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If Jehovah’s Witnesses only benefit their own believers, why are they subsidized as a charity?

Lloyd Evans has a really interesting new piece today at the website of Britain’s National Secular Society. And while the tax exempt or charity status of churches in the UK and the US are not exactly the same, we think our American readers can benefit from reading some of the questions Lloyd raises in this really well done article.

The concept that any non-profit organization shouldn’t have to pay taxes is that such an organization benefits society as a whole in ways that takes some of the burden off of government. But if a church serves only its own believers, how, Lloyd asks, does that fit the idea of a “charity” that benefits the population at large?

“The work of Watch Tower benefits nobody unless you consider (1) being religious or (2) being a Jehovah’s Witness to be advantageous. And that’s if we take Watch Tower’s disingenuous statement about ‘promoting religious worship’ at face value,” he says.

He then lays out in a short amount of space a compelling list of reasons why Jehovah’s Witnesses cause more harm than benefit, challenging the idea that the organization is a “charity” at all.


“Unless religious organisations like Jehovah’s Witnesses can demonstrate that what they do is beneficial to the public as a whole, they should not qualify as charities. In the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses, not only do they fail to satisfy this modest, reasonable requirement — they are also guilty of abuses against their own members that render any claim to charitable status an insult to their countless victims, to the extent that any good would be entirely outweighed even if the organisation’s aims were somehow in line with the needs of the public.”

That’s strong stuff.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 26, 2019 at 12:30

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Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


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