Feb 26, 2016

Rose Carl Mark: Revise the law on religious freedom - for the sake of the children

FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Google translation.
Jehovah's Witnesses
Society must stop turning a blind eye to all children who are forced into the closed religious groups. Children should be protected from having to choose religion - just as children are not allowed to take other life decisions.

I myself was only 14 years old when we were visited by Jehovah's Witnesses in my parents' home. I started in one of their Bible groups, baptized me and had to shoulder the heavy demands it means to be a Jehovah's Witness. 19 years old, I married a man in the congregation and we had children together.

In my autobiographical novel "Inside my breath," says my now adult children about the hell we subjected them to the basis of religion. We manipulated the children to join us at meetings (several hours long adult meetings, where kids would sit still on a chair) and out to knock on doors, saying that if they did not comply with it would do, "Jehovah God, sorry." And who would have the responsibility of making himself God sad?

In my book tell my daughter about her anguish when classmates birthday and each time she had to sit down when everyone else stood up and sang for the birthday child. There she was, and it was her birthday sat down. In a class is it's often someone's birthday and my daughter told me about the anxiety she felt about that. Our children were treated by everyone in the school as if they were Jehovah's Witnesses - but it's really where we adults who believed fanatically in the Watchtower Society's teachings and forced them to do what we said.

The children were not allowed to attend the Christmas preparations, or some other traditions. To have to sit in another room when the rest of the class did such things was just something that we and all the other adults decided over the heads of children.

They were not allowed to participate in after-school activities such as team sports or socialize with classmates who were not witnesses. Much time was devoted to the preparation of meetings and meetings two nights a week plus Sundays except all the time out in predikoverksamheten, where the children were dragged by.

It is very hard for children to resist and partly because they are loyal to their parents but also because of the threat of punishment, to be killed in Armageddon - God's final war against all who are not Jehovah's Witnesses.

I and my children have left the Jehovah's Witnesses. But many children are still in various parishes around the country. Jehovah's Witnesses are still allowed to forbid their children to take part in school activities, which create exclusion among children and giving life-long trauma for many.

The adults may, with the law on religious freedom behind your back, take up children in the faith, with the same standards of conduct that they require adult witnesses. It's just that by "individual" freedom to practice their religion, which is too vague in the law and that makes the law interpreted arbitrarily so that even children are allowed to become members of religious groups.

The current law on religious freedom must be revised so that it clearly emerges that adults do not have the right to manipulate / forcing children in the same religion they belong to. This is lacking in the current law and if Parliament would take a decision on this issue would give weight to the gravity of it all. I think it would be very interesting to hear Emma Henriksson's thoughts.

Society must act to take responsibility when it comes to stopping religious groups from recruiting minors and will require a clearer legislation. It seems that society turns a blind eye to the serious consequences in terms of exclusion, disruptive of families and mental suffering that often result when children and youth can not live up to the stringent demands of the movement.

Children (under 18 years) should not be allowed to join in closed religious groups, where the community does not have transparency, such as Jehovah's Witnesses. Otherwise, society is careful to protect the child from having to make decisions that are not considered mature enough to take, such as marriage, license taking politikerval or purchase of alcohol. The same must apply to the decision to join the religious extremist movements!

What to do today in Parliament to increase transparency in closed religious groups?

Rose Carl MarkIn my recently published debut novel, Inside my breath, I tell about my time as a religious fanatic in the Jehovah's Witnesses. I'm passionate about now that society must become better at seeing the children in closed religious groups and help them.


No comments: