Why Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse army service

Why Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse army service

Facts and lies

The issues of arming, strengthening and replenishing the Armenian army have again aroused after the April escalation of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, making the refusal from army service by members of various religious groups a very acute problem.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Jehovah’s Witnesses point of view

Tigran Harutyunyan, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Armenia, said in an interview that members of the organization do not fight during wars and each person decides how to behave taking into account his responsibility towards the God and people. “Jehovah’s Witnesses appreciate the Armenian government’s decision to allow the young men, who refuse military service, to engage in alterntative civilian service program,” he said.

To clarify the reasons behind Jehovah’s Witnesses unwillingness to take up arms, PanARMENIAN.Net talked to Almast Muradyan, the chairperson of Dialogue NGO dealing with people, who became victims of sects.

For the first time Jehovah’s Witnesses stood to denounce arms in Nazi Germany. “They are now proudly speaking of the courage to resist Hitler, suffering from further persecutions. However, there is a big difference between a personal feat and the propaganda spread by a certain organization,” Muradyan said.

Concept of refusing to hold weapons

According to Muradyan, those who join Jehovah’s Witnesses once of a sudden become strongly opposed to others, especially Christians. Looking for new interests and changing the path of life, these people live as outsiders, because they perceive the society as evil which lives its last years.

“Being able to distinguish between the primary and secondary tasks, a person with healthy mentality mobilizes all his strengths if his homeland and family are in danger. Meanwhile, Jehovah’s Witnesses follow the rules their organization has set, even in case their personal viewpoint is different,” she said.

“It’s not surprising that living in countries which are in a state of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses are propagandizing against serving in the army. Moreover, refusing to defend their own country, these people serve the interests of the enemy. Actually, living in a country and enjoying its safety but staying aside when the homeland is in danger is at least immoral. Those who call for peace must be ready to fight for peace. Otherwise all these calls are false, just like the whole concept of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Muradyan emphasized.

According to the expert, Jehovah’s Witnesses meddle with political life of any country they enter and then announce that are not engaged in politics. In case of war, they avoid any kind of military service because the organization’s charter says so.

“It’s hard to imagine an Armenian man who will remain indifferent to the fate of his homeland and family. Meanwhile, Jehovah’s Witnesses are trying to seduce young people into their organization under the pretext of possibility to avoid army service,” she said.

Bible “basis”

Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘justify’ their stance with extracts from the Bible. Muradyan noted, however, that they use passages divorced from the context. At first, Jehovah’s Witnesses offer their newcomers to study the Bible, posing as a Christian institution, but instead, they are pushing their own propaganda through various leaflets and editions.

After studying the literature disseminated by Jehovah’s Witnesses, experts have revealed about 1200 changes and deviations from the Orthodox interpretation of the Bible.

Kristine Kyurklyan / PanARMENIAN.Net
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