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Tue Feb 27, 2018, 08:56 PM

Jehovah's Witness exemption from conscription deemed prejudicial in "pivotal" ruling

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/jehovahs_witness_exemption_from_conscription_deemed_prejudicial_in_pivotal_ruling/10089261?origin=rss

A new court ruled on Friday that the Finnish practice of allowing male Jehovah's Witnesses to avoid conscription is discriminatory.

The Helsinki Court of Appeal on Friday voted 4-3 for naming the policy discriminatory against other conscientious objectors. The ruling came in a discrimination case brought by a man who was imprisoned in 2016 for refusing conscripted service the year before.

The decision is the first court verdict that directly denounces the decades-old exception (instated in 1987), which says that men belonging to the Jehovah's Witness denomination will uniquely not be sent to prison if they refuse both military and civilian service.

The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Defense Ministry have long held that the law contradicts the constitution's principle of equality as well as its prohibition on discrimination.

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Reply Jehovah's Witness exemption from conscription deemed prejudicial in "pivotal" ruling (Original post)
Pope George Ringo II Feb 2018 OP
Igel Feb 2018 #1
Pope George Ringo II Feb 2018 #2
Voltaire2 Feb 2018 #3
Pope George Ringo II Feb 2018 #4
Voltaire2 Feb 2018 #5

Response to Pope George Ringo II (Original post)

Tue Feb 27, 2018, 09:18 PM

1. I have to wonder if they consider denying the duty to serve discriminatory.

Or if they consider serving to be onerous, and liberation from it discriminatory.

However, once you get past freedom of religion and conscience, that's where you get to. Whatever is required is right, and there are no exceptions. A great thing if you're in the majority; not so much if you're in the minority.

It always pays to be able to sit in the minority's seat and ponder how you'd like things to be if you were there and yet figure out how to make it work and what the implications are of allowing society to disintegrate into a multitude of isolationist cells. Few can do this to the extent that it's recognizable; many can do it for a few alternative groups. None can do it well.

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Response to Igel (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 27, 2018, 09:31 PM

2. Truthfully, I don't have a problem with them opting out of military service.

They're not alone in that, and it's honorable enough taken in its own terms. What gets me is that non-military national service is an option, admittedly longer but still just under a year, and they refuse that too. And the third option which other naysayers have endured is to spend the time in prison, which Amnesty International is not a fan of. There are a lot of people who disapprove of warfare for motives at least as good as the JWs but who aren't exempted, and I'd emphatically agree with the court that they don't deserve worse treatment than the JW crowd.

I'm also frankly somewhat ignorant of a good reason why non-military national service would be unacceptable, though. We're talking about Finland, for crying out loud. What could they possibly have these young men doing?

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Response to Pope George Ringo II (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 06:11 AM

3. Finland fought on both sides during WWII.

But from 1940-44 was the only democracy fighting on the axis side.

They have a long military tradition and have a history of fierce resistance to Russian imperial ambitions.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 07:14 AM

4. Yes, but Mannerheim, Winter War, Continuation War, Sissi tradition, etc.

Heck, the Continuation War is about as defensible as fighting alongside Hitler ever got, but I still can't figure out why JW can't bring themselves to do non-military service like all the other pacifists.

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Response to Pope George Ringo II (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 28, 2018, 11:18 AM

5. Oh I agree.

I was just pointing out that Finland takes its military tradition very seriously.

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