Are members of this Christian denomination group extremists?
With their backs turned against society and government, the Jehovah's Witness is an extremist sect.
For the past two weeks, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has been deliberating over the country's request to label Jehovah's Witness as an 'extremist organisation.'
After six days of hearings, the court has passed its judgment. The court has ruled against the religious organisation.
Jehovah's Witnesses have been officially banned from the country and labelled as an “extremist” organisation.
Reacting to the court order, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, said: "We are greatly disappointed by this development and deeply concerned about how this will affect our religious activity.
We will appeal this decision, and we hope that our legal rights and protections as a peaceful religious group will be fully restored as soon as possible.”
The Jehovah's Witness was founded in the 1870s. The sect is known for disintegrating itself from mainstream Christianity and secular life. They view secular society to be morally corrupt and under the control of Satan.
They do not believe in blood transfusions and turn down military service. Essentially, they detach themselves from society and are anti-government. Do these things make them extremists? Yes.
An extremist is an individual who has intense views on political and religious matters. This also includes people who take illegitimate and violent actions to propagate their extreme views e.g Boko Haram.
Jehovah's Witness is an extremist group because they have hard views on life, politics and religion that are against the society they live in. Most religions blend with the societies they find themselves in while preserving their core values.
The Jehovah's Witness is the opposite of this. They do not involve themselves with the progress of the society and exclude themselves from national activities.
"Then Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him" reads Mark 12:17. This verse proves that there is nothing wrong with believers to be involved in worldly politics. Jehovah Witness begs to differ.
It should be stated that Jehovah's Witness differs from Christianity. They do not add their two cents to the advancement of the country. It's a closely knit community of believers that is deeply anti-secular. And that is extremism but not non-violent extremism. Any group that would not submit to governmental authority will be seen as a threat. Hence, the ban in Russia.
Some would say Deeper Life of the 90s was also an extremist Christian group as they shunned several aspects of everyday normal life. Towards the millennium, Deeper Life started leaning towards the centre such as allowing its members to watch TV and so on.
Banning extremist Christian groups might be an extreme measure itself especially if they do not pose a threat to the government and are not violent. Vladimir Putin isn't fond of dissidents and this is most likely what made Russia ban the Jehovah's Witness.
Successful religions learn to co-exist with society. Groups like Jehovah's Witness and others are seemed as radical and crazy therefore some countries wary of rebellious factions are prone to banning them.
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