In 1935, the Watch Tower Society first began to forbid its Jehovah's Witnesses members to salute the American Flag, or to recite the Pledge Of Allegiance, or to stand for the playing of the National Anthem, or to engage in any other patriotic activity. In 1935, the WatchTower Society began to teach its Jehovah's Witnesses members that the American Flag was a false idol, and that performing any of the aforementioned displays of patriotism was performing religious "worship" to a false idol. The WatchTower Society also taught its Jehovah's Witnesses members to tell school administrators and teachers, the news media, Judges, and other outsiders, that this was the sole reason that Jehovah's Witness children and adults would no longer salute the American Flag, no longer recite the Pledge Of Allegiance, no longer stand for the playing of the National Anthem, and no longer engage in any other patriotic activity.
As we have "footnoted" below, that "idol worship" malarkey was not conceived by the WatchTower Society. That "idol worship" malarkey actually had been conceived, spun, and whitewashed during the 1910s-20s by the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU) as a "public relations ploy" during the ACLU's initial legal battles to have the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance removed from America's classrooms. The ACLU knew that it could not permit its various religious cult "pawns" to reveal to the American general public those cults' actual hatred for the Government of the United States, nor fully disclose those cults' ridiculous biblical interpretations which supported such hatred. Such repulsive "secrets" only would have outraged the general public, and stirred up the general public to proactively oppose the goals of the ACLU. The ACLU's battles would be lost before they even started.
By the 1930s, the ACLU had learned that it probably would never get anywhere in its' battle against "patriotism" using individual religious zealots. The ACLU needed the full support and full cooperation of an entire denomination, and especially its leadership and hierarchy. The ACLU was thoroughly familiar with "Judge" Rutherford and his WatchTower Society, and likely had previously rejected such a partnership multiple times. BUT, the ACLU and the WatchTower Society shared the anti-American doctrines which the WatchTower Society had been teaching behind the scenes for years regarding the Government of the United States, and shared the hatred for the Government of the United States that the WatchTower Society had been instilling for years within its' Jehovah's Witnesses members. The ACLU evidently decided to make lemonade with its lemons. The ACLU already knew how it could tone down the anti-American and anti-government teachings of the WatchTower Society, and such took only the assent of the WatchTower Cult's leader, "Judge" J. F. Rutherford. However, restraining and controlling the enthusiasm of "Judge" Rutherford's scattered individual Jehovah's Witnesses followers would be a much harder and never-ending job.
What the WatchTower Society INTENTIONALLY did not explain to outsiders then, thereafter, nor today, is that the Watch Tower Society teaches Jehovah's Witnesses that the Government of the United States is governing ILLEGITIMATELY. The Watch Tower Society teaches that the Government of the United States is under the absolute control of Satan the Devil, and that the Government of the United States is "Satan's partner" in Satan's universal rebellion against GOD's universal sovereignty.
The Watch Tower Society teaches that GOD granted humans the "authority" to rule the earth for a period of 2520 years -- starting in October 607 B.C. and ending in October 1914 A.D.*** The Watch Tower Society teaches that in October 1914, the authority to rule the earth reverted back to GOD, and that He then formed a heavenly government to rule the earth. The Watch Tower Society teaches that in 1919 that Jesus Christ (the "created" Michael the Archangel) selected the Watch Tower Society as his sole earthly representative of that heavenly government. The Watch Tower Society teaches that the Government of the United States is the WatchTower Society's ENEMY, because the Government of the United States has failed to surrender governmental power that rightfully belongs to the Watch Tower Society.
(***NOTE: WatchTower Cult theology ignores the obvious. In His "Great Commission", the newly resurrected, victorious Jesus Christ announced to his disciples that "All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth," and 65 years later in the opening statement of His Revelation to John, Jesus Christ proclaimed himself to be the authorized, but yet to be acknowledged, "Ruler of the Kings of the Earth").
These are the ACTUAL reasons that the Watch Tower Society forbids its Jehovah's Witnesses members to support the local, state, and federal governmental entities of the United States -- no voting, no holding elected political office, no professing citizen loyalty via the Pledge of Allegiance or standing for the National Anthem, and no serving in the U.S. Military to protect the United States.
The Watch Tower Society teaches that "Armageddon" will occur "soon", and that at the Battle of Armageddon, Jesus Christ and his heavenly armies will destroy both the Military and Governments of the United States (and of all other countries as well) -- including all people who did not convert to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Jehovah's Witnesses look forward to the day when they will rule the planet.
Currently, the Watch Tower Society tells its Jehovah's Witnesses members not to forcefully oppose the Government of the United States, or other governments. Given their fanatical beliefs as to what the Jehovah's Witnesses think that they have to gain, one can only speculate what would happen if the Watch Tower Cult ever told its members otherwise. The Federal Bureau of Investigation FEARS Jehovah's Witnesses and of what the FBI knows they are capable. Read the Secret History Cases Section on this website, and the Tylenol Murder Case on our sister website.
FOOTNOTE: The ACLU and its Battle to Stomp Out the Pledge of Allegiance Using Religious Cult Pawns
However, after consulting with Joshua Sykes, and researching his past, the ACLU discovered a major "public relations" problem which would prevent them from taking this incident, or any other "Jehovahists" incidents which the ACLU might fabricate, to the federal appellate courts. The ACLU discovered that Joshua Sykes had been imprisoned during WW1 for violating the Espionage Act of 1917. Many of Joshua Sykes' "biblical teachings" were anti-government, anti-societal, and anti-American, and the ACLU quickly learned that Joshua Sykes was not the type of person who would go along with the ACLU's strategy of hiding his true beliefs and teachings. Unlike "Pastor" Russell and "Judge" Rutherford, Joshua Sykes did not beat-around-the-bush and hem-and-haw about his religious interpretations.
Thus, the ACLU knew that it had ZERO chance of receiving the needed and required sympathy from the news media, the courts, or the American public, during a federal appellate court fight, UNLESS it could fabricate a reason for refusing to salute the American Flag and refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which would be BOTH acceptable to Joshua Sykes and his "Jehovahists" followers, and which would provide the ACLU with a "freedom of religion" basis to constitutionally challenge the Pledge of Allegiance.
Soon, the ACLU announced to the news media that while Joshua Sykes and his "Jehovahists" followers respected the American Flag, and respected the laws and Constitution of the United States, that Sykes and the "Jehovahists" believed that saluting the American Flag and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was a form of "idol worship" forbidden by the Bible. Sound familiar?
However, the ACLU still found the mentally ill Joshua Sykes and his mentally ill Jehovahists" followers to be impossible to manipulate or control. Unable to take the Sykes case to the federal courts, the ACLU negotiated a settlement with the local school board by the start of the following school year.
Those prior "learning experiences", first with the Mennonites/Amish, and second with the Jehovahists, only whetted the ACLU's appetite for a more cooperative and more controllable religious Cult "pawn". We can only wonder why it was not until sometime prior to 1935 that the GOD-HATING ACLU and "Judge" Rutherford and his "Jehovah's Witnesses" followers finally formed the partnership which ultimately gave the ACLU its greatest victories against the Pledge of Allegiance and the American Flag.
Over the decades, the WatchTower Society has done an excellent job of manipulating and maneuvering the news media to speak only to its selected spokespersons -- who know what to say, and what NOT to say. There is little doubt that even when some indiscreet remarks have been made publicly by an indiscreet rank-n-file Jehovah's Witness, LIBERAL reporters and editors have covered over indiscreet remarks made by indiscreet Jehovah's Witnesses whenever such was possible. Occasionally, however, there have been a few completely "truthful" statements which have slipped through the liberal firewall.
During the media's coverage of the very first nationally covered No Pledge of Allegiance incident which occurred at the start of the 1935-36 school year, in September 1935, the EIGHT-YEAR OLD JEHOVAH'S WITNESS told reporters that he would not salute the American Flag, nor recite the Pledge of Allegiance, because he "had been taught that the Flag was the emblem of the Devil". Interestingly, that comment did not appear again in the news media's nearly two-years long coverage of this incident.
Then, in May 1936, a Livingston, California Jehovah's Witness, named Fraulein Adolph Baker, slipped-up and spilled the beans when she explained to a reporter from THE FRESNO BEE why she would not permit her children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Rather than providing the more palatable excuse which the WatchTower Society had trained JWs to give publicly, i.e., that the American Flag was an "idol", and saluting the Flag was worshiping an idol, Fraulein Baker instead told the BEE reporter the actual reason why Jehovah's Witnesses refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance: "Jehovah's Witnesses cannot give allegiance to the Kingdom of the Devil."
Click here to read, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES WHO PUBLICLY PROCLAIMED THE AMERICAN FLAG TO BE "A MEANINGLESS PIECE OF DIRTY RAG", to understand the attitude that the WatchTower Cult had managed to secretly instill in its Jehovah's Witness members by only 1940.
Adelaide Company of Jehovah's Witnesses v. Australia (1943)
HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA
"Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God, Jehovah, is the supreme ruler of the universe. Satan or Lucifer was originally part of God's organization and the perfect man was placed under him. [Satan] rebelled against God and set up his own organization in challenge to God and through that organization has ruled the world. [Satan] rules and controls the world through material agencies such as organized political, religious, and financial bodies. Christ, they believe, ... will come to earth again (His second coming has already begun) and will overthrow all the powers of evil.
"These beliefs lead Jehovah's Witnesses to proclaim and teach publicly both orally and by means of printed books and pamphlets that the British Empire and also other organized political bodies are organs of Satan, unrighteously governed and identifiable with the Beast in the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation. ...
"It needs no argument to show that the doctrine that the Commonwealth is an organ of Satan is prejudicial to any defence of the Commonwealth against any enemy. There was, in this case, full justification for the action of the Governor-General in deciding that the existence of the plaintiff association was prejudicial to the defence of the Commonwealth and the efficient prosecution of the war. ... ...
"The Association of Jehovah's Witnesses is a religious sect professing primitive Christian beliefs, one of these being that the nations of the earth including the British Commonwealth of Nations are under the control of Satan, and that it will be necessary for Jesus Christ (whose second coming on earth has already begun) through His true followers to overthrow all these satanic governments in order to establish His kingdom on earth. Because the Government of the Commonwealth is a satanic government, the witnesses object to take the oath of allegiance or to assist in the defence of the Commonwealth in time of war. They do not engage in any overt hostile acts; their attitude to the war is one of strict neutrality; but it is apparent that an attitude of non-co-operation in the prosecution of the war and a propagation of a belief that no benefit will flow from defeating the enemy must have an eroding effect on the national war effort.
"... It is impossible, in my opinion, to impute to the framers of the Constitution an intention that the phrase "the free exercise of religion" should confer an absolute right to propagate a belief that the system of government created by the Constitution was of a satanic nature, the functioning of which, in spheres which the common sense of the community generally would regard as entirely secular, was not to be judged on its merits or demerits as worldly legislation, but to be condemned in every instance as an emanation of Satan. The easy toleration of a British community often permits bodies with such beliefs to flourish in its midst in times of peace, although it is the usual practice of such bodies to accept the benefits but refuse to shoulder the responsibilities incidental to citizenship in such a community."
In past decades, no loyal Jehovah's Witness would ever consider the possibility of performing the duty of raising or lowering the American Flag at their place of employment. See GAVIN and BACHER court cases below. However, a few years ago, the Watch Tower Society began teaching that some previously forbidden employment activities could be performed by Jehovah's Witnesses, so long as the forbidden act only constituted an incidental part of the JW Employee's total job duties, and the performing of such act does not offend the JW Employee's conscience, nor offend the conscience of any other Jehovah's Witness who might observe the act.
Although the Watch Tower Society never admitted to such, some observers speculate that the Watch Tower Society's strict rules on such matters was hurting its' recruiting efforts with certain persons in certain economic and educational categories who worked in certain job categories. That rule change also applied to raising or lowering the American Flag at a JW Employee's place of employment, since it most often prohibited Jehovah's Witnesses who worked as janitors from working for upscale higher-paying employers (who had flagpoles). Since raising and lowering the American Flag is always incidental to an employee's main job duties, the rule change now essentially always permits a JW Employee to raise and lower the American Flag, so long as such does not offend that JW Employee's conscience, or the conscience of any other Jehovah's Witness who might observe them doing such.
However, what the rule change did not change was the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses still view American Flags as evil objects. Can you anticipate the potential problems with JW Employees? See recent 2010-11 E.E.O.C. v. AVIATION CONCEPTS court case summarized below which cost that Employer $51,000.00, plus expenses and lots of headaches. Hire a Jehovah's Witness Janitor, and take your chances on the roulette wheel of lawsuits. Bet black and it lands red. Bet red and it lands black.
"An employer, for example, may ask an employee to raise or lower a flag displayed at a building. Whether an individual would do so or not depends on his personal view of the circumstances. If raising or lowering the flag is part of a special ceremony, with people standing at attention or saluting the flag, then performing this act amounts to sharing in the ceremony. On the other hand, if no ceremony accompanies the raising or lowering of the flag, then these actions constitute nothing more than performing such tasks as preparing the building for use, unlocking and locking the doors, and opening and closing the windows. In such instances, the flag is simply an emblem of the State, and raising or lowering it among other routine tasks is a matter for personal decision based on the dictates of one's Bible-trained conscience. The conscience of one person might move him to ask his supervisor to have some other employee put up and take down the flag. Another Christian might feel that his conscience would permit him to handle the flag as long as no ceremony is involved. -- THE WATCHTOWER, September 15, 2002, page 25.
INTERNATIONAL HYPOCRISY OF THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY
RE POLITICS & PATRIOTISM
Over the decades, the WatchTower Society has demonstrated a widely varying concern when it comes to its Jehovah's Witness members being involved in politics or participating in patriotic activities. Depending on what the WatchTower Cult has to gain or lose in any particular country or continent, and depending on the odds that an action/inaction will be discovered and publicly revealed, the WatchTower Society has turned a blind-eye to many violations of political neutrality by Jehovah's Witnesses across the globe.
Click here to go to our separate webpage, JEHOVAH'S WITNESS FUNERALs, MEMORIALs, and BURIALs with FULL MILITARY HONORS.
Click here to go to our separate webpage, "THE" ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE U.S. ARMY WELCOMED INTO WATCHTOWER SOCIETY. ESCORTS CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL'S AROUND-THE-WORLD TOUR.
In 2001, it was discovered that back in 1991 the WatchTower Society itself had SECRETLY applied for and had been granted official affiliation as an "ASSOCIATED NGO" (NGO is simply the abbreviation for "Non-Governmental Organization") with the United Nations in 1992. ("Associated NGO" Status required BIENNIAL submission of a Renewal Application signed by a WatchTower Society Corporate Officer, plus submission of PROOF of the renewal applicant's ACTIVE SUPPORT of the United Nations during the previous two-year affiliation period. Governing Body Member Lloyd Barry signed the original application and successive renewals until the last renewal was signed by WatchTower Society President Don Adams.) "Associated NGO" status sounds harmless unless the reader has been a Jehovah's Witness for decades, who understands that the WatchTower Society has for decades taught that the United Nations is the biggest enemy that "Jehovah" has on planet Earth. Plus, the WatchTower Society has for decades condemned as "THE GREAT HARLOT" of Revelation all religious organizations which maintained a formalized relationship with the United Nations -- which is EXACTLY what the WatchTower Society itself did SECRETLY from 1992 until CAUGHT in 2001.
In July 2008, THE GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, the unincorporated spiritual leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide once again chose to secretly "pray" to Satan for his aid and assistance, rather than the deity they publicly claim to worship. Writing under its own letterhead, a personal request for "help" was made to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon by GOVERNING BODY member John Barr. Scroll to bottom.
In Mexico, Mam Jehovah's Witnesses founded Las Ceibas in 1973, and for decades thereafter the Ejidal Commissioners (governors) were appointed by the local JW Elders after their consultation with the Mexico Branch HQ of the WatchTower Society. The local Body of Elders served on the ejidos' "Special Commission", which tried citizens accused of breaking not only local rules, but even crimes as serious as theft and assault. This included not only JW defendants, but also non-JW citizens. Expulsion from the ejido was the most serious punishment given that there was no jail.
In the 1988 Mexico presidential election, the Jehovah's Witnesses of the Cuauhtemoc ejido VOTED EN MASSE for Cuauhtemoc Cardenas.
Most online researchers have long been aware of the multiple decades in which adult male Jehovah's Witnesses in Mexico were authorized by the WatchTower Society to bribe Mexican government officials in order to obtain official government documents that indicated that the document bearer had completed Mexico's mandatory "National Guard" training and service, plus indicated that the Document Bearer was officially enrolled as a member of Mexico's military auxiliary. This hypocrisy occurred during the same years that WatchTower leaders in Brooklyn refused to allow Jehovah's Witnesses living in Malawi, in Africa, to pay 25c for that country's political party card, which effectively was nothing more than an additional "tax" given that there was only one political party in that country. Obviously, each contradictory decision was based on what at the time was best for the growth of the WatchTower Society -- not what was best for the individuals involved, nor even its own biblical interpretations. While African lives were expendable for sympathetic publicity in Europe and North America, nothing would be permitted to derail the WatchTower Society's ongoing expansion in Mexico.
Over the decades, in multiple third-world countries, particularly in Africa, multiple active Jehovah's Witnesses have held appointed governmental posts which were much higher in political authority, political decision-making, and administration of government, than low-level common civil service jobs. We believe there currently is an active JW serving in a high cabinet post in one of the smaller southseas island countries.
In the 1990s, the Kingdom Hall in Koiken, Papua New Guinea, was used as the local polling location (elections voting).
Marie Peyroux Napa, officially known as The Pa Tapaeru Teariki Upokotini Marie Arika, was the most prominent of six High Chieftainesses of the Cook Islands from 1992 until 2002. Born in 1947, she converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses after her marriage in 1968. (Marie's husband was an active, devout JW, and it is believed that there are a number of other "chiefs" and sub-chiefs, and their families, in the Cook Islands who are also Jehovah's Witnesses.) She was invested with the title "Pa Ariki" in 1990, and served as President of the House of Arikis (similar to England's House of Lords) from 1992 through 2002. She was appointed Consul in Auckland, New Zealand by the Cook Islands Government in 2002, and remained in that post until March 2008. In 2003, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. "Arikis" are MEDIATORS between GOD and men. Does that "office" sound familiar?
Although it is a small, isolated country, NEPAL, has for decades been in the international political limelight due to its ongoing negative relationship with its neighbor -- the People's Republic of CHINA. Due to obfuscation, it is difficult to say for sure when he was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness, but the #2 political figure in Nepal as of the latter 2000s, named TULSI GIRI, is an ACTIVE Jehovah's Witness. Tulsi Giri has been in-and-out of political power in Nepal since the 1960s, and he even spent many years in political exile in India before returning to power in Nepal in 2005. What was Tulsi Giri doing in India when he left in 2005? Tulsi Giri was working for the WatchTower Society at its India HQ!!!
In the United States, in 2008 and 2012, numerous African-American and Hispanic Jehovah's Witnesses went to the polls and VOTED for Barack Hussein Obama in both the primary elections and general elections. (See Footnotes #4 and #8 of this 2010 California court case to see newfound political muscle-flexing by a California Jehovah's Witness Grandmother who telephoned Obama only six months after his becoming President.) This was confirmed by multiple reports of WatchTower Society officials admitting such from the platform during Assemblies held in 2012. Attendees at multiple Circuit Assemblies and Special Assembly Days held in WatchTower Society Circuits composed of high percentages of African-Americans and Hispanics reported that one African-American District Overseer, two African-American Circuit Overseers, and one Caucasian Circuit Overseer all admitted that numerous "Jehovah's Witnesses" had VOTED in 2008, and warned their "minority" audiences against doing so again in 2012. One of the aforementioned speakers even stated that many Jehovah's Witnesses had attended Obama's inauguration and related festivities held in Washington D.C. in 2009. JW Voters supposedly included some JW Elders and JW Ministerial Servants who, when "caught" after the 2008 elections, were sufficiently wise in WatchTower ways to very cutely claim that they had relied on the WatchTower Society's "public" position that VOTING IN POLITICAL ELECTIONS was a"personal conscience matter", which no other Jehovah's Witness should criticize. Jehovah's Witnesses "understand" that such "public" statements are published in WatchTower publications so that WatchTower Society officials in less democratic countries have "plausible deniability" that the WatchTower Cult prohibits its members from voting. Thus, once again, the WatchTower Society wound up being "hoist by its' own petard"!!! Keeping the admission of this "problem" out of WatchTower publications and limiting the discussion of this "problem" to specific "assemblies" held only in certain areas of the United States successfully kept most Causasian JWs and non-JWs from learning about such.
More recently, in 2014, it was discovered that some Kingdom Halls in CHILE have been displaying the National Flag of Chile in their windows on certain national holidays in accordance with Chilean law which requires the exterior display of the Chilean Flag at public buildings on certain national holidays. When that FACT was more thoroughly investigated, it was discovered that other Chilean Kingdom Halls have even erected exterior Flag Poles in their front yards for the more proper display of the Chilean Flag on national holidays. Late in 2014, the Chile Branch Office of the WatchTower Society sent out a letter to all Chilean Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses approving these practices. The letter not only approved the display of the Chilean Flag at Kingdom Halls, but also approved the possession and display of Chilean Flags at the homes of individual Jehovah's Witnesses. The letter explains that so long as the display of a Flag does NOT involve any ceremony or other act or expression of "worship", then the possession and public display of a Flag was acceptable at both the homes and Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses. The letter supposedly leaves the matter to the conscience of individual JWs with regard to their homes, and to the "collective conscience" of the Body of Elders with regard to local Kingdom Halls.
Although the WatchTower Society has taught since World War I that its members should not bear arms in the Military, it was not until 1983 that Jehovah's Witnesses were forbidden to be employed as a weapon-carrying Law Enforcement officer. Why did it take so long to correct this hypocrisy? Because the WatchTower Society had long taken advantage of such members' "police officer" status whenever the opportunity had presented itself over the decades. What changed in 1983? The WatchTower Society's Leadership received "new light" after the 1982 criminal prosecution and conviction of a prominent New York Jehovah's Witness Elder CHILD MOLESTER. It likely was NEW YORK v. DONALD J. NICHOLSON JR that taught the "FAITHFUL & DISCREET SLAVE" that it was no longer a very good idea to continue to allow Sworn Police Officers to serve as "Elders" in its local congregations, where those Sworn Police Officers would be privy to the WatchTower Cult's internal secrets and official correspondence, as well as the criminal conduct of its growing membership, which the "FAITHFUL & DISCREET SLAVE" wanted to keep hidden from public view.
BRIANNA J. BOLDEN-HARDGE v. CALIFORNIA STATE CONTROLLER'S OFFICE is an ongoing 2020-23 California federal lawsuit. Brianna Bolden-Hardge, then age 27, was hired at the California Franchise Tax Board in January 2016, and was allowed to continue working there despite her refusal to sign the routine "loyalty oath" because she is a Jehovah's Witness. Bolden-Hardge thereafter applied for a position at the SCO, and was offered that SCO position in July 2017.
When the "loyalty oath" issue again arose, Brianna J. Bolden-Hardge asked for a religious accommodation that would allow her to include an addendum to the oath saying her sole duty was to Jehovah and that she would not take up arms in support of the United States nor the state of California. However, the SCO rejected Bolden-Hardge's request -- insisting instead on the loyalty oath without exception, notation, or addendum.
This lawsuit was filed in October 2020. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages, seeks a declaration that failing to accommodate a sincere religious belief and refusing to hire someone based on religion violates the U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act. Dismissed by USDC in 2022. Pending USCA decision.
See also: Brianna Bolden-Hardge v. Timothy Milton Banks (2008).
JUSTIN REED v. FAIRFAX COUNTY FIRE & RESCUE DEPARTMENT was a 2018-20 Virginia federal employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a 30s male African-American Jehovah's Witness EMS firefighter named Justin Reed, previously of northeast Ohio.
Justin Reed was hired in September 2012, and after academy training received his first assignment in March 2013. Reed's first transfer came three months later in June 2013. In August 2014, Reed received an annual performance evaluation in which four superiors all noted some difficulty with Reed's performance and ability to accept feedback. Reed was issued a Performance Deficiencies and Improvement Plan in October 2014, but Reed twice refused to sign it.
Justin Reed was transferred again in November 2015. During that assignment, the station captain had a "heated exchange with Reed on an occasion when Reed failed to check the blood pressure of a patient on an ALS medical call". After that exchange, the station captain "coached Reed regarding his defensiveness and inability to accept correction".
In February 2018, Justin Reed sought emergency medical attention after returning from a vacation in Bali with a suspicious rash, which Reed for unknown reasons suspected might be MeRSA. Although the emergency physician did not believe the rash to be MeRSA, Reed received a prescription. Reed filled the prescription but did not take the medication, which extremely concerned Reed's shiftmates. Reed was blamed for disrupting the station. A superior resorted to sending a photo of the exposed rash to the Public Safety Occupational Health Center, which cleared Reed to stay at work if the rash was "dry, clean, and covered", and Reed initially complied. However, Reed became frustrated for being blamed for the disruption and stated that he was going home on sick leave. Reed left the fire station without securing express approval to leave work mid-shift, and without signing out of the log book.
As a result of Reed's unexpected departure mid-shift, Engine 434 "scratched" on an emergency call, leaving Medic 434 without the engine to block and control traffic. Reed's superiors began an investigation. On 2/19/2018, Reed "abruptly ended" a telephone call with a Captain shortly after learning of the escalation. On 2/22/2018, Reed had a telephone conversation with another superior who informed Reed that he would be reprimanded. That telephone conversation was also contentious and "cut short" by Reed. Reed's captain discussed Reed's behavior with him again when he returned to work several days later. Reed was ultimately issued an oral reprimand for his conduct related to the events of February 2018.
In late April 2018, Reed sustained a work-related injury and was put on light duty. Reed returned to full duty in June 2018. On the FOURTH OF JULY, 2018, Reed arrived at work at 6:15 AM, and thereafter learned of an invitation from a local Boy Scout troop to attend a flag raising ceremony and pancake breakfast that morning at a nearby Church of Latter-Day Saints. Reed informed his captain that his religious beliefs prevented his participation in the event. Reed's captain told Reed that he would still have to accompany his shiftmates to the event. Other than the shift lineup, Reed did not engage in other FRD tasks or conversations with shiftmates or superiors before departing for the flag raising ceremony. Instead, Reed texted his friend and his wife on his personal phone, including telling his wife, "there's going to be drama". Thereafter, Reed rode silently to the ceremony in Engine 434. Ultimately, Engine 434 and the rest of the FRD shift arrived late at the Church, and thus missed the flag raising ceremony in its entirety. Reed was unaware of that fact, because Reed remained in Engine 434 and never spoke with anyone from the community, or FRD until their return to the station.
Later that same July 4 morning, during the end of an emergency call, Reed and a coworker were verbally reprimanded by a superior for failing to return to service quickly enough. While Reed's coworker apologized, Reed allegedly responded inappropriately. On the way back to the station, Reed stated that he was going home on sick leave. On arrival at the station, Reed left without discussing the matter with anyone. Efforts had to be made to find a replacement for Reed for the remainder of his shift, but Engine 434 remained out of service for approximately 1.5 hours. An investigation was begun into Reed's departure as well as Reed's past performance more generally.
On July 6, 2018, Justin Reed filed a racial and religious discrimination complaint with the Fairfax OHREP. On August 21, 2018, OHREP prepared a detailed report stating that the allegation of religious discrimination was not substantiated. (Racial????)
On September 12, 2018, Reed received a written reprimand addressing the events during/after the aforementioned emergency call on July 4, 2018, including raising his voice, engaging in a verbal altercation with a superior, exhibiting disrespect to his Captain, stomping his feet, punching department equipment, and abruptly leaving work mid-shift without first securing approval to do so. None of that reprimand referred to anything that had occurred earlier that same day at the church.
In October 2018, Reed received a positive grade during his annual performance evaluation. In December 2018, Reed failed the promotional and proficiency examination for the master technician rank. (Reed also failed the exam for the position of "Lieutenant", but the date is unknown.)
In November 2018, Justin Reed filed this federal lawsuit. Reed filed an Amended Complaint in February 2019, which alleged religious discrimination due to failed "accommodation" regarding Reed's religious beliefs during the "missed" flag-raising ceremony at the Church of Latter-Day Saints on the Fourth of July in 2018, and "retaliation" in the form of the September 2018 written reprimand. In January 2020, the USDC issued a Summary Judgement in favor of the defendant Fire Department.
In July 2019, the last dozen or so loyal, patriotic Americans left living in Baltimore County, Maryland, protested vehemently on social media after learning that THREE of the 26 graduates in Baltimore County Fire Department's 113th recruit class REFUSED to salute the American Flag during the playing of the National Anthem during graduation ceremonies. Not surprisingly, BCFD's spokeswoman, Elise Armacost, quickly came to the defense of the department and its three new Jehovah's Witness firefighters:
"We are aware of concerns about three recruits who stood but did not salute during the National Anthem during tonight's 113th Recruit Class graduation ceremony. These new BCoFD members are Jehovah's Witnesses, whose faith prohibits displays of national allegiance. They are successful graduates with a commitment to public service. BCoFD respects members of all faiths, as well as the Constitution's right to free speech. We congratulate them on their accomplishments and look forward for their service to Baltimore County. EA"
In a 2002 Texas apartment lease lawsuit, the former tenant-defendant gave as her reason for the early breaking of her lease the misconduct of the apartment building Manager, who was a female African-American Jehovah's Witness. The former tenant, who was a Hispanic unwed mother, stated that the older female Jehovah's Witness Manager constantly snooped into tenant's private affairs, and gossiped with other tenants about such. Additionally, a few days after the 9/11 terrorist attack, the tenant had placed an American Flag in the window of her own apartment. While tenant was at work, the Jehovah's Witness Manager entered tenant's apartment without permission and took down tenant's American Flag. The Jehovah's Witness Manager's reasoning was that she also lived in one of the apartments in the same building, and Jehovah's Witness Manager felt that the tenant's display of patriotism spoke for everyone living in that apartment building. As a Jehovah's Witness, JW Manager stated that while she deplored the terrorist attack, at the same time, she refused to do or say anything which might make it look like she was supporting America, or for that matter, criticizing the terrorists.
WILLIAM BARKER and SUSAN BARKER v. ROBERT JOHNSON and LOUISE JOHNSON was a 1991 California civil lawsuit. Former tenants, the Barker Family, sued their former landlords, the Johnson Family, for allegedly evicting the Barkers from their Hayward, California, rental home for flying the American Flag during the Persian Gulf crisis. The Barkers alleged in their complaint that Robert Johnson had stopped at their rental home in February 1991, and ORDERED the Barker's 18 year-old son, Murray Barker, to remove the American Flag that he had displayed in support of the U.S. troops stationed in the Persian Gulf. Robert Johnson allegedly used as his excuse to give that ORDER -- that the Johnsons were Jehovah's Witnesses, and their religious beliefs prohibited such display of an American Flag on the rental house that they owned. Murray Barker refused to obey Robert Johnson's alleged ORDER. The Barkers alleged that after the flag incident, the Johnsons became very hostile -- despite the two families' previous amicable relationship. Only three months later, in May 1991, the Barkers received an eviction notice. The Barkers moved, but filed this lawsuit. Through their attorney, the Johnsons TYPICALLY denied that the eviction had anything to do with the Barkers refusal to remove their American Flag from the Johnson's rental house. TYPICALLY, the Johnson's attorney stated that her clients were "extremely shocked by the allegation". Outcome unknown.
CONTROVERSIAL SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
(1.) FEMALE, (2.) AFRICAN-AMERICAN, (3.) JEHOVAH'S WITNESS
"SHE AIN'T GOING NOWHERE"
In 2009, an African-American, female Jehovah's Witness named Greta Hawkins was hired as the PRINCIPAL at Brooklyn's PS90 Edna Cohen School -- apparently for as long as she desires. We don't know how things went that first year, but in June 2010, after the first staff meeting held prior to the start of the 2010-11 school year, fourteen "white" and "Jewish" staffers filed complaints with the Department of Education's Office of Equal Opportunity. Those 14 staffers alleged that Greta Hawkins made a series of "racist" remarks about the school and the school's previous Jewish Principal. Hawkins purportedly told her staffers, "I'm a BLACK JEHOVAH'S WITNESS -- NOT A WHITE JEW!!! More of US are coming!!!" After an investigation, the DOE issued a "reprimand" to Hawkins, and required her to attend extra training at the OEO, for "deliberately differentiating herself, a black Jehovah's Witness, and the previous principal, white and Jewish ... ."
It was not until the end of the 2011-12 school year, in June 2012, that the media reported that at various times during her first three years at PS90 that Greta Hawkins allegedly had attempted to do away with the recitation of the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE and all singing of the song, AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.
Those allegations surfaced during the June 2012 uproar which occurred after Greta Hawkins eliminated a display of patriotism which had traditionally been part of kindergarten graduation ceremonies. One class had traditionally sang the song, GOD BLESS THE U.S.A. (Lee Greenwood classic), while all waving American Flags. Greta Hawkins allegedly stated that the words to GOD BLESS THE U.S.A. are OFFENSIVE to people from other countries, so Hawkins decided to replace the traditional patriotic ceremony with the singing of the song, THE WORLD IS A RAINBOW.
Greta Hawkins reportedly finally succeeded in eliminating any future singing of AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL by the start of the 2013-14 school year, in September 2013. Eliminating the recitation of the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE is yet to be achieved.
In March 2014, staffers at PS90 accused Principal Hawkins of altering annual confidential performance surveys completed by the parents of PS90 students. Hawkins was alleged to have encouraged parents to return the completed forms to the school rather than mailing them themselves in exchange for two "NO HOMEWORK" passes for their children. Later, staffers allege that Hawkins had an assistant break open the sealed envelopes and tamper with the survey's answers. In April 2014, after an investigation by the DOE, new survey forms were distributed to PS90 parents, who were instructed to mail the forms themselves, but nothing was done to Hawkins.
In June 2014, the pre-K teachers at PS90 had another planned patriotic display canceled by Principal Hawkins. This time, the pre-K teachers had been rehearsing their classes to sing the song, STAND UP FOR THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE, while marching into their graduation ceremony and waving American Flags. Hawkins KILLED the patriotic ceremony on the lame excuse that she had not pre-approved it -- which is not a reason at all. When the teachers then requested that their students still be permitted to carry their American Flags, Greta Hawkins reportedly also refused to allow that because the American Flags were"unapproved materials".
What is even more unbelievable is the fact that the City of New York's DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has stood behind Greta Hawkins on all of her KILL SHOTS at "patriotism". It was only on the one occasion when Hawkins made the mistake of openly making her racist remarks to a crowd of "witnesses" that the DOE gave Hawkins a slap on the wrist. Hawkins' unnamed "Assistant Principal" also stands behind Hawkins.
When Greta Hawkins was hired as the Principal at PS90, the school reportedly had a state-of-the-art computer lab, and a library, and a music program. Hawkins shut down all three. Google "Greta Hawkins" to read other accusations -- including that Hawkins bloodied one male student's lip while snatching away his cellphone, and that Hawkins has "lied" to have opposing staffers removed from PS90.
TYEISHA BOULWARE v. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA ET AL is an ongoing 2011 Pennsylvania civil court case. In February 2008, Philadelphia Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell hired a Jehovah's Witness, named Tyeisha Boulware, as her"Special Assistant". It is anyone's guess as to why someone who believes that the Government is Satan's partner in Satan's rebellion against GOD would seek employment with GOD's enemy. Apparently, Tyeisha Boulware failed to warn Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell as to Boulware's WatchTower beliefs, and how such would impact the JW's job performance and her politician-employer.
Tyeisha Boulware alleged that starting with the very first election after her employment, and subsequent election days thereafter, that Councilwoman Blackwell checked to make sure that Boulware had voted. Boulware alleges that every time that Blackwell made such an inquiry that Boulware explained that as one of Jehovah's Witnesses that she did not vote. Boulware alleges in her lawsuit that Blackwell's responses that Blackwell, who is a Baptist, did not understand Boulware's religion violated Boulware's civil rights. Boulware also alleged that Councilwoman Blackwell sometimes made critical comments about Boulware's Jehovah's Witness religion during staff meetings, and that such comments violated Boulware's civil rights by creating a hostile work environment.
On December 9, 2010, Councilwoman Blackwell complained in the presence of another employee "I don't know if it is your religion or what, but you do not volunteer to do anything." Boulware futher alleged that such criticism violated Boulware's civil rights. On December 20, 2010, Councilwoman Blackwell held a "Homeless Holiday Party" for her constituents at Philadelphia's Convention Center. Staff members were instructed to wear provided "Christmas shirts". Boulware refused to wear such due to her WatchTower beliefs. Boulware alleged that another staffer told her that this was going to cost Boulware her job.
On January 3, 2011, Boulware alleges that she was effectively "laid off", but thereafter received a letter from Blackwell indicating that the position of "Special Assistant" had been eliminated. Shortly thereafter, Tyeisha Boulware filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the E.E.O.C. In September 2011, the EEOC issued a "Right To Sue" letter. Boulware thereafter filed this lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages, including money for Boulware's pain, suffering, and humiliation.
NEW JERSEY v. LEROY McKELVEY is an ongoing September 2011 New Jersey criminal court case. On Sunday, September 11, 2011, Leroy McKelvey, of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, who is the African-American father of Power 105.1 DeeJay Charlamagne Tha God, was arrested during halftime of the Jets-Cowboys football game at MetLife Stadium, which was attended by past President George W. Bush and other public officials present to honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Tha God excuses his father's behavior due to Leroy McKelvey being a "devout Jehovah's Witness". Commenters report that Tha God was reared as a Jehovah's Witness by Leroy McKelvey.
Leroy McKelvey, age 59, was reportedly charged with two weapons counts and three counts of aggravated assault after a brawl with a Marine and two other patrons. Reportedly, McKelvey and his three friends and/or relatives drew the ire of those seated around them due to their reported "obnoxious" and "disrespectful" behavior during various portions of the program honoring 9/11. McKelvey's entourage initially drew attention to themselves when they refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. Then McKelvey's entourage allegedly talked loudly and acted disrespectfully during the playing of "Taps" and "Amazing Grace".
A United States Marine, who was seated at the end of McKelvey's row, had had enough, and told the pack that they better hope that they did not need to get out, because he was not going to stand up for them. At halftime, Leroy McKelvey challenged the Marine, and a brawl ensued, during which the Jehovah's Witness pulled a TASOR and tased the Marine and two others. McKelvey was arrested, but quickly released on $22,500.00 bail.
Who wishes to bet that before this case is over that the Marines, the Jets, Stadium Management, the state of New Jersey, the Police, and a long list of others BEG these Jehovah's Witnesses for their "forgiveness."
E.E.O.C. v. AVIATION CONCEPTS was a 2011-12 Guam federal court case. A Jehovah's Witness Employee, named Armando Perez, was fired in June 2010 from his job as an assistant aircraft mechanic for "insubordination" after he refused to raise and lower the American and Guam flags at Aviation Concepts, a Guam aviation products and service provider. Perez claimed that he had explained that his refusal was due to his WatchTower beliefs. This lawsuit was "settled" in February 2012, in exchange for $51,000.00, and compliance with a number of EEOC procedure demands.
DEBORAH L. GEORGE v. UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE APPEAL BOARD was a 2008 Delaware case which involved a truthful, but naive, Jehovah's Witness female, named Deborah L. George. Deborah George was incorrectly ordered to repay past unemployment insurance benefits, and that incorrect decision was affirmed on appeal, because Deborah George made the mistake of publicly repeating what Jehovah's Witnesses are taught privately.
In September 2007, at a time that Deborah George was receiving unemployment benefits, George was offered employment with the Boy Scouts of America by a staffing service. Apparently without thinking, George repeated what millions of Jehovah's Witnesses have been taught by the WatchTower Society over the decades -- that the Boy Scouts "supported the war", and that the Boy Scout's "pro-war stance" would conflict with Deborah George's WatchTower beliefs. (Reared as a male Jehovah's Witness during the Vietnam War era, I have heard the Boy Scouts equated to the "Hitler Youth" on more than one occasion.) The staffing service conducted an internet search and determined that the Boy Scouts had not taken a position on the 2007 "wars", and subsequently reported George for refusing suitable employment.
It was not until after it was too late that Deborah George exercised some discretion and repeated a WatchTower Society's secondary and ancillary "public relations" reasoning as to why Jehovah's Witnesses cannot join the Boy Scouts nor work for the Boy Scouts. The court noted, "After the time to appeal her disqualification for benefits had passed, George would indicate that the Boy Scouts program materials espoused values unrelated to the war that conflicted with her religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness."
SHAWNYA ROBINSON v. OAK PARK is an ongoing 2010 Illinois civil court case. A female Jehovah's Witness, named Shawnya Robinson, accuses the Village of Oak Park, Illinois, of religious discrimination after Robinson was terminated in September 2009, allegedly because Robinson refused to perform two functions required by her job position -- voter registration and domestic partner registration. Robinson seeks reinstatement to her clerical position and back wages of $50,000.00.
The Village of Oak Park initially hired Shawnya Robinson in their Community Relations department in 2005. In 2009, Robinson's position was eliminated due to budgetary reasons. Robinson was transferred to the Village Clerk's Office, where Robinson refused to perform voter registration and domestic partner registration due to her WatchTower beliefs. Robinson claims that she was initially told that such would not be a problem, but she was fired only a week later after she was told that her exemption from part of the duties of the position was causing low morale amongst her co-workers.
Robinson filed a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights in September 2009, but it was supposedly dismissed Sept. 17, 2010 due to lack of substantial evidence. This lawsuit was filed in November 2010 after Robinson received backing from the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.
PHILLIS P. WHITE v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT was a 1994-2000 federal employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Phillis P. White. Phillis White was employed as a Mortgage Servicing Clerk at the agency's Memphis, Tennessee field office. Phillis White evidently had numerous EEO complaints. First, White alleged religious discrimination in May 1994 after she requested Administrative Leave in order to "vote", but then had that Leave revoked after she revealed that she was not going to vote because she was a Jehovah's Witness. Second, also in May 1994, White alleged racial discrimination when a better qualified Caucasian female, but who had less seniority, was selected for training to back-up the Automated Technology Administrator. Third, White further claimed she was discriminated against due to "reprisal" when, later in May 1994, she was issued a reprimand memorandum by her Supervisor after she left her desk to meet with the office's EEO Counselor without prior permission. As it turned out, White was already under a warning from her Supervisor for multiple past instances of unpermissioned extended absences from her desk. After an investigation of all White's allegations, the agency determined that there had been no discrimination in any of the instances. On appeal, the EEOC affirmed.
E.E.O.C. v. ALLIANCE RENTAL CENTER, L.P. d/b/a AARON RENTS was a 2009-10 Texas federal court case which was filed by the EEOC on behalf of a male Jehovah's Witness named Tyler Templeton. Alliance Rental Center operates an "Aaron Rents" franchise in Bridgeport, Texas and other nearby north Texas locations. Tyler Templeton, who was employed by Aaron Rents as a product technician, alleged that he was initially reprimanded and eventually fired when he refused to participate in the franchisee's "Red Shirt Friday" dress code -- a store practice intended to show support for the U.S. Military. Templeton alleged that he informed his supervisors about his WatchTower religious beliefs and his observance of neutrality on issues of war and the military, which prohibited him from wearing the company-provided red shirts on Fridays.
Alliance Rental Center alleged that Tyler Templeton had worn the company-provided red shirts on multiple occasions prior to the day that he eventually refused to do so. The EEOC lawsuit sought back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief to ensure that no further discrimination takes place. The EEOC settled this lawsuit in March 2010 after Alliance agreed to pay $21,500.00, and to also update its employee handbook to include a new procedure and statement of the company's obligation to accommodate employees' religious beliefs.
VIRGINIA E. ENDICOTT v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY was a 1994-2000 federal employee EEOC decision which involved a Jehovah's Witness named Virginia E. Endicott. On November 29, 2004, Virginia Endicott received a memorandum documenting certain unspecified conduct involving a co-worker on November 9 and 23, 2004. On December 7, 2004, Endicott received an Official Letter of Reprimand for failing to follow the directions of her supervisor concerning her actions on November 9 and 23, 2004. On December 10, 2004, Endicott received a memorandum advising her that a future statement like that made on December 9 about bringing a gun to work would result in disciplinary action. On June 1, 2005, Complainant received notice that she would be suspended for three days, effective June 17-19, 2005. Virginia E. Endicott resigned prior to June 17, 2005. Prior to her resignation, Endicott filed an EEO complaint alleging religious discrimination, reverse racial discrimination in that she was Caucasian, plus age and disability discrimination. All claims were eventually dismissed by the agency, and on appeal, the dismissal was affirmed by the EEOC.
JOHN C. ROSEBOROUGH v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION was a 2002-3 federal employee EEOC decision which involved a Jehovah's Witness named John C. Roseborough. In mid 2002, John Roseborough heard that his new Supervisor had made disparaging remarks about Roseborough's religion -- that Jehovah's Witnesses mistreated females. Roseborough filed an EEO complaint alleging that he had suffered religious discrimination. Roseborough's complaint was dismissed, and on appeal, the EEOC affirmed, stating in part:
The Commission finds that the complaint fails to state a claim under the EEOC regulations because complainant failed to show that he suffered harm or loss with respect to a term, condition, or privilege of employment for which there is a remedy. ... The Commission has consistently held that a remark or comment unaccompanied by concrete action is not a direct and personal deprivation sufficient to render an individual aggrieved for the purposes of Title VII. ... Furthermore, to the extent that complainant is alleging that the identified remark is harassment, we find that as the remark was purportedly isolated and not directed at complainant, it is not sufficiently severe to constitute a claim of harassment.
E.E.O.C. v. DWW PARTNERS LLP d/b/a RIGHT HONDA. EEOC filed this federal lawsuit on behalf of a Jehovah's Witness named Dale Long, who worked as an auto salesperson in Scottsdale, Arizona. The lawsuit charged that the JW Employee was regularly harassed and subjected to a hostile working environment by managers and co-workers throughout his five months of employment because of his religious beliefs.
The lawsuit alleged that three managers verbally and physically assaulted Long after they objected to the way Long lowered the U.S. flag from the dealership's flagpole on September 29, 2001 (only a few days after 9/11). The managers supposedly demanded that Long sing the Star Spangled Banner, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or be fired. Long's refusal eventually turned into a physical fight with two of the managers. Long did not return to work, and rejected an offer by the employer to work at another affiliated dealership. The three managers were either suspended or fired, but two of them eventually returned to work.
The dealership settled the lawsuit the same day the lawsuit was filed. The Jehovah's Witness received $20,000 in back pay, $42,500 in emotional distress damages, $50,000 for physical injuries, and a detailed written apology from the corporate president. EEOC also required the corporation to provide workplace training and to develop policies concerning unlawful harassment and unlawful termination based on "religion".
BRUCE E. COOKE v. LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT was a 2001-2 California state court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness Teacher named Bruce E. Cooke. Bruce Cooke was the band director and a music teacher at Manual Arts High School. When Cooke refused to lead the school band in the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, he was stripped of his duties as band director and teacher of the instrumental-music classes, and allowed only to teach general music. The principal at the high school stated that the school "needed a band director that would conduct the National Anthem." The school also indicated that there were additional unspecified problems with Cooke's job performance.
In April 2001, Cooke filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the school district. In January 2002, the school district agreed to pay a settlement to Bruce E. Cooke to get him to drop his lawsuit. The settlement amount is not known, but Cooke's lawsuit and a second unrelated settled lawsuit were both settled for a grand total of $130,000.00.
SYLVIA LOPEZ v. MEXICAN AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY FOUNDATION was a 1999-2000 California lawsuit involving a Jehovah's Witness named Sylvia Lopez. Lopez worked as a teacher's aide. Sylvia Lopez said that she was fired for refusing on religious grounds to salute the U.S. flag. "Jehovah's Witnesses are not allowed to salute the flag because the salute is considered a form of worship ... ." Outcome unknown, but predictably in Lopez's favor. [Researchers should note that a California plaintiff with same name lost a medical malpractice case in early 2000s.]
MARIE MERINDA SMITH v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE was a 2000-05 federal employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Marie M. Smith. Marie Smith initially accused her local supervisors of religious discrimination and racial discrimination after she was denied a promotion. Smith's case was initially dismissed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Administrative Judge, but on appeal was reversed for further consideration. At some point, Smith further claimed that she was subjected to a hostile work environment due to her ongoing case. The EEOC Administrative Judge eventually ruled against Marie M. Smith, and on appeal, the EEOC affirmed that ruling.
THOMAS E. COLLINS v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE was a 1999-2002 federal employee EEOC decision which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Thomas E. Collins, of Jackson, Mississippi, who was employed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Thomas Collins disagreed with his fiscal year 1998 performance rating, so accused his local USDA managers of religious discrimination, age discrimination, racial discrimination, and reprisal due to Collins multiple previous discrimination claims. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge ruled against Tom Collins, and on appeal, the EEOC affirmed that ruling.
LEZLIE ROWELL v. LINCOLN was a 1995 Louisiana federal court case involving a Jehovah's Witness named Lezlie Rowell. Rowell got into a dispute with Lincoln Parish school officials after she would neither recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor salute the American flag. She subsequently sued, saying a failing grade in student teaching kept her from getting her education certification. The USDC ruled in her favor. $$$$ unknown.
There are many, many "former" Jehovah's Witnesses who have and are currently playing professional sports. There are and have been only a few professional athletes who have made an issue of their WatchTower mandated beliefs.
In 1991, Major League Baseball added a small American Flag decal to batting helmets in a show of support for American troops fighting Gulf War 1. Detroit Tigers players, Chet Lemon and Lou Whitaker, who are both Jehovah's Witnesses, covered the decals with tape. Both had for years refused to stand for the playing of the National Anthem.
In 1986, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, the Detroit Tigers had their uniforms trimmed in green. Lemon and Whitaker refused to wear the uniforms, because they did not pay homage to a "saint" from a pagan religion -- the Catholic Church.
During the 1980s, Rudy Law and Jerry Hairston, of the Chicago White Sox, were also JWs, who refused to stand for the National Anthem. Rudy Law even once told a reporter that doing so was worshiping the flag.
Onetime NBA star, Danny Granger, is a Jehovah's Witness, and he does stand in line with his teammates during the playing of the National Anthem before each NBA basketball game, as dictated by NBA rules, but Granger reportedly turns sideways from the American Flag, and refuses to look at such while the National Anthem is played.
In the 1980s - 2000s, Jehovah's Witness and NBA superstar Sam Perkins refused to stand in line with his teammates during the playing of the National Anthem before each NBA basketball game, as dictated by NBA rules.
In the 1970s, a Jehovah's Witness named Willie Wise played for various ABA and NBA professional basketball teams. Wise refused to wear the ABA's American Flag patch on his uniform. When Wise played for the Utah Stars, he also refused to wear the team's "Stars" patch on his uniform. Willie Wise may no longer be a JW.
DEBRA FOURNIER v. NEW BEDFORD SCHOOL COMMITTEE was a 1980 Massachusetts federal lawsuit which involved a Jehovah's Witness School Teacher named Debra L. Fournier, of Middleborough, Massachusetts. Debra Fournier, age 25, and her husband were both Catholics who converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1978-79. Fournier, a non-tenured teacher at John B. DeValles Elementary School thereafter stopped teaching her students music and songs related to patriotism and the various holidays. Fournier also refused to pledge allegiance to the American flag, and refused to stand for the National Anthem. In early 1980, school administrators ordered Fournier to resume teaching the approved curriculum, but she refused due to her new WatchTower beliefs and practices. After holding two days of hearings, the School Committee voted unanimously to discharge Fournier for insubordination. Fournier thereafter filed a lawsuit against the New Bedford Massachusetts School Committee seeking reinstatement to her position. Outcome unknown.
GAVIN v. PEOPLES NATURAL GAS CO. was a 1978 case involving an African-American Jehovah's Witness named Charles Gavin. Gavin was employed as a service operator at the Peoples Natural Gas Company in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. When assigned the task of raising and lowering the company's American Flag, Gavin refused due to a conflict with his religious convictions. Gavin was fired on May 19, 1974, so on June 4, 1974, he filed religious discrimination complaints with both the EEOC and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission alleging, respectively, violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. The PHRC conducted an administrative hearing after attempts at conciliation failed. Following the hearing, the PHRC on August 27, 1976, issued findings of fact and conclusions of law and entered an opinion and order dismissing the Gavin's complaint. The PHRC held that the testimony of an Elder of Gavin's congregation established that the Gavin's refusal was not required by religious creed, that the belief of plaintiff was therefore not protected under the Pennsylvania Act, and that the complaint would therefore be dismissed. Gavin sought review of the PHRC's decision in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, but this appeal was dismissed by the court in February 1977, due to his failure to file the record of his case within the time limit previously set by the court.
The EEOC issued a "right to sue" notice in November 1977. Thereafter, Gavin filed a federal lawsuit under Title VII alleging that his former employer discriminated against him because of "his religion, his conscientious convictions, as well as his race." The USDC summarily dismissed the "race discrimination" claim on the grounds that race discrimination had not been asserted in Gavin's claims before the EEOC. The USDC also dismissed Gavin's other "claims" due to the testimony of Gavin's Jehovah's Witness Elder, stating: "The plaintiff here asserts that since his religion views flags as false idols, his employer was required to accommodate to his refusal to raise and lower the American flag. In the proceedings on this claim before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, an elder of the plaintiff's congregation testified as an expert on the beliefs which were held by members of their religion. The Pennsylvania Commission then found itself in the awkward and, we believe, constitutionally prohibited position of determining what belief the plaintiff could assert as a bona fide religious belief. The Opinion issued by the Commission explained: 'It is important to note that the complainant specifically invokes the protection of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act as a member of the '"Jehovah's Witness religious organization."' Accordingly, the deposition of Mr. John DeGregorio, an elder of the complainant's congregation, is entitled to great weight. Mr. DeGregorio's testimony as well as the Stipulation of Facts, compel the Commission's conclusion that the complainant's conviction is not part of the Jehovah's Witness religious creed since the complainant was never requested to participate in any flag ceremony, but merely to perform the job duty of raising and lowering the flag. The implication of this conclusion is that under an act prohibiting religious discrimination in employment, only religious beliefs which are part of a recognized creed are protected. But what if two experts were called and they disagreed on what beliefs were acceptable in a given sect? What if there were majority and minority views of what beliefs were acceptable? These are not merely academic questions, because we have before us a complainant who asserts a religious belief which has been questioned by his employer and which has, in a prior proceeding, been adjudicated not to be a valid religious belief. At a minimum, were this case to be tried, we would have to determine whether the belief asserted is to be characterized as a 'religious' belief, and whether such a belief, which may be outside the standardized creed of his faith, is protected under the Act.
The testimony of the "Elder" (minister) from Gavin's own JW congregation that Gavin's refusal to raise and lower the company's American Flag was not required by Watchtower rules blew Gavin's case in both forums. Either the Elder's testimony confused the PHRC hearing officers, or the Elder testified in "JW-speak". "JW-speak" is when a JW says something understood by non-JWs to be one thing, but understood by Jehovah's Witnesses to be the exact opposite.
For example, about ten years or so ago, Jehovah's Witnesses were fighting in one of the European Human Rights Courts for official recognition as a "religion" in Bulgaria. Bulgaria made it clear that they would never formally recognize Jehovah's Witnesses as a religion so long as the Watch Tower Society prohibited Bulgarian Jehovah's Witnesses from accepting blood transfusions. The Watch Tower Society "cleverly" responded in writing that they would no longer "disfellowship" (excommunicate) any Bulgarian JW who accepted a blood transfusion. Bulgaria thought they had "won", and issued formal recognition to the Watch Tower Society. As soon as such was in hand, the Watch Tower Society issued a letter to Bulgarian congregations that it would no longer be necessary to "disfellowship" (excommunicate) any Bulgarian JW who accepted a blood transfusion, because henceforth, any Bulgarian JW who accepted a blood transfusion would automatically be considered as having submitted their resignation as a JW.
In the instance of the testimony of Gavin's Elder, that Elder may very well have felt pressured during testimony, and he may have decided to "code" his testimony. It is not unusual for JWS to publicly state that the Watch Tower Society does not require JWs to do anything ... be it avoid holiday celebrations, accept blood transfusions, not recite the Pledge, etc. Non-JWs do not understand what other JWs understand that JW to mean. What that JW means, when they state that JWs are not required to do something actually required by Watchtower rules, is that any JW has the "free will" to resign from being a JW, or the "free will" to disobey the Watch Tower Society and suffer the punishment of being excommunicated. If you have read this far in my website, you know that 99.99% of JWs would rather die first. Saying JWs are not "required" to obey Watchtower rules is technically true, but practically false.
Employers should keep in mind that GAVIN was an older decision, and since then it has become settled law that it is the employee's personal convictions that count, NOT the creed of the religious organization, so long as the employee truly and honestly believes such.
GARY BACHER v. CITY OF NORTH RIDGEVILLE was a 1975 Ohio state court case involving a Jehovah's Witness named Gary Bacher, who refused to raise the American Flag in front of the Ohio fire station where he was employed as a fireman. Bacher was employed in 1971, and regularly performed the flag raising duty when he was so assigned. However, when Bacher converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1974, he refused to raise the flag due to his new beliefs. After Bacher's third refusal, he was terminated. Supported by the ACLU, Bacher filed suit. The lower courts ruled against him, but the appellate court ruled: (1) Freedom to act on behalf on one's religious beliefs may not be curtailed absent a compelling state interest. (2) A city may not discharge a Jehovah's Witness from his employment as a fireman for his refusal to comply with regulations requiring him to raise the national flag, absent a showing that such refusal threatens the morale, efficiency, discipline, and authority of the fire department. Bacher was reinstated with full back wages.
LAWRENCE FOSTER v. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA was a 1973 Pennsylvania federal employment discrimination court case involving an African-American Jehovah's Witness Firefighter Trainee named Laurence Foster. Larry Foster, then age 24, was fired from the City of Philadelphia's Fire Department Training Academy in May 1973 after Larry Foster refused to participate in Flag raising/lowering ceremonies at the Training Academy. This lawsuit was settled in late 1973 for an undisclosed amount, reinstatement of Foster to his job with back wages, and Foster's exemption from having to salute or raise/lower the American Flag.
DAVID MITCHELL v. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA was a 1972-76 Pennsylvania federal employment discrimination court case involving a Jehovah's Witness named David Mitchell. Mitchell was fired after he refused to salute the American flag at a football game. The City was ordered to rehire Mitchell and pay him four years back wages. The City also agreed that Mitchell does not need to take blood transfusions if he gets sick.
In 1974, the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Board of Review overturned the denial of unemployment compensation benefits for an unidentified Jehovah's Witness who had quit their job at a hotel because their job duties included the occasional playing of a recording of the National Anthem for some hotel guest events.
CURTIS v. IOWA was a 1972 Iowa federal court case. In 1971, a Jehovah's Witness named Betty Curtis obtained employment with a Des Moines plastics products manufacturer named Foam Molding Corporation. Curtis quit five months later after she was assigned to make "peace sign" molds. Curtis stated that the "peace emblem" was "communist inspired" and of "pagan origins", and that to help manufacture such "idolatrous" imagery violated her WatchTower beliefs.
Curtis applied for unemployment compensation benefits, but was turned down by the state insurance program. Curtis also lost her appeal at every level. Curtis noted that she had offered to perform other duties, but the employer responded that it had no other duties for Curtis to perform. Iowa's UC program reasoned that its' purpose was not to subsidize the religious beliefs of employees. Thereafter, she filed a federal lawsuit in USDC. Outcome unknown.
PALMER v. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO was a 1978-79 Illinois federal appellate court decision which involved a Jehovah's Witness Teacher, named Joethelia Palmer. Palmer was hired at the Field School in September, 1976, as a full-time non-tenured teacher. Prior to commencement of the 1976-77 school year, Palmer visited with Florence Paskind, the school's Principal, to inform her that due to her sincerely held religious convictions, Palmer would not teach "anything having to do with love of country, the flag and other patriotic matters." In deference to those convictions, Paskind met with Palmer and instituted certain procedures to accommodate her.
During the course of the school year, Paskind permitted a "team teacher", a student teacher and, in certain instances, parent volunteers to instruct the children on matters of patriotism. For various reasons, all of those methods proved infeasible. During this period, Joethelia Palmer refused to lead activities related to holidays like Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. At times, when no other aid was available, she allowed her five-year-old students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on their own. According to Paskind, the results of such a practice were chaotic. Palmer's teaching behavior failed in other respects. She overemphasized or ignored certain areas, failed to use toys provided, failed to prepare adequate lesson plans, and was otherwise disorganized. During the school year, Paskind received complaints from parents concerning the fact that their children were not receiving the same instruction that other classes had received, and that if Palmer were to remain teachings at the school, they would hesitate to enroll their children in kindergarten there.
Joethelia Palmer was eventually terminated, and thereafter sought an injunction claiming a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Illinois USDC granted the School Board a summary judgment. On Palmer's appeal, the USCA affirmed, stating in part:
Plaintiff states the issue to be whether or not a public school teacher in her classes has the right to refuse to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of patriotic songs, and the celebration of certain national holidays when to do so is claimed to violate her religious principles. The issue is more correctly stated to be whether or not a public school teacher is free to disregard the prescribed curriculum concerning patriotic matters when to conform to the curriculum she claims would conflict with her religious principles. ... ...
Plaintiff in seeking to conduct herself in accordance with her religious beliefs neglects to consider the impact on her students who are not members of her faith. Because of her religious beliefs, plaintiff would deprive her students of an elementary knowledge and appreciation of our national heritage. She considers it to be promoting idolatry, it was explained during oral argument, to teach, for instance, about President Lincoln and why we observe his birthday. However, it would apparently not offend her religious views to teach about some of our past leaders less proudly regarded. There would only be provided a distorted and unbalanced view of our country's history. Parents have a vital interest in what their children are taught. Their representatives have in general prescribed a curriculum. There is a compelling state interest in the choice and adherence to a suitable curriculum for the benefit of our young citizens and society. It cannot be left to individual teachers to teach what they please. Plaintiff's right to her own religious views and practices remains unfettered, but she has no constitutional right to require others to submit to her views and to forego a portion of their education they would otherwise be entitled to enjoy. In this unsettled world, although we hope it will not come to pass, some of the students may be called upon in some way to defend and protect our democratic system and Constitutional rights, including plaintiff's religious freedom. That will demand a bit of patriotism.
Joethelia Palmer appealed the USCA's adverse decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. However, after review, SCOTUS announced, in January 1980, that it would not even bother considering Palmer's appeal.
BEIN v. WARRENSBURG CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT was a 1976 New York case. Claudia S. Bein was hired as a kindergarten teacher in Januray 1973. In October 1975, Claudia Bein held a meeting with all her "room mothers" to announce that she had converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses, and as a result, Bein stated that she would no longer participate in patriotic or holiday activities. Bein told the room mothers that if they wanted such activities to continue that they would have to perform all the duties that Bein had previously performed in connection with such. (Readers should recall that at that time the WatchTower Society was predicting Armageddon to occur in October 1975.)
Bein's announcement created quite an uproar. Claudia Bein was notified by the School Superintendent that she was being terminated effective at the end of the year, because of numerous complaints received from parents. Bein argued that her actions had no impact on the students, because the room mothers could continue the "forbidden" activities. The Superintendent pointed out, as probably had the parents, that Bein was teaching their children WatchTower religious beliefs by default, in that the young impressionable children observed Bein refusing to participate in certain activities, and wondered why.
Claudia Bein received support from the New York State United Teachers, who assisted her with filing a complaint with the EEOC. Bein also filed a formal complaint with the New York Education Commission, which proceeded to rule in Bein's favor. The State Education Commissioner ordered the School District to retain Bein through the Spring semester and the following Fall semester, plus required a 60 day notice if Bein was then to be terminated in December 1976. The Commissioner also indicated that if Bein was terminated that they would closely scrutinize such to determine whether any of Bein's constitutional rights had been violated.
Those NY Idiots stated that Bein could not be fired for exercising her "freedom of religion" without a showing that her actions caused "substantial disruption" in the classroom. The Commission indicated that the local Board needed to observe Bein for two semesters to determine such. The Commission also indicated that so long as Bein taught the words to the Pledge, and allowed such to be recited by her students, that that was all that was necessary. And, so long as the room mothers performed all the other duties with regard to holidays, etc., that there was no negative impact. The Commission even stated that Christmas gift exchanges were a "religious" activity. Unknown what happened in Fall 1976.
McMANIGAL v. UTICA BOARD OF EDUCATION was a 1962 Michigan court case. During the fall semester of the 1961-2 school year, a music and band teacher at Sterling Junior High School, named Charles McManigal, 27, refused to lead his class in the singing of the National Anthem and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. McManigal, who was himself the father of two, had taught in this school system for seven years without such problems. Evidently, McManigal had not previously been required to teach the National Anthem to his junior high students, nor had he been required to lead the Pledge. It did not help matters when McManigal attempted to explain his Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs about the American Flag being an idol, blah, blah, blah, to his students and anyone else that would listen.
Apparently, the issue came to a head in January 1962, when McManigal submitted his Letter of Resignation before he could be fired under the Board's recently adopted rule that any teacher that would not lead the Pledge or sing the National Anthem would be fired. However, McManigal withdrew such the next day. The Board then voted not to renew his contract, but agreed to allow him to finish out the school year. McManigal filed a formal complaint with Michigan's Fair Employment Practices Commission. In March 1962, the MFEPC forced the Utica School Board to agree to reassign McManigal to some other position which did not require the employee to lead students in the singing of the National Anthem and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Isn't America wonderful? There are few places in the world where the 99.9% will bow and kowtow to the will of the .1%. The local Utica Teacher's Association and even the local Prosecuter came to McManigal's defense.
LEWIS v. MORGAN COUNTY was a 1951-52 Indiana state court lawsuit involving a Jehovah's Witness named William Lewis. William Lewis was fired from his job as Principal of Hall Grade School after he refused to participate in a school flag ceremony. Lewis's refusal to salute the American flag, and his public comments that he would not bear arms in defense of the country enraged citizens of this rural school district. Local parents picketed the school and refused to allow Hall to enter. Hall's wife filed assault charges against another female who grabbed a camera from her after she started taking photos of the protesters.
Hall and his wife were recent converts to the JWs. Lewis had taught for several years in an adjacent county's school system, but that school system "traded" him to Morgan County after his recent conversion brought them similar headaches. Outcome unknown.
SINGLETON v. DADE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION was a 1952-? Florida case which involved a Jehovah's Witness Schoolteacher, named Kathryn Singleton, who started refusing to lead her second grade class in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The Board pursued the dismissal of Singleton, but her own Principal, named Edna Bird, supported Singleton's "right" to not lead the Pledge, so long as Singleton did not attempt to pass her WatchTower beliefs along to her students (as if the students' observing Singeton's refusal to recite the Pledge did not do exactly that). Outcome unknown.
MORGAN v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION was a 1944 New Jersey state Supreme Court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness, named Daniel Morgan, who was a disabled WW1 veteran. Morgan's status as a disabled war veteran gave him preferential status for government jobs for which he applied. Interestingly, Morgan received legal representation from the ACLU rather than the WatchTower Society, although Morgan lived at the WatchTower Society's back door.
When Morgan applied for the position of "bridge attendant" in the Bergen County service, around 1941-42, Morgan was denied such by the Bergen County Board of Freeholders, because of the local notoriety created by Morgan's two school-aged sons past refusal to recite the Pledge or salute the American Flag. Morgan said that he would pledge "his allegiance" to the U.S. government and to the things for which the American flag stands, but that he would not do so to the flag itself.
Morgan appealed to the Civil Service Commission of New Jersey, which stated that Morgan could be denied the position of "bridge attendant" only due to "just cause" given Morgan's disabled veteran status and given that he had passed the civil service exam. The Civil Service Commission of New Jersey found "just cause" in the facts that Daniel Morgan:
... did not render "satisfactory service" as a probationary motor vehicle inspector in the year 1938, and in a training school conducted at the Rahway Reformatory for prison and reformatory officers, subsequent to the civil service examination for the position, he demonstrated that he was "of a highly nervous disposition" and "temperamentally unsuited to service as a prison and reformatory officer."
New Jersey's Supreme Court reversed the CSC on the reasoning that the Board of Freeholders had not given Morgan the job solely based on Morgan's refusal to salute the American Flag, and that neither the BoF nor CSC had heard sufficient evidence as to how Morgan's past wash-outs as a motor vehicle inspector trainee and prison guard trainee related to the position of bridge attendant.
In November 1935, a Jehovah's Witness Teacher, named Grace Estep, was fired by the Canonsburg, Pennsylvania school board after she refused to lead her second grade class in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This event is occasionally cited by the Jehovah's Witnesses, the ACLU, and other JW sympathizers as an example of "persecution" suffered by the JWs, blah, blah, blah. Of course, they typically fail to report that when Grace Estep appeared before the school board to explain her position that she reportedly lectured her bosses:
"If you weren't so dumb, you would do a little investigating and become [Jehovah's] Witnesses yourself."
READERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE MANY MORE JW SCHOOL TEACHER CASES ON THE "HOLIDAYS" AND "MISCELLANEOUS" PAGES.
BESSARD v. CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES was a 1994 federal California court case which involved an African-American Mother and Daughter pair of Jehovah's Witnesses named Lanell Bessard and Tanella Bridges. Mother and Daughter had each sought non-professional employment at the Fresno City College campus. Both failed to make it past the initial screening phase in the college's hiring process due to the fact that they answered "NO" to the question on the college's standard job application form that stated: "Prior to employment, are you willing to swear or affirm allegiance to the United States and to the State of California?" This travesty of justice ended up costing the taxpayers $259,098.00.
Bessard and Bridges brought claims in federal court against the Community College District, alleging that their rights under the First Amendment and under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been abridged. While the court could have considered whether or not actions could have been taken by the college to reasonably accomodate the women's religious beliefs under Title VII, the Bessard court chose to address their claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This was due to the court's finding that the decision would obviate the need to subsequently address the plaintiff's statutory claims under Title VII and constitutional claims under the First Amendment. That court ruled that Bessard's and Bridges' free exercise rights had indeed been violated, which shifted the burden to the College to prove that it had both a compelling governmental interest in enforcing the policy and that the oath was the least restrictive means available to it to pursue this interest. The College stated two compelling interests. First, state law required the oath. Second, the College contended that it had "a compelling interest in ensuring employee loyalty and trustworthiness." The court renounced the College's first argument, finding that this rationale would lead to every state law being immune from attack on constitutional grounds, leaving individuals with hollow constitutional protections. With regard to their second argument, the court found that the oath was "not the least restrictive means of furthering the goal of having a loyal work force." That court expected the College to somehow prove that employees who take a loyalty oath were more loyal than those who did not. The court stated that the College could better develop and enforce employee loyalty through proper and prudent administration. The court found California's loyalty oath to be of little value in promoting worker loyalty among those who would object on religious grounds. In the end, the court found in favor of the two Jehovah's Witnesses and enjoined the College from requiring them to take the oath as a precondition of employment. In a jury determination of the damages suffered by the two Jehovah's Witnesses, they were awarded $259,098.00.
WIGFALL v. CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES was a 1994-7? California federal court case which involved an African-American Jehovah's Witnesses named Zari Niada Wigfall. Limited details. Zari Wigfall was a college student at Sacramento Community College in 1994, who in all probability heard about the nearly $300,000.00 judgment which her fellow Jehovah's Witnesses had just won at Fresno City College.
Wigfall had first been denied a part-time job at Sacramento Community College, due to her refusal to sign the loyalty oath required of all state employees, in the Spring 1994 semester. In Fall 1994, Wigfall again applied for a part-time job at SCC, but was again denied due to her refusal as a Jehovah's Witness to take the standard loyalty oath required of all state employees. Wigfall thereafter filed a federal lawsuit using the same legal theory as did Lanell Bessard and Tanella Bridges -- the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Wigfall also won her lawsuit, but I have been unable to discover how large was her award.
In 1999, Zari Niada Wigfall testified about her "ordeal" in Washington D.C. before a Congressional sub-committee, which related to the fact that the Supreme Court had declared the RFRA unconstitutional (too late for California taxpayers, tho.) Wigfall acknowledged that she had won her lawsuit prior to RFRA being overturned, but she was not asked, and she did not volunteer, how much $$$ she had been awarded.
ANDERSON v. FRANK was a 1986-93 Wisconsin federal court case. In November 1986, a Jehovah's Witness, named William Anderson, age 32, of Sussex, Wisconsin, was hired as an engineman at the Milwaukee branch of the United States Postal Service. However, Anderson refused to take the USPS oath of office, because it violated WatchTower rules, and he was fired about one month later.
In accordance with USPS employment disputes, in 1990, the Commission ruled that the USPS would not incur "undue hardship" by "reasonably accommodating" a Jehovah's Witness who objected to the term "defend", and the clause, "I will bear true faith and allegiance to ... ." The Commission ordered USPS to eliminate the religious conflict by deleting the "objectionable parts" of the USPS oath.
Apparently, that was not enough for William Anderson, because the media was reporting another lawsuit backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In all likelihood, Anderson, who had worked for only about one month in 1986, was probably seeking "back wages" for the 4-5 years when he did not work. What do you want to bet that he did not receive most of such?
DUNN v. CLAYTON COUNTY GEORGIA BOARD OF EDUCATION was a 1982-3 Georgia civil court case which involved a Jehovah's Witness schoolteacher, named Janie Dunn. Dunn was a Cosmetology Instructor at Jonesboro Senior High School. At the start of the 1982-3 school year, Dunn was fired after she refused to sign the part of her employment contract which required her to affirm or swear "allegiance" to the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Georgia. Dunn got the ACLU to take up her cause, and filed a federal lawsuit. Outcome unknown.
In the early 1980s, employees of local and state government in Florida were required to sign a simple "loyalty oath", which stated,"I ... swear or affirm that I support the Constitution of the United States and the state of Florida." In 1982, when a Jehovah's Witness named Mary Bell, of Tampa, Florida, was hired as a clerk typist at the University of South Florida's medical records department, Bell refused to sign the Oath. Florida law did not permit any modifications to the Oath, and in fact, made it a crime to modify the Oath. However, someone at USF permitted Mary Bell to somehow modify the simply worded Oath, and allowed her to be hired.
In September 1983, Mary Bell quit that job to take a better job with Florida's Motor Vehicle Department. Bell was again required to sign the Oath, but she again refused. This time, the HR person followed Florida law, and Bell was not hired. In October 1983, Mary Bell was re-hired at USF. It is not known whether Bell's signed a second illegally modified Oath, or whether USF allowed the old one to stand. However, some time thereafter, the state audited USF's personnel files, and discovered that Bell's Oath had been illegally modified. Mary Bell was fired effective March 1, 1984. Despite efforts by various liberals to have Mary Bell contest her discharge, Bell refused to challenge her termination. Adrian Morrison, then the WatchTower Society's spokesperson in the Tampa area, refused to call signing the Oath a violation of WatchTower teachings. Rather, he stated that Bell "might have felt that this was a violation of her [political] neutrality". In all likelihood, Adrian Morrison probably knew that other Florida JWs were working for local and state governments, and had signed the Oath.
In 1981, a Jehovah's Witness female, who applied for and was hired as a school crossing guard by the City of Azusa, California, was subsequently fired when she refused to take the oath required of all city employees. The JW appealed to the City Council, but lost. Unknown if she pursued legal action.
During his 2009 Senate confirmation hearing, P. David Lopez, General Councel of the E.E.O.C., briefly mentioned that while he worked at the Justice Department between 1991 and 1994 that he had successfully prosecuted an unidentified small school district which had either terminated or refused to hire a Jehovah's Witness as a school bus driver, who had refused to take the state mandated loyalty oath.
In 1997, President Clinton issued "Guidelines on Religious Exercise and Religious Freedom in the Federal Workplace", which include: "An applicant for employment in a governmental agency who is a Jehovah's Witness should not be compelled, contrary to their religious beliefs, to take a loyalty oath whose form is religiously objectionable."
HALL v. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Despite Clinton's 1997 Guidelines, in 2000, a Jehovah's Witness named Michelle Hall was fired from Fort Belvoir, in Virginia. The produce worker stated that reciting "I will bear true faith and allegiance to" the U.S. Constitution conflicted with her duty to give "Jehovah" her undivided loyalty. Hall obtained the legal assistance of the ACLU, which negotiated a settlement that reinstated Hall and gave her back wages and $9,000 in attorneys' fees. More importantly, the settlement allows Hall to forego the government's loyalty oath, and instead, simply promise that she "will be a loyal citizen of the United States." Interestingly, Hall had previously signed the same Oath on multiple occasions during the ten year period that she had worked a series of temporary part-time jobs at Fort Belvoir. It wasn't until Hall was hired full-time that she complained.
SEEMINGLY "ATYPICAL" JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES
OKLAHOMA v. A. G. ZIMMERMAN and OKLAHOMA v. J. W. McCURLEY were related 1943 Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals cases. A. G. Zimmerman and J. W. McCurley were members of the School Board in Woods County, respectively being the Director and Clerk of the school board. A. G. Zimmerman and J. W. McCurley also were both Jehovah's Witnesses. In Oklahoma, there was a state regulation which mandated that all students participate in a flag salute ceremony. When certain children of Jehovah's Witnesses refused to participate in their school's flag ceremony, they were suspended. At an apparently "planned" school board meeting, in which Zimmerman and McCurley constituted a majority vote, the suspended students were reinstated. Thereafter, the County Attorney successfully prosecuted Zimmerman and McCurley for unlawfully hindering the enforcement of an appropriate state flag ceremony regulation. Fined $150.00 each.
The state appellate court first ruled in Pendley v. State and Carter-Mort v. State that pupils with conscientious religious beliefs could not be lawfully expelled from school because of their failure to participate in the flag ceremony, therefore the actions of the these two defendants in reinstating those pupils were proper, and a conviction of them should be set aside. It was therefore ordered that the judgment of the County Court of Woods County be reversed, and remanded with instructions to dismiss.
Earl H. Norman (BIO), who serves as an Elder at the Silver Springs Road Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and who has served as "Chairman" of the local Missouri Regional Building Committee, and who on occasion has even served as a television WatchTower Society Spokesperson, is a MULTI-MILLIONAIRE. Earl Norman foundedHealth Services Corporation of America (HSCA), now known as MedAssets. Currently in his late 70s, Norman is semi-retired, but still owns a securities firm known as Benton Hill Investments Co. and a real estate sales and development company known as Lorimont Place, Ltd.
In addition to his door-to-door ministry as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and in addition to his many activities as a JW Elder, Earl Norman is also extremely active in the secular community. Click the link to read about Norman's appearance and testimony before the Blue Ribbon Citizens Committee On Missouri's Transportation Needs, in June 2012, during which Earl H. Norman counseled Missouri's state legislators as to how Missouri state government could get around it being unlawful to enact a state sales tax to fund Missouri's highways and roads departments. Earl Norman has also been willing to wade into political controversy regarding the construction of a new interstate highway -- making recommendations to the States of Missouri and Kentucky, as well as the State of Illinois.
Despite the fact that the WatchTower Society has historically recommended that Jehovah's Witnesses NOT pursue "higher education", Earl Norman admirably has not merely worked publicly for additional higher education facilities in his local community, but has been willing to wade into political controversy regarding such. Earl Norman also founded Health Careers Foundation Inc., an independent not-for-profit public foundation which grants scholarships to students pursuing degrees in the health care field.
Earl Norman admirably has also led the way in the preservation of local historic structures. Too bad that they likely will not survive Armageddon when it finally arrives next week, next month, or next year.
George J. Stadtlander is a wealthy and nationally prominent Health Care industry - Health Insurance industry insider, as well as being a nationally prominent Jehovah's Witness Elder, who resides in northwest Ohio. Corporate documents show George Stadtlander to be one of the original incorporators of both the Twinsburg Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Aurora, Ohio Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Unconfirmed rumors also allege that George Stadtlander possibly may be used occasionally by the WatchTower Society to purchase real estate in other parts of the United States in situations where the construction of a Kingdom Hall or an Assembly Hall may be anticipated to be controversial.
George Stadtlander is also one of the wealthier original members of the Board of Trustees of JAH-JIREH HOMES OF AMERICA D/B/A Legacy Place Cottages, which is a Jehovah's Witness owned, operated, and occupied retirement community located just outside Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Joining George Stadtlander, in December 2010, as founding Trustees of "Jah-Jireh Homes of America" are former WatchTower Society Attorney, Judah Ben Schroeder (who just so happens to also be the son of deceased Governing Body member, Albert D. Schroeder); Judah B. Schroeder's multi-millionaire father-in-law, Leroy Dale Baker (founder of "Dale Baker Automotive Group" in Grand Rapids, Michigan); and multi-millionaire real estate developer, Darbin T. Skeans, of Allentown, Pennsylvania.)
The Jah-Jireh Homes website shows George Stadtlander's 2010 place of residence as "Chagrin Falls, Ohio". According to this Campaignmoney.com webpage, "a" George Stadtlander, who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, donated $1000.00 to the OBAMA FOR AMERICA Political Action Committee in February 2012.
Readers should understand that the WatchTower Society and its local Jehovah's Witness Congregations were much more strict about the Cult's theological interpretations back during the 1950s and 1960s given the proximity of WW2 and the Korean War, along with the WatchTower Cult's widely publicized court battles over military service, the Flag Salute, and other issues related to patriotism.
We thus found it quite INTERESTING when we discovered that in December 1959 a prominent BROOKLYN-BORN AND REARED Jehovah's Witness "Congregation Overseer" (Elder-Minister) named Edward E. Ahlf, by-then of Dutchess County, New York, was PUBLICLY ELECTED to the Board of Fire Commissioners in Stanfordville, New York. Previously, Edward Ahlf had served as the Chief of the Stanfordville Fire Department for a decade, which also was an "elected" position within the local fire department.
Edward Ahlf was employed as head of the local Farm Credit Service (later renamed Production Credit Service, and thenHudson Valley Farm Credit) which essentially was equivalent in community status to being a local Bank President. Edward Ahlf also was a member and elected Officer of multiple countywide and statewide civic and farm organizations in this rural farming area, and continuously participated in various community events and celebrations.
When the Millerton Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses was formed in 1962, Edward Ahlf was one of the three original corporate Trustees, and when the Millerton Congregation soon began to plan the construction of its own Kingdom Hall, Overseer Edward Ahlf was a member of the Building Committee. Typically, as many of such double-life Elders/Overseers do, Ahlf's wife and children were forced to "pioneer" to keep the WatchTower Cult off the family's back. As we point out elsewhere in our websites, all that is important inside the WatchTower Cult is "hours".
During those very same decades that Edward Ahlf, his wife, and his 4 sons and daughter were enjoying life -- both as prominent members of their local "worldly" community, and as prominent members of their local Jehovah's Witness community --this Editor was a child being indoctrinated with WatchTower Cult theology that taught this Editor that having anything whatsoever to do with "the world" and its political, social, and civic organizations was reason to be rejected, punished, and destroyed by "Jehovah". While this Editor could not be a Boy Scout, or a member of my school's 4-H Club, or even Pep Club, or even accept a nomination as a Class officer, that Congregation Overseer and Congregation Trustee was an essential element of Dutchess County life as not only a member of multiple worldly organizations, but serving as an elected Officer in multiple worldly organizations.
Its rather obvious that if a Jehovah's Witness is a PRINCE in this world, the WatchTower Cult will not only look the other way with regard to that part of the JW's life, but will even appoint that JW as a PRINCE within the Cult's hierarchy if such possibly may be beneficial to the Cult. This is just one additional WatchTower Cult hypocrisy which this Editor is now privileged to publicize worldwide.
As an example of how some Jehovah's Witnesses are able to rationalize away historic Watchtower teachings so as to be able to take advantage of certain "career opportunities", contrast the following scenario with the above JWs who "suffered" for their beliefs. In 2005, a Century 21 Realty agent in Gary, Indiana, named Christopher Turner, was "appointed" by the Mayor as a board member of the Gary Housing Authority. This "appointment" created quite a stir in Gary, Indiana political circles, because nearly everyone considered this to be a political position filled by political appointment. Why so controversial? Turner was a Jehovah's Witness. This kinda makes one wonder why hundreds of Jehovah's Witnesses in Malawi, Africa allowed themselves to be raped and murdered in the 1960-70s because the Watch Tower Society told them that they were not allowed to carry that country's political party card and still be a JW. I can't help but wonder if an "appointment" as a boardmember of the Gary Housing Authority requires a person to take an "oath"? Or, does a board member of the Gary Housing Authority carry any kind of "card" which identifies themself as such?
HODGE THURMAN v. UNITED AUTO WORKERS ET AL was a 1942 Michigan religious discrimination state court employment case. A Jehovah's Witness, named Hodge Thurman, age 40s, was a longtime employee at a Detroit "WAR PLANT" operated by Murray Corporation. In 1942, under the terms of the labor contract, UAW notified Murray that Thurman no longer was a member in good standing -- with the expectation that Thurman would be terminated. UAW later explained that despite his willingness to work in a "war plant", Thurman refused to participate in UAW's patriotic efforts to support the war effort. Thurman refused to buy war bonds; refused to salute the American flag; and reportedly spoke ill of President Roosevelt, and labeled deaths of Axis soldiers as "murder". When the Michigan courts repeatedly ruled against the efforts of Thurman's attorneys, the WatchTower Society appealed to Eleanor Roosevelt, who directed the President's Committee On Fair Employment Practice to negotiate a settlement which returned Thurman's union card and had UAW move Thurman to another company not manufacturing war materials.
OSCAR LUENSER v. UNITED AUTO WORKERS ET AL was a 1943 Michigan religious discrimination state court employment case. A Jehovah's Witness, named Oscar Luenser, age 47, was a longtime employee at an Ann Arbor "WAR PLANT" operated by the Hoover Ball Bearing Company. Despite his willingness to work in a "war plant", Luenser refused to participate in UAW's patriotic efforts to support the war effort, including refusing to buy war bonds. When Hoover refused to terminate Luenser, UAW went on strike. Two days later, Luenser was terminated. Having won the above THURMAN case, the WatchTower Society went straight to the President's Committee On Fair Employment Practice. Probably with the same outcome.
A Reader -- a former Jehovah's Witness (XJW) -- relates this highly amusing story about some of his hypocritical and dishonest Jehovah's Witness relatives:
Several years ago, at a statewide business convention, purely by chance, XJW was seated at a banquet table along with an old acquaintance, who had become a politically active attorney (PAA). PAA was slightly inebriated, and in XJW's mind, started overplaying to the other people at the table XJW's and his past relationship. PAA even related that, amazingly, only a few years previous, that he had attended a statewide Democrat Party banquet held at the state capitol in conjunction with a gubernatorial inauguration, where, also by chance, he had also been seated at a table along with a woman and her husband who through gradual conversation eventually identified herself as XJW's aunt, who then lived in XJW's old hometown. PAA further related that he had even later observed XJW's aunt and uncle riding on one of the floats in the inauguration parade.
Befuddled, XJW related to PAA, and the other persons at the table who were listening in on this conversation, that he was uncertain as to the identity of this "aunt and uncle", because XJW did not have any aunts or uncles living in his old hometown who were even politically active locally -- much less who might have participated in the inauguration festivities, including riding a float in the parade.
Slightly inebriated PAA continued relating that he had mainly spoken only with the "loud and boisterous" Aunt -- that her husband seemed timid and remained quiet. However, PAA did specifically recall that XJW's Aunt had stated that her husband was the "Vice President" of their local bank.
XJW instantly then knew who were these two relatives, because he had only one relative who was "Vice President" of a bank. And, yes, some relatives from that non-JW branch of the family were active in local Democrat Party politics. However, this "cousin" did not live in XJW's hometown, but instead lived in a city nearly 100 miles away. XJW then related to PAA that it was the "timid and quiet husband" of the "loud and boisterous woman" who was his own blood relative -- a cousin -- but, that Cousin was "Vice-President" at a bank in a city nearly 100 miles distance from XJW's old hometown.
PAA then responded back that he was quite certain that the woman with whom he had spoken had BOTH identified herself and her husband as XJW's "aunt and uncle" -- not cousins, and PAA was certain that the Aunt had said that she and her husband lived in XJW's old hometown. With PAA's expressed certainty, XJW finally began to suspect who actually were the relatives who had attended that Democrat Party banquet and rode a float in the inauguration day parade.
XJW then asked PAA whether this "aunt and uncle" were both "short and skinny" (as were both his Bank VP Cousin and Cousin's wife), OR, was the "aunt" a large woman and her husband a tall man. PAA replied that it was the latter scenario.
XJW then confessed to PAA that, unfortunately, he was going to have to apologize to PAA on behalf of that Aunt and Uncle for their having DECEIVED and LIED to PAA. XJW explained that he did have an Aunt and Uncle still living back in his hometown, and that that husband was also employed at the local bank. However, that Aunt and Uncle were JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, who supposedly were prohibited from engaging in any type of political activities whatsoever. And, yes, while XJW's non-blood relative uncle does work at the local Bank, that uncle is not the bank's "Vice President" -- he is the bank's JANITOR.
WISCONSIN v. RALPH BUELOW and WISCONSIN v. CAROL BUELOW (1983-85), RALPH BUELOW v. DICKEY and CAROL BUELOW v. DICKEY (1985-88), and INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE v. RALPH BUELOW (1985-1992) are related federal and state criminal and tax court cases which involved an "exemplary" Jehovah's Witness Couple who reportedly were one onetime members of POSSE COMITATUS -- a right-wing "Christian" anti-government group infamous for acts of arson, murder, and other violence towards government property and government personnel during the 1970s and 1980s.
Ralph C. Buelow, aka Ralph J. Buelow, aka Ralph John Buelow, aka "Putt" Buelow, and his wife, Carol Buelow, were/are the parents and grandparents of a large, extended family living in the Chilton, Wisonsin area. When Ralph Buelow died in 2015, his family was granted the privilege of a "Kingdom Hall funeral" at the Kiel Wisconsin Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, which indicates that both Ralph Buelow and Carol Buelow were/are considered "exemplary Jehovah's Witnesses" by their local Kiel Wisconsin Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
In January 1984, both Ralph Buelow, then age 52, and Carol Buelow were convicted in Wisconsin state court of ARSON committed in December 1981 of a building and an unknown number of parked trucks and automobiles which belonged to theWisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The Buelows were accompanied by Harlee Suttner and his wife, Honey Lou Suttner, who later swore to authorities that Ralph Buelow, Carol Buelow, and her husband were all members of the violent anti-government group known as POSSE COMITATUS. The Buelows' convictions and 10 year prison sentences were affirmed by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear any further appeals. Appeals to the federal courts also ultimately went unheeded.
In June 1980, the Buelows purported to form the "Buelow Farm Trust", into which Ralph Buelow purported to transfer his 600 acre dairy farm and all personal property. Other essential elements to form such a "trust" went uncompleted. Although Ralph Buelow continued to receive some of the farm's income, he stopped filing federal income tax returns from 1979 until 1983, when he went to prison on the ARSON conviction.(During that state criminal trial, Ralph Buelow attempted to claim "indigency" due to previously having transferred all his assets to the Buelow Farms Trust", so as to receive state-provided legal defense, but such was denied with the state court declaring that the Trust was a "sham".) The IRS, Tax Court, and federal Circuit Court of Appeals all found that "Buelow Farm Trust" was a "sham", and Ralph Buelow was made to pay income tax and penalties on income from 1979-1983.
CAROL BUELOW v. RALPH BUELOW was a 1991 DIVORCE case. The couple apparently reconciled or later remarried.
WISCONSIN v. RALPH BUELOW (then age 70) was a 2001-02 DUI arrest and prosecution during which Buelow refused to take a breathalyzer field sobriety test.
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