Thinking Out Loud

July 1, 2009

Celebrating Patriotism and Nationalism: Ugh!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:22 pm

canadian fallsSo there we were in Vermont, almost two years ago, on July 4th, thinking we would take in a local fireworks display on Independance Day.   No such luck.

“Well…” the man began, “They do one over at [name of town] on the 4th, but we already had ours, [name of town] did theirs on the 2nd… let me see… I think [name of town] has one coming up on the 7th… the one on the 3rd got rained out… but there’s always fireworks at the big county fair over at [name of town]…”

Anyway, you get the idea.    We went back to the motel and watched “A Capital Fourth” on PBS, with the Macy’s fireworks display.

Canada marches to the beat of a different drummer.   Today is Canada Day, what we called Dominion Day growing up.   Every town, far and wide has their food fair, their festival, their fireworks and anything else that starts with “F” on the same day, July 1st.    Unless it rains.    Which it still might.

Our patriotism and nationalism runs quite cold compared to our U.S. neighbours (there…I spelled it Canadian in honour of the day… also the word honour).    Despite this, we will not be moved from celebrating our holiday on the right day.

Maybe that’s why mid-week worship services never caught on here the way things like Willow Creek’s “New Community” did there.    Church is a Sunday thing here; that is, if it’s even still that.

So Happy Birthday to us.   Canada turns 142 years old today.    Yippee!

Today’s trivia question:  In Canada Jehovah’s Witnesses often do not stand for the national anthem on religious grounds.   In the U.S., are J.W.’s afforded the same opportunity?


  1. Answer to the trivia question:

    Jehovah’s Witnesses are absolutely NEUTRAL, as regards patriotic allegiances, but are respectful of whatever land and customs they live under.

    Here in the USA we stand for the Flag, perhaps face it in deep respect, but do not salute it, as that would indicate allegiance.

    In 1943 the United States Supreme Court (West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette) ruled it was unconstitutional to force some one to give allegiance to something that was not in their heart, reversing their previous decision that the State had the right to force someone to do so.

    Germany at the time had no such sense, and many thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses were executed because they would not violate their neutrality … and exclusive allegiance to their sovereign King, Jesus Christ.

    You may find it nutty that Jehovah’s Witnesses will accept torture and death rather than give allegiance to any nation by saluting their various flags, but they ALSO will face death rather than show any flag disrespect.

    If someone put a gun to your head and said unless you spit on your particular national flag, you would die, right now … would you?

    Jehovah’s Witnesses would choose to die … as that is the price that occasionally has to be paid for TRUE neutrality, and exclusive allegiance to God’s Son.


    Comment by Tom Rook — July 2, 2009 @ 2:20 am

  2. Re: your trivia question; Jehovah’s Witnesses all over the world act in harmony, whether that is in Canada, the U.S. or anywhere else on earth. It is not so much an “opportunity” as it is their determination to act in harmony with their dedication to God’s government. An anthem is “a song such as is sung in a church” (a related word is hymn), so there is a religious aspect to it. Our praise belongs to God exclusively, so while we respect our national laws and government, we only worship God. Regardless of what country we live in, we take the same stand.

    Comment by Shawn — July 2, 2009 @ 8:38 am

  3. Tom and Shawn,

    Thanks for your comments, and to anyone else who adds any. I guess my “trivia” question wasn’t all that trivial.

    Here’s how it came up: My youngest son was in a class all through his elementary grades with a Jehovah’s Witness girl who either had permission not to stand or would be excused in the hallway during the playing of the national anthem each morning.

    Meanwhile… my oldest son came to a position rather similar to your own, where he felt it was wrong to swear such allegiance to a political entity, and simply opted out of standing. (We were rather embarrassed to find this out months and months after the fact, but that’s another issue.)

    So…we started wondering what would happen if a JW person in the U.S. was at an American baseball or football game. I just can’t picture anyone in that situation not standing; and I can imagine the heat they would take from others in the crowd. You Americans as a whole take your nationalism rather seriously.

    Even as a visitor, I would stand for the U.S. anthem at a sports or civic event, even though I think its lyrics are a glorification of war.

    But sadly, I’m not sure that the girl in my youngest son’s class is being taught a good principle here, because the Canadian anthem includes a prayer, “God, keep our land, glorious and free.”

    Yes, it’s true! The anthem of secular, pluralistic Canada contains a reference to God. But for how long?

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 2, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  4. Happy Birthday! That explains why my Canada team in the call cnter I work was OFF yesterday.

    Comment by Mikes Sumondong — July 2, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  5. I don;t know about JW’s but I know there was some flack towards the NY Yankees baseball org this past year when they would not let a guy go to the bathroom during the National Anthem!

    Comment by Rick Apperson — July 2, 2009 @ 11:29 pm

  6. happy birthday brethren Canada!

    Comment by Alex — July 3, 2009 @ 1:27 am

  7. Follow up to your second blog trivia question:

    As long as Jesus is a plastic baby in a manger with an extension cord running back to the house, it does not matter if a person gives their allegiance … pledging their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, all that they will ever be, to a political State … but … a Christian is supposed to be a follower of Christ.

    Jesus taught us to pray for Jehovah’s Kingdom to come, on Earth, as it is in heaven.

    God has appointed resurrected Jesus Christ to rule for him for a thousand years, and in his behalf.

    Christians by definition pledge their allegiance to THEIR LIEGE … Jesus Christ, and God’s Kingdom.

    The only allegiance Jesus had, and he was a natural Jew in a country overrun and occupied by the Roman Army was to his Father’s Kingdom.

    The Apostle Paul was a Jewish and a Roman citizen, and his allegiance was ONLY to the Christ, destined to be Regent for God’s Kingdom, as it’s Liege, and King.

    It’s like this. Jesus is a King, and your exclusive allegiance is to your King (if you are a Christian)…or…it’s not.

    Another thing to consider is this: If you have sworn an oath of allegiance to a political State, which at Armageddon will be destroyed by Christ as the Four Horsemen ride the Earth, destroying all governments competing with Christ’s Kingdom .. you will have a moral obligation to defend your country against this invasion by a foreign King.

    By your sworn oath of allegiance to a State, you will have a moral obligation to fight against the Kingdom of God, destroying that State, and those who the State “owns”.

    If Rome adopted Christendom, we would be living on a Paradise Earth now…but the opposite happened .. Christendom adopted and became all things Roman .. and that has made all the difference.

    If you are NOT a Christian, it is right and proper to defend your nation, and give allegiance to whomever, or whatever you want to.. a person, a nation, a totem pole, or as is the case in the United States “I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America…”, a piece of decorated cloth … or nothing at all if you so choose.

    BUT … and this is the kicker.. IF you are a Christian and your King demands exclusive allegiance, as Jesus does and has a right to demand, (so we do not become slaves to moderated evil), it, because the governments are opposed in principle so much that Jesus will destroy all existing governments .. treason.

    Treason against God.

    Treason against the Christ.

    If Christ is only a December custom and an excuse to party…it does not matter.

    For a Christian…where his or her allegiance lies is a matter of life and death. True faith and allegiance…or treason.


    Comment by Tom Rook — July 3, 2009 @ 1:37 am

  8. As a JW in the United States I attended many sporting events where the National Anthem was played. This the US JW custom —

    If you are sitting when the anthem begins you are not allowed to stand up for it.

    If you are standing when the anthem begins you may remain standing.

    So routinely JW’s will continue standing at their seats until after the National Anthem is played. This saves the undue embarrassment of having to sit down when it starts. If some are uncomfortable with this legal loophole they just go use the restroom, not returning to their seats until after the anthem concludes.

    It is incorrect to suggest the Watchtower is neutral in politics. For 10 years the Watchtower was involved with the UN’s department of public information. This involved supporting the UN charter and actively publicizing on its behalf. You can read this directly from the UN:

    Click to access watchtower.pdf

    Comment by JW News & Comments — July 4, 2009 @ 9:28 am

    • I think Tom is writing as a JW, so perhaps it’s the term “political allegiances” versus the term “politics,” — or maybe you two need to work that out — but are there variances in belief among JWs?

      I know this question is shifting the subject slightly, but I want to do that. In Protestant Christianity we have a gazillion differing denominations (and if you do exit interviews with Roman Catholics, they actually have greater variances in doctrine and theology than Protestants) and I’m wondering if there are variances of belief within Jehovah’s Witness belief. I always thought that belief was extremely uniform in various locations.

      BTW, I applaud some of the JW ecclesiastic concepts: The Kingdom Hall in my area is located halfway between two towns and the people of both towns share the building but apparently their congregations are distinct. (That’s how it was explained to me…) They worked together to put the building up in one week, and we’re talking about a brick structure in the frozen north.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 4, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  9. First of all, I would like to address the supposition that Jehovah’s Witnesses are part of, or were ever part of the United Nations. Or ever supported the United Nations.

    A slander beyond most people’s ability to comprehend.

    This is something that was called to my attention right after the “UK Guardian” broke the story, and it circled the globe among Jehovah’s Witnesses like the news that Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the Japanese.

    Since the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society never commented on this, even when I wrote them a letter and enclosed a check for $5.00 (which they cashed), I started a computer folder and for 5 years or so accumulated from EVERY source I could find information. I got original documents, etc. I worked on this for at least four years, every week. I am an Engineer, and admired the idea of Spock since boyhood, so I was extremely analytical, critical, and presupposed to believe the WTB&TS was lying, cowardly, and trying to dabble in politics, etc, like Christendom does.

    Then, I ran across a 116 page report that proved to my total satisfaction (and I was stunned that it did..) that the WTB&TS was Totally and absolutely faultless in every respect .. put out by someone whose research and analytical skills were better than, they apparently had a year of free time, to do this.

    After having my faith in the Absolute Neutrality of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at leadership level, totally destroyed, it is now fully restored.

    Based on fact, reason, and logic….NOT on the basis of anything they said.

    Officially the “incident that ignited the JW world” never happened.

    It took me over four years of constant research, accumulating data, to find out that their innocence of spiritual adultery with the nations in fact was true.

    A Christian having to be absolutely Neutral as to politics, and allegiance, etc., is such a self-evident truth that perhaps two hundred thousand JWs left association with the Watchtower Bilbe and Tract Society in disgust.

    I can now show proof they were totally faultless (no thanks to the WTB&TS).

    Now: to respond to the question of “varience of belief”.

    This is on an individual level.

    As an example, the Bible, although requiring exclusive allegiance to the Christ, and absolute political neutrality BECAUSE of that exclusive allegiance does not require one to be a pacifist, but if an individual feels in his heart he wants to be a pacifist he is welcome to hold that belief.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses, as befits a Christian, do not war.


    Self defense is permitted, but not political allegiances or fighting for national agendas.

    I have been all over the United States, to Norway, Peru, Germany, the Congo, and Jehovah’s Witnesses all believe the same Biblical truths, exactly the same way.

    I have “spoken” with brothers in another language by calling up a scripture in my Bible and Theirs, knowing they would get the point I was trying to make, exactly as it was intended.

    All over the Earth, we have ONE Universal Language, which is refined the more we learn with experience.


    There is nothing like it in any other religion, and is very hard to even explain. That is why when a person leaves, he is often tormented the rest of his life. (Sometimes yes…sometimes no.).

    It is almost telepathic .. sorta.

    OH! … if you want that report about JWs and the NGO, please email me and I will forward a reference where it can be downloaded.

    It needs to be studied, if you care about such things. Most people do not.


    Comment by Tom Rook — July 4, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  10. Tom,are you referring to Third Witnesses report regarding the UN NGO issue?

    Comment by SpiritualBrother — July 25, 2009 @ 9:44 am

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