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Jehovah's Witnesses in the News


Jehovah's Witnesses file $100,000 suit to Silence Whistle-blower Website

Legal proceedings before the Ontario Superior Court were initiated on September 8, 2005 by the WatchTower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (hereinafter WTBTS), the legal corporation used by Jehovah’s Witnesses for their publishing operations, against Peter Mosier, owner and operator of the website located at: http://quotes.watchtower.ca.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, who publicly trumpet their past legal battles to protect freedom of the press, expression, and religion, file suit for monetary damages against a web site that does nothing more than quote interesting excerpts from their own religious literature, which they have printed and freely distributed to the public for decades.

The law suit seeks monetary punitive damages and a court ordered silencing of the aforementioned website, which does nothing more than provide a well researched and topically organized collection of interesting and esoteric quotations from more than one hundred years of religious literature published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.


This in spite of their public sentiment expressed in the August 15, 1950 issue of The Watchtower, page 263, "The Watchtower… invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures." In the May 15, 1957 issue of The Watchtower, on pages 313-315 the WTBTS encouraged readers thusly, "Do you dig out older publications to expand and deepen your knowledge on subjects about which questions arise? Have you really studied these earlier publications? ... There is much in the way of spiritual riches and aids toward mature knowledge in these earlier publications, and their study is most certainly worth your time."


The Open Press, September 24, 2005 by Danny Haszard

Hearing on wrongful death held

A hearing began yesterday to determine whether the Jehovah's Witness religious order should be brought to trial in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a man who blames the church for his daughter's death.

Lawrence Hughes filed a $1-million lawsuit last August against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Canada, Edmonton's Cross Cancer Institute and several doctors and Jehovah's Witnesses.

In his claim, Hughes says the Jehovah's Witness church's policy against blood transfusions prompted the death of his daughter, Bethany Hughes, from acute myeloid leukemia on Sept. 5, 2002.


Edmonton Sun, May 25, 2005

Jehovah's Witness cancer patient may receive blood transfusion

She went to New York to get away from doctors who insisted on giving her a blood transfusion without her consent. But the 14-year-old Jehovah's Witness with bone cancer may still end up receiving blood. The doctors in New York say they will try harder than Canadian doctors to avoid a transfusion. "Blood transfusions continue to be too widely used," Michael LaCorte, director of the blood avoidance program at Schneider Children's Hospital, stated in an affidavit submitted to British Columbia Supreme Court last week. However, hospital staff also assured the court that if all else fails, the doctors would not let her die because she did not receive blood.

"I have explained [to the child] I cannot give her an absolute guarantee there will not be unexpected exigencies that might result in the use of blood products in her treatment," Jeffrey Lipton, who heads the medical team in charge of the girl's care, told the court. "I believe it is difficult for a physician to give a 100-per-cent guarantee that any medical procedure will be entirely successful."

The girl's struggle to assert her right to take control of her medical care and refuse a blood transfusion has captured the attention of the country, raising questions about whether a minor is mature enough to make such life-and-death decisions. B.C. requires a person to be 18 years old.


Last week, the girl went to Schneider Children's Hospital in New York after an agreement was reached with B.C.'s director of child protection. The family and government officials refused to comment or release details of the agreement. Court orders in B.C. and Ontario prohibit the news media from identifying the girl.

She was diagnosed in December with bone cancer, called osteogenic sarcoma, in her right calf. Her treatment was to include six courses of chemotherapy, each lasting 35 days. Chemotherapy affects the body's ability to replace blood cells, and transfusions are often required.

Her doctor in B.C. advised the girl and her parents that he had never provided chemotherapy treatment without blood transfusions, court documents state.

The doctor said that if a blood transfusion were warranted, he would perform one against the girl's wishes.

The girl consented to the chemotherapy treatment, surgical removal of her tumour and, if necessary, amputation of her leg. But, as a Jehovah's Witness, she would not consent to blood transfusions.

Her refusal is based "on God's word," she said in an interview this month with The Globe and Mail. "[God] told us to abstain from blood and we need to obey his commandments."

In a written statement to court in April, she said a blood transfusion was "no different than somebody getting sexually assaulted or raped or robbed or something."


Associated Press, May 23, 2005 by ROBERT MATAS