Are the Jehovah’s Witnesses racist?

Jehovah’s Witnesses is a religious group that was founded in the late 19th century. Like many religious organizations, the Jehovah’s Witnesses have made statements in the past that are now considered to be racist and offensive. One such example is the statement that “the negro … continues to be gross, immoral, and deceitful.” This statement, which was made in the early 20th century by the Watchtower, the official magazine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is just one of several racist quotes that the organization has made over the years.

African Americans deemed “gross, immoral, and deceitful”

In an article published in the Watchtower in 1901, missionaries were criticized for their failure to make any real progress in converting African Americans to Christianity. The article claimed that many African Americans had converted to Christianity but had failed to live up to its moral standards, citing adultery, drunkenness, and lying as examples. The article went on to suggest that African Americans were “gross, immoral, and deceitful” despite their conversion to Christianity.

Black race portrayed as cursed by God and destined to be “a race of servants”

The Watchtower’s racist views were not limited to African Americans. In another article published in 1901, the Watchtower suggested that the descendants of Canaan, who were cursed by Noah in the Old Testament, were the “origin of the Black race.” The article went on to claim that the Black race had been cursed by God and that they were destined to be “a race of servants.”

Defending South Africa’s apartheid policy

These racist views persisted throughout the 20th century, with the Golden Age magazine, a publication of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, publishing an article in 1929 that defended South Africa’s apartheid policy. The article claimed that the apartheid policy was necessary to prevent the “black flood” of African immigration from destroying white civilization.

“Lower mental capacity” attributed to the “Negro race”

Even in the 1950s, the Watchtower continued to publish articles that were overtly racist. In an issue of Awake! magazine from 1953, the magazine claimed that the “Negro race” had a “lower mental capacity” than the white race. The article went on to suggest that the reason for this lower capacity was the result of the “Negro’s physical structure” which made them “unfit for higher education.”

The racist views expressed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early 20th century were not unique. Many religious organizations at the time held similar views, and racism was pervasive in American society. However, what makes the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ views particularly concerning is that they claimed to be the “true” Christian religion and that they had a monopoly on the truth.

Religious dogma and the perpetuation of racism

The fact that an organization claiming to be based on Christian principles would make such overtly racist statements is troubling. It raises questions about the role of religion in perpetuating and justifying racism, and it highlights the danger of religious dogma and literal interpretations of religious texts. It also highlights the need for critical thinking and independent thought, especially in matters of faith.

The importance of critical thinking and independent thought

In conclusion, the racist quotes from the Watchtower and other publications of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are disturbing and should not be ignored. They are a reminder of the dangers of dogmatic thinking and the need for critical analysis and independent thought, even in matters of faith. It is important to recognize and confront such harmful ideas in order to build a more just and equitable society.

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