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Jehovah's Witness grandparents ordered to keep faith to themselves

 

A pair of devout Jehovah's Witnesses have been ordered by a B.C. provincial court judge not to talk about religion in front of their four-year-old granddaughter.

The couple lost their bid for unsupervised access to the girl because they insisted on taking her to worship at their faith's Kingdom Hall despite the repeated objections of the child's mother.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/jehovah-s-witness-grandparents-ordered-to-keep-faith-to-themselves-1.3282193?cmp=rss

 

 

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A difficult situation but, how would you feel if YOUR parents were, say Catholic, and insisted on taking YOUR child to their church and teaching them untruths? The parent is the responsible party for the child. The scriptures give them that authority and we should respect it. Even if we don't like it. Grandparents are nice ....but they are not the parents. I think this is a case where 'win them over without a word' might be turned up and a court battle turned down.

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A difficult situation but, how would you feel if YOUR parents were, say Catholic, and insisted on taking YOUR child to their church and teaching them untruths? The parent is the responsible party for the child. The scriptures give them that authority and we should respect it. Even if we don't like it. Grandparents are nice ....but they are not the parents. I think this is a case where 'win them over without a word' might be turned up and a court battle turned down.

 

I was thinking the same thing. The judge is in a difficult position because we know how we would feel if all of the positions were reversed.

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I don't think this is a case of being anti witnesses. If another religion was involved, the same legal principles would apply. Parents are the ones responsible for teaching their children, not grand parents. And they should respect te parents wishes. You can teach by conduct and example. It does not necessarily includes taking to the meetings or field service. If the parent said no, try other routes to touch the heart. Hiring an attorney to try to impose your ideas was not a wise decision. I hope it establishes a precedent for future reference.

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I don't think this is a case of being anti witnesses. If another religion was involved, the same legal principles would apply. Parents are the ones responsible for teaching their children, not grand parents. And they should respect te parents wishes. You can teach by conduct and example. It does not necessarily includes taking to the meetings or field service. If the parent said no, try other routes to touch the heart. Hiring an attorney to try to impose your ideas was not a wise decision. I hope it establishes a precedent for future reference.

Great post, yes if it was me in this position, knowing the feelings of the daughter, if I was allowed access to my grandchildren i would respect the wishes of the parent, and just talk about the new system with the child while at my home. There are more ways to witness than to go through processes knowing it would cause trouble.

If I as a grandparent became guardian due to parents being unfit parents then that's a totally different story.

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I read this article a few days ago when the ruling was made and I feel the same as everyone here.  Of course we can sympathize with the grandparents, but the truth is that the parents have the first responsibility to make decisions for their children.  It's unfortunate that it had to go to the courts.  But in this particular case, the court seems to have settled fairly.

 

It does seem that BC judgments tend to settle against Witnesses.  But that's what we have the Supreme court for.  Both here in our province and federally.

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I agree that communication with our children is the way to work through this, along with our kind and helpful actions.  In my case, my son has made his decision to leave the truth (not DF). With regard to my grandson spending time with me over weekends, I made it clear that I would be going to the meetings as per usual on Sundays, and would that pose any problems if my grandson came with me?  The alternative would be they could pick him up before the meeting.  They agreed.

 

I also try to be kind and helpful as they struggle through parenthood, and I can see that my son and his partner appreciate that I am not pushing the truth either on them or on the grandson.  But to my delight, my grandson loves loves loves the meeting, even eager to answer.  He is now 6.  I tell my son that Jhey enjoys the meeting, and answers up to read the subheadings of the WT.  My son just smiles.

 

I think it's sad that this case went to court, as it isn't glorifying our ministry and looks like fanatics pushing their religion on helpless children.  However, so many things are not what they seem and are reported incorrectly, aren't they?

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Wow. How disrespectful of the Grandparents. Why did they have to mess it up like that. They should be grateful that they even have any contact at all with the girl. This does not shine a good light on witnesses.

I was thinking this could cause more problems for other grandparents. We really need to think of the big picture, how others are involved, and what scriptural principles apply rather that focus on what we want. Very short sided.

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There is more to the story than just the over-zealous grandparents.  Ultimately I do think they are responsible for this mess and they overstepped their bounds.  This is understandable though because they want to expose their grandchild to the Truth.  

 

There are other factors if you read the story with discernment.

 

The Family Law Act states that only a guardian has parental responsibilities, including decisions about religious upbringing, and the mother, M.W., is sole guardian. 

 

 

The mother is not married to the father.  The father is the son of the Witness grandparents.  The mother is opposed to the child going to the Kingdom Hall.  Obviously, the mother is not a Witness.

 

The battle is the culmination of a saga that began when the child's biological dad, L.R., told his parents he had fathered a child three weeks after A.W. was born.

L.R. was "disfellowshipped" from the Jehovah's Witness faith, a type of religious excommunication. He testified that he has little contact with A.R. and B.R. He also pays no child support and has no parental responsibilities.

 

 

The baby is now 4 years old.  The dad was a Witness but is now disfellowshipped.  He concealed the fact he was going to be a dad for 9 months.  He told his parents about this baby 3 weeks after she was born.  

 

Apparently the father had a child out of wedlock.  Perhaps a one night stand?  Perhaps a longer relationship that ended badly.  In either case the father is out of the picture, he has no parental rights, is not paying child support and is in no legal position to be a guardian for the child.  I conclude the father was disfellowshipped 4 years ago after displaying an unrepentant attitude in regards sexual immorality - he did not come forward for 9 months.  He's still disfellowshipped which indicates he still has an unrepentant attitude.  Further, since he is not exercising his rights as a father, or has legally relinquished his parental rights, he does not have much of anything to do with his own child.  

 

The mother obviously was not a Witness as the article does not say she was disfellowshipped.  She had a good attitude about the grandparents being a part of the child's life, but that attitude only went so far.  She was not a Witness and apparently has disagreed with the grandmother from the start.  There must be some mixed feelings on everyone's parts.  It's possible the mother is mad at the father and is taking her anger out on the grandparents.  

 

Bottom line is the grandparents should not have been taking the girl to meetings or in service.  Everything might have been fine with simply reading to her from the Bible Story book.  Emotions took over rational thought.  The grandparents are seeing the need to "save" their granddaughter or bring her up in the mental regulating of Jehovah.  

 

All this because the son chose to ignore Jehovah's direction about sex.

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The grandparents want A.W. to experience their religion, while M.W. insists her daughter "can decide when she is older whether or not to participate in any religious practices."

 

 

This is the biggest cop-out any worldly person makes.  I don't know if they are fooling themselves, not thinking or just out-right being hypocritical.  I've never heard any worldly person say this about any denomination in Christendom.  I wonder if the mother would be opposed if the grandparents were Baptists and taking the granddaughter to church on Sunday.  I think this is clearly an anti-Witness viewpoint.

 

What the mother doesn't realize is she's not raising her daughter in a vacuum.  North American life is pretty much the same all over.  We are exposed to false religion from the moment we are born.  It's in the music, it's in the movies and TV shows, it's on the corners of our streets.  The child will go to school and be surrounded by the holidays.  I'm sure the mother will have no problem with birthdays, Christmas or Easter.  Even our next door neighbors who are not religious told their child that their dog that died went to "doggy heaven."  This is a religious mindset from non-religious people.  I have no doubt this mother is a "good person" who will instruct her daughter in a similar fashion that dead people go to heaven, your dead pet goes to heaven, your guardian angel is watching over you or some such nonsense.  

 

It's impossible to not expose our children to religion until they grow up so they can "decide for themselves."  Further, we don't do that with any other discipline or mental regulating.  Children are exposed to their parents political opinions from birth.  Thoughts and feelings on social issues, race relations, moral standards and so forth are continually inculcated into children.  

 

Silly people.

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Yes, lots of things grandparents can do when the parent does not want the child to attend the Kingdom Hall..reading the Bible Story book. Having friends over for a meal, or a get together (especially when there are other children her age), walks in the park talking about Jehovah's creation, singing songs, Sophia and Caleb videos.

 

And the child can truthfully answer that (s)he did not attend a meeting.

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When I first read the article, I thought it was the parents taking the Witness grandparents to court because they refused to comply with the parents wishes. In that case, it's a little unbalanced on the part of the grandparents to allow the fight to continue into court, but at times overzealousness can cause us to go to unscriptural extremes in presenting our defense.

 

Apparently, according to the court documents, my first interpretation was wrong. The grandparents not only repeatedly fought against the parents wishes, they initiated the court case as though they think their religious rights legally override the parents wishes...

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When I first read the article, I thought it was the parents taking the Witness grandparents to court because they refused to comply with the parents wishes. In that case, it's a little unbalanced on the part of the grandparents to allow the fight to continue into court, but at times overzealousness can cause us to go to unscriptural extremes in presenting our defense.

 

Apparently, according to the court documents, my first interpretation was wrong. The grandparents not only repeatedly fought against the parents wishes, they initiated the court case as though they think their religious rights legally override the parents wishes...

    These kind of headlines do not make for a good Witness. True, if the grand parents had won the case the story would have gone quietly to the grave. There would be no good or bad publicity attached to Jehovah’s name. The grand parents should have given some advanced thought to the publicity the case could engender. It is best to choose your battles carefully, select to fight only those you know you will win.

    It reminds me of an old court case from New Hampshire. One of our brothers took offense at the state license plate which declared the motto “Live free or die”. His claim was that having to display the license plate was a violation of his first amendment rights as a Jehovah’s Witness. The case went to the State Supreme Court and he lost. All he accomplished was to drag Jehovah’s name through the mud of public scorn. 

    Choose your battles carefully. Keep Jehovah’s name out of it unless it is in defense of pure worship. 


Edited by Old
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Apparently, according to the court documents, my first interpretation was wrong. The grandparents not only repeatedly fought against the parents wishes, they initiated the court case as though they think their religious rights legally override the parents wishes...

 

I haven't read the records but is there any indication that the grandparents contacted the Branch legal dept before they initiated the case?

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I haven't read the records but is there any indication that the grandparents contacted the Branch legal dept before they initiated the case?

 

There is no indication that the branch or elders were involved in any way, or even a lawyer (which would have certainly been provided if the branch were backing the case). The only lead-up to the case was the grandparents repeatedly violating the parents wishes, and making flimsy excuses for their actions, even during the trial itself.

 

http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcpc/doc/2015/2015bcpc285/2015bcpc285.html

 

[24] The applicants argued that their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter) are being violated because the Charter guarantees their rights to practice their religion. The applicants argue that the Charter gives them the right to express views on any topic, including religion, to A.W. when she is with them.

 

[29] The applicants are wrong to blame M.W. for the diminution in the time they spend with A.W. The applicants have knowingly defied M.W.’s wishes on several occasions. Their explanations include that unless they agree with M.W. they do not have to do as she wants and that they can ignore M.W.’s wishes if A.W., a very young child, expresses a contrary view.

[30] The applicants appear unwilling, and perhaps unable, to accept that they have no parenting responsibilities with respect to A.W. They lack insight into the consequences of their actions.

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There is no indication that the branch or elders were involved in any way, or even a lawyer (which would have certainly been provided if the branch were backing the case). The only lead-up to the case was the grandparents repeatedly violating the parents wishes, and making flimsy excuses for their actions, even during the trial itself.

 

You wish the friends would have enough discernment to realize that any time any legal matter may involve Jehovah's name they should contact the branch for advice..<sigh>

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It is absolutely correct that religious education is the parents job. If I had kids I wouldn't want my parents in-law messing with their minds either, they are atheists.

 

Then again, if the parents expected the grandparents to take care of the kid on an evening or day in which there was a meeting, they'd have to tolerate the grandparents taking them there or find another solution.

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It is sad that it came down to a court case - like everyone has brought out, it portrays JWs in a bad light - that they sued when they wanted their own way.  They should have consulted elders and possibly the branch legal dept before doing this. 

 

What it shows me, in a way, is that maybe they were over zealous because they "lost" their son (who was DF) and maybe were trying to make up for it with the grand daughter.  Some faulty thinking.  Now there is hard feelings on both sides that may cost the grand daughter a close relationship with them.

 

They would have done much better at influencing the grand daughter by stepping back, and doing a gentle influence.  My parents were not religious but my maternal grand mother was a JW and she did not push it on me, just answered questions and as a young teen, she let me go to meetings with her (my parents did not oppose).  I think she did things the right way.


Edited by Rosalie4u
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Hopefully the father will start to think about his responsibility and step up because he could demand that she does go with him. Sad that he doesn't have the right heart condition.

 

If only it were that easy. The mother has a right to decide as well, you know! If she refuses to allow the kid to the Kingdom Hall, well, then that's it!!

 

You see, this is why are admonished to take sexual morality 100% serious without any letup, to only marry in the Lord. Sure you can have a little accident and be all sorry about it and come back. But you will still need to deal with the consequences, and those can turn out to be HEART-WRENCHING!!

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Hopefully the father will start to think about his responsibility and step up because he could demand that she does go with him. Sad that he doesn't have the right heart condition.

Actually the custodial parent has the right to decide on religious training. Even if he started paying child support but did not get custody he could not make those decisions. He could still answer their questions as stated before but he could not proactively provide that training as long as his wife has custody.

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