Jehovah´s Witnesses violate the rights of children

Exclusion of minor children is in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Norway’s State Administration has settled a case in which it determines that children’s rights are violated when Jehovah’s Witnesses practice their exclusion methods. Children are exposed to negative social control and are held accountable within the organization´s closed legal system – and are judged as adults. All children deserve the same level of rights, not just Norwegian children.

If you are registered as a “recognized religious community” (Act no. 1533 of 19 December 2017 on religious communities outside the national church) in Denmark, you have a number of financial advantages regarding (property) tax and VAT. In addition, members can donate a tax-dectable amount.

In Norway, brave members of Jehovah´s Witnesses contacted the authorities because they felt trapped and did not dare to leave the sect for fear of the personal consequences it would have. Yesterday, Norway’s State Administration announced to the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization that the religious freedom of the members is violated when the organization expels its members. The decision does not mean that Jehovah’s Witnesses will disappear from Norway. They can still practice their religion, they just no longer get millions of tax crowns every year, and then they lose the right to seal marriages.

In October, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Norway were warned that the financial state support was about to end. On the same occasion, the organization was asked whether it wanted to change its exclusionary practices so that it could continue receiving government support. To that, the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization replied no. At the same time, the organization hired a high-profile lawyer.

Jehovah’s Witnesses practice what was previously known as “excommunication” and has since changed name to “exclusion,” probably to create an illusion to the public of a softer punishment.

But excommunication is exactly the same as exclusion. In practice, it means that you are dead to your family and former friends. I know how it works, because I have experienced it myself. If you are walking in the street and pass someone you have known since you were a child, he must pass you by without acknowledging you. If you call home, your parents must hang up immediately. No contact, whatsoever, is allowed. If you become desperate and show up outside your parents’ doorstep, they must must close the door on you – the treatment of an excommunicated member is the same, no matter how old or young he or she is. Imagine how many excommunicated members die from suicide or go back into the cult – not to mention those who do not dare to leave for fear of the treatment they know they will have to endure.

That is precisely why Norway has now had enough. It is inhumane to treat especially children and young adults like this. When I confronted my mom with this, I was told that had made the choice when I chose to be baptized and therefore knew the consequences when I chose to leave the sect. To be clear, I was baptized two weeks after my 14th birthday, had not yet had my first period, had never been in love, or kissed a boy – in short, I had accepted restrictions, I had no understanding of.

The sect strongly encourages you to get baptized as early as possible – after that you are reliable for your actions according to their rules and restrictions. You are held accountable for your actions on equal terms with adults. I have heard of children as young as 8 who have been baptized – and judged as adults when they start asking questions or breaking the sect’s rules.

There has been a citizens’ proposal to deprive Jehovah’s Witnesses in Denmark of their recognition as a religious community. Unfortunately, not enough signed the petition for the Danish Parliament to consider the proposal.

That’s a shame. On the one hand, Jehovah’s Witnesses are immensely happy to receive the economic benefits that the Danish state provides, on the other hand, such a state-supported economy is de facto a symbol of accepting the inhumane, sectarian doomsday cult’s practice, which, with its Gestapo methods, forces the members to rat on each other – with severe personal consequences.

So, what has been Jehovah’s Witnesses reaction to the decision in Norway? Ironically, they state that they are a persecuted minority, that their freedom of religion is challenged, that they are the victims of a crusade that tries to make the lives of the witnesses as difficult as possible, and pressure them to change the interpretation and practice of the Bible’s message, which they of course “have no intention” of doing. It is tragicomic to see how their manipulative rhetoric trickery is turned upside down.

My hope is that more countries will look to Norway as a pioneering country – not only when it comes to financial support and lucrative tax-exemptions for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but for all religious communities, cults, and sect organizations that take children and young people hostage and use social control contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and general common sense. The state must play a greater role – especially in democratic countries. After all, we can only expect more insane religions and sects on our doorstep in the future.


Børn skal ikke straffes som voksne – men det bliver de inden for Jehovas Vidner

At udstøde mindreårige børn er i strid med Børnekonventionen

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My Experience Being a Human Book

Despite the American life I have built with two children, a husband, and a dog, I will always carry a deep sadness and a sense of loss that I have to live with every day.

Have you heard of the Human Book Project? Neither had I – even though the idea, which has become an international sensation, is Danish. The project has existed since 2000, when a group of young Nordic initiators saw it unfold at the Roskilde Festival.

The idea behind The Human Book project is beautiful in its premis. Human rights cannot solely be enforced through legislation, the general public must also participate in the fight against injustice, oppression, and discrimination through intercultural dialogue. Unjudging and breaking down prejudice is the main idea.

On October 7, the Human Book Project reached the other side of the globe when Folio in Seattle held a two-day event. Don’t judge a book by its cover could not be more apt for the Human Book Project’s mission.

So, how does the project work in real life? In all its simplicity, you borrow a person instead of a book. The “reading” takes place as a dialogue with the human book. The purpose is to break down prejudices and strengthen dialogue through meeting strangers you might have a prejudice against. Examples of human books are: a policemen, homosexuals, feminists, Muslims, etc.

The human books in Seattle were a disabled pole dancer, a woman who could see spirits, a stuttering gay professor, an unemployed man, and many more. I was there as a book because I survived the sect Jehovah’s Witness.

Before the event, I was not sure about what questions I would get, whether there was anyone at all who would “check me out.” I decided that I would answer any question and not hold back anything.

So I let it all out, answered every question. Questions about physical and psychological abuse, sexual violence, suicide, and about being a girl trying to navigate in a world dominated by (male) adults with misogynist stone aged mindsets and an eternal threat of risking becoming God’s enemy if you didn’t following their rules.

And then, I told about gaining my freedom – and that the price for my freedom was losing everything: Family, friends, my identity. I told people that despite the life I have been able to build with two children, a husband, and a dog in my American life, I will always carry a deep sadness and a sense of loss that I have to live with every day.

That fact is something people don’t like to hear. In many peoples minds, the story about the evil Jehovah’s Witness men, the rules, the manipulation, the years of loss and the search for a new identity must have a happy ending. Period. No insecurity, no inferiority, no frustration, no longing. There cannot be deep scars on my soul, only small tears are accepted. And certainly, people do not want to hear that I have living family members with their own lives far from mine with whom I have no contact. Much less, they want to hear, that my children have a grandmother, aunts, and cousins with whom they could have a relationship – if things were not the way they are.

The Human Book Project did what it was supposed to do – because I pushed back when one well-meaning person after another told me that I HAD to contact my family. Meanwhile, I was thinking about the purpose of the project: unjudge and face your prejudices, in a dialog between a human book and its “reader,” it goes both ways.

The world is not as simple as many of us would like it to be. I told the well meaning and kind hearted human book borrowers, that not everything in my life is as I wish it was, even though I have the life I want, a life I chose. In my case, there is a price to pay. It’s a realization I’ve spent years arriving at, a realization my “readers” were not immediately willing to accept. And that is exactly what makes the Human Book Project so important.


Menneskebiblioteket går i kødet på fordomme

På trods af det liv, jeg har fået stablet på benene med to unger, mand og hund i min amerikanske tilværelse, vil jeg altid bære en dyb sorg og et savn, jeg må leve med hver dag.

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While women in Iran burn their headscarves, Danish Muslims talk about a non-debatable God given order for men and women

I recognize the Muslims’ rhetoric about fixed gender roles from my time in the sect Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Iran is on fire – women are burning their headscarves and protesting in the streets in hopes of freedoms Western Muslims take for granted.

On September 16, Masha Amini, a young 22-year-old Iranian woman, was arrested by the morality police. A few hours later, she died in their costidy.

Across Iran, women are protesting against the hard line the country’s leaders are increasingly implementing. More than 76 protesters have been killed, over 1,300 have been arrested.

“Sometimes you have to listen for what is not being said and pay attention to what is implied.

What do these women who put their lives on the line have to lose? Nothing. They see no future for themselves or their fellow sisters – that´s why they are willing to put their lives on the line. As a side note, this is a stark contrast to the hundreds of thousands of Russian men who are leaving Russia in droves these days instead of fighting a system that suppresses basic human rights.

In tiny Denmark, a group of Western, privileged Muslims discuss gender and equality on a radio podcast. “Patriarchy and matriarchy: Do they apply in Islam?”, is the theme of the program.

Sometimes you have to listen for what is not being said and pay attention to what is implied.

In the studio, are two guests; a woman and a man. Hamid and Kasper. The male radio host consistently lets Kasper answer first throughout the broadcast. Kasper has a smooth voice, but his words are as dangerous as snake venom.

“Patriarchy and matriarchy are words used in a gender discourse that is dangerous and that you have to be very careful with as a Muslim,” Kasper says. As the most natural thing, he draws up a view of gender that I recognize with a chill from Jehovah’s Witnesses. He would like to avoid concepts of gender, but that is “unfortunately” not necessary in society, i.e. the Danish one, in which he lives.

It is clear that one can easily be called Kasper and be brought up in Denmark without becoming a democratically minded citizen. In his soft voice, he continues with an argument that the two sexes have strict, God-given roles. The world is determined by Allah, the relationship between women and men is not up for debate.

His arguments are full of sardonic juice frosted with academic terms. He even refers to the feminist Simone de Beauvoir’s book “The Second Sex”, and pronounces the title in beautiful French. I wonder if the French feminist would turn in her grave if she heard how her words are being twisted in the mouth of a misogynist?

“Men and women are created as one body. If one part hurts, the other parts will hurt. If one part … makes a power takeover, the body becomes in conflict with itself.” The monologue elicits an approving murmur from the other two present in the radio studio. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to listen to such incoherent, illogical nonsense. Would they be able to see beyond their indoctrinated gender views if I with a twinkle in my eye asked them how the analogy makes any sense given that men’s health is statistically so much worse than women’s?

The woman in the studio, Hamid, personifies women at their worst – arguing against gender equality. She is skeptical of the terminology examining power structures between the sexes. And then she says something that sends a chill down my spine: “It’s part of the reality we’re part of right now.”

“Right now.”

That term was widely used within Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Right now” suggests that it will not always be like this. It is an encouragement or a warning depending on ones temperament.

There are no critical questions asked about the views presented, there is only a tunnel-vision conversation about how different a Muslim mindset is from the Western one based on gender equality. “We have a different approach to life… we fundamentally do not share the same outlook on life with this way of thinking.”

“This way of thinking.”

You mean the Danish, Western and extremely well-functioning one with a focus on gender equality? My thoughts drifted to the debate about integration and to the fact that the Danes are regularly criticized for using a them-and-us rhetoric. Ditches can be dug on both sides of the value frontline.

Iranian women and Afghan schoolgirls will probably disagree with Danish Kasper, who says: “The roles of men and women must not be challenged. This is a violent trend in the West.” He continues: ‘In Muslim environments there is a difference between the sexes. It is a man who is an imam … a man who teaches. The women are at the back of the room … that’s how it is.’

No matter how many academic phrases like “gender discourse,” “power structures,” and “post-structuralist” Kasper and Hamid use, the pot is full of the same dirty scum. I came to think of an expression we use here in the US, which reads: “to put lipstick on a pig.” No matter how hard you try to make something unpleasant sound or look nice, there will always be a stinking pig underneath.

Words are powerful, words can be twisted, and words can create prisons for those who are not allowed to speak freely. That premise is what Iranian women are rebelling against these days. They pay with their lives when they try to question the order their gender has been forced into.

It leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth when I hear Danish Muslims comfortably sitting in a radio studio in Denmark and pseudo-talk about how it is not important, yes indeed, downright ungodly to question the place, role and rights of the sexes. Western, privileged Muslims should stand shoulder to shoulder with their co-religionists in Iran and Afghanistan and fight for women’s right to be independent individuals who are not subordinate to men.

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Mens kvinder i Iran brænder deres tørklæder, sidder danske muslimer og taler om en fastlagt orden for mænd og kvinder

Muslimers retorik om faste kønsroller genkender jeg fra Jehovas Vidner.

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Hvis babyer er små djævleunger, hvordan tror du så, Jehovas Vidner ser på dig?

Jehovas Vidner holder for tiden stævner i Danmark, og det er ikke småting, medlemmerne indoktrineres med.

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If babies are little enemies of God and in effect children of the Devil – how do you think Jehovah’s Witnesses look at you?

Jehovah’s Witnesses are currently holding conventions in Denmark, and members are not indoctrinated with them.

“Pursue Peace!” is the title of Jehovah’s Witnesses convention this year. And that sounds very reliable. But behind the title hides a gloomy message.

Stephen Lett is a member of what Jehovah’s Witnesses call the Governing Body. He gave a talk on how Witnesses should view people outside their organization.

Not only do Jehovah’s Witnesses even have to be very careful about treating unbelievers like us worldly ones, they also have to consider newborn babies – even their own – as devil fry.

The argument goes like this:

Stephen Lett begins by stating the title of his talk “Frindship with God, how possible?” and continues: “If we think about it, we are not born friends of God. We are born of a sinful offspring of Adam. ”

One senses that Lett builds up his argumentation as a multi-stage rocket, where the acceptance of one argument is followed by another. And now it becomes grotesque: “Actually, if you think about it, we are born as enemies of God.”

And then comes the moment when you check your hearing in disbelief. I can´t help thinking about my mother as she sits in her neat church clothes in front of the screen and listens. She gave birth to five children. What is she thinking as she listens to the following words?:

“Sometimes you will hear people say about a little baby: Look at that little angel! But more accurate would be to say:…” and here Stephen Lett pauses dramatically:” Look at that little enemy of God! “

Say, what!? I shouldn´t be surprised, but I guess I have been away from that rhetoric long enough that I am stunned, though not surprised.

Jehovah’s Witnesses learn to fear and hate Satan. Satan is, of course, an enemy of the God they are told they worship by following the rules within the congregation. They are told again and again that that one is born sinful because that story about Adam and Eve, the fruit in the Garden of Eden and all.

If you do not obey God, you will be destroyed in Hamageddon. Obeying their interpretation, that is. Ge’ez, quietly listening to this in the Kingdom Hall Sunday after Sunday as a little girl can make you break out in sweats. Fortunately, everyone is told that the situation is not entirely hopeless because you can become a friend of God. What a relief!

Such is the argument. I know, because I’ve experienced it from the inside of the Kingdom Halls for years.

When Jehovah’s Witnesses bring the good news to your doorstep about the opportunity for you to receive everlasting life in a paradise on earth, there’s a dark side to it. They see everyone as enemies of God. Even newborn, tiny little babies.

“Does that mean I will die if I do not become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses?” many people ask the pair outside their door.

“That is not up to us to decide,” is the answer they have rehearsed. After all, who wants to tell someone that they will be exterminated in a terrible and bloody battle? Instead they say:”but you have the opportunity to enter into God’s paradise if you follow his rules.”

The fact is, that at their meetings they are told over and over again that yes, everyone, children, the elderly, and the adults will be wiped out in the cruel war if they do not become Jehovah’s Witnesses. Do not think for one second that this is not what they think when they smile at you in their suits and pleated skirts.

The only reason you meet Jehovah’s Witnesses in your daily life is that they have a duty to reach out by either knocking on your door, calling your phone, writing letters, or otherwise preach their message. It is one of the rules that they must preach in order to increase the opportunities to enter their paradise. So sure, they do it to try to save you – but they certainly mostly do it to save themselves. If even their own babies are considered enemies of God how do you think they look at you?

Holy Moley! – I am glad to not be part of a cult that speaks through both sides of their mouths. One side preaches peace and eternal life and the other sees babies, children, and the rest of us out here in the real world as wandering lost enemies and friends of the Devil.

Højesterets udmeldinger i USA er politiske – derfor stritter deres afgørelser i denne uge i øst og vest

En religiøs, amerikansk fodboldtræner bad sammen med spillerne på banen efter kampene – og har nu Højesterets ord for, at det er helt ok.

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In the United States, the Supreme Court’s announcements are political – which is why their decisions this week are all over the place

A religious, American football coach prayed with the players on the field after the matches – and now has the Supreme Court’s word that it is perfectly ok.

The Supreme Court has taken Americans hostage in a right-wing religious propaganda stunt that is dividing the population more than it already is.

Here in my state of Washington, a football coach has become known nationally overnight. The story centers around Joseph Kennedy, who was the coach of the local high school team. After each match, he prayed, often with several of the players. Some have later said they felt obliged to participate – it is after all the coach who chooses which players get to play on the field. When the school district learned about the coach praying on public grounds, they asked him to stop, which he refused. That got him fired from his coaching job.

I imagine the Russian tennis coaches at our local club praying to their orthodox God, after the kids have finished their backhand exercises, I see for my inner eye how my son’s Colombian soccer coach extracts a crucifix from his front pocket instead of a yellow card and gathers the kids around him to some Roman Catholic cheer, I see myself standing for the flag and national anthem at my kids swim meets while being forced to see the coaches standing with their arms up in the air, rocking back and forth, praying as if the Holy Spirit were upon them. You get the point: Jews, Muslims, Hindus and all sorts of other faiths and ways of life that force feed our kids and everyone around them with their religious beliefs.

The football coach in my state of Washington, who felt that his right to practice religion had been violated, took his case to court. Today, the Supreme Court ruled. He and everyone else has the right to practice his religion in public.

The verdict falls on the tail of last week’s Supreme Court announcements that have sent shock waves around the country. Among other things, we learned that Americans have a constitutional right to bear arms in New York and all sorts of other places in the public domain. The following day, we learned that women do not have the right to make decisions over their own bodies. When it comes to choice and family planning, the states have the right to decide that a woman cannot choose to have an abortion. Indeed, The United States Supreme Court is busy these days waging a war on values.

But what if coach Joseph Kennedy´s name had been Yousuf Kamal and he instead of praying to a Christian God had rolled out his prayer rug and invited the players to turn their faces towards Mecca with him after every football game? Would the Supreme Court ruling have ben the same?

If there is one thing Europe is learning quite rapidly these days, it is that religion in the public sphere is a dangerous cocktail. Religion can be an integral part of a culture in our activities at school and in the workplace when the population is homogeneous and most belong to the same culture and religion.

That’s not how it works in the United States. Here the population is one great conglomeration of peoples with vastly different cultures and religions. Unlike in Denmark, it is build into the the American fabric that religion and state must be separated – it does not require a doctorate in either religion or political science to see why that constellation is a good idea if you want a society to function as peacefully as possible. The fact that we in the United States more than ever are moving into a value-based legislation rooted in Christian dogmas is far from the notion most Americans have of the powers of the legal system.

So what happens in an environment where the politically appointed Supreme Court justices are more than busy pursuing rulings based in politics? They may think they are doing what they are set to do by Trump, to please his base, when they announce their ultra-right-wing conservative rulings. But one day, it will not be a right-wing Christian who is praying with the children, but a radical Muslim, a Mormon, or a Jehovah’s Witness. Like Joseph Kennedy they will believe they have the right to practice their religion where ever they are. And they will have the Supreme Court´s ruling to back them up. Maybe it’s a matter of time before young people, and all of us, come to stand as spectators at sporting events, where we are taken hostage in a religious propaganda stunt that can only divide the country more than it already is.

The Supreme Court’s announcements this week point in different directions. We now know, it is more important that an individual has the right to bear arms in the public sphere than the sense of security and safety of the surrounding citizens. Conversely, it is not the individual woman herself who has the right to choose over her own body, it is a decision that elected politicians at the local state level. And in terms of practicing your personal religion and trumpeting it to everyone who is near you, well, then again, it is the individual´s right that stands above people’s sense of discomfort.

So, now this is what I have to look forward to: Being pray to other people’s religious beliefs being forced on me when I just want to see my kids run around and have fun at some sporting event. Land of the free? Well, for those hardcore gun loving, religious fanatics, maybe.

Jehovas Vidner vil ikke modtage blod. Og det er vi nødt til at respektere, selvom deres holdning er helt ude i hampen

Voksne Jehovas Vidner har ret til at træffe et personligt valg, vi ikke forstår.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses do not want to receive blood transfusions. We have to respect that decision, even if their position is completely out of whack

Adult Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right to make a personal choice that we do not understand or agree with.

I’m not a big fan of Jehovah’s Witnesses, where I spent much of my childhood and youth.

Jyllands-Posten reported on a Supreme Court ruling based on a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses who, against his will, received a blood transfusion. The man was unconscious but had a card on him that stated in writing that he did not want to receive blood under any circumstances. The Supreme Court ruled that it was justified, when health staff ignored his wishes and gave him blood anyway.

There are many things, you are not allowed to within the sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses. You are not allowed to celebrate Christmas, you can´t celebrate birthdays, and you must not receive a blood transfusion.

It must be a huge dilemma to be in as a healthcare professional when one’s professional job is to provide the best possible care while at the same time being with a patient who is beyond pedagogical reach.

From an early age, the members of Jehowa´s Witnesses become indoctrinated to such a degree, that their ability to be critical, nuanced and reflective is left in the wardrobe along with the coat, before they find a seat in the congregation and let themselves be seduced.

The role of doctors and nurses is to save human lives – or at least to reduce their patient’s suffering.

It must be a huge dilemma to be in as a healthcare professional when one’s professional job is to provide the best possible care while at the same time being with a patient who is beyond pedagogical reach.

But if we believe in the right of the individual to choose for himself, if we are in favor of freedom of expression and religion, then we have to respect when an adult, no matter how idiotic we think his position is, has stated in writing that he under no circumstances wants to receive blood.

The situation is different when it comes to minors. In those circumstances, I believe society should step in and ignore the wishes of the parents and the child.

I am aware that the argument can be extended to other topics. My position is specifically about the right to, as an adult, to renounce a blood transfusion.

I have a written will. In it, I have made clear that if something were to happen to me, where I end up in a coma, and it is assessed that there is no chance of me waking up, then the equipment that keeps me artificially alive must be turned off. I would like my will to be respected. After all, that’s why I’ve made various maneuvers and gone through a lawyer.

I made my decision as an adult. Personally, I think it’s unbelievable idiotic to say no to a blood transfusion that can save one’s life. I would never do that myself. The attitude is extremist and I don´t understand it. But it is a personal decision that relates to the individual citizen’s right to decide over his own life.

If we do not respect the individual’s personal decision, as long as it does not endanger the surrounding society, we are moving dangerously close to a club of states that have a somewhat different view of when states have a right to infringe on a citizen’s rights.

Kender du én, der kommer til at sidde alene juleaften – så gør noget

Alle kan komme ud for livsændringer og sidde alene juleaften.

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Do you know someone who will spend Christmas alone – then do something about it

Everyone can face life changes and end up spending Christmas Eve by themselves.

There is something special about celebrating Christmas – at least if you have a family you can celebrate with.

Maybe you just got divorced, maybe you moved to to a new country or state in December, maybe you have made some life choices that make your family no longer want to be around you.

When we think of someone spending Christmas alone, we often think about older people. But many other age groups spend the night alone, a night that is supposed to be about love.

Even though I am now in a place in my life where I love the Christmas month, Christmas is still filled with a great sadness that always shows up at some point during the Christmas preparations. A sadness that is multilayered. Because, I have a family that is well and alive who wanders around the streets and alleys of Denmark, but with whom I will never celebrate Christmas.

Last night I dreamed that I lived in a studio apartment and was making ends meet cleaning a steakehouse called Niels Ebbesens Bøfhus in the Danish town of Randers. In my dream, I had left Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it was Christmas Eve. I suddenly found myself outside a church, where author and pastor Kristian Ditlev Jensen gave a sermon. To my great astonishment, I had trouble finding the Bible scriptures my fingers used to be able to automatically find.

Kristian Ditlev Jensen stood behind his pulpit and spoke of love and inclusion with a warmth that made me envy his audience. Once in a while he broke out in song, and he sometimes even joked with his congregation. I didn´t understand why the church was only halfway filled. The atmosphere was with its atmosphere in stark contrast to the Kingdom Hall, which has made me sunburnt towards all religion.

But here I stood, still in my dream. Neither inside nor outside the church. It does not exactly require a degree in psychology to understand what my dream was about.

If I lift my gaze from the perspective of my own belly button, I think what I experienced in my dream is how many who are spending Christmas alone see their situation. To be between two points physically or mentally. To be in transition, on the way from one place to another in life. And that situation is filled with loneliness, especially on Christmas Eve.

Many years ago, I made a choice that resulted in me spending Christmas eve alone. Simply put, I had insisted on the right to think freely — and for that, I was punished. That kind of independent thinking, Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot accept.

My choice meant a social deprivation. The interpretation of love in the sect is that when one steps out of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ belief system, the consequence is that a ubiquitous exclusion will make that person realize that he or she did something wrong. The method works. Many come crawling, broken and destroyed back to the fold.

On Christmas Eve, I am reminded that I do not have an extended family and that I will never have one. We never set the table for my children’s grandmother or for my sisters and their children. Not a single one of the presents under the Christmas is from my side of the family.

Christmas is also difficult when you do not have a family network behind you. Therefore, loneliness can be felt twice when celebrating with a family that is not one’s own.

Many others experience similar feelings. Some have lost family members. Losses of one kind or another leaves a mark. Life forces us to learn to live with difficult emotions.

But Christmas is also difficult when you do not have a family network behind you, because Christmas Eve is the most untouchable of all evenings in Denmark. Therefore, loneliness can be felt twice when celebrating with a family that is not one’s own. It is an evening where many do things in a very special way and are not willing to change family traditions. Although a family situation is dynamic and changing, traditions are not.

Therefore, I am calling on all Danes. If you are aware that someone is spending Christmas alone, then do something about it. Maybe it’s too big a step for you to invite that person to your home on Christmas Eve. But you could write a Christmas card, bring them cookies, invite them for a glass of wine, or just let the person know you see him or her.

I was once invited home to a college friend on Christmas Eve. But I declined the invitation. That is how deep the feeling of Christmas as something very close to the family relationship was. I simply did not, as an outsider felt I had the right to a seat at the table.

I will never lose the inherent loneliness and a feeling of not quite belonging that I carry with me. But I do not think, I am the only one carrying that burden. Especially, on Christmas Eve the feeling can be overwhelming.

Therefore, everyone who can should act and not just shrug and turn away to rejoice with their families. Reach out, give a little of yourself – maybe someday you will need the same charity.

Hvorfor accepterer vi pædofili?

Så længe vi accepterer, at religioner foretager selvjustits inden for lukkede døre, kommer børn til at betale prisen for samfundets manglende mod.

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Why don´t we stop pedophiles in religious communities?

If we keep accepting that religious communities deal with pedophiles within their own ranks, children will pay the price for society’s lack of courage.

Children cannot always take care of themselves. They have adults for that job. Or so it should be. The problem is that somethimes, we trust the wrong adults. Children who are exposed to pedophiles pay an outrageously high price for that. All too often, religions and sects function as places where sick souls have free range.

We know this all too well, have heard it so often. Things happen on inside of the confessional booth and behind closed church doors that should never happen between adults and children.

The latest scandal is about the Catholic Church in France, where at least 3,000 Catholic priests from 1950 onward till present day have raped and sexually assaulted more than 10,000 children. The report is based on church, trial and police reports as well as interviews with the victims.

Again and again we hear stories of children who have been sexually exploited. We read the structures that allow the abuse to happen. We know about how religions internally have their own mechanisms to avoid getting into the spotlight of the public eye and the media. And the fact that we know it makes us as a society complicit if we do nothing.

The religious systems protect their own, sometimes reprimanding the perpetrators behind closed doors, other times sending the pedophiles around to new churches where they can abuse new victims. I know this because I have seen it with my own eyes within Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, who keep such cases closed and order the parties involved not to share their experiences with anyone – neither with family and friends within the sect nor with authorities, law enforcement or psychologists outside.

Why do we as a society do nothing? Why do we just watch from the sidelines? Yes, yes, of course we are disgusted by what we read and hear, but then we apparently shrug before moving on to reading the next newspaper article. There is such a huge fear of meddling when it comes to stepping into the holy halls, when it comes to questioning what is going on within various denominations. Why do we have a notion that when something happens within closed religious groups, then we can not touch it?

Only cowards do not dare to react to injustices. Power is closely linked to fear, and the fear that the victims of pedophiles experience both during and after the assaults is reinforced when we as a society maintain taboos. We have a duty to not shy away but face this head on and confront the organizations and structures that repeatedly exploit the leeway of these religions.

Politicians have a responsibility to act and enact harsh legislation in relation to what religious practices look like when it comes to dealing with pedophiles behind their closes doors. But instead, out of fear of not respecting various groups’ religious autonomy and freedoms, they turn their backs and hearts to children’s suffering.

(partly Google Translate)

Selvfølgelig skal den 13-årige dreng i IS-fangelejren ikke til Danmark alene eller med sin familie

– han skal i afradikaliseringslejr hos kurderne på afstand af sin familie.

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Of course, the 13-year-old boy in the IS prison camp should not go to Denmark alone or with his family

– he should go to a radicalization camp with the Kurds away from his family.

The association Repatriate The Children takes the Danish state to court. The association believes that Denmark is violating the European Convention on Human Rights when the government does not want to bring Danish children home in Syrian prison camps. That’s what lawyer Knud Foldschack says .

The case is specifically about a 13-year-old boy who lives in the al- Roj camp in northeastern Syria. The boy stands to be removed from his mother for being de-radicalized by the Kurds. The matter is not simple, as children always pay the price when parents make terrible decisions.

A total of 19 Danish children are in the Syrian prison camps. When the children turn 13, they end up in one of the Kurds’ radicalization camps , where they have no contact with parents or siblings. It is the association Repatriate The Children against.

According to their website, the association that fights to get the children to Denmark is also against separating the children from their parents. So if the association succeeds with their goals, the children’s mothers – and later probably also their IS fighter fathers, a child has the right to be with both his parents, – will be included in the package, where they can place themselves like ticking bombs around in the Danish country.

The boy in the al- Roj camp has nightmares, screams at night and is “crushed in health.” To my ears, it clearly sounds like a boy who is not feeling well in the family he lives in and should not be with them – neither in an IS prison camp nor in Denmark.

Maybe it’s just because he lives with his radicalized family that he has nightmares? If so, he must precisely removed from the family, protected and assisted to any of that dangerous nonsense, every day he gets fed with coming out of the system so he hopefully as an adult can see the idea of part of a community , where values ​​such as freedom of expression, equality between the sexes and how important it is to be able to think independently.

I have no doubt that the Kurds have more experience and knowledge on how to deal with members of IS and potential terrorists. I am very grateful that they are willing to work with the young people and thus hopefully make us all more secure in the future – one less radicalized terrorist in this world is, in my opinion, a good thing.

As a former Jehovah’s Witness, I can attest that the family has a tremendous influence on how one acts and acts, what one says and does – especially outwardly. The power and manipulation is enormous, the possibility of having a free space to think independently is non-existent . I imagine it is the same in the radicalized IS societies.

Therefore, it makes sense to separate family members and, before the indoctrination is almost impossible to reverse, get the young people away from the influence they suffer from.

If the young boy, his mother and any other siblings came to Denmark and were installed in an apartment, I am not sure that the radicalization would be as effective.

On the other hand, I have greater confidence that the project will succeed if the boy is set free by his family – in the Kurds’ camp.

There is no doubt that the boy is feeling bad. Let us hope that the Kurds’ de-radicalization camp can help him get better – at a distance from his family and Denmark.

(Google translate)

I år bliver julen lettere for os, der har det svært med familiesammenkomster

Mange har det svært med julen og dens sociale forventninger. I år behøver vi, der tilhører denne gruppe, ikke føle os kejtede, akavede og til overs.

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This year, Christmas will be easier for those of us who have a hard time with family gatherings

Many people have a hard time with Christmas and its social expectations. This year, we who belong to this group do not have to feel awkward, awkward and left out.

After a mildly tumultuous, anxiety-provoking year, many are longing to be with their families at Christmas. This blog is not aimed at them, but at all of us who every year have a hard time with Christmas and all its expectations of traditions and how the togetherness with the family “should” feel.

Many families choose this year to celebrate Christmas alone or with fewer family members and without the characteristic family Christmas lunches during the Christmas days to avoid crossing bacilli from one branch of the family to another.

But as my matter-of-fact grandmother would say, “Nothing is so bad, it’s not good for anything.”

I am always challenged when the Christmas season begins. I did not grow up in a family that celebrated Christmas – I never learned to bake Christmas cookies or to make a Christmas decoration at school. We children of Jehovah’s Witnesses simply did not have to. I do not have a bag full of traditions that I can pull off when I try to make fun.

I love the idea of ​​Christmas. The heat from the oven, where the cookies have just lain and now fills the kitchen with its spicy scent, the decorated wood with the gifts underneath, the joy in the kids’ eyes, endless days of mulled wine and apple slices, cut-and-paste experiences around the table with peppercorns. This is how reality never shapes itself, but the idea is beautiful.

When I met my husband and he invited me to his parents’ house to celebrate Christmas, I was elated. Now I finally had to celebrate family Christmas, exactly as I had dreamed of since my last Christmas as an eight-year-old.

That, of course, was not the case. I felt completely wrong, had a hard time finding my place in the family puzzle. I felt awkward, the conversations were foreign, and the dynamics established through generations. I ended up running up to the room my boyfriend and I shared, and roaring. Meanwhile, the family sat gaping on the couch and did not understand why I reacted as I did.

Christmas is hard; we would like to, but all sorts of old luggage comes in, which makes it difficult.

Like me, many this year can do things exactly as they see fit without stress and pressure. It might be a little difficult at first; it’s all beginning. But when one breaks with consensus, then a feeling of freedom arises.

Even though the Danes have not themselves chosen the situation that many families are in this Christmas, it may lead to a form of freedom. Suddenly there are no expectations, no “right” way to do anything that has to do with Christmas.

Christmas is filled with great emotions at each end of the social spectrum. To some extent, some people need to see the family and be with loved ones who know and embrace them. Some have lost a husband, a child or a close family member. Some have divorced and now need to figure out what Christmas should look like in the future. Some live far away from what they grew up with and need to feel a sense of belonging in a familiar, safe, family environment.

Others have a hard time with all the socializing and really want to have fun with their partner and any children without going and flying around to families on one side of the family. Some people have a hard time with Christmas for completely different reasons.

But we are not talking about it. There must be something wrong with one, if one of all the holidays can not enjoy Christmas and being with the family. Still, I would argue that many feel wronged and lonely right there in the middle of the in-laws’ lap around the coffee table with brownies.

This is so difficult to talk about because there is an implicit distance to those you should have the most fun with. How do you put it into words without hurting and without expressing your feelings in a way that makes you appear like the strangest antisocial fish?

It is not the fault of others, and certainly not my in-laws, that I get weird when the family gathers, and there is everything in the air that I can not figure out to decode.

At the same time, I refuse to be her the weird one, simply because I dare put into words what I from countless conversations with friends and acquaintances know are feelings I am not alone in having.

This year I think there are many, whether they dare say it out loud or not, who feel some relief over not having to spend most of two weeks tying themselves up, danger and whistling around to one family party after another and sitting at a Christmas-covered table and not knowing how to fit into the company while the exhaustion, irritation and feeling of inadequacy sets in.

(Google translate)