"Will You Heed Jehovah's Clear Warnings?" Watchtower 15th July, 2011 Page 16, paragraph 6 “Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings. (1 Tim. 6:3,4) Jehovah, the Great Physician, tells us to avoid contact with them. We know what he means, but are we determined to heed his warning in all respects?” The material presented in this article discriminates against (targets or singles out) 2 groups of people. There are those who are interested in examining their beliefs and who are interested in learning the truth as the Bible teaches it. The second group of people are those who have been affected by mental illness or intellectual impairment. There is nothing Scripturally wrong with seeking answers to questions about one's beliefs and Bible topics, and researching these matters. The Bible encourages it. 1 John 4:1 “Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired expression, but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.” Then there is the example of the Beroeans mentioned at Acts 17:10, 11: “Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas out ot Beroea, and these, upon arriving, went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now the latter were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.” The Society, using the Watchtower study material mentioned above, publicly directed the congregations to view those who question and disagree with the Society's views, as being “apostate” and as being “mentally diseased” and that these individuals should be avoided and shunned. The scripture 1 Tim. 6:3,4 was cited as supposedly being the basis for this action. This scripture has been lifted out of context – the last part of verse 2 says: “Keep on teaching these things and giving these exhortations.” Verses 3 and 4a state: “If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, he is puffed up (with pride), not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words.” So the “apostate” label applies to those who reject Jesus and his teachings. Those who are serious about their spirituality DO NOT fall into this category. They are focused on cultivating a close relationship with Jehovah and recognise that Jesus has an important role in Jehovah's purpose (so they don't reject Jesus) and they accept what Jesus taught, as well as seeking a deeper understanding of the Bible. To label such ones as being “apostate” and as being “mentally diseased” is a form of discrimination. Such individuals are being targeted or singled out and then it is implied that they are somehow “inferior” to the rest of the congregation. The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (this has been amended over the years) covers a wide scope of areas and situations in which discrimination may occur against an individual. It is an Australian legislation (I don't know much about the legislation that exists in other countries so I can only write about what I know). The Act outlines areas in which people may experience discrimination – for example, age, gender, race, relationship status, parental status, religious belief and religious activity, impairment (physical and intellectual). These are referred to as “attributes” or “characteristics”. For example, if I apply for a job, and the interviewer says to me “We are looking for someone younger”. Then I am being discriminated against because of my age. So in this case, my age would be the “attribute” being discriminated against. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/q...991204/s7.html A person may also be discriminated against if they have been targeted or labelled and then a quality, characteristic or attribute is imputed to them (i.e. an implication or an assumption). For example, with the phrase “apostates are mentally diseased” - “apostate” is the labelling word, “mentally diseased” is the quality, characteristic or attribute imputed to individuals who have been “labelled”. In other words, people being labelled “apostate” are therefore being viewed as being automatically “mentally diseased”, as if this were a foregone conclusion. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/q...991204/s8.html The second group of people who are discriminated against in the study article are those who are affected by mental illness or intellectual disability. This ranges from clinical depression and anxiety through to those who are affected by intellectual disability whether that comes about through inherited illness or as a result of complications during birth (i.e. lack of oxygen) or from other causes. There are individuals affected by mental illness or intellectual disability both inside and outside the congregation. Such ones are also discriminated against by means of imputing a quality, characteristic or an attribute to them (an implication or assumption). For example, in stating that “apostates” are “mentally diseased” and should be avoided, the Society is sending out a very negative message to individuals who have mental illness and intellectual disability. This casts such individudals in a very poor light. They are being labelled (put on the same level) as being contagious, evil, and dangerous and so therefore are viewed as being “inferior” (implication or assumption) and should be avoided. It is an insult to such individuals to refer to them as if they are inferior or sub-human and deserve to be shunned. The rights of those who are mentally ill or who have an intellectual disability (as well as those who have a physical disability) are upheld and protected by The Anti-Discrimination Act. These individuals are entitled to the same rights and privileges that others in society have access to. They also have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. The objective of The Anti-Discrimination Act (along with legislation that upholds the rights of people with disabilities to access services and be included in the community) is to assist with the breaking down of stigma and prejudice so that individuals with mental illness and intellectual/physical disability are treated in a fair and unbiased manner. Finally, mention should also be made as regards the Watchtower study edition itself. Although it is an edition that is printed for members only, the information contained within the study was presented by a speaker from a platform (so therefore was presented in a public setting). Under the Anti-Discrimination Act, this is classified as a “public act”. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/q...91204/s4a.html So it can be said that the means of communication (public speaking) was used to discriminate against both of the above mentioned groups at the time the material was delivered. In this day and age where much emphasis is placed on 'polictical correctness', surely it would be possible for a group of older brothers (who hold a position of responsibility) to be able to set the example in presenting material in a civilised, professional manner without having to resort to name-calling. Jehovah takes note of what is happening in his house and takes note of the way his sheep are treated.