Stoning and Scripture

DM linked to a article (registration free link) in the New York Times quoted a Sudanese rebel as saying

“Imagine you woke up one day and found that Jehovah’s Witnesses had taken over your government,” explained Taisier Ali, one of the rebels. “That’s like what happened to us.”

The statement was in response to a change in Sudan’s government that left what are apparently Islamic fundamentalists in charge, handing out death sentences in punishment for apparent adultery.

As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I have some issues with this statement and its inclusion in this article. First of all, Witnesses strive to maintain neutrality with the various governments of this planet. Time and again we have demonstrated that we would not take over any government, even ones that oppose our religion. Secondly, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not advocate stoning to death or any other death sentence for ANY crime or sin. We believe that decision is for our governments to decide and act on. Furthermore, we openly seek to end these kind of practices that are especially degrading to women.

The following paragraph of the article shows a further misunderstanding of Christian beliefs in general. It quotes some scripture from Deuteronomy regarding stoning individuals who broke the Mosaic law. Most Christian religions (including Jehovah’s Witnesses) believe that the coming of Christ obsoleted the Mosaic law. To lump the Christian and Jewish faiths together in pointing out that scripture seems to illustrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the beliefs of these two religions.

Obviously Mr Taisier Ali is misinformed about Jehovah’s Witnesses. This stands to reason, as our religion is banned in the Sudan. However, the inclusion of that quote in an editorial in the New York Times seems to show a lack of research or a bias on the part of the editor or the author.