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By now you must have heard it – Putin is “persecuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses” in Russia. Alas, this one is true. Well, this is maybe not nearly as terrible as the Ziomedia makes it sound, but still, a pretty bad and fundamentally misguided policy.

Why did the Russian government take such a drastic decision?

The Russian Justice Department has banned the JW as an organization on the grounds that the JW were a “”totalitarian sect of an anti-Christian orientation, the teachings of which contains teachings and practices which can damage the personality and health of the adept, his family, as well as traditional national spirituality and public interests” (source). Another source report that: “The Supreme Court of Russia stated that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ church organization has systematically and through central governance infringed on human rights and trampled the freedoms of those belonging to the denomination. The sect forbids restricts families, bans many types of education and restricts medical treatments”. The same author then concludes that “So, in principle it is about protecting the rights and freedoms of Russians and on the other hand about breaking the laws governing churches’ activities. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been given warnings and notices demanding that they reform, but without results. Therefore, do as the Romans do, or get out of Rome.”

Does that make sense to you?

To me it makes no sense whatsoever.

First and foremost, if the JW are really guilty of damaging personalities or health of people, or if they systematically infringe on human rights – then take them to court for these crimes and punish them. Why should one association/organization like the JW be singled out for committing crimes when every one of these crimes can be prosecuted in court? If the JW break the law, they ought to be punished according to the law, but why banning them? Why seize their assets?

I have heard the argument that the JW are probably run by the US CIA and the rest of them “democracy-bearers”. They probably are. So what? Then force them to register as the “agent of a foreign power” and, again, if they break the law then punish them according to the law.

Then comes the killer argument: JH do not accept blood transfusions. I don’t see what the problem is here either: let adults accept or reject whatever medical procedure they want, as for the children you can easily pass a law saying that in case of severe trauma, or of an acute need for a transfusion children can be transfused without the agreement of the parents. Does that violate parental right or the freedom of religion? Well, yes, of course it does, but each society has the right to impose minimal norms of civil and human rights which trump parental or religious rights. After all, by the logic of those who say that parental rights are above all female genital mutilations should also be accepted as long as the parents agree. And yet in reality, each society draws the line somewhere, and this is why in almost all countries circumcisions are allowed but female genital mutilations are banned. Ditto for polygamy which some religions allow but which most countries ban. At the end of the day, religious groups also need to obey the law of the land where they exist and there can be no absolute and unconditional religious freedom anywhere. All the Russian government had to do in this case was to contact the main JW organizations and tell them that their kids will be given transfusions even if their parents disagree. This would give each member of the JW the time and opportunity to decide what they will do in this context.

The most important argument is, I believe, the allegation that the JW “ damage (…) the traditional national spirituality and public interests. What this argument affirms that Russia has a “traditional national spirituality” and that that which runs contrary to it must be curtailed, limited or somehow inhibited. I actually largely agree with this argument, but the devil is in the details. Let me explain.

At this moment in history Russia is primarily an agnostic country. While a majority of Russians do claim some kind of religious affiliation, only a small minority is truly religious. Officially, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are considered as the “historical” religions of Russia and Orthodox Christianity is singled out for the special contribution it had in Russian history. Seems pretty straightforward and reasonable to me: even if most Russians are not very religious, their worldview and values have been largely formed by the influence of the traditional religions of Russia. Russian literature, for example, is filled with ethical debates which clearly originate in the Orthodox faith. Another example of this religion-inspired worldview is the rejection by a vast majority of Russians of homosexuality as a “normal and healthy variation of human sexuality”: most Russians consider homosexuality to be a sexual pathology which ought not to be legally restricted, but which should not be given a “equal” status to what Russians call “natural” sexual orientations. One does not have to agree with the Russian majority view on this, or any other issue, but I submit that the Russians have the right to define what is right and wrong, healthy or sick, in their own country. Just as western nations currently have laws banning sexual intercourse with children, Russia has the right to pass laws banning the adoption of children by homosexuals. Unless one advocates the merciless “squeezing” of all of mankind into one single Procrustean cultural mold, it is rather obvious that it ought to be right of each sovereign nation to uphold whatever values it wants.

Russia has decided that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are the traditional religions of Russia which play a central role in the “traditional national spirituality”. Fine. But at the same time, there still remains a formal separation of religion and state in Russia and the Russian Constitution even bans the adoption of some kind of official state ideology. Furthermore, the Constitution also proclaims the freedom of religion. How do you combine such apparently completely contradictory laws?

In truth, you can’t. Russia is stuck with laws which she inherited from the “democratic” 1990s and the gradually formulating modern social consensus. Religion is hardly the only example. Take, for instance, the death penalty which Russia suspended to be accepted in the Council of Europe. Problem: most Russians favor the death penalty, especially if used against corrupt individuals, like they do in China. I could multiply examples of contradictions between the legacy of the 1990s and today’s Russia.

The real choice Russians must make is between two fundamentally different social and political orders: one, which like the Islamic Republic of Iran, subordinates majority rule/people power/democracy to a set of higher values (in this case, Islamic laws and spirituality) and one in which the will of the people is totally unconstrained, free from any moral, philosophical, religious or ethical precepts. And please do not be shocked or mislead by my reference to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Take for example the US Declaration of Independence which includes the famous words “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. These words are accepted as axiomatic, as truisms, words we cannot be abolished or ignored even by a popular vote. Most Constitutions also have this double function of 1) proclaiming certain core beliefs and 2) limiting the scope of what is permissible. Of course, in the USA there still is the possibility of a Constitutional Convention, but you get the idea: modern Russia does not have any form of supra-democratic values or traditional national spirituality, at least not one protected by the law.

What does all that have to do with the JW ban? Everything.

Russians see the JW as a foreign entity, one whose values and actions are in contradiction with the traditional Russian norms. They also correctly perceive, even if they do not fully understand, that foreign religious organizations are veryu often used by various hostile powers (mostly the USA and Saudi Arabia) to infiltrate the Russian society with, let call them, “sympathetic agents” whose real loyalty (and often paycheck) depends on hostile foreign interests.

The Russian definitely have a point here. What they lack is a sound strategy on how to deal with that problem. Let me give just one example: the proclamation that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are Russia’s traditional religions. Great – but which brand/version of, say, Christianity or Islam deserve that status? Does that include the Latin and the Wahabis? Even inside Orthodoxy there are many different jurisdictions the ‘official’ one (the Moscow Patriarchate) being only one of them, even if it is by far the biggest one, courtesy of the (often violent) support of the secular powers both during and after the Soviet era, hardly a criterion of true spiritual legitimacy. Do the Russian Old Ritualists, for example, deserve to be considered as a “traditional Russian religion”? If you look at history, I would submit that they have even more of a claim to being the Russian traditional version of Orthodoxy than any of the ‘New Rite’ (aka “Nikonian”) jurisdictions. As you see, this all gets complicated very fast.

Finally, I would argue that state interventions in religious matters has a pretty disastrous record in Russian history, especially for the past 300 years or so. But how does a society set social norms without involving the state?

These are tricky matters which do not yield simple solutions.

Russia was born as a principality, then she became a monarchy, then an empire, then a union of Soviet republics, then a pseudo-democratic plutocracy and now she is a rather bizarre mix of all of the above trying to impersonate a modern democratic federation with, however, traditional values. No wonder the result often looks like a total mess! No wonder that along the way Russians commits some rather ridiculous blunders.

The mess with the JW is clearly such a blunder and I hope that with enough time the Russian society will become more mature and sophisticated at how such matters are dealt with. Right now we are probably going to see more such generally well-intentioned PR disasters made worse by a fundamental lack of ability to explain to the general public, especially in the West, the real nature and intention of the legal measures adopted (for example, most folks in the West still mistakenly believe that homosexuals are persecuted in Russia).

Yes, Russia did screw up, but I don’t think that it is fair to harshly blame her for her admittedly clumsy attempts at recovering a true civilizational identity. At least she is still trying when so many others have simply given up and caved in to the hypocritical and fake system of pseudo-values of the AngloZionist Empire. I wish all the countries on our suffering planet had the courage and opportunity to re-discover their own civilizational identities.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Christianity, Russia 
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  1. Zzz says:

    Why did the Russian government take such a drastic decision?

    Who know, maybe FSB have problems this them. May be RPC don’t like them, and this is most likely reason, and they are very influential organisation.

    Problem: most Russians favor the death penalty, especially if used against corrupt individuals,

    Lol, folks are like to see some people and most of officials to be shot. it’s old tradition, and if anything it’s social problem, not juridical, and has nothing to do with the moratorium.
    for example – Some countries are not not nuked. Problem: sometimes russians wish they was. Is this must be solved by nuking them?

    PR disasters

    What PR disaster you talking about, I don’t have statistic but russians more likely support this deсision. Most do not like or at least suspicious to all these sects who came in mass in 90th. And this is who goverment must care about in internal affairs.

    made worse by a fundamental lack of ability to explain to the general public, especially in the West, the real nature and intention of the legal measures adopted (for example, most folks in the West still mistakenly believe that homosexuals are persecuted in Russia).

    Oh horror

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  2. Kiza says:

    Saker, do not worry, even if the Russian Government with this mistaken law did not provide a great opportunity for the Western propaganda against Russia, they would have invented other. This is just as they warped the law for the protection of children from the promotion of sexuality into the “banning of homosexuality”. Then the whole battalions of moronic Western public homosexuals (e.g Stephen Fry) got recruited into the anti-Russian propaganda machine. Just look at the gloating about the sinking of the Russian information collection boat in the Bosphorus.

    How the Russian legislators can be misguided can be best seen on RT, when some Russian senator says something really dumb about a new law needed. Like their Western colleagues, the Russian parliamentarians appear also to be lawyers/hammers who see new laws/nails as a solution to all problems.

    Do we still remember how Trump promised a reduction in laws? For every new law two old laws had to be scraped. Do you think this promise will ever happen?

  3. Renoman says:

    All things in moderation, radical religion is a real problem that most Countries would just as soon be rid of, human rights should also come with human responsibilities, folks proselytizing is regarded as unpopular by pretty well everyone, why not just get rid of it? Be truthful, when you see those guys at your door is your first thought not “Oh not these assholes”? America has turned into a freak show over this stuff, who needs it?

  4. Sean says:

    There were Jehovah witnesses in Auschwitz, they even had a their own badge a purple triangle. All they had to do to be released was renounce their faith, but they didn’t . Solzhenitsyn described Jehovah Witness women in the Gulag as going about in bare feet and half naked in sub zero temperatures because they wouldn’t wear camp clothes with a number on them.

  5. dearieme says:

    Are you in danger of muddling the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? The former is an intellectually impressive document, worthy of study and reflection. The latter is a dismal advertising flyer, worthy of little but mockery.

  6. While a majority of Russians do claim some kind of religious affiliation, only a small minority is truly religious.

    This is false, the Orthodox Church is the only institution in modern Russia that holds any real power. If they wanted to, the Church could topple the secular government tomorrow.

    If the JW break the law, they ought to be punished according to the law, but why banning them? Why seize their assets?

    Because they are a particularly toxic and evil heresy. See above; the Church will tolerate false religions when they exist for historical reasons and don’t proselytize, but actively functioning heresiarchs is a whole other matter.

    And yes, the Russian ‘deep state’ is Christian, or at least it has to actively support Christian issues.

    • Disagree: Kiza
    • Replies: @Stewie
    , @5371
  7. Outlawing pacifist Christian sects is a sign of weakness, not strength. No doubt the Quakers et al will be next. Their adherents don’t bomb subways or theatres or shout Allahu Akbar as they shoot civilians.
    Real religious extremists do all these things and more, yet Putin’s government would never seek to shut down their mosques, outlaw their sects and send their members to prison merely for membership.
    And the real extremists know this.

    • Replies: @nickels
    , @Burnsey
  8. Yesterday Nizhny Novgorod administration registered a Church Of Flying Spaghetti Monster. Russian Pastafarians are, certainly, a mighty bunch. Now they are official in Nizhny.

    The pasta reformation spreads all over Russia;)

    • LOL: Zzz
  9. Anonymous [AKA "Snake Charm"] says:

    Many times I’ve wished we could ban the JW in the States! Maybe some Russian higher-up made the mistake of actually talking to them, and then got harrassed with constant return visits until he/she got sick of it.

    I had a roomate once who found a way to solve the problem of JW constantly ringing one’s doorbell. He opened the door completely nude and with his 12 foot pet python draped over his shoulders. We were never harrassed again by the JW at that address ever again!!!!!

  10. nickels says:

    JW is just the old heresy of Arianism.

    The west tried Liberalism. It is nothing more than the first stage of Nihilism (Father Seraphim Rose for reference). It always leads to more advanced forms of nihilism like facism, and eventually anarchy.

    This path has already been tried. It would be a shame to see Russia squander its freedom to head down this path.

    So I am not concerned about the JW ruling.
    The prevalence of agnosticism is concerning, however.

  11. nickels says:

    Groups that deny the trinity cannot be called ‘Christian’.

  12. @Anonymous

    We were never harrassed again by the JW at that address ever again!!!!!

    I always present myself as a chair of a local chapter of the Communist Party of the United States. I once told them that I knew personally Angela Davis and Gus Hall.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  13. Burnsey says: • Website

    Why allow a religious organization to entrench themselves in Russia, thereby giving a voice to their [persecution] by law.
    Throwing them out of the country now, cancels any future, allegations of human rights abuse on religious grounds. This organization are well funded, and your are right they are connected.
    They are going to spin lies endlessly from within Russia. If prosecuted for individual violations.

    Personally I think they should nail them all up…nail some sense into them.
    Nail em on a piece of wood, use big nails. Great big nails.

  14. Burnsey says: • Website

    Have you ever seen the fanatical shit-eating grin of a JW at your door at 8:00 am. Do consider that freedom of religion?

  15. Stewie says:
    @anonymous coward

    The JW is anything but a “toxic and evil heresy”. Apparently, you know nothing of the JW. The “official” church, in this case, the Russian Orthodox, is a partner with the state, and cares less about religion than it does about power. The JW sticks to the letter and code of the Bible, often at their own peril. This is called integrity, something the state churches lack.

  16. 5371 says:
    @anonymous coward

    [This is false, the Orthodox Church is the only institution in modern Russia that holds any real power. If they wanted to, the Church could topple the secular government tomorrow]

    A bizarre delusion.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  17. The JW sticks to the letter of the bible?
    They have changed the symbol of the cross to a torture stick. They deny the divinity of Jesus Christ.
    They claim the Christian Holy Trinity is actually satanic originating with Nimrod. They have
    done away with the Holy Spirit and now have an “active force” which only seems to work for
    the top rank writers who never identify themselves. They claim only 144,000 will enter heaven
    and the dead have no consciousness. Their teachings are directly in opposition to Christianity’s
    basic tenets.

    • Replies: @Stewie
  18. I found this news very depressing, because I see it as the first time Russia took action that didn’t have some reasonable justification. For example, the banning of Soros-funded NGO’s made perfect sense. Even though I don’t totally agree with their anti-gay censorship, at least gays aren’t persecuted, and it’s an understandable side effect of the resurgence of the Orthodox faith. Yes, the Witnesses are annoying, but I greatly respect them. They have been true to their faith and given their lives time and time again. Unlike Saudi Arabia’s pet Salafists, they attack no one. To paraphrase @Verymuchalive, outlawing pacifist Christians is a sign of authoritarianism. I hope the Russian government realizes its mistake and reverses this decision.

    Speaking of the JW’s being “well funded” I propose that all foreign funding of religious organizations be banned, both in Russia and the US. You can believe whatever doctrine you want, but if you want to proselytize you need to raise money in your own nation on your own efforts. This would stop the Saudis from exporting their hateful version of Islam through bribes to the local imams.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  19. Stewie says:

    Is the “magisterium” a key component of Christianity? How about “Sola Scriptura”, or “transubstantion”? How about Mary, is she queen of Heaven…or not? Which Christians are right, the Protestants or the Catholics, or some other denomination? Which have interpreted the “basic tenets” properly? Who cares whether Jesus was crucified on a stake, a cross, a tree when it is clearly debatable and of little consequence?

    • Replies: @saturdayschild
  20. Cyrano says:

    Once bitten, twice shy. Russia in fact still wears the bite marks from Yeltsin’s era of inviting the “free” market economy to establish itself in Russia. If you give them (US) an opening they will destroy you. Maybe JW is not such an opening, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

    • Agree: The Scalpel
  21. @5371

    “Let me tell you about your country”?

    In 90% of Russia’s territory the Church is the only institution that has any moral authority or organizational ability.

    People are sometimes baffled by Russian policy decisions when in fact the motivations are obvious. Take Syria: people invent warm water port justifications, or gas pipelines, or something else equally ridiculous, when in fact Russia is committed to Syria simply to protect Syrian Christians from extinction.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
    , @5371
  22. @Stewie

    The pernicious, never-ending attempts by groups who don’t believe in the Christ and don’t belong to any Church founded by him to call themselves ‘Christian’ is a powerful argument for Christianity’s truth.

  23. @nickels

    Like Jehovans, Unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity and also the divinity of Jesus. They have been regarded as Christian by other Christians for several centuries at least. US Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Fillmore and Taft were all Unitarians. Very few doubted they were Christian.
    As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, lots of Americans, and others, need to be a lot better acquainted with their history before they start typing.

    • Replies: @Logan
    , @nickels
  24. @anonymous coward

    Take Syria: people invent warm water port justifications, or gas pipelines, or something else equally ridiculous, when in fact Russia is committed to Syria simply to protect Syrian Christians from extinction.

    Russia is committed to protection of Syrian Christians (and other minorities) but that does not exclude other reasons, among which some are of the most calculating and expedient kind, from geopolitics to economy.

    • Agree: Kiza
  25. Logan says:

    “I have heard the argument that the JW are probably run by the US CIA and the rest of them “democracy-bearers”. They probably are. ”

    Of all religious groups in the world, I can guarantee you the JWs are among the least likely to ever cooperate with a worldly government in this way.

    Not that there aren’t plenty of other legitimate criticisms of them.

    • Agree: Talha
  26. Logan says:

    To be fair, the Unitarians of today are a far cry from that around when the Adams were presidents.

    That only Trinitarians are Christians is an opinion, albeit one with considerable logic behind it. Unless you have direct backup for this from Christ himself, it’s still only an opinion.

    Opinions should not be stated as fact. Except when it is one.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  27. @Logan

    All I did was to state that Unitarians had been regarded as Christians by other Christians for the last several centuries. I don’t presume anything more.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    , @Sean
    , @Logan
  28. @Stewie

    It’s not about what Yeshua was crucified on, it’s about his words- If any man will come after me
    let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9-23 He didn’t come to
    earth to torture us-the cross is the symbolic design of the heavenly and the earthly meeting
    He also said I Am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me. John 14:6 It’s about his words that he spoke and by his words you get his divinity and the Trinity. Just read his words. (why are you throwing mary, magisterium(whatever that is etc at me)

  29. Although I am not a Jehovah’s Witness I have attended their bible classes and meetings and read some of their literature. I don’t know about Russia but I can assure you that in Louisiana Jehovah’s Witnesses are no threat to anybody. Their headquarters however is in the United States. I can understand therefore why the Russians would be suspicious of them. Getting rid of Soros was good and necessary. I wish we could get rid of him. The JW’s are collateral damage.

  30. @nickels

    They call themselves Christian. I call them Christian. Obviously they can be called Christian.

  31. The Scientologists are the ones you really should worry about.

  32. 5371 says:
    @anonymous coward

    You are quite something. Sometimes people can’t distinguish themselves from the character they are LARPing as, but you can’t distinguish the whole fantasy world from reality.

  33. @Verymuchalive

    Completely false. Outside of America the idea that Unitarians are Christian would get you literally laughed at.

    • Replies: @Peripatetic commenter
  34. Seraphim says:

    @May be RPC don’t like them

    But WTF likes them?

  35. Seraphim says:

    JW is simply an abbreviation of JEW.

  36. The Scalpel says: • Website

    That move is not much of a PR disaster. The JW’s are not real popular even in the US. I suspect most US citizens would support the band on the JW’s here!

  37. There’s been JW centres in a couple of places I’ve lived. They seem warm and decent people. In both cases, they raised the standard of the area.

    My guess is that they refuse to be co-opted by state institutions, and refuse to be involved with militarism. All other religions are compromised in Russia.

  38. You may like JW, I do not – and it makes a total difference in our opinions. I see JW as an CIA-instrument, the satanic preachers, so it is easy to me to understand the Russian government’s decision.

    • Replies: @epochehusserl
  39. Just keep your Russian deeck out of Ukraine’s arse !

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  40. Sean says:

    Not so regarded, but rather assumed to be, and mainly at times when their beliefs were not widely understood because Unitarians wanted to be accepted as Christian and didn’t advertise the profound differences from the Christian tradition. People with expertise in theology who actually found out what Unitarians believed and compared it to a wide range of Christian denominations, have almost always said Unitarian beliefs are not Christian.

    • Replies: @Logan
  41. Agent76 says:

    John 14:6 New International Version (NIV)

    6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    6/17/2012 Why Mormons flee their church

    This year, Elder Marlin Jensen, the Mormon Church’s outgoing official historian, acknowledged that members are defecting from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “in droves” and that the pace is increasing.

    What Mormons Believe (Origins)

    If you are Mormon feel free to educate us on the “real and official” church teachings, but from what I can gather this vid is pretty accurate.

    • Replies: @Agent76
  42. Agent76 says:

    My apologies for the link above that is not working.

  43. Ram says:

    Maybe because it is Judaism for the Goyim.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  44. so probably back in my libertarian cuck serv days i would have been scandalized too. But lets be honest, leftism came in through the religious freedom door then proceeded to destroy religion, well sometime when it was convenient other times they pwnd religion and now wholly own organized religion. The argument you are making is freedom of conscience but lets be honest someones always in every type of government deciding the limits and steering the overton window. As an american we are taught religion is a safety on government and having no particular state religion is a safety on religion. And yet the west finds itself in the most morally repressive regime in the history of the world.Whats dangerous about this sytem is it diffuses authority and so confuses and diffuses how to appeal for redress to authority, one gets the feeling “thats just the way it is”
    This idea that their is a higher authority than the government is dangerous, the govt can always be toppled despite the neoreactionary longing for this untoppleable monarch history has shown every type of govt can be toppled, except the cathedral thus far, and as i point out if the cathedral does anything well its avoid accountability. But the danger is more than that, either a govt is better left not toppled or its not, its either worthy to rule or it isnt. This idea that it is a child ruler that must answer to ministers of a higher wisdom is insidious. It weakens the authority of a government making rule impossible and anarchy inevitable.And left ratchet unstoppable.
    This is not to say a government rules absolutely, as I said none ever has. A government answers to the owners, ownership comes out of the barrel of a gun, to paraphrase Mao.A government will eventually answer to the people if it does a bad enough job. Its true governments can and often have over ruled taking advantage of the peoples reluctance to overthrow a passably functioning government in favor of who knows what.NRX has identified some of these type problems associated with democracy, we have all been taught by the leftists the similar problems as associated by monarchy theocracy dictatorship oligarchy and communism. NRX is quite picky about what it notices and remembers, living in a leftist singularity this is somewhat forgivable were it not for the fact we may need to begin again on rather short notice and they have only come up with something like king arthur and the round table meets nick lands- exactly star wars.
    But I digress. The point is a government certainly doesn’t need un elected un proven in any way for worthy ness priests second guessing government, if the priests are so wise then let them rule and when they fail the people will know which heads to cut off.
    Putin seems to get this, I sincerely doubt he gives a shit about whether the JWs transfuse blood, he has decided as Tsar they are not to be tolerated, who knows why, he does. He seems to have decided the fags and the nazis and the NGOs and hipster assholes who tweet themselves playing video games in church must be punished. he may see these as real threats to state authority or simply excellent signal to his subjects that he is a wise ruler so they will love and trust him while he guides them through times that may require much trust and hardship in the short term. If he is really a evil tyrant the people will see this too and they will know it is putin and only putin that must be held accountable.
    I am not recommending Tsarism, I think a good king is hard to find, you may not recognize his goodness till hes gone, its very rare a good king has an equally good prince to take over. so while Putin so far seems to be a pretty good ruler for russia i dont think nrx is right about monarchy, I do think they are right about the problems of democracy, though Im not convinced those problems are insurmountable.I think democracy that limits citizenship to the ethnic majority only,that denies women the vote, and only allows male citizens that are net taxpayers a vote, and has an absolute barricade against the government spending more than it takes in, no debt. would function much like the neocameral moldbug model without the need for attempting to reorder the last thousand years of western civilization.
    But this idea of higher authorities particularly christianity and its bastard leftism including enlightenment must first be abandoned. This idea that we can salvage christianity if only we steer it into a more medeival christianity is absurd its playing with ebola, yes sure its emotionally devastating to have to let it go its hard to see how it seved us well at times but it is fundamentally irational and leftist to the core. it can not be salvaged to the extent good citizens still practice a right christianity it might be tolerated as long as this idea that religion tops the state authority is relinquished, religion though should be phased out by attrition and a campaign of tribalism. The nazis actually seem to have done some good work towards this that we have been taught to be disgusted by but they do seem to have instilled a healthy volk culture that satisfied the religious urge, its a good thing to instill in the citizenry a sense of nation and volk and common interest and civic responsibility duty. This needn’t be fascistic communistic hatefully racist or even overly zealous.Simply a healthy recognition that nation rise and fall by the conscious efforts of its volk.

  45. Che Guava says:

    Ah, the Saker, you are making so much sense at times.

    The JWs are heretics who like to bother individual non-believers in their heresy, have experienced it.

    Who knows if their activities outside the USA are not really on behalf of a three-letter agency?

    They have a record on that.

  46. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Fidelios Automata

    Speaking of the JW’s being “well funded” I propose that all foreign funding of religious organizations be banned, both in Russia and the US.

    In that case, all these nutty American churches would have no way of spreading around in Eastern Europe. JW print their Russian (and EE) language literature in Germany, btw, not in Russia.

  47. Cyrano says:

    As long as you substitute yours for the Ukrainian ones. Put your arse where your mouth is (figuratively speaking).

  48. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Here is where Saker finally shows that he is not truly a local Russian or hasn’t resided in Eastern Slavic countries for long. What these churches, most of them stemming from the West, don’t realize is that it’s a privilege to have access to Eastern European populations. Just like the PUAs they feel they are entitled to walk in the homes of E.Europeans who are in many cases more educated than them and pester them condescendingly. Why should they be allowed in? What you have to realize is that most of the world is not free. Protectionism has many facets. And in truly traditional societies these organizations wouldn’t be allowed free reign. One more kick like this, this time maybe towards the Mormons, and the West should understand what truly “illiberal” means.

    To Russians and other post-Soviet populations JWs, Mormons, New Generation, evangelicals and a host of others is just as alien as a black walking down the street or a hijab / burka. In fact, for Russians, these Mormons in their overtly visible, uniform suits, walking two males in a pair everywhere, probably seem more “foreign” and ridiculous than a Muslim tubiteika or a Chechen woman with a discreet headscarf tied behind her ears (what Russian women themselves used to wear very recently).

    This is “new and different” for Russians. How do folks in the West like “new and different” when it is pushed on them?

    This JW case is exactly what Ann Applebaum is talking about when she mentions “American values” and “intangible benefits” when she replies to Rex Tillerson’s “Why should American tax payers care about Ukraine?”. Why? Because US citizens are running around EE peddling all sorts of s**t and sometimes making money off of it or gaining status out of it (or entry to heaven, in JW’s case). They can be told “No” anytime by the locals which they so far have taken for granted. I wonder how the Mormons, the worshippers of the giant grasshopper, are doing in Russia.

    I do, however, feel kind of sorry for the members of the JW church. This step is indeed cruel to them.

  49. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It is clearly just pure worship of Yahwe, they think Russians are too dumb to see that? JW don’t even celebrate Christmas.

  50. @дулебг

    Some of my family are JWs. You may not like them but they are principled unlike most people these days. They have nothing to do with the CIA.

    • Replies: @Andrei Martyanov
  51. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    You may not like them but they are principled unlike most people these days.

    So what if they’re principled? Does that automatically mean they have a right to be in every country?

    The traditional churches in Russia are also principled. Nothing against JW, but they are not entitled to have access to these populations that find them, along with Mormons and evangelicals, exotic. They are also paid by with Western money and have an upper hand that way in relation to local churches and organizations (which is something the US would never accept on their own soil!).

  52. @epochehusserl

    but they are principled

    If mere presence of principles is used as a criterion of decency, then I see no problem with SS–they had principles, so did Khmer Rouge. I by no means suggest that JW are necessarily on the same plane as SS, my problem is with the method, since principles could be bad and good. I prefer (but it is just me) people with good principles in life and in faith.

    They have nothing to do with the CIA.

    Probably not, especially against the background of other theory behind JW–that they are KGB creation.

  53. Interesting article.

    I’ve been to Russia once, really enjoyed St Petersburg but admittedly I don’t know much about the people. What I do like is the model for a successful multinational, multireligious conservative state in the modern era. The humongous Muslim community in SPb seemed much more integrated into public life than the equally sized Muslim community in my home city of Rotterdam, or Frankfurt, or London. Only Paris comes close to urban integration, although the suburbs are a real problem.

    I don’t like a lot of what Putin does, his support for the Baathists in Syria for instance but I appreciate his counterweight to western liberalism and I respect him as a modern day Bismarck/Metternich sort of figure. I only like Erdogan more as far as world leaders go.

    I think banning the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult is a good decision. I’m religiously and morally bound to the concept of toleration between the 3 main Abrahamic faiths, and this seems to be mirrored in Russia, although with Buddhism accepted as well (isn’t Buddhism more of a self help philosophy than a religion with a deity and doctrine?), but the Jehovah’s Witnesses are a crazy cult which only causes problems.

  54. nickels says:

    Without understanding that Christ is God and that he rose in body, sects fall into the heresy of trying to create a paradise on earth (the third temptation of Satan). People die.
    Protestants did it, Catholics, commies… The spirit of Christianity is the acceptance that the reward is in the life to come and this is directly tied to the theology of the trinity.

  55. gdpbull says:

    Its been my experience that JWs at the least are never a drain on the economy, and at most, contribute more to the economy on average per capita. They can be pests sometimes coming door-to-door trying to convert people, but tend to be good, productive people. Its best to just leave them alone.

  56. The comments section on Unz has got pretty nutty recently. Under every stone there are three letters U\$A,FBI,CIA,N\$A… or three numbers 666.

    • Replies: @Alden
  57. Agent76 says:

    Jul 28, 2012 ABORTION – Mitt Romney caught on hidden camera – claims some Church Leadership is Pro-Choice

    Romney tells the host he is wrong when he reads from the Church publication that participation or advocacy of abortion can be disciplined. Romney claims that the Mormon church is not firm on abortion, and that some Church Leadership is “Pro-Choice” in a seeming effort to escape scrutiny for Romney’s pro-choice era.

  58. tspoon says:

    If the christian God is a trinity, then why is the God of Abraham not? Does it make sense to have an old testament with a singular God and a new testament with a trinitarian God.?

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  59. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There is another questionable aspect here: these organisations are often covers for adoption. Basically they’re stealing white EE kids. Because in the US often times they’d have to adopt blacks, Asians or Native Americans.

  60. I think this whole issue of Jehosephat’s Witless is ..uh… well…..zzzzzzzxzzzzz.


  61. Anonymous [AKA "SureHeDid"] says:

    *eye roll*

    I’ve heard that a thousand times. Never experienced it though, or heard any of the 100s of friends spending 10000s of hours door to door experiencing that either.

    All you have to do is politely ask them not to come back anymore and they won’t.

  62. Seraphim says:

    If you are trying to be ‘clever’, you are too clever by half, entrapped by your own ignorance. The God of Abraham is the Trinity.

    “But under the oak at Mamre he saw three men, whom he invited, and hospitably received, and ministered to them as they feasted. Yet Scripture at the beginning of that narrative does not say, three men appeared to him, but, “The Lord appeared to him.” And then, setting forth in due order after what manner the Lord appeared to him, it has added the account of the three men, whom Abraham invites to his hospitality in the plural number, and afterwards speaks to them in the singular number as one; and as one He promises him a son by Sara, viz. the one whom the Scripture calls Lord, as in the beginning of the same narrative, “The Lord,” it says, “appeared to Abraham.” He invites them then, and washes their feet, and leads them forth at their departure, as though they were men; but he speaks as with the Lord God, whether when a son is promised to him, or when the destruction is shown to him that was impending over Sodom” (Augustin, On the Trinity (Book II) – Chapter 10).
    In the Orthodox Church the icon of the Holy Trinity is precisely the Icon of the Hospitality of Abraham.

    • Replies: @Logan
  63. Saker, what the hell are you talking about? You’re worrying me. Surely you know Jehovahs Witnesses are just another project of the crypto-Jew elite? The purpose is to splinter Christianity, provide cover for intelligence operations, and destabilize society. Banning them is a huge positive. It tells us the Anglo-Zionist empire doesn’t have control in Russia, and someone there is fighting to keep Russia for Russians.
    If you don’t understand this you’re either hopelessly naive or not what you appear to be.
    There is no benefit to Russia in allowing JWs. On the contrary, staying free will not be easy and one cannot afford to allow the enemy any advantage. Banning them is a huge victory, not least because of the confidence it shows. Wake the hell up!

  64. @Stewie

    You’re comment is risible. The JWs don’t stick to the letter of the Bible, unless you want to say they are doing so according to their own laughable “translation” of the Bible. Their view of Jesus Christ, by itself, places them outside Christianity. And, there is more, much more.

  65. Anonymous [AKA "Beholder"] says:

    The decision will be reversed once everyone is sufficiently embarrassed. I understand Russia is at war once again with the collective ‘west’ and are on the back foot, at least that’s what’s presented. They have banned us in times past in the USA, Britain, and in Canada here too. Just look at European history for policies of crimethink. Inquisitions and so forth. The difference is we work with the courts to legally establish our worship, we don’t form militia’s to punish the infidel defilers. Usually, it’s at the instigation of jealous religious officials of the churches of Christendom that we are banned. Frankly, they don’t teach the bible… They are religious nationalists and subject God to their own ‘heavens’. Often they prostitute their church on the altar of state for honor from political and commercial leaders, hence wars are often sanctified by these organizations. The world loves it’s own, but it is not just a Russian problem, all history has had hippo crits in the cloth. We don’t fight in wars and don’t get involved in civil administration, we don’t vote. We don’t take sides in political conflicts or even supposed to have a view on it. We just try and respect everyone’s choices and treat others as we would like to be treated. It’s about love, not divisive politics.
    I read your articles regularly, they are well thought out and logical. The biggest difference in our thinking is that JW views human self-rule and self-determination as an affront to Jehovah’s sovereignty, or the God of the bible by his name. His first sentient creation was the angelic Jesus before he descended to the earth and establish the propagation work for his future Kingdom. Hence, there is no such thing as no government… We have created abstract and artificial systems to govern ourselves. God has permitted it to make his point for the last few millennia of human history. Do not confuse tolerance with approval. They are a temporary measure, and national borders will one day be done away with, our universal language restored. Everyone who has lived and died is in effect a victim impact statement of the rebellion in the heavenly court. Satan is being proved a lier on multiple levels.
    It is not something JW’s will ever bring about, but one day all these nations will be swept away and we will be ruled from heaven once more… this time with precedent from the rebellion in Eden.
    As I say, we get banned because we are seen as different and scary. We exist in every country in the world, where banned we meet and promote the bibles message underground. The decision will be reversed, I told Putin I believed this so in my letter I wrote to his office. Sorry for my badly written letter, and the spelling. You know, we are in every sector of the economy, every income bracket. Chances are someone who cleans your offices, get’s your coffee made, or approves your mortgage is a JW that you didn’t even know they were. You can sometimes recognize us for our mannerly happiness. The world is an angry place, always has been, can’t let it wreck our love of mankind, or remove someone’s freedom to believe what they would like. Even Jesus, our perfector, the one who showed us how God wants to be worshiped, had enemies and wanted him to stop. Just got to do what is right, and that’s the challenge. It’s our personal relationship with God that matters, he does not sanction an atypical national project anymore. His purpose is progressive. That’s why it’s hard to be Christian… beware false Gods and Idols in all their forms.
    I appreciate your well-researched articles, by the way, I like to hear what other people perceive their world to be. It’s nice to hear others worldviews. Good health!

  66. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Seems like much ado about nothing. They’re a small group who are usually politically apathetic. Of course they poach on other established denomination’s turf but then they get those who are unsatisfied with what’s being offered so they weren’t really on their roster to begin with. People cycle in and out and they don’t have much of a multi-generational retention rate. The fear that there’s a slippery slope involved in opening the door to various western fads is not unwarranted but in this particular case it seems alarmist since in actual practice they have zero influence in the west. Historically it’s known that religious missionary work has often served as a cover for foreign spies working in various ways so that has to watched out for. Otherwise there’s other subversions that are more noteworthy.

  67. Logan says:

    I was actually agreeing with you. Possibly not well worded.

  68. Logan says:

    Unitarians used to be remarkably similar to most Christian sects other than in their definition of the relationship between God and Christ.

    When people today think of Unitarian, they think of Unitarian-Universalist, who cannot reasonably be considered Christian in any meaningful sense. I don’t think they even claim to be Christians.

    But there are lots of groups claiming to be Christian that hold non-standard opinions on the Trinity. Besides JWs, these include Mormons, Christian Scientists, Oneness Pentecostals and many others, none of them particularly large or influential.

  69. Logan says:

    A reasonable person, such as Mr. Spock, approaching the Bible without any preconceptions, would find it remarkably challenging to deduce the doctrine of the Trinity strictly from its pages.

    Especially in its creedal formulation, where remarkable precision is attained without any apparent Biblical justification.

    For what can be reasonably considered its most important doctrine, who God is, the Bible writers are remarkably allusive, as in your citation. It is reasonable to ask why He chose to be so obscure on the point.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Seraphim
  70. Logan says:

    Hate to quote Lenin, but “Who, whom?”

    A great many of the commenters dislike JWs, which is fine, though their comments generally betray considerable ignorance of them.

    But those who support such action should give some consideration to the principle that giving some government agency or court the power of deciding which religions shall be banned is a principle that can easily turn around and bite those who support it when aimed at those they dislike.

    If the JWs can be banned, so can the Roman Catholics or the Anglicans.

    In this country, it’s not difficult to imagine a leftist Congress passing, and leftists Courts approving of, a law defining what “a religion” in the meaning of the 1st Amendment is. Excluding any groups that “preach hate,” with “hate” defined as failure to celebrate the social justice paradigm of the moment.

    • Replies: @Jake
  71. Jake says:

    Why does what The Saker calls the ‘zionmedia’ make a big deal about Putin
    persecuting’ Jehovah’s Witnesses? The JHs are anti-Trinitarian and thus fully heretical and thus toys and weapons for Jews to utilize.

  72. Jake says:

    The West began to fall apart because its secularized democracies gave full tolerance to an endless array of heretical groups. Jews backed all that, for obvious reasons.

    Russia would do well to severely limit the activities of all groups save the Eastern Orthodox and Roman and Eastern Rite Catholics. All sola fide groups ultimately produce major discord.

    If Russia were to lead the reunification of Christian East with Christian West, meaning Orthodox and Catholic, then Russia would assume primary leadership for the future of civilization.

    The US, banking on full tolerance for all wild eyed groups with Jewish leadership in key ways and Moslems coming aboard fully as equal partners with WASPs and Jews, would head into decline rather quickly.

    • Replies: @Logan
  73. RobRich says: • Website

    Probably the expropriation without compensation of the JW’s not inconsiderable property had something to do with it. Some pal of Putin or the Court is going to make a mint.

  74. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    A reasonable person, such as Mr. Spock, approaching the Bible without any preconceptions, would find it remarkably challenging to deduce the doctrine of the Trinity strictly from its pages.

    The Bible, unlike the Koran, is not a book of instructions and definitions designed to be read by “reasonable people” who will then determine their religion from the aforesaid reading.

    Give the Bible to an Eskimo, an Arab, and a Chinaman: let each found a sect based solely on his reading, and there will not be over-much common ground between them.

  75. Seraphim says:

    @why He chose to be so obscure on the point.

    Because it is a “mystery” revealed in stages. In the Old Testament through “types”, symbols. In the New directly through the Epiphany and the Transfiguration on the Mount Tabor:

    …16As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and resting on Him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!” (Matthew 3:17; Luke 3:22)

    And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Matthew 17: 1-5)

    “I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:15-12).

    So leave the ‘reasonable persons’ like Mr. Spock (and his forefathers from Ukraine) to their cunningly devised fables on their star treks to nowhere and search for the ‘raise of the day star in your heart’.

  76. Logan says:

    Or, if we look hard enough in the Bible we can find passages that if we hold the page the right way and squint can be used to support a position we already believe in. You do realize, I hope, how close this is to those who use the Constitution the same way. To find what they want to find rather than humbly attempting to discern what it is really saying.

    I believe God and Christ are in a relationship hard to express in human terms, but I also believe that it is unbelievably presumptuous for humans to sit around in a Church council and define the exact parameters of their relationship with great precision. These decisions about the nature of God were generally made by majority vote, sometimes closely contested, and not uncommonly were overruled by military force.

    Sticking the Holy Spirit in as a Third co-equal and co-eternal Person has even less justification in Scripture.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  77. Logan says:

    “The West began to fall apart because its secularized democracies gave full tolerance to an endless array of heretical groups. ”

    Right. You may have heard of it. Freedom of religion.

  78. Seraphim says:

    You seem sadly determined to continue on the star trek to nowhere. I can’t wish you ‘Bon voyage’.

  79. robt says:

    I have an easy and effective way of handling them. I open the door, smile, say hello, take their literature, thank them, and say goodbye. They smile and say goodbye. Takes only a few seconds.

  80. Actually when confronted to odd religious obediences even more seasoned “democratic” regimes screw it. Just remember all the mess of Germany with Scientology…
    The most annoying aspect of the JW is when they knock at your door to bother you with their childish biblical literalism. And yet what I think they are more cumbersome as far as the state is concerned is for their antimilitarism or rather concientious objection, which makes of them an enemy of the state’s drafting needs.
    As a young man in Spain, under the Franco dictatorship, I remember the military prisons were full with them, and they risked and were willing to sit in prison for decades, as they would refuse the drafting. Therefore they were seen as heroes by the democratic and left opposition…Paradoxically this obeys to the most ancient of Christian values and old “spiritual traditions”, as they claim to live Christianity as the first Christians. Inded and till the Constantinian covenant, the main reason of their persecution in the Roman Empire was precisely because of their rejection of the army…
    As for the rest I have met children of JW, and they were perfectly sound, and I never saw any abuse at the family level. And they hadn’t followed their parents’ faith…

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  81. Seraphim says:
    @Enrique Ferro

    Where did then the martyred ‘military saints’ (like St. George, Demetrius, Acacius, Menas, Mauricius, the Theban Legion, the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste) come from? While being in the army?

  82. Alden says:

    Definitely. I’m going to avoid religious comments from now on. It really brings out the insanity.

    The last secret files about the Kennedy assassination are due to be released this year. Can’t wait for that lunatic fiesta.

  83. Stewart says:

    If there is anymore harmless group of people i’d like to know. Because of their beliefs they have often been persecuted. Germany’s death camps, the gulags, imprisoned in the U.S. during WWl. These are a harmless people who make good neighbors and good citizens. Clearly what is going on in Russia is the theft of a particular group of peoples properties. Who is behind it is the real question.

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