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Skycaptain

Russia jails Danish man for being a Jehovas Witness

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Skycaptain

This is one of several news articles about this 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47142856

 

Even as an antitheist I have to question whether jailing someone for their religious beliefs doesn't fall foul of international law. Certainly it doesn't seem to me to be the action of a civilised country, and is also likely to trigger tit-for-tat actions. 

Trump declaring the Russian Orthodox Church illegal and arresting members? Far from impossible 

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Mysticus Insanus

I'm pretty critical on JW and how they deal with fellow members (and worse, apostates)... but yeah, this isn't good at all. As long as no specific, secular criminal laws were broken (like e.g. coercion, assault, incitement of hatred), the government should be totally hands off when it comes to how citizen practice their religion.

 

Putin making yet another step towards totalitarianism.

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Dreamsexual

Not good :(  Not good at all :(

I don't even like the European burka bans and hate speech laws, let alone this :(

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Aebt

It is sad that is still occurs in what would otherwise be seen as fairly-developed countries. I thought we would have moved past that by now, hopefully this sort of action can be contained and cease to spread.

10 minutes ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

government should be totally hands off when it comes to how citizen practice their religion

While I nearly-completely agree with this, there are cases where the state may need to interfere. For example cults like Jonestown and other particularly dangerous ones; people should not be able to hide behind claims of religion to defend horrific actions. To me the state is ethically bound to act in the interests of the people, whether the best interests of or the wishes of the people it does not matter, but if it fails to act in the best interests of the people (like maybe freeing them from totalitarian cults) then what is the point of the state?

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MiseryTriumphant

Russia isn't civilized and JW is a cult not a religion. Problem solved.

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Mysticus Insanus
13 minutes ago, Aebt said:

While I nearly-completely agree with this, there are cases where the state may need to interfere. For example cults like Jonestown and other particularly dangerous ones; people should not be able to hide behind claims of religion to defend horrific actions. To me the state is ethically bound to act in the interests of the people, whether the best interests of or the wishes of the people it does not matter, but if it fails to act in the best interests of the people (like maybe freeing them from totalitarian cults) then what is the point of the state?

Read again what I said right before where you cut off the quote.

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Scottthespy

Looking into this a little further, reading a few more articles, it looks like Russia has declared Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization and banned them, after several former members came forth with allegations of mistreatment and coercion in their daily lives. Jehovah's Witnesses also refuse to vote or partake in military services, because they are, by their own definition, loyal to God, not the country they live in. I'm not sure if that's grounds for banning...I can't find anything other than these allegations, which the Jehovah's Witnesses have denied, that point to 'extremism'.

 

Putin, interestingly, has gone on record saying that these allegations are 'nonsense', but this sentiment hasn't lead to an unbanning of Jehovah's Witnesses. 

 

The man in the article was only the first arrested, dozens more have been detained since, as this happened in May of 2017. The man, Dennis Christensen, was not just a follower but also an organizer of events within the Jehova's Witnesses, and was arrested for those organizing activities.

 

This is a strange and nuanced story. If the allegations of mistreatment are true and systematic, its a good thing to discourage that kind of behavior. Maybe by banning the practice of the religion, it will force the organizers to change how they treat people to avoid being targeted in other countries. On the other hand, there's several other things Russia has been doing lately that make it seem as though this was just another step to totalitarianism, not an attempt to protect the people. I'd need more information before I could really form an opinion.

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Dreamsexual
1 hour ago, Scottthespy said:

Maybe by banning the practice of the religion

This sounds very bad IMHO.  I don't like where that train of thought leads.

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chandrakirti

Geez ....now I feel guilty about how quickly I generally despatch any JW visitors I find at my front door!

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ben8884

this is not OK. JW today who knows who else tomorrow? Russia already has a bad reputation for rights for homosexuals and political dissidents and now they are outright banning a religion-not OK. 

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Shieldmaiden WinterDragon

If he wasn't doing anything that they saw bad then they're in the wrong, overall if he was doing something that he was told to stop and didn't........ 

Follow what you want, but do not be too open about it since some places do things like this. 

 

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Scottthespy
6 hours ago, Dreamsexual said:

This sounds very bad IMHO.  I don't like where that train of thought leads.

I'm not a fan of the idea either, but it does raise the question of what exactly you can get away with under 'freedom of religion'. Is it acceptable to let cults or even established religions torment their members while technically following laws? Should we allow the practice of religions that rely on things that break the laws of the country? There are many people in Canada trying to argue that sharia law is part of religious freedom, and that you can't practice proper Muslim ways without it. What do you do, as a country, if a religion comes along who's fundamental base practices are against laws and human rights? I want to say 'ban the practices that are against the law' but there are people who will argue that that's the same as banning the religion.

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Dreamsexual
11 minutes ago, Scottthespy said:

while technically following laws?

Yes.  If they are following sensible laws regarding fraud, kidnap, abuse, violence, etc.

 

12 minutes ago, Scottthespy said:

What do you do, as a country, if a religion comes along who's fundamental base practices are against laws and human rights?

Not allow those practices if they are truly against basic human rights found in sensible laws.  But not allowing a religious practice isn't the same as banning a whole religion.

 

14 minutes ago, Scottthespy said:

I want to say 'ban the practices that are against the law' but there are people who will argue that that's the same as banning the religion

It's not.  But it might make it very hard to practice a certain religion.  Tough.  If a religion, say, practices human sacrifice then you can be a member, but you cannot do that act. 

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Sally

Russia is now a law unto itself -- or rather Putin is.  It's unlikely that any other country could have any control over its practices.  

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Woodworker1968

The JWs are one of the most aggresively missionary-minded sects ever. They've been so ever since Charles Taze Russell founded the sect. The communist USSR had long banned the JWs along with other religious sects which are similarly aggressive proselytizers. In that context, not much has changed.

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Dreamsexual
1 hour ago, Woodworker1968 said:

The JWs are one of the most aggresively missionary-minded sects ever.

True.  Though aggressive in the pacifistic sense :)

 

1 hour ago, Woodworker1968 said:

The communist USSR had long banned the JWs along with other religious sects which are similarly aggressive proselytizers. In that context, not much has changed.

Didn't know that.  Then you're right, not much has changed.  Still wrong of them to persecute a religious minority like that.

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Sally

Russia is a dictatorship.  There's  no "wrong" in such a state.  

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Dreamsexual
6 minutes ago, Sally said:

There's  no "wrong" in such a state.

Well, as a moral realist I disagree :)

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Mysticus Insanus
2 hours ago, Dreamsexual said:

Well, as a moral realist I disagree :)

I sense another discussion you and I could derail a thread with... 😉

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Dreamsexual
10 minutes ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

I sense another discussion you and I could derail a thread with... 😉

Lol :)  It's only a matter of time ... :)

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Cheshire-Cat

I don't know whether it's still the case but there was certainly a time where the only recognised religion in Russia was Russian Orthodox and to practice any other religion was illegal. All the churches, mosques, temples etc. of other religions were looted and burnt. Despite the fact the USSR no longer exists Russia is still a very secular country and has it's own ways of doing things which often don't tally with Western ways of thinking. 

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Woodworker1968

The Russian collective psyche seems to be built around the strongman-and-flunkies mentality. In a setting like that, if you're born different and Mr. Strongman doesn't like the trait that sets you apart, your life is worth less than the next guy's.

 

It's a little different here in the US, where any small-time crook can become Mr. Big if he's devious enough. Amass enough cash, and you can enter a nobler caste with impunity.

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Blaiddmelyn
6 hours ago, Cheshire-Cat said:

I don't know whether it's still the case but there was certainly a time where the only recognised religion in Russia was Russian Orthodox and to practice any other religion was illegal. All the churches, mosques, temples etc. of other religions were looted and burnt. Despite the fact the USSR no longer exists Russia is still a very secular country and has it's own ways of doing things which often don't tally with Western ways of thinking. 

Almost right. Russia used to be secular in the USSR. It is now very Russian Orthodox Christian. You can practice another religion but my mum's observation when we went last and from speaking to friends is that to not stand out, you go to church etc, similar to adhering to the party line in the USSR. Russia does have its own way of thinking which is very different to ours but I would note that the media exagerrates some of it. Every time i've been, people have been friendly and interested in swapping cultures.

 

(To put into context - my mother lived in Russia during the USSR and left a few years before the Soviet Union collapsed (to live with my dad). We have to go back every so often for a family errand so she's seen it evolve over the years)

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Serran

This isn't exactly a new thing for JWs. They have had members arrested in many countries for practicing their beliefs and some countries hold bonfire book burnings of their version of the bible. My family is part of the religion and they are always collecting for missionaries to go over and help their church members for some case like this. There are also frequent enough memorials for those put to death for not renouncing their faith in various countries. 

 

And... they don't torture members, though they do practice shunning of sinners and won't serve in the military or participate in politics. They won't even say pledges to governments, which im sure doesnt go over well for Russia. Some extremists might take things too far, as with any religion, but the religion itself doesn't support anything violent. In fact, one of the few ways you can leave your spouse and stay in the church is if they are violent to you, because violence is seen as a huge sin, worthy of even giving up your duty to marriage vows. 

 

Yeah they are annoying with the door to door thing. And a bit culty with the rules and shunning those kicked out of the church for sins. And they preach avoiding temptation by not friending people outside the religion, cause you will be tempted to partake in holidays and birthdays etc with them. But.. they are harmless as a whole, so really don't deserve the treatment they get in some countries. But, as a kid, when they tried to get me into it, one of the test questions my cousins asked was if it was between parents being killed or giving up your faith, which would you choose...because that is something some of their "brothers and sisters" have had to face and thats the stories that stuck out from church meetings for me and I guess them too. You have to freely choose to join them though and pass an interview when you are of age, so I never joined - by time I was of age (14 ) I wasnt interested. They still sometimes try to talk me into it, but mostly, they respect im not one of them. 

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