A cult demands all its members think the same. By contrast Jehovah Witnesses are showing that
'Tact is the intelligence of the heart.'

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Since 1914

Religious Freedom Links

In the modern period, no group excels the ACLU and the WTBS (or Jehovah's Witness organization) in battling for religious liberties in the courts. Religious freedom is closely allied with other basic personal freedoms, such as freedom of expression, freedom of speech.

In early America, it was outcast groups (minority faiths) such as the Quakers and the Baptists who stood in the forefront of the struggle for religious freedom. They were joined by many of the Founding Fathers (of whom several were Deists, or otherwise influenced by Enlightenment idealism on behalf of the common man's ability to decide for himself the path his own conscience might dictate.

Erasmus | Bigotry for Christ | Learned Hand | Noah Feldman | The lustre of our country | Crusader Zeal | the poor are rich | America's myths | faith or love | Prophetic Spinoza

What would our forefathers
have thought of the present age?

robert nisbet

What would the Framers {of the U.S. Constitution } be most struck by in America today? I mean after they had recovered from the shock of seeing clean, strong white teeth instead of decayed yellow stumps in the mouths of their descendants; after they had assimilated the fact of the astounding number of Americans who were neither crippled, disease-wasted, nor packmarked from smallpox; and of course, after they had taken rapt eyes off the high-speed vehicles on the streets? After these astonishments, what reactions might there be to the political and cultural scene?

Three aspects of the present age in America would surely draw their immediate, concerned, and perhaps incredulous attention.


First, the prominence of war in American life since 1914, amounting to a virtual Seventy Five Year War; and with this the staggering size of the American military establishment since World War II. The framers had relied on two broad oceans for the license to draft the most nonmilitary constitution imaginable.

Second, the Leviathan-like presence of the national government in the affairs of states, towns, and cities, and in the lives, cradle to grave, of individuals. The Framers had worked most diligently to prevcent any future hypertrophy of the federal government. They had particularly disliked the sprawling bureaucracies of Europe of their day.

Third, the number of Americans who seem only loosely attached to groups and values such as kinship, community, and property, and whose lives are so plainly governed by the cash nexus.

The Present Age:
Progress and Anarchy in Modern America
Robert A. Nisbet
Are 'Jehovah's Witnesses' a Cult?

from pastor russell blogspot

One thing is clear at this late point in the age that began for America in 1914 with the Great War: The popular, the folk optimism, what an admiring, affectionate Lord Bryce called the Fatalism of the Multitude in America is fast waning. Americans are much less likely than they were a century ago to believe there is a special Providence that looks our for America and guides her purity of conscience to ever greater heights. And they are immensely less likely than were their Puritan forebears three hundred and fifty years ago to see America as the 'city set on a hill,' with the world's eyes upon it.

The Guns of August (1914)

Cornel West writes: With the advent of the guns of August in 1914, sounding the opening shots of World War I, race and empire were the perimeters of American democracy -- hardly seen by most white Americans yet harshly lived by most peoples of color. The war not only shattered European myths of progress and illusions of security, but also disclosed the brutal realities and bestial desires of imperial Europe. As major European empires collapsed -- such as the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Czarist Russian empires -- seismic shifts took place across the globe. [p54, Democracy Matters]

The Great War "to end all war"

After WW I and the demise of the Osman Empire the European powers France and United Kingdom redesigned the "Middle East" disregarding ethic-religious, historic and cultural factors. On the drawing-board they created new states like Jordan, Iraq and Syria with new artificial boundaries.

They "forgot" to create one state: Kurdistan - as the homeland for then about 30-40 million Kurds.

This new design triggered multifaceted tensions and conflicts between and within the states in the Middle East until today.

Most of the current conflicts in North Africa and the Gulf region have their origin in the aftermath of WW I.

August 22, 2007

Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell
With his beautiful Quaker beard
(he was not a Quaker)

We Can Solve It
Renewable Energy Database
Solar ~ sustainable future
New Thinking About Cults

Tact is the intelligence of the heart.

quoted in Answers in the Heart: Daily Meditations for
Men And Women Recovering From Sex Addiction
(Hazelden Meditation Series) 1989.


Hinge Point of History

"In 1914 the world lost a coherence which it has not managed to capture since. . . . This has been a time of extraordinary disorder and violence, both across national frontiers and within them." [The Economist]

The events in Sarajevo in 1914 snowballed beyond all expectations of any of the actors in an unfolding drama of international upheaval that, before it was over, would topple four world-historical empires of the previous age -- (1) the Ottoman Empire of the Turks, (2) the Hohenzollern Empire of Germany, (3) the Habsburg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and, even before the others, (4) the Czarist Empire of Romanov Russia, which had endured since 1613.

"It is indeed the year 1914 rather than that of Hiroshima which marks the turning point of our time, for by now we can see that ... it was the first world war that ushered in the era of confused transition in the midst of which we are floundering." [René Albrecht-Carrié]

"Looking back from the vantage point of the present we see clearly that the outbreak of World War I ushered in a twentieth-century 'Time of Troubles' -- in the expressive term of the british historian Arnold Toynbee -- from which our civilization has by no means emerged." [Edmund Taylor, The Fall of Dynasties.]

The British historian H.R. Trevor-Roper writes: "The first (World) War . . . closed a long era of general peace and began a new age of violence in which the second (World) War is simply an episode. Since 1914 the world has a new character: a character of international anarchy." [1964]

West Germany's Konrad Adenauer, pointed out in 1964 that since 1914 security and quiet have disappeared from men's lives. A year later, America's former president Dwight D. Eisenhower said much the same regarding the global geopolitical condition: "A deterioration has been going on since the First World War." [see Berdj Kenadjian. Economics of the New Age]

Scientist Nassim Nicholas Taleb refers to the events of 1914 as a Black Swan, utterly unpredictable and improbable, carrying extreme impact, yet something mankind has tried to explain after the fact as if it had been explainable and predictable all along.

Out of the Great War that 1914 produced, ultimately T.E.Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia, joined forces with Arab leaders Sherif Hussein, Prince Feisal and others to defy the powerful Ottomon empire, and finally bring it to its knees. With the Balfour Declaration, a new day for the holy land was inaugurated. Ploughing Sand: The British replaced the Turks in the lands promised to Abraham. The world would never be the same.

see Ploughing Sand: British Rule in Palestine 1917-48 by Naomi Shepherd

Robert Shepherd adds: I find some uncanny oddities in a discussion of Jewish tradition (or superstition). So many of the calamities in their five thousand year old national experience have occurred on Tish b'Av, the ninth of Av. Not just 1914, when Russian armies mobilized (Tish b'Av, in our year of 1914), but others also, including the destruction of both the first Temple of Solomon and the second Temple (Zerubbabel, with major additions by Herod) as well.

The year 1914 (our calendar) beginning with the mobilization of the Czar's armies on Tish b'Av, would lead in very few years to the end of Eastern European Jewry.

Skirts that are too short can
distract from your words

let your light shine

President Eisenhower said

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of mutually assured annihilation. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. (Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech)

See Lift Every Voice and Sing

There is an evil which most of us condone and are even guilty of: indifference to evil.
We remain neutral, impartial, and not easily moved by the wrongs done to other people
Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Influence of the Hebrew Bible
Herman Wouk poses a thought:

Greece and Rome considered the Jewish prohibition of sodomy, and the strict Jewish view of the marriage tie, absurdly narrow prejudices. If we are not to backtrack (or advance, depending on the point of view) to the morality of imperial Rome -- if the reader instinctively feels that the Jewish and Christian practice is nearer the mark for a sound civilization -- I must press him to find a basis for Western morality outside the eye of God; that is, outside the Bible and the faiths built on it. The morality of the West is either, as Nietzsche said, a long mistake based on a long delusion, or it is one of Judaism's great gifts to the human race. If we do not have the religious principle that wrongdoing in sex is wrong in itself, where is the bar to eventual erosion of our Western ways to those of Rome and Byzantium?

This Is My God (1958)

Here are some online resources of possible related interest

Give us peace :: dona nobis pacem
Double Outcast Spinoza, drunk on God
The bloody historic record of Christendom
Christendom's enduring anti-Semitic bigotry
Religious oppression and the rise of Toleration
The lustre of our country: America's role in freedom of religion
Academic inquiry: origins of America's Freedom of Religion Protection
Desiderius Erasmus - if only both sides had hearkened to this man's gentle wisdom

a couple pioneering friends of mine, in 2008

Robert Shepherd:

Robert Shepherd - 2011   Over the years I had heard so much ABOUT Jehovahs witnesses, and it seemed like second-hand information about them abounded. "They They They." They were a "cult," or they were not Christian, or they were wolves in sheeps clothing. I had even met them at the door, and they certainly did not SEEM all that horrible. How can you really judge someone before you give them a chance? Finally, in August 2007, at a low point of my life, I decided what the heck. Why not actually VISIT their notorious kindgom hall. So I did.

Job told God, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. That was what I decided to try out. To just SEE for myself.

I actually liked what I saw.


Jehovah's Witnesses have dared to speak out. They have dared to take a stand, to speak the truth, and to declare what the Bible actually says, and what the original language states. And for this they have been misunderstood, ostracized, persecuted.

Elie Wiesel writes:

"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

The Great Hatred
Father Edward Flannery quotes

Maurice Samuel's description of Christianity's hostility against the Jews as "the great hatred." Indeed, is he not correct? As Christians we got our faith from the Jews, but who has contributed more than Christians to the long and tragic anguish of the Jews?

Fr. Flannery describes an incident from his own life: "One evening several years ago, I walked north on Park Avenue in New York City in the company of a young Jewish couple. Behind us shone the huge illuminated cross the Grand Central Building displays each year at Christmas time. Glancing over her shouldeer, the young lady -- ordinarily well disposed toward Christians -- declared: "That cross makes me shudder. It is like an evil presence."

Are we open minded enough to ask ourselves why a young Jewish woman would get such a creepy feeling seeing a cross? Christianity has a lot to answer for. [Bob Shepherd - 10/22/10]

Baptising a faithful and discreet slave

Baptizing a faithful & discreet slave

site created by
Robert Shepherd

last save= 04/18/12

Robert Shepherd
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Like such major institutions as parenthood, tribe, and nation, religious organizations often wind up as convenient targets for criticism of an especially harsh nature. Perhaps the attacks are inevitable. Often they seem justified, or partially justified. While no judgment on them is offered, two recent titles are The Truth Book by Joy Castro; and The Spanking Room: A Child's Eye View by Wiiliam Coburn

Robert Shepherd adds: Jehovah's Witnesses get branded as heretics (to the mainstream churches they are), since they reject that Jesus was equal to God, they reject the Trinity idea. If Jesus was only a Jewish HUMAN, that is, only a rabbi (teacher of righteousness), only a messiah (anointed one), that humanizes him, and puts him on our level. Perhaps then we can relate to him as a very human, very Jewish "way shower" instead of a divine Super-human, or like Clark Kent, an alien super-hero from the planet Krypton in Outer Space. (Or - see Jesus - hero with a thousand faces)

Prince of Peace
Only a Messiah?