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Jehovah's Witnesses

A religion or a cult? I vote for cult, although really, is there a difference beyond the number of people who buy in? My biggest problem with Jehovah's Witnesses is that - quite beyond the inconsistency of their belief set and the incompatibility of the God they worship with the theorem above - they practice (or try to practice) what amounts to child sacrifice.

Hey now, you might say; Isn't that a bit extreme? I mean annoying, sure, who hasn't had their weekend disturbed at least one time by a Sunday-best dressed couple handing out tracts that promise (sigh) that if you don't drink their particular brand of grape-ade God will deny you any hope of everlasting life on a mythical `Paradise' even if in all other respects you've lived an exemplary life and clothed the widow and orphan and been faithful to your spouse and been kind to children and pets, but child sacrifice?

True story: An acquaintance of mine is the son of a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses. Now unless you've read all of the dogma associated with this obscure splinter sect/cult of Christianity, you probably don't know that it takes some of the verses in the Bible that make out blood to be an unholy thing - probably intended to keep people from drinking human blood in ritual sacrifices or part of the usual Abrahamic terror of a woman's menstrual cycle (a thing that the God of the Old and New Testament obviously hates and is disgusted by, even though It presumably designed it) - and transforms them into a religious rule against transfusions. That's right, Jehovah's Witnesses consider receiving blood products under any circumstances to be a sin!

Consequently, they will not permit themselves or their offspring to receive transfusions or anything that is made out of blood or blood plasma.

My friend, as it turned out, had an RH-incompatibility with his mother. What this means is that his mother was literally allergic to her own fetus's blood. Throughout the pregnancy this is bad, as the antibodies in the mother's blood cross the placenta and cause red blood cells in the developing fetus to lyse and create bilirubin so that the fetus becomes jaundiced. At birth it is very bad, as the placenta ruptures and the mother's blood and the baby's blood actively mix for a short while.

In any modern scientific society this is no big deal anymore. The problem can easily and safely be treated with shots of RhoGam, a blood-derived product that effectively blocks the antibodies and protects the infant's blood cells. Without treatment infants can develop24:

In other words, the infant is likely to either die or suffer severe brain damage, which is arguably worse than death. But RhoGam is a blood-derived product, and because of an Old Testament scriptural line requiring that the blood of animals be spilled out on the ground, Jehovah's Witnesses routinely refuse RhoGam treatment for their pregnant women and when they have a choice refuse the treatment for their newborn infants.

They don't always have a choice. In the case of my friend, the enlightened state of New York intervened and compelled the use of RhoGam on his behalf, against the strenuous objections of his father. As a consequence, my friend is alive and has a very functional brain, and despises Jehovah's Witnesses for being so deluded by an ancient scriptural text that they would sacrifice their own children just as surely through their inaction as any ancient tribes (including the Hebrews) did to Moloch did with action.

Every year children below the age of any sort of informed consent die because their parents and religious society tell them to refuse blood transfusions. So do many adults, basically committing suicide which is itself a bit of a sin in many religions including Christianity in general rather than permitting themselves to be ``excommunicated'' for accepting blood products. In fact, rather paradoxically, it isn't unknown for a Jehovah's Witness to be an alcoholic, drink until their liver fails and they start bleeding internally, and refuse the transfusions that might save their life. Drinking yourself to death, you see, isn't an excommunicable offense (but accepting blood is).

Remember this story the next time Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking at your door. When they ask you if you want a copy of the Watchtower, ask them if they have a copy of Awake magazine, the official Jehovah's Witnesses tract, which proudly portrays the pictures of young children (under twelve years of age) who died rather than accept blood. Ask them if they are still practicing child sacrifice to Moloch by refusing RhoGam treatment of infants born to an Rh-incompatible mother, all because of a silly interpretation of a line in the Bible that doesn't say anything about blood transfusion or humans25. Ask them how a compassionate God could possibly want for them to permit their own child's brain to be damaged by an easily preventable and remarkably common condition. And then slam the door in their face!

We (as a rational, secular human society) are far too tolerant of religious radicalism, especially radicalism that crosses the line and starts killing people. When the Pope of the Catholic Church visits HIV-ridden Africa and exhorts people not to use condoms even in the context of conjugal sex, where it is not infrequently the case that one partner is infected and the other isn't, the Pope might as well be holding a gun to the head of some of the people he's addressing and pulling the trigger! The Pope murders those people with words that aren't even in either the Old or the New Testaments - Jesus, for all of his preternatural knowledge, somehow failed to add ``blessed are those that don't wear a lambgut on their willy to prevent the transmission of disease or pregnancy'' to his sermon on the mount (the same place he failed to say ``blessed are those that free their slaves'', ``blessed are women, who are the full equals of men'', ``blessed are those that use reason and empirical methods to read My words as they are written in the stars in the heavens, the rocks of the earth, the cells of your body''). I have no doubt that the Pope would be appalled that the Jehovah's Witnesses murder their own children on the basis of other words by withholding RhoGam, but is somehow blind to the murderous effect of his own words.

next up previous contents
Next: Scientology Up: Theistic Models Previous: Bahá'i   Contents
Robert G. Brown 2014-02-06