This article reports on a 14 year old BC girl who was refusing blood transfusions on religious grounds. She’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Two judges have ruled that she is too young to make that decision so she must have the transfusions.
I’m in two minds about the decision. I’m a firm believer in individual rights and individual choice. If she really doesn’t want transfusions then she should be able to choose that option. It has to be an educated choice though, so I hope that someone other than her fellow JWs has sat her down and explained everything to her. Sadly, JWs aren’t allowed to associate with non-JWs, so even talking to a doctor about her options is against the rules and could have her disfellowed.
This article spurred me into examining some of the JW beliefs. They may seem harmless enough, but they are actually quite an insidious organisation. They control their members through guilt and fear. Members are actively encouraged to turn each other in for rule violations. Violations can be anything from smoking to reading religious material not published by JW. An unrepentant follower can be shunned and disowned by his fellow JWs.
That kind of environment can only result in massive indoctrination for anyone growing up in it. That 14 year old girl, and others like her, have effectively been completely brainwashed. They are under complete control by their cult and that control must be incredibly difficult to break.
So what about the blood thing? The JWs most controversial rule is based on a few lines from the bible which state that we should not eat blood. Back in the ’60s the JW ruling based on these scriptural references was that blood transfusions, organ transplants and vaccinations were not allowed. Since then the rule has been relaxed to the point now where everything up to partial plasma blood transfusions is allowed. Nobody has managed to explain why it’s ok to receive partial plasma but it’s not ok to receive full plasma.
Science tells us that a blood transfusion provides no nourishment. The blood is not digested by the body. So how does a blood transfusion break the scriptural rule that we may not eat blood? That’s another question the governing body of JW has failed to answer. This site has all the information you need on the blood transfusion controversy.
Featured on the cover of an Awake! magazine from 1994 are the photos of 26 children, ages varying up to 17 years, with the caption: “Youths Who Put God First.” Inside the magazine proclaims: “In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.”. The main article, ‘Youths Who Have “Power Beyond What Is Normal”‘ tells the stories of three of these children who died after refusing blood treatment. This to me is a callous disregard for human life. The magazine is treating these children as martyrs when in fact they are innocent victims of a cult of guilt and fear.
Should religious freedom stretch this far? Should an organised religion be allowed to endanger the lives of it’s followers? Barbaric practices like the hindu sutee (widows being burned alive on their husband’s funeral pyre) have been outlawed for many years, so banning a dangerous religious practice would not be setting any precedents. Telling people to refuse blood transfusions is life threatening. It should not be allowed.