Pledge of Allegiance vs. Oath of Allegiance

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    M undercover posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:10:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 10427 of 13164
    Joined 9/25/2002

    As has been exposed, leaders of the WT corporation signed "Oaths of Allegiance" in order to secure a US passport for international travel.

    Another thread has a link to photocopies of these passports: http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/watchtower/scandals/198658/1/Lemon-Pledge if you haven't seen them. Marvin Shilmer also has a blog on this same subject.

    The purpose of this thread is to explore the question: Is signing the Oath of Allegiance the same as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance?

    On the surface it seems pretty damning. But is signing a one time oath the same as reciting the pledge? It's stated that reciting the pledge is an act of worship. Is signing the oath an act of worship? On the other hand, JWs are to remain neutral in the world. Reciting the pledge is taking sides with a national emblem and government. Signing the oath is siding with a national government and taking the oath to defend it's constitution against enemies, so help you God.

    I'd like to hear objective arguments both for and against this seemingly hypocritical action of the WT leaders. Apologists are welcome to defend the actions of their leaders as are those who will definitely deride and criticize the leadership.

    I'm just the moderator of this debate. I have my personal opinion of which I will keep to myself for the time being.

    Let's keep it civil...Marquess of Queensbury rules apply...

    F snowbird posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:24:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 18505 of 23468
    Joined 5/2/2007
    Let's keep it civil...Marquess of Queensbury rules apply...

    All 12?

    Tee hee hee.

    Definition of oath: To swear solemnly to do something. Synonym: Pledge

    Definition of pledge: A solemn promise to do or refrain from doing something. Synonym: Oath

    Same window, different dressing.

    Syl

    M undercover posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:27:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 10429 of 13164
    Joined 9/25/2002
    Definition of oath: To swear solemnly to do something. Synonym: Pledge
    Definition of pledge: A solemn promise to do or refrain from doing something. Synonym: Oath

    Interesting. Thanks for that...

    A knock down in round one. Can the defender beat the count and get back up?

    JWoods posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:31:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 4911 of 4822
    Joined 6/23/2009

    Signing the Oath is "theocratic strategy" because it can be done in private and no one can see you doing it.

    The Pledge. however, is idolatry because people can see you doing it. Nobody does this in private.

    It all depends on whether somebody can see you or not - to the WTBTS.

    F snowbird posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:42:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 18508 of 23468
    Joined 5/2/2007

    In days of yore, taking an oath meant invoking the aid of a god to carry out said oath.

    Therefore, I contend that if reciting the pledge of allegiance to a country is idolatry, even more so is signing an oath of allegiance.

    Syl

    Olin Moyles Ghost posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:48:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 657 of 662
    Joined 2/2/2008

    There's a Questions From Readers article on this--from the 1970s, I think. If I recall correctly (it's been a while since I read it), the WTS "logic" goes something like this:

    (1) Signing an oath of allegiance to support and defend the constitution is different from pledging allegiance to a flag--which the WTS considers an idol.

    (2) Also, the constitution of the US and other western countries include a provision for freedom of religion.

    (a) Hence, the WTS could argue that an oath to support and defend such a constitution would necessarily be limited by its freedom of worship provisions.

    (b) Thus, any such oath made by a Witness would incorporate by reference the WTS "neutrality" doctrine. This would mean that a Witness would only be swearing to "support and defend" the constitution up to the point it conflicted with WTS doctrine.

    F Mary posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:49:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 11847 of 12763
    Joined 6/26/2002
    But is signing a one time oath the same as reciting the pledge? It's stated that reciting the pledge is an act of worship. Is signing the oath an act of worship? On the other hand, JWs are to remain neutral in the world. Reciting the pledge is taking sides with a national emblem and government. Signing the oath is siding with a national government and taking the oath to defend it's constitution against enemies, so help you God.

    I would assert that neither acts are very different from each other. For example, Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted under the Nazi Regime for refusing to pledge allegience to the Third Reich via the "Heil Hitler" salute. As any Witness will proudly tell you, they were offered freedom if they signed a piece of paper renouncing their faith. To their credit, virtually all Witnesses refused and suffered for it big time. There's no way they would have viewed signing that piece of paper as anything other than an 'act of worship' and no different than participating in the 'Heil Hitler' salute.

    Since the Organization has (foolishly) stated that reciting the Pledge of Allegience is an act of worship, there is no way that they can assert that signing the Oath of Allegience is not an act of worship, given their opposition to Hitler (whether verbally or with the pen).

    JWoods posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:55:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 4914 of 4822
    Joined 6/23/2009

    But people - how could the Watchtower heavies get a PASSPORT so they can do WORLD TRAVEL without signing the Oath?

    (even if it does contradict everything they ever said about the flag salute - all the way up to the supreme court)

    Kind of like how they realized that vaccines or immunizations were not so bad after all when they became needed to go to certain foreign countries.

    F snowbird posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 15:07:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 18510 of 23468
    Joined 5/2/2007

    This just underscores their hypocrisy, craving for attention, and lack of foresight.

    Which brings up the question, did Rutherford do something similar in order to obtain a passport?

    Syl

    M undercover posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 15:21:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 10433 of 13164
    Joined 9/25/2002

    Thanks, OMG. I'd love to see that article, if anyone can access it (hint hint). I'd like to see their exact words in how they justified this.

    Mary - you bring up an interesting point. All the Bible Students/JWs had to in Nazi Germany was sign a piece of paper...something done in private as JWoods alluded to.

    Yet what they signed was more than committing an oath, it was a renouncing of their faith. There is a difference there. If the WTS could justify some Theocratic Strategy in agreeing to sign the Oath of Allegiance, couldn't an individual JW use Theocratic Strategy in signing the Nazi form? But OTOH, TheoStrat might not apply in comparing the two because in the Oath of Allegiance one can agree up to a point and the signee can withhold the rest of their commitment. On the Nazi form one would have to out and out lie to sign it. Speaking from the WT legalize thought that is...

    I'd say that the Malawi party card situation is more damning. JWs were coerced by the leadership to refuse to sign up for what amounted to a national ID card and they suffered greatly. Meanwhile WT leaders traveled the world without out so much thinking twice about signing an oath to defend the US. Ooops... I editorialized.... I'm supposed to be moderating...

    JWoods - you introduce another issue into WT doctrine being revised in order to abide by Caeser's law... immunization for travel. I've never considered that before.

    Sylvia - Rutherford did sign the oath for a passport. The link above takes you to a thread that has a link to a photocopy. Check it out when you can view images.

    F snowbird posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 15:35:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 18511 of 23468
    Joined 5/2/2007

    In 1935 Watchtower published this article about one of Jehovah’s witnesses:

    http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/social/current/143583/1/JW-tragedy-in-Newark-New-Jersey

    I was able to view the copies at Marvin Shilmer's site.

    Off topic, I was quite intrigued by the above article in the Golden Age, also from Shilmer's site.

    I wonder if the Priester in the article and the Priester mentioned in the above link are related.

    Small world, and all that ...

    Syl

    F Mary posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 16:07:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 11849 of 12763
    Joined 6/26/2002
    Yet what they signed was more than committing an oath, it was a renouncing of their faith. There is a difference there.

    Not in Watchtower-land. Don't they have some ridiculous 'rule' now (probably for legal reasons), that if Witness accepts a blood transfusion, they're no longer "disfellowshipped" for it, but rather, they have renounced their faith and have 'disassociated themselves'? Don't they actually view a breaking of their rules without being repentent as a 'renouncing of their faith'?

    Or look at it this way: A JW student goes to school where he/she tells the teacher that they can't stand up for the National Anthem because his religion views it as an 'act of worship'. The principal says "That's okay Timmy.....just sign this piece of paper with the Oath of Allegience on it and everything will be fine." Timmy doesn't know what to think so he goes home and asks his parents who in turn ask the elders if this would be acceptable. Take one guess what their answer would be? A resounding "NO!!" There's no way in hell that they'd view it as being anything different. In fact, I just might call Crooklyn one of these days, give them that scenario and see what they say.

    believingxjw posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 16:16:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 186 of 503
    Joined 6/11/2009

    The way it was explained to me when I was young was that the pledge states, "I pledge allegiance to the flag and to the republic..." The flag then, is also the object of allegiance not just the country, pledging allegiance to an object makes it an idol.

    But that was a long time ago and I've almost forgotten all that stuff.

    Marvin Shilmer posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 17:03:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 871 of 3245
    Joined 5/6/2001

    Is signing a one time oath the same as reciting the pledge?

    By “pledge of allegiance” I think you are referring to the flag salute ceremony wherein there is a pledge of allegiance. There is a difference between this pledge and pledging the national oath of allegiance. These differences include:

    -- One pledge is made to an image (a flag) and the other is not.

    -- There are differences in language between the two pledges.

    -- One pledge is a higher oath to the nation than the other.

    The oath of allegiance pledged by Watchtower presidents is the highest oath of allegiance to the United States that is recognized historically, under law, and by non-governmental authorities. During the War Between the States pledging the oath of allegiance was the means by which a person identified themselves with one side or the other side of the conflict.

    It's stated that reciting the pledge is an act of worship. Is signing the oath an act of worship?

    Watchtower taught Jehovah’s Witnesses that oaths of allegiance were acts of worship. This is why we find historical and contemporary evidence of Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing to pledge the same oath of allegiance sworn to by Watchtower presidents.

    Marvin Shilmer

    M undercover posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 17:42:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 10435 of 13164
    Joined 9/25/2002

    Some more interesting observations.

    Sylvia - I remember reading that piece about the Georgia JW losing his job. Interesting that this is printed in 1935, basically touting his steadfastness and loyalty to God, yet the leadership didn't have the same resolve in subsequent years. Good find.

    Mary - Yea, the good ole WT... say one thing, do another, mean another when backed into a corner. I'm trying to play devil's advocate (stress: trying) in order to see how a JW might try to defend the actions of their leadership. Needless to say, it's hard to bend over that far backwards. And with that, it's apparent what my opinion is, if it were even in dobut before...

    b-xjw - that, to me, is about the only argument that I can see an apologist making. The "Pledge" is an act of worship. The "Oath" is not. It falls apart quickly after that as Marvin shows.

    Marvin - Thanks for adding to the discussion. The Oath of Allegiance being regarded as the highest oath is even more damning to the WT leaders. Imagine, JWs are taught to never pledge allegiance to the flag, yet the leaders who hold this standard out as a requirement to show your 'allegiance' to God instead of man's rulership go even further by signing the oath of allegiance to the US. Under their own rules, they are no longer allegiant to God, but to the US government. They have apostosized themselves.

    F snowbird posted Thu, 16 Sep 2010 18:05:00 GMT(9/16/2010)

    Post 18521 of 23468
    Joined 5/2/2007

    This deserves a hefty bump.

    Syl

    M glenster posted Fri, 17 Sep 2010 13:00:00 GMT(9/17/2010)

    Post 1041 of 2813
    Joined 1/26/2007

    See the article at the next link. It looks like the JWs leaders ruled against pledges and oaths except when making an identical oath for a passport (pre-1972) so the JWs could more freely travel to sell JWs leaders' literature and for whatever reason JWs leaders had to travel.

    http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/malawi-mexico-oath-allegiance.php

    1994 "Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that saluting a flag, singing a national
    anthem, and reciting a pledge of allegiance are religious acts. Their Bible-
    trained conscience does not permit them to participate in such acts of worship.
    (Matthew 4:10; Acts 5:29) No matter what country they live in, this is their
    stand in imitation of Jesus Christ, who said that his followers would be 'no
    part of the world, just as (he was) no part of the world.'—John 17:16."
    ("Awake!" Jan.8, 1994, p.2) (See 1935 and 1995 on p.1a.)

    Malawi

    "But for Jehovah’s Witnesses to buy a political card and thus join a political
    party would be an open denial of what they believe and stand for.” ("Awake!"
    Aug.8, 1976, p.5)
    http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/malawi-mexico-oath-allegiance.php

    The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an oath of loyalty to the
    national flag and the republic of the United States of America, originally
    composed by Francis Bellamy in 1892.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance

    An oath of allegiance is an oath whereby a subject or citizen acknowledges a
    duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to monarch or country.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_allegiance

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