Moving On | Choose your lifeMoving On | Choose your life
Safe Passage Foundation - Support to youth raised in high demand organizations

Saturday, January 31, 2009    

Home | New Content | Statistics | Games | FAQs

Getting Out : Media Reports

Jehovah’s Witnesses Lose Court Battle to Suppress Freedom of Speech

from moon beam - Tuesday, June 19, 2007
accessed 644 times

By William Bowen

Jehovah’s Witnesses Lose Court Battle to Suppress Freedom of Speech

In a Denmark court ruling, December 2006, Jehovah’s Witnesses lost a key decision to suppress freedom of the press. They were ordered to pay legal fees of 50,000 kroner to one of the largest newspapers in Denmark, Ekstra Bladet [1] . Ekstra Bladet had published a series of articles on the epidemic of child abuse within the Jehovah’s Witness organization. Since May of 2002, media worldwide have circulated reports of child-abuse problems. Stories include those from The New York Times, Dateline, and eight different countries offering testimony from sexually abused kids within the religion.
In the autumn of 2004, the Denmark newspaper ran a series of articles that blasted the religion for polices of covering up abuse allegations. The Jehovah’s Witnesses local Branch Office Committee in Denmark filed a 350,000-kroner slander lawsuit against Ekstra Bladet and the editor of the newspaper. The religion went further and attacked victims of abuse who had been interviewed for the newspaper articles. Victims were told they would be sued into poverty if they did not retract the stories of being raped as children, which they had given to the newspaper. Because of intimidation, one girl withdrew her story, and other victims went into hiding.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have long touted their record as an organization that is a defender of “freedom of speech.” They currently claim on their Website that they have won more than 50 lawsuits that supposedly establish the freedom of people to speak as they wish or to practice their faith. A film/propaganda piece is circulating around the United States of America called Knocking that will soon air on PBS; the piece touts how Jehovah’s Witnesses protect freedom. Yet another side the public are not informed of is the inverted use of these legal victories to punish and humiliate people the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not like.
“Disfellowshipping,” a word created by Jehovah’s Witnesses, is used as a weapon within the religion to destroy families and silence members through intimidation to obey whatever they are told to do. If members are disfellowshipped, all family and church members view them as dead and will not acknowledge their existence; even if a disfellowshipped son walks into the same room with his mother, she will not speak to him. The shunning is indefinite until the deposed members renounce anything the church tells them to and submit totally to church leadership. For example, victims of child abuse have been disfellowshipped for attempting to expose the member who molested them. The victims’ freedom of speech was indirectly taken away because no church member was allowed to talk to them; and in some instances, their families put them out on the street at the direction of church leaders. The right of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion to diminish such freedom of speech of certain members has in large part been won by the sect’s successful Supreme Court litigations [2].
How could a documentary film on Jehovah’s Witnesses miss this common practice in the religion? Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known on their Website for press releases that tout their legal victories in the international courts [3]. Sadly, however, there is no reference to the Denmark decision anywhere on this Website. In recent California court decisions, Jehovah’s Witnesses have also lost key court rulings on civil child-abuse litigation against the church; but again, this information has been omitted from the Jehovah’s Witnesses Website [4].
When the Jehovah’s Witnesses lose their court battles to suppress freedom of speech, they appear to be silent. Could one of the reasons be that they misuse donated funds to hurt people? When a Jehovah’s Witness calls at your home, he has been taught to memorize this commentary at the end of offering you some free literature: “Our literature is offered without charge, but we would gladly accept a small donation for the Worldwide Work of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
When the public reach into their pockets and make donations to this group, they are funding many different things. Although part of the money goes to make more magazines and books, a significant amount goes to fund litigation. In the past five years, more than 70 lawsuits that involved the mistreatment of abused kids were filed against the Jehovah’s Witnesses. When you donate to the “Worldwide Work,” you may be funding the defense of child molesters. In the Denmark litigation, 50,000 kroner of “Worldwide Work” donations will be spent to pay legal fees, the goal of which was to suppress newspaper exposés of the organization’s child-abuse policy. Would anyone who understands what is actually happening wish to donate their money to assist people who may be pedophiles and suppress freedom of speech—even if just a few cents of each dollar they donated were involved?
At silentlambs, we call for the immediate cessation of funding for such defense litigation and attempts to suppress freedom of speech. We hope this “slap on the ear” is a wake-up call to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and anyone else who wishes to silence victims of abuse and to misuse “good faith” donations to hurt the innocent. The next time Jehovah’s Witnesses happily approach you to offer their magazines, accept their offering if you are inclined, and then inform them that you prefer not to donate to their “Worldwide Work” until they stop hurting victims of abuse.
So while Knocking, a Jehovah’s Witnesses-endorsed documentary, airs on PBS and provides accolades for court victories that make the group champions for freedom of speech, the facts show that lawyers funded by a multi-billion-dollar corporation are making a mockery of the U.S. Constitution. They use the Supreme Court as a knife to cut out the tongues of people who are victimized by this religion. Professor Marci Hamilton’s online article at FindLaw notes the irony of the Denmark case:
It is extraordinarily ironic, then, that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have recently, in Denmark, taken the position that speech, including speech by the press, should be punished and suppressed. It appears that when the topic is alleged clergy abuse within the organization, its position on freedom of speech makes a 180-degree turn. Apparently, the Jehovah’s Witnesses support free speech for themselves, but not for their critics. [5]

[1] To read the article, go to

Reader's comments on this article

Add a new comment on this article

from RSA, FMS, peadophilia
Tuesday, December 09, 2008 - 10:25

old video on history of child abuse
(reply to this comment)
from recent JW perp news
Monday, December 08, 2008 - 11:35


Jehovah’s Witness sex offender is spared jail
Marcus Leroux

A Jehovah’s Witness who used his position in the Church to sexually abuse young children walked free from court yesterday.

Michael Porter was entrusted with children as a ministerial servant of the church in Clevedon, Somerset. At Bristol Crown Court yesterday he admitted 24 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency on children, one of whom was an 18-month-old baby, over 14 years.

Judge Tom Crowther decided not to jail Porter and instead issued a three-year community rehabilitation order after the court was told that he had undergone therapy.

Porter, 38, was also banned from working with anyone under the age of 18 and placed on the Sex Offenders Register. Yesterday, as police said they were considering an appeal, Porter’s sister, Tina Hughes, led criticism of the sentence.

“He blamed his childhood for the attacks, which was a lie, but the judge ate it all up,” Ms Hughes said, adding: “There’s no justice for the victims. No closure. He had no right to leave that courtroom.”

Ms Hughes described her brother as an “evil monster”, who “can’t have a soul”.

Porter, who was supported in court by his wife, gave himself up when one of his victims threatened to go to police. He moved from Clevedon to London in 2000, where he is thought to be an elder at the Mill Hill Kingdom Hall, Barnet.

Dan Norris, a Labour MP who has campaigned for the introduction of a US-style “Megan’s Law” letting communities know the whereabouts of convicted child sex offenders, said yesterday’s decision would increase the public perception that judges have become out of touch.

Mr Norris, a former child protection officer, said: “It’s deeply disturbing that a man that has committed serious offences against children has avoided prison. This judge’s decision will reinforce the public view that child sex offenders are treated far too lightly and that our judges are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people.”

Norman Brennan, founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, branded the sentence as a licence to offend.

“If we’re to reassure parents and send out a strong deterrent message to paedophiles, then those convicted should face prison sentences that both punish and deter others,” he said.

“When the judiciary fail to impose such penalties they give paedophiles a licence to reoffend.”

Jehovah’s Witnesses who fail to live by the religion’s strict moral code and beliefs run the risk of being thrown out of the congregation, which is called “disfellowshipping”, the Witnesses’ highest form of discipline.

A spokesman for Somerset and Avon Police said: “We are pleased that the person responsible for these serious offences has been brought to justice and hope it will provide some sort of closure for the victims.

“It is too early to say at the moment whether there will be an appeal. This will be discussed with the CPS. There are a large number of victims to consider, many of whom just want to draw a line under the whole matter.”

Tina Hughes, 40, said: "I'm absolutely disgusted. I'm very, very angry. I think the judge was absolutely pathetic. He just took my brother's side completely and believed that all he needed was a bit more therapy and now realised he had done wrong.

"He blamed his childhood for the attacks, which was a lie, but the judge ate it all up. I just broke down in tears when the judge said he wasn't going to jail. The whole courtroom went quiet. No one could believe it.

"I can't believe the judge thinks he is safe to be allowed out on the streets. He won't stop. There's no justice for the victims. No closure. He had no right to leave that courtroom.

"He has a lovely life. He has a religion standing by him. He has lost nothing. He's just not human. He's an evil monster. He can't have a soul.

"He was in a very high position. Children loved him and parents worshipped him. They thought he was God's son on earth. He was the last man they would ever suspect of doing something so horrific. He abused dozens of children and even a baby. But he's still free."

Porter was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Portishead and Clevedon. He left the family home in Clevedon and moved to Mill Hill in London in 2000 after his mother died. Porter, who was supported in court by his wife, Joanne, confessed after one of his victims threatened to go to the police.

The church said yesterday it would support him. But it denied claims by Porter's sister that he would continue to come into contact with children through his religion and visit families.

A spokesman said: "He will be carefully supervised."


"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

(reply to this comment)

My Stuff

log in here
to post or update your articles


63 user/s currently online

Web Site User Directory
5047 registered users

log out of chatroom

Happy Birthday to demerit   Benz   tammysoprano  

Weekly Poll

What should the weekly poll be changed to?

 The every so often poll.

 The semi-anual poll.

 Whenever the editor gets to it poll.

 The poll you never heard about because you have never looked at previous polls which really means the polls that never got posted.

 The out dated poll.

 The who really gives a crap poll.

View Poll Results

Poll Submitted by cheeks,
September 16, 2008

See Previous Polls

Online Stores

I think, therefore I left

Check out the Official
Moving On Merchandise
. Send in your product ideas

Free Poster: 100 Reasons Why It's Great to be a Systemite

copyright © 2001 - 2009

[terms of use] [privacy policy] [disclaimer] [The Family / Children of God] [contact:] [free speech on the Internet blue ribbon] [About the Trailer Park] [Who Links Here]