theocracy.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I would not be entirely surprised if the parents were secretly relieved to be overruled. “Look, God, we tried to follow Your commandments but the authorities wouldn’t let us.” Pontius Pilate comes to mind.

    • oldgothchick
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      yep! see other comments.

  16. Tamethyst
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    Thank you Jerry for once again exposing the craziness of the Jehovah’s Witness “blood policy.” It’s double standards coz they won’t donate blood either, so that they could receive the blood fractions.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      I shall have to remember that little point to challenge them on. Particularly since they do allow the use of some blood products (allegedly ; I’ll have to check on that too).

      • oldgothchick
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/blood-transfusions.php

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          The discussion of the extremely recent and rapidly varying stance of the Watchtower at http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/blood-transfusions.php#L2 looks useful. I’ll try to remember that. The take away facts – that blood transfusion was only banned, incrementally, between 1945 and around 1958 ; that all individual fractions are allowed but not if mixed together (? insane!) ; and that the story keeps on changing (e.g. changing positions on haemodilution) – should be (somewhat) nailed into my head by having just typed them out.

  17. Josh Lord
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Surely everyone sees that Jehovah’s witnesses refusing blood transfusions has nothing at all to do with religion!? Their behaviour is purely a product of the socio-political environment in which the find themselves. Personally I blame western colonialism for making people so ashamed to be from the West that they seek religious justification for killing themselves and their loved ones in an effort to end their perpetual embarrassment!

    • Dominic
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      “western colonialism” – I do not wish to sound rude but can you explain that as it does not seem to me at least, to follow…

      • ratabago
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink

        It’s a parody of the notion that Islam is the religion of peace, and that those who claim to kill in the name of Islam are not inspired by Islam. No matter what they say motivates them,they are just angry at western colonialism.

        • Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          I hereby invoke Poe’s Law and once again assert that sarcasm tags should be a widespread thing.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

            sarcasm tags? awww, where’s the fun in that? it’d be so boring if we couldn’t play little ‘did he really mean it?’ games.
            [/sarcasm]

  18. Dominic
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    If they are all – I mean religious people – so eager to get to their respective heavens, perhaps they could hurry up about it & leave the world for those who DO give a damn.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      But if they went to heaven, they wouldn’t be able to indulge themselves in their prideful sins of smugness, temptation and self-satisfaction.

  19. oldgothchick
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/blood-transfusions.php

  20. Alan Feuerbacher
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I was raised as a JW and quit gradually from about age 20 through 40. I’ve spent the last 20+ years battling the Watchtower organization and its excesses in online venues, especially with respect to their blood transfusion policies. So I want to emphasize that their behavior really is a political policy, not a religious issue, which can be proved by their history.

    Today the basic policy is that five “components” of blood are forbidden: whole blood, red and white cells, platelets and plasma — whatever settles out during centrifugation. All other fractions are “matters of conscience”.

    Up through the early 1950s, the Watchtower Society forbid vaccinations as “a violation of the law of God” regarding blood and so forth. After WWII Watchtower officials wanted to expand their organization internationally and ran up against the problem that they could not obtain travel papers because they were not properly vaccinated. So they made taking vaccinations “a matter of conscience”. Meanwhile they came up with a new religious doctrine against blood transfusions.

    The policy regarding a JW who accepts a forbidden component has changed much since transfusions were first forbidden about 1945. At first, such a person was merely regarded as “weak in the truth”. After disfellowshipping (excommunication with shunning) was formalized in the early 1950s, that was used against any JW who accepted a transfusion. In the mid-1970s someone in the family of a high ranking Watchtower official needed treatment for hemophilia, which is derived from blood. The policy of “no blood products, period!” was changed to allow that exception. After that, more and more fractions were allowed, so that by about 2000, all fractions other than the “big five” were allowed. That’s “allowed” in the sense that if elders found out that a JW had taken such a fraction, they would not disfellowship the person.

    The blood policy is a real hot potato for the Watchtower. I’ve been told by several officials that Watchtower leaders really would like to be rid of it, but they’re between a rock and a hard place. If they simply changed the policy based on religious arguments, then it would follow that their arguments of the past 70 years were false. This would open them up to massive legal repercussions. That’s the main reason they want to appear to keep the traditional ban against blood products. If they did nothing, then more and more adverse publicity would be generated, which would include more people leaving the JW organization.

    As regards disfellowshipping for violating the blood policy, that has changed much in a practical way. In the early 1980s the Watchtower invented the practice of forcible “disassociation”, which is essentially informal disfellowshipping. It was used against people who had done something that did not technically violate a Watchtower “law” or whose formal disfellowshipping might created legal repercussions in some country, but nevertheless were looked on as extremely undesirable. Thus, a young JW who joined the military would not be disfellowshipped, but would be said to have “disassociated himself by his conduct” for “violating Christian neutrality”. About 2000, the Watchtower Society instructed elders that any JW who unrepentantly accepted a forbidden blood product was to be branded “disassociated” and shunned for “violating God’s law on the sanctity of blood”.

    Today the policy is yet more complicated. Watchtower officials are well aware that in almost all cases, courts will override parents’ wishes, and so they’ve instructed elders generally, and especially the elders who comprise “hospital liaison committees”, to quietly go along with medical personnel and avoid the court scene altogether. Many JWs just quietly go along with the medical advice and try to keep Watchtower officials away from the scene.

    Now, much of the above is unknown to most rank and file JWs. The Watchtower Society wants to maintain the illusion that they are just as much against blood transfusion based therapy as they were in the beginning — “we’ve always been at war with Oceania!” — so as to avoid the perception of ever-changing religious doctrine. So the average JW still thinks that all blood fractions are forbidden. That probably explains the actions of the British parents in Jerry’s post. However, when a JW gets into a situation where blood is an issue, the “hospital liaison committee” explains the real policies and usually convinces the person to take the necessary fraction. So it’s odd that the British couple did not follow the current policy.

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses are truly a dangerous and destructive cult. Mostly destructive to their own members, but like most Fundamentalist fanatics, it wouldn’t take much to make them destructive more generally. There are statements in their literature that are positively wistful that one day the old Jewish-style laws about death for heretics will be in place, and Watchtower leaders will be the ones administering them.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the insight into the JW world.

    • john frum
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      It may be a political issue for the Watchtower organisation but for the people refusing transfusions isn’t it religiously motivated?
      Or are you saying they do it so that they aren’t disfellowshipped?

      • Alan Feuerbacher
        Posted December 11, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        > It may be a political issue for the Watchtower organisation but for the people refusing transfusions isn’t it religiously motivated?

        Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on how much of true believer the person is, and how much of the indoctrination took hold. Take my deceased in-laws as an example. My father-in-law quit the JWs 35 years ago, and had no religious qualms about a transfusion if he needed one. Yet he was adamant that he would not take one because he was afraid of getting some disease, which is almost entirely due to the indoctrination he had the previous 45 years. His wife quit the JWs 20 years ago, had severe heart problems and had transfusions three times. So he had neither religious nor political motives regarding blood transfusions in his later years. The non-JW children, like my wife, had to hide this from the JW children. Yet the JW children *must* have known about the transfusions, but said nothing. And I believe that one sibling, a completely brainwashed robot, would have had a lot more trouble dealing with her mother’s “apostasy” than her brother, who is politically oriented via his position as the equivalent of a traveling bishop.

        > Or are you saying they do it so that they aren’t disfellowshipped?

        A large fraction of JWs don’t go along with the claimed religious basis for the transfusion policy (or a lot of other nonsense, for that matter). But the threat of shunning, formal or informal, for failure at least to give lip service to all policies and beliefs, is an extremely powerful motivator to keep JWs in line. So there’s a combination of religious, political and social motivations at work with the JWs, and which one is dominant can be hard to tell.

        Most people don’t understand how much of a high control group the JWs are. They’re a textbook example of religious leaders run amok. Daily life in the JW community is an exercise in Orwellian doublethink.

  21. Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    There’s a non-profit I like that are dedicated to protect children from religious medical neglect or abuse by providing legal support and advocacy:
    C.H.I.L.D, or Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty. They operate on a small budget and always have a financial need.
    http://childrenshealthcare.org/

  22. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, next time I get JW’s on my doorstep I must remember to inform them that I’m only alive because I had a transfusion a couple of years ago. I assume that would make any attempt to recruit me abortive.

    I’m damned, I tell you, damned. 😉

    • Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Perhaps that would redouble their efforts to make you “repent”?

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        Since genuine sincere repentance would presumably require me to commit suicide by blood loss, I rather think they’d have a bit of an uphill battle…

        • Posted December 12, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          But you’re saying there’s a chance?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 12, 2014 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

            About the same chance as that I go completely out of my tree and decide to join the Great Sacred Artichoke in the Sky, yes. 😉

  23. Dawn Oz
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    Your book isn’t available on the Kindle app.

    http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Versus-Fact-Religion-Incompatible/dp/0670026530

    • Dawn Oz
      Posted December 14, 2014 at 2:53 am | Permalink

      Oops – it’s not available till mid next year!


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