Watchtower March 1, 2003 Study Article "Be Courageous and Strong!"
"We also need courage when opposers maneuver the media into spreading bad reports about God's servants or when they try to restrict true worship by 'scheming trouble by decree' (Psalm 94:20) For example, how should we feel when newspapers, radio, or television reports about Jehovah's Witnesses are distortions or outright falsehoods? Should we be shocked? No. We expect such things. (Psalm 109:2) And we are not surprised when some believe the published lies and distortions, since 'anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word' (Proverbs 14:15)
"Of course, persecution itself is not pleasant, but our standing firm despite persecution, including slanderous reports in the media, is a cause for rejoicing. It means we are pleasing Jehovah and will receive a reward."
slander: 1. Words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another.
2. The act of defaming.
falsehood: 1. A willful act of falsifying.
2. A false statement.
The Watchtower Society apparently finds the recent media attacks against it's child abuse policy "slanderous" and a "falsehood." By terming it as persecution, they guarantee that the ordinary Jehovah's Witness will simply take the Society's word for it and not bother to investigate the matter for themselves. This is unfortunate, as the people with the most to lose from this flawed policy are the average Jehovah's Witness family, especially their children. Is this particular Watchtower article propoganda? Definitely. If the Society truly thought that these activities by the media were slanderous, the prudent course would to be to pursue legal action to force retractions or to collect damages from those individuals who are found to be issuing "distortions or outright falsehoods." In fact, this is something the Society has been quick to do in the past.
The Watchtower, December 1st 1998 Issue, Page 14:
After the slanderous article was published in the Russian newspaper (mentioned in paragraph 15), Jehovahs Witnesses appealed to the Russian Federation Presidential Judicial Chamber for Media Disputes with a request to review the false charges made in the article. Recently the court issued a decision that castigated the newspaper for printing the libelous article.
The fact that no legal action of this sort has been filed to date speaks volumes. Perhaps the Society doesn't relish the thought of paying out all that money in legal fees. Perhaps. Consider this though. This week (June 2-8, 2003) the New Hampshire Superior Court is holding a hearing at the request of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Mario Moreno representing. This hearing is to establish the bonafides of a proscecution witness (the Society are defending) in the civil case of Holly and Heather Berry vs The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., Wilton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and Paul Berry. These girls were brutally assaulted by their father, Paul Berry, over a period of years. When the (suspected) abuse was revealed to the elders in their congregation by their mother, she was told to "pray more" and "try to be a better wife". This hearing, the lawyers fees and the witnesses expenses are all being paid for out of contributions that the congregations across the United States have made to the "World Wide Work" of the Christian congregation. Consider this in conjunction with the fact that the Society also paid for the criminal lawyer that defended Paul Berry out of this same fund. The jury in that trial, in spite of the 27 members of his congregation who attended the trial to testify to his good character, convicted him on 17 counts of rape and child abuse. They sentenced him to a minimum of 56 years for his crimes.
The Watchtower needs to examine its actions in this matter and determine its moral and ethical postion. To spend thousands of dollars in the defense of an abusive pedophile, further thousands to prevent a fair and just settlement to his victims for negligence on the part of the Society and yet spend nothing to counter "slander, distortions or outright falsehoods" made in the media against "Jehovah's Organization" is simply morally and ethically questionable by any measure. Was the information presented in these documentaries the truth? The Society seems to think so. Would this not compel the "righteous organization of Jehovah God" to do the right thing for these girls and the hundreds of others like them? Would this not compel them to change the flawed policy that shields pedophiles and inflicts psychological and emotional harm on the victims? The Society needs to remember the old cliche: Actions speak louder than words. Their actions, reflecting the morals and ethics of every other organization of men, speak for themselves.
"Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to YOU in sheep's covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves. By their fruits YOU will recognize them. - Matthew 7:15-16
My reason is that certain men have slipped in who have long ago been appointed by the Scriptures to this judgment, ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ. - Jude 4