Indoctrinating against equal marriage – and likening LGBT+ people to terrorists.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have produced a series of videos aimed at children about JW faith. One of them, Lesson 22: One Man, One Woman, however is openly exhibiting and teaching children that same-sex relationships are wrong, and worse still, teaching them to spread that message to other children.
In the video a little girl draws a picture of her family at school, along with all the other pupils. Taking it home to her mother, she explains that a friend drew her “two mommys” and tells her mother that her teacher had said that as long as two people love each other, that is alright. The mother then tells her daughter that different people have different ideas of what is right and wrong, but it is making Jehovah happy which counts. She goes on to tell her that the Bible teaches leaving ‘wrong’ things behind, likens same-sex marriage to taking unauthorised items on a plane, and suggests that her daughter tell her friend about Jehovah and Biblical rules on same-sex marriage.
I was listening to a radio show concerning this, which had Jehovah’s Witnesses and other theists phoning in saying everyone is entitled to their opinions. The JW callers all said that they were tolerant and the video does not suggest that the little girl should end her friendship with the other girl, or judge the girl’s parents.
Really? Let’s go through the video, step-by-step.
Confronted with her daughter’s friend having same-sex parents and the teacher saying that is okay as long as they are happy, the mother retorts “People have their own ideas about what is right and wrong – but what matters is how Jehovah feels. He wants us to be happy and he knows how we can be happiest. That’s why he invented marriage the way he did.”
“You mean one man and one woman?” the daughter asks.
“Exactly,” the mother replies, “Look at Genesis 1:27. “Jehovah created Adam and Eve, male and female. Then in Genesis 2:24 he said a man will stick to his wife. Later, Jesus said the same thing. Jehovah’s standards haven’t changed.”
Right, fallacy one is that Jehovah “invented marriage”. This is a common claim one gets from Christian homophobes opposed to same-sex marriage, and it makes me spit. For if they are claiming that their God created marriage, then that would mean that not only would every same-sex marriage would be invalid, but likewise so would every marriage within other religions and cultures, as well as atheists who are married. If the Jobboes, or any other Christians, wish to tell people of other faiths and none that their marriages are invalid, then they are welcome to go on and try it. Most countries in the world recognise marriages in all faiths and cultures as being legally binding, so when the police get through with them for religious hate speech, they may wish to consider that same-sex marriage where recognised by the state is equally legally binding, and speaking out against it is homophobic hate speech.
Marriage is timeless, it has appeared in all cultures, and it well predates Judeo-Christian culture by thousands of years. Anyone questioning that would also have to be a Young Earth Creationist, and maintain that the Earth was made in six days, 6000 years ago. And anyone who believes that sort of nonsense, which even the vast majority of Christians today relect, while not even worth debating, by trying to push creationism upon impressionable minds is every bit as dangerous as anyone who stands against same-sex marriage on the grounds of it being against their religion. The fact is that marriage has nothing to do with god(s), but rather it is and always has been a social contract between two people who love each other. And while most cultures have held to heterosexual marriage, same-sex marriage has not been unknown in many cultures, down throughtout history, in every continent across the globe.
Fallacy two is that Judeo-Christian marriage is for one man and one woman – and that “Jehovah’s standards haven’t changed”. Well, they certainly do not change in the Bible, where the most common form of marriage is polygamy, and monogamous marriage is in fact the exception rather than the rule.
In saying that Jesus says the same later, the mother is alluding to Matthew 19:4-5, which is mentioned at the start of the video, which states; “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” In these verses Jesus does indeed appear to be stating that marriage is one man, one woman. Homophobic Christians often quote these verses, and some even try to get around Old Testament polygamy by claiming that because Jesus was allegedly bringing in the New Covenant, that monogamy was thereby the rule. Does this argument stand up to scrutiny? Not for one moment. For a start, Jesus was referring to the OT in stating that God made humans male and female, and that because of that a man shall cleave to his wife, singular. Yet given the huge plethora of polygamous marriages in the OT, does that mean that all of those in such marriages, including Moses who had three wives yet allegedly penned the first four books of the OT, were breaking God’s laws? According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who maintain that, they must have been.
Was Jesus making the rule in the New Covenant that monogamous marriage was from there on to be the norm? Well, you would have to one, see if Jesus makes any direct rulings against that. He does not. Two, you would have to see if Jesus ever makes any mention of polygamous marriage. And whaddya know? There it is staring us in the face.
Also in the Gospel according to Matthew, in Chapter 25 we have Jesus relating the parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins. Likening the kingdom of Heaven to a marriage, Jesus tells a story of ten virgins going to meet the bridegroom, five of whom had oil for their lamps, and five who did not, and only those with oil are taken into marriage. In Matthew 25:1, Jesus states, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” Then in Matthew 25:10, he states, “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” Hello? Did you see that? They went “in with him to the marriage”.
Therefore, in relating the parable, Jesus was alluding to a polygamous marriage. Some apologists try to maintain that yes, but he was only alluding to polygamy. But by equal measure, in Matthew 19, Jesus is only alluding to monogamy, with no direct commandment. More disingenuous apologists try to say the ten virgins were bridesmaids. The bridegroom choosing bridesmaids would not make any sense in Christian marriage, not even today, far, far less in Jewish marriage in first century Judea. Generally in that culture it was the bride’s mother who selected the bridesmaids.
So, by the very example of the Bible, there goes any notion of marriage being one man, one woman, completely out of the window.
The cartoon then takes a more sinister turn, by the mother using the analogy of someone attempting to carry something disallowed onto a plane flight, stating “It’s kind of like bringing something on an airplane – what happens if someone tries to bring something on that isn’t allowed?” The cartoon actually depicts a man with a large bag setting off an airport security alarm. In the modern age, when most people think of disallowed items on air flights, particularly in large items of hand luggage, they are immediately going to think of terrorism. Therefore the only inference I can take from this cartoon is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are likening LGBT+ people to terrorists. Hmmm. Strangely enough, I can’t recall any instance of any LGBT+ person ever blowing up a plane or flying one into a building. But as for those who hold strong religious beliefs…
The mother then tells her daughter of Jehovah’s rules for reaching paradise, which means removing certain things from ones life. “At Matthew 7: 13 and 14, it talks about the road leading to paradise,” states the mother, “to get there Jehovah says we have to leave some things behind, that means anything Jehovah doesn’t approve of.”
Actually, Matthew 7:13-14 may state the former, but certainly not the latter. It says “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:15-23 certainly does have Jesus stating to beware of false prophets, of knowing people “by their fruits” (this particular ‘fruit’ would never fit in, dears) and that only those who do the “will of the Lord” shall enter into Heaven. And whilst that is open to interpretation as to what is good and evil and what “Jehovah doesn’t approve of”, it says nowhere that the faithful need to “leave some things behind”.
And just what do they mean by leaving some things behind which their god may not approve of? That suggests to me that the mother is telling the daughter to end her friendship with the other girl.
“But I want everyone to get to Paradise.” says the little girl. “So does Jehovah,” replies the mother, which is completely at odds with not just with what Jesus said, in the very part of Matthew the mother is referring to, but also with Jehovah’s Witness teaching. Matthew 7:21-23 states;
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Therefore, to claim that their god wants everyone to enter Heaven is a complete falsehood. Jehovah’s Witness theology itself, based upon calculations from the Book of Revelation, teaches that only 144,000 souls will enter Heaven, whereas the rest of the faithful (there are approximately 20 million Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide) will live forever on Earth. Given that Jehovah’s Witness theology is also very big on predestination – that their god, being omniscient and omnipotent, has always known who the truly faithful are – even by their own theology, to claim that their Jehovah wants everyone to enter Heaven is likewise a falsehood, and actually quite hypocritical of Jehovah’s Witnesses to make such an assertion.
“People can change,” says the mother, “that’s why we share his message. So, what can you say to Kerry?”, encouraging her daughter to preach Jehovah’s Witness teachings to her daughter, even saying “let’s practice”.
That the cartoon says “People can change” is of course suggesting that the same-sex couple can change, and suggesting that her daughter go preach to her little friend that her parents will be banned from paradise unless they “change” is simply outrageous. This may only be a cartoon, but it is being directed at children, and asking them to proselytise that homophobic message to other children (do JW children get classroom doors slammed in their faces?).
As I said, there were many callers to the radio show trying to claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not judgemental but open to all. Well, dears, that is a whole pile of bullshit, no matter how they try to pretty it up. This very video shows a marked degree of intolerance in which it is suggested that only Christian marriage is valid, that LGBT+ people are no better than terrorists, that the little girl should cast off her friend, and that she should tell the other girl her parents are evil and unfit for her god’s paradise.
In my personal experience Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to be among the least tolerant of the religious sects – and they are a sect – against the beliefs of others, or lack thereof, and of LGBT+ people, and this very video, which is nothing but the indoctrination of children with hate speech, bears that out.
But as they are so very fond of quoting Matthew’s Gospel, allow me to finish with a message to the Jehovah’s Witnesses by also quoting from Chapter 7, one of the same chapters mentioned in the video;
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
All Biblical quotes are King James Version.