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Religious Person [eg. a Witness] Could Not Refuse Work as a Lottery Seller


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Read this news article while on the bus home from supermarket. Difficult to make it through with unemployment benefits in Sweden in any case, and now this. Poor brother... Looks like prayers to Jehovah are needed for his [and if he has a family] his family's sake :(

 

The article does not reveal if this decision will or can be appealed against to a higher instance of court. I wonder if a decision like this could have been made in other countries which are not as secular as Sweden.

 

http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/vast/religios-fick-inte-vagra-lotterijobb

 

[The picture in connection with the article seems to be from Arboga where the Swedish branch office was located until a few years ago. The last couple of years the Swedish Remote Translation Office has been housed there, but recently they finished a move to southern Sweden, to the city of Malmö. According to an announcement made to all congregations some time ago, the former branch site with buildings has since been sold to the Arboga municipality.]

 

It is not permitted to refuse a job as a lottery salesman on religious grounds. Freedom of religion does not stretch as far as that according to a decision made in Kammarrätten [Court of Appeal?] in Gothenburg.

 

A person had refused to apply for a job that had to do with selling lottery tickets because gambling and lottery are viewed negatively within Jehovah's Witnesses [that he is a member of].

 

This in turn caused Arbetsförmedlingen [National Employment Agency] to refuse him a guarantee for work and development [form of support for those having been out of work for a longer period of time?] and [further] unemployment benefits. Förvaltningsrätten [District Court?] agreed with the man but Court of Appeal went on to support the decision made by National Unemployment Agency.

 

Expression of Faith

The Court of Appeal does not question that actions of the person were an expression of his faith. On the other hand, protection to practise one's religion does not under European Convention on Human Rights cover every act motivated by one's faith.

 

The refusal to handle lottery tickets, according to the Court of Appeal, does not have close enough connection with practising a faith and thereby can not be covered by freedom of religion.

 

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Well, it is up to this brother to listen to his conscience. I'm curious as to what extent selling lottery tickets would have been in fulfilling this job position. Was the establishment a pure gambling establishment, or would the selling of lottery tickets been just an occasional consequence of working there?

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Ah, I never thought of the possibility that he would have had the selling of lottery tickets as a part of his job. Since from the wording from the original article in Swedish I somehow presumed the work must have meant work at an outlet for selling products closely related to gambling. Over here they have got kiosks that are specialised in gambling as well as selling tobacco and snuff, but lottery tickets and alike are also sold at supermarkets [check-outs and customer service counters].

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An article dated March 2014 (http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/vast/jehovas-vittne-anmaler-arbetsformedlingen) uses following wording: "an employment office worker had let the man know that a lottery company might be interested in hiring him. He [our brother] then chose to refuse the offer on 'ethical and moral grounds.'"

 

What raises my eyebrows is that the Employment Office (according to same article from March 2014) told the brother that they "could not take into consideration personal religious views." Sounds so typical Sweden, grrr...

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Around here, they have stores like "Puff N Stuff", the "Tobacco Outlet" etc etc. Obviously I would never work there. But then a typical grocery store will sell lottery and tobacco, but that's not their main focus. Normally your ringing up groceries, and the tobacco or lottery ticket only comes through as an occasional consequence of your job.

 

I was working at a gas station when I wanted to become an unbaptized publisher. While we did sell gas and oil, candy, soda, chips, etc, there was quite a bit of tobacco, Ohio Lottery, and alcohol sales taking place. The brother who was studying with me said I could not become a publisher while working at that job, and he helped me get into another line of work.

 

While I still don't know if I fully agree with him, it did turn out to be a blessing. I learned a trade and now own my own successful business.

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so, do you think that a job which implies selling cigarettes only occasionally, would be just a matter of conscience?

I think this would be the case with alcohol (because it is not in itself a bad thing), but not with gambling or cigarettes (which are definitely wrong, whatever the quantity)

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so, do you think that a job which implies selling cigarettes only occasionally, would be just a matter of conscience?

I think this would be the case with alcohol (because it is not in itself a bad thing), but not with gambling or cigarettes (which are definitely wrong, whatever the quantity)

 

Yes, this would be a conscience matter. Of course, your conscience may vary :)

 

There is a difference between working at a grocery store where you may only occasionally have to ring up a tobacco item or stock the shelves, versus having to work the tobacco counter itself or at a designated tobacco shop. 

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so, do you think that a job which implies selling cigarettes only occasionally, would be just a matter of conscience?

I think this would be the case with alcohol (because it is not in itself a bad thing), but not with gambling or cigarettes (which are definitely wrong, whatever the quantity)

 

:lol1: Then you couldn't work at ANY grocery store in Las Vegas. Everyone has slot machines at the entry to the store - even the 7-elevens (convenience stores).

 

Oh, and the cigarettes are available at all of these also.  :wave:

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it seems things are different from place to place

In my area, it would be inconceivable to see a witness selling cigarettes, no matter what.

Made a quick research but couldn't find our exact position on this.

Gotta leave. I'll be back tomorrow.  :)


Edited by Adelin
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it seems things are different from place to place

In my area, it would be inconceivable to see a witness selling cigarettes, no matter what.

Made a quick research but couldn't find our exact position on this.

Gotta leave. I'll be back tomorrow.  :)

 

 

The principles are the same, it's just the predominant view of brothers and sisters in a particular area that vary. For example, you can be an elder and a servant and grow a beard anywhere in the world, unless you're in the USA. If you grow one here, you must be the spawn of Satan. :P (which is ironic, since a man with a well-groomed beard or goatee is the hallmark look of wisdom and professionalism these days. But alas, that's another topic :))

 

You'll wanna look up w99 4/15 Questions from Readers. I gleaned my answer from point #3 because I'm sneaky like that :D 

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The other difference too is IF you owned the business then you are in control of selling such practices or substances. But as an employee the responsibility falls onto your employer and since your job isn't centred around selling these items then it becomes a conscience  matter. I've supported my pioneering in past times by working in dairies here in NZ (Cornerstores) - my main job was serve confectionary, ice creams make hamburgers and milkshakes. We did have raffles on the counter and sold cigarettes, but those were not my primary or even substantial means of income.

 

That being said, me personally, i felt dirty selling people cigarettes. Alcohol I wouldn't have a problem with depending on the atmosphere of the establishment.

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The Watchtower lesson says that there is a difference between working in a place where something bad was being sold, and working in a place where many things, good and bad, are sold. The reference is made to Naaman who after taking up worship of Jehovah, still had to physically support his king and employer while he knelt to a false god.   This was one of his many duties, and he was in his heart not worshiping the god himself.

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