If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 22 May 2011


My most recent post reminded me of a little incident from my past as a teacher of English.

I taught two lovely girls in one class in a decent, small-town comprehensive. Both were 16, both were bright and hard-working, and both had put in enough work to get a solid A grade in their English GCSE coursework. All they needed to do was to sit a simple two-hour exam to complete the award. They would have walked it. But a week before the exam, they disappeared from school, never to return. The exam was never taken, and they never got the qualification that might have helped to lead them into an interesting and fulfilling career.

I later learned that, as Jehovah's Witnesses, they had been taken out of school by their families to devote more time to their real 'work', that of travelling the area and preaching the Word to the unbelievers.

Somehow, after that, I could never see JWs as anything other than selfish obsessives with a massively-distorted view of human potential.


  1. My parents were JW's in the 70's and used to terrify us with stories of the imminent end of the world. When the end never materialised the JW's went into decline for a few years but I notice they're as strong as ever now. I think the way that they brainwash children is just child abuse. We believed in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy so had no problem believing in a sky pixie who would throw us into a lake of fire for eternity if we didn't submit to him.
    When JW's visit me now I enjoy taunting them as I was taunted as a child. They are pure filth and bile and should be treated as such.

  2. Speaking of religion, I was at Squires bikers Cafe on Saturday - they don't serve pink fondant fancies, the tea comes in a mug and they put the milk in last. The final straw was not cutting the crusts off the cucumber sarnies. But I did get to donate to a couple of military veterans charities and the Yorkie Air Ambulance. I should have gone to church. What a waste.

  3. "I think the way that they brainwash children is just child abuse."

    I couldn't agree more - round here it's becoming commonplace for them to drag a 3-4 year old child around with them. Do they really think this will encourage people to take more notice, or perhaps not tell them to **** ***?

    It doesn't work as far as I'm concerned....

    I've said before that, despite regularly visiting the delightful old churches round here, I'm not religious myself, and I have no problem with others believing if they so desire. However when it is done under coercion then I DO object.

  4. Hogday, you remind me of that American aphorism:

    "I'd rather be on my motorcycle thinking about God than in church thinking about my motorcycle."

    Thanks for all your comments. To what extent do parents have the right to bring up their children as they please, and at what point does that become coercion? If you want to stop indoctrination, you'd have to start very early (remember the Jesuits and 'give me the child for seven years and I will give you the man'?). Perhaps that means taking the child away at birth and ... hang on, that's not right.

    I like Richard Dawkins' remark that we talk about a "Catholic child" or a "Muslim child" but we don't talk about a "Marxist child" or a "Conservative child". To me, a religion (if any) should be chosen as a conscious adult decision free of any coercion from any source, but I recognise that this is impossible to achieve without massive erosion of people's basic rights.


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