I am not a Jehovah’s Witness but the persecution of any religious sect, providing it does not deliberately cause suffering, is wrong. Russia got it wrong on this issue and when Russia gets it wrong I will criticise Russia. A Danish Jehovah’s Witness, Dennis Christensen, has been sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for practising his faith. The Supreme Court of Russia has declared the Jehovah Witness organisation to be “extremist”.
This is reminiscent of the pogroms against Jews – or perhaps even more reminiscent of the persecution of Quakers (Society of Friends) here in England in the 17th and early 18th centuries. What George III’s long reign brought, if nothing else, was increased toleration of religious sects following his marriage to Quaker beauty, Hannah Lightfoot, (before his bigamous marriage which spawned the current royal progeny and before the Royal Marriages Act of 1772).
From what I have seen of Jehovah’s Witnesses they are little different from any other fundamentalist religious sect. They are dogmatic and preach their own message as the only truth. Any member at the meeting house who questions the dogma is brought before the elders to be put right. Mostly their Christian views are tolerable and based in scripture. They even give scriptural sources for not allowing blood transfusions. It is not for me. I don’t like to be told how to box my thoughts – even if I’m wrong.
But then again to imprison somebody who wants to preach his faith and to confiscate the sect’s property is beyond my comprehension in a modern pluralist and supposedly tolerant society.