Austria grants recognition to Jehovah's Witnesses

10th May 2009, Comments 17 comments

Some 20,000 Christian evangelical Jehovah's Witnesses will now have their faith formally acknowledged in a decision which stems from a July 2008 European Court of Human Rights ruling.

Vienna -- Austria granted recognition as a religion to the Jehovah's Witness movement last week after a campaign spanning more than 30 years, the ministry for education and religion announced.

Some 20,000 Christian evangelical Jehovah's Witnesses will now have their faith formally acknowledged in a decision which stems from a July 2008 European Court of Human Rights ruling.

In common with Austria's 13 other recognised religions, the movement can now raise funds, have its beliefs taught in schools and establish hospital and military chaplains.

Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted under Nazi German rule for their refusal to take up military arms.

Other countries, notably Greece, have been brought to task for jailing Jehovah's Witness conscientious objectors.

The movement is Austria's fifth largest religion.

The Roman Catholic Church has about 5.6 million followers in a country of about 8.3 million, with some 400,000 Muslims and around 375,000 Protestants making up the top three.


17 Comments To This Article

  • James posted:

    on 26th June 2009, 11:20:32 - Reply

    Why do they seek mans approval instead of God?
  • frank posted:

    on 12th May 2009, 17:34:01 - Reply

    interesting how people think we deceive people. Let me shed a little "light" on the subject. I grew up a catholic
  • NO Shill please posted:

    on 12th May 2009, 07:32:06 - Reply

    Jehovah's Witnesses SHILL

    Posters who claim they are just 'studies' and are not active Jehovah's Witnesses members but "objective" 3rd party observers who praise the watchtower cult,are IN FACT real JW's who are SHILLS.

    Scientology pulls this same scam.Just like the carnival geeks who shill for the snake oil..

    This is what is WRONG with the JW cult a lot of devious deception.

  • Brenda Lee posted:

    on 12th May 2009, 05:34:47 - Reply

    Jehovah's Witnesses have their own language ("Loading the Language" is one of Robert J. Lifton's eight points of mind control), and you are no more just "studying" with them than I am someone who is trying to get "reinstated." Your words give you away as a bonafide Jehovah's Witness going incognito. It's a shame the members in this cult use deception to recruit and retain members. They even have a word for it: "Theocratic Warfare" (i.e., only people who have a right to know the truth should receive it). As in all cults, the ends always justify the means. Next you will say that it is loving to shun a family member because they don't have a "sincere heart" and you want them to "repent" and "see the error of their ways." For more info, go to my website. I answer all emails.

    Brenda Lee, author: "Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman's Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult"
  • joshua posted:

    on 12th May 2009, 00:22:11 - Reply

    I agree marie, what an attack. i've also studied with jw's. None of these comments have swayed me at all. I applaud their virtues. who thinks dying for your beliefs is wrong? If you'll abandon your beliefs to save your life, then you're not listening to jesus' teachings. Wake up, and look around. Study politics, a new world order is cominlg, with a mark of the beast. Most major religions will go right along with it or be behind it. Jesus warned us, yet the pope meets with our leaders. PEace and Love
  • Marie Post posted:

    on 11th May 2009, 20:02:52 - Reply

    Wow! Such an attack of JWs. I'm currently studying with them. Have been for about 6 months. Formerly I heard all the attacks against them as listed here on the comments and WOULD NOT listen to them when they came to my door.

    But I had specific questions, such as who is God? What is his purpose? What if anything is God going to do about wickedness on this earth? What happens to us when we die? Why does God allow so much suffering? What does it mean "the meek shall inherit the earth?" And what is the "kingdom" we pray for in the Lord's Prayer that will bring peace to the earth?

    I asked and asked and asked so many ministers. I ran from church to church. Finally out of desperation I talked to a Witness who came to my door .....

    And they answered EVERY question from the Bible! I am so happy. Now I have a purpose for living and am looking forward to living in a paradise earth under the kingdom/government I've been praying for for decades!
  • Kenneth L. posted:

    on 11th May 2009, 13:56:42 - Reply

    Some Teachings and Practices
    Jehovah’s Witnesses Need to Abandon
    in Order to Experience a True Reformation

    (55 Reasons why Jehovah’s Witnesses will never be reformed)
    by Frank J. Toth

    1. Teaching that true Christianity is an organization instead of a way of life
    2. Claiming salvation is dependent upon belonging to the JW denomination
    3. Claiming that the organization speaks for and is controlled by Jehovah, thereby equating the organization with God himself

    4. Centralizing authority in an organization instead of letting Christ be the head of each Christian
    5. Claiming that the “faithful and discreet slave” is the “anointed class” rather than each individual Christian who shows himself or herself to be responsible and obedient to Christ
    6. Teaching that the early Christians were led by a governing body

    7. Teaching that Jesus appointed the “anointed remnant” as his true church in 1919
    8. Viewing the so-called “anointed” class (actually, the governing body) as God’s channel and prophet
    9. Placing WT literature above the Bible

    10. Frequently taking Bible texts out of context in order to build support for the organization’s man-made teachings and procedures
    11. Teaching that Jesus returned in 1914 and is “invisibly present” since then
    12. Teaching that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE when no historical records confirm this and the actual date is believed by nearly all historians to be 587 BCE

    13. Falsifying the fact that Charles Russell predicted for 1914 the end of the world, not Christ’s return
    14. Lying about a so-called “increase” in earthquakes, warfare, famines, persecution, etc., since 1914
    15. Contradictorily condemning military organizations and frowning upon JWs who choose alternative service in lieu of military service while the headquarters organization at the same time owns stock in a military product organization (REGI)

    16. Taking a conflicting stand with regard to the United Nations, claiming that it is the “wild beast” of Revelation that leads all nations in a fight against God and Christ at Armageddon, but signing on as an NGO member and publishing articles that present the UN in a favorable light
    17. Teaching that it’s wrong to celebrate birthdays and all holidays
    18. Teaching that Abraham and the faithful men and women of old are not among the holy ones who will rule with Christ in his Kingdom
    19. Interpreting Jewish restoration prophecies as fulfilled in “the anointed remnant”

    20. Teaching that the Scriptures are directly addressed only to “the remnant of anointed ones”
    21. Teaching that only the “anointed” must be born again
    22. Teaching that the “great crowd” are not begotten or anointed by the Holy Spirit

    23. Teaching that the “great crowd” are God’s grandchildren and not his sons and daughters
    24. Teaching that the “great crowd” are not members of the bride of Christ
    25. Teaching that Jesus is not the mediator between God and the “great crowd” of Revelation chapter 7

    26. Teaching that the resurrection of the “anointed” precedes the resurrection of the “other sheep” and that it has already begun
    27. Teaching that only “anointed” JWs will receive immortality in the resurrection
    28. Inviting only the “anointed” to partake at the memorial
    29. Claiming that spiritual food comes from the “anointed” class whereas nearly all the writers of WT publications are members of the “other sheep” class

    30. Creating a climate of fear by authoritarianism
    31. Controlling what individual JWs may read of Bible-related publications that are not produced by the WT Society
    32. Arrogantly pretending that the JW organization maintains higher standards than any other religion and proclaiming publicly that all other churches are members of Babylon the Great

    33. Forbidding attendance and participation at other churches
    34. Class distinctions such as “governing body,” “anointed remnant” and “great crowd of other sheep”
    35. Class distinctions such as publishers, auxiliary pioneers, regular pioneers, special pioneers, circuit overseers, district overseers, Bethelites, Governing Body, etc.

    36. Prohibiting women from serving in any meaningful role in the congregation while expecting them to do the bulk of the work in “field service”
    37. Constantly prodding the membership by means of literature, meetings and conventions to do ever more and more in the service of the organization, promoting an atmosphere where many feel their best is never good enough

    38. Setting dates for Armageddon and thereby urging the membership to abandon normal living, this often resulting in the ruination of health and family life, as well as creating employment and financial hardships

    39. Teachings that lead the members to believe righteousness and salvation can be earned by devoted and loyal support of the organization’s slavish programs
    40. Keeping meeting attendance and field service records as a gauge of an individual’s spirituality
    41. Organizationally requiring no blood transfusions instead of letting it be a matter of conscience, thereby cruelly informing all members that they will be shunned by the organization if they accept a transfusion that might restore health following a life-threatening accident or illness

    42. Allowing their own infants and children to die instead of allowing doctors to give them necessary blood transfusions
    43. Teaching that the “congregation” of Matthew 18:17 is the body of elders
    44. Holding heresy trials and disciplinary hearings in secrecy from the rest of the congregation
    45. Withholding information that would be helpful to persons who have been accused of wrongdoing

    46. Conducting heresy trials of members who have doubts or who think differently upon the Scriptures
    47. Defining apostasy as against the organization instead of against God
    48. Being quick to disfellowship instead of making efforts to restore persons who have done something wrong

    49. Unnecessarily and abusively shunning members even for minor infractions such as smoking or not complying with the whimsical directives of elders, thereby causing personal and family turmoil that often results in immense guilt, shame, fear, depression, bitterness, hatred, murder and suicide
    50. Prohibiting fellowship with disassociated persons who show no inclination toward causing dissension

    51. Showing favoritism by advising innocent victims to “leave it to Jehovah” instead of the elders taking decisive action to deal with some members who have been accused of harmful wrongdoing.
    52. Ignoring or minimizing clear evidence of child molestation and other abuses simply because only one witness is available to testify against the member accused of such serious wrongdoing
    53. Covering over and hiding damaging facts about the JW organization

    54. In many cases, neglecting the care of their own sick and elderly members who no longer have the strength and energy to attend all the meetings and to be regular in “field service” as they did for most of their lives
    55. Blatantly lying to the public by declaring to news media that members may leave the organization at any time, of their own free will and without any repercussions from the organization

  • Lucy posted:

    on 11th May 2009, 07:13:03 - Reply

    Actually the Watchtower cult is WORSE than Jones town.

    WHY? 900 casualties at Jones-town versus accumulated THOUSANDS dead in last 50 years over the Watchtower society cult ban on vaccinations then organ transplants and now currently 'whole' blood transfusions.

    Moreover,there are a MILLION members who do not practice optimum health care ( diabetes control,blood pressure,obesity etc) because of the apocalyptic Watchtower's promise that the 'new system' paradise is coming "shortly".
    These followers will die PREMATURE deaths.
    The Watchtower cult is EVIL!
  • joshua posted:

    on 11th May 2009, 03:16:38 - Reply

    wow, you mention jonestown. you should be ashamed. any proponent of the truth knows that jonestown was a mass murder and cover-up. peace
  • Brenda Lee posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 21:54:10 - Reply


    One of the first things people say to me after reading my book, "Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman's Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult" is, "I guess I never thought of Jehovah's Witnesses as a cult." The second thing they say is, "But your book really opened my eyes!"

    I believe that how you label something is far less important than how IT leaves its mark on the world. You can take a label off a can of beans and slap on a label for peaches and it’s still beans. Recognizing the dangerous contents is far more important than the label.

    I remember hearing about Jonestown when I was 16 and immediately thinking, "OH MY--if the Watchtower tells my family to commit suicide, they will do it in a heartbeat!" But family ,members don't have to literally die for you to experience that loss, not if they are Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Toxic organizations like the Watchtower are responsible for "family genocide." They shun (never speak to or acknowledge) family members who leave...for any reason. My family hasn't spoken to me in 28 years simply because I left to pursue my own spiritual path. It's like they are, indeed, dead. Out there, but untouchable. In a cult, it's easy to get in but hard to get out.

    My mother was undereducated; she didn't know what a cult looked like. That's why she opened the door when those "nice" Jehovah's Witnesses came recruiting. I'm hoping my story will encourage people to learn about the devastation that the Watchtower cult levies on the lives of entire families. Ignorance when it comes to cults is not bliss! My family is not in a Christian, benign “religion” by any stretch of the imagination.

    Brenda Lee, author: "Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman's Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult"
  • James Jones posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 17:41:39 - Reply


    The following website summarizes over 900 court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witness Parents, including over 400 cases where the JW Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their dying children:


    The following website summarizes over 500 Jehovah's Witnesses Employment related lawsuits, etc, including DOZENS of court cases in which JW Employees refused blood transfusions, and/or other cases involving Worker's Comp, medical, health, and disability issues:


  • Danny Haszard posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 17:08:52 - Reply

    Jehovahs Witnesses dogmas:

    1) 1914 false for Jesus second coming (they say it was an *invisible presence*) is an emperor's new clothes comic

    2) Many false prophecies that you dared to print up by the millions in Watchtower magazaines and cannot deny.

    3)Literal 144,000 (only JW's) go to heaven is bogus and blasphemous
    4) Corruption in an arrogant leadership.

    5) Child abuse and abuse of your elderly many who put faith in the imminent *new system* and did not put away for their old age retirement .

    6) Thousands who died for the WT flip-flopping ban on blood transfusions. Jehovahs Witnesses seeking REFORM
  • Jane posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 16:53:58 - Reply

    No, Germany did NOT grant religion status to Scientology. They recently found that constitutionally, they could not outright BAN the cult; so they just keep a watchful eye on them. Scientology is officially classified in Germany as a "threat to democracy," same as neo-Nazis, Islamic extremists and organized crime.
  • Ken posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 15:14:01 - Reply

    Bob is misinformed and has to much time on his hands, lol...
  • Bob posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 12:57:18 - Reply

    Former third generation Jehovah’s Witnesses Paul and Pat Blizard list 101 of their strange beliefs and practices online. The first 40 are as follows:

    1. God is not a Trinity; the doctrine is inspired by the Devil.

    2. Jesus is not to be worshiped or prayed to - he is only an angel (a.k.a. Michael the archangel).

    3. Jesus Christ is a “created being,” who at one time did not exist.

    4. The Holy Spirit is not a person but is “God’s active force” i.e. gravity, electricity etc..

    5. Heaven is hope only for select Jehovah’s Witnesses. The majority of JWs hope to live on “paradise earth.”

    6. Heaven is limited only to 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are only 9,105 alive today (2006 figures).

    7. Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only “true Christians.” All churches and denominations are considered “false religion.”

    8. There is no Hell or eternal judgment .

    9. There is no life after death except for the 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    10. Salvation is earned only by being a loyal Jehovah’s Witness.

    11. Jesus second coming happened invisibly and secretly in 1914.

    12. The “first resurrection” occurred in 1918.

    13. Jesus did not rise from the dead bodily but as a spirit being.

    14. Jesus was equal to Adam (just a man).

    15. Jesus could have sinned and failed in his mission.

    16. Jesus was not born the savior but became the savior at his baptism.

    17. God is not omnipresent.

    18. God is not omniscient.

    19. JWs are not sure of their salvation.

    20. All earthly governments are controlled by the Devil.

    21. The Holy Spirit is only available to select Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    22. They are forbidden to serve in the military.

    23. They are forbidden to buy Girl Scout cookies.

    30. They are forbidden to celebrate any holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.).

    31. They are forbidden to celebrate their birthday.

    32. They are forbidden to run for or hold a political office.

    33. They are forbidden to vote in any political campaign.

    34. They are forbidden to serve on a jury.

    35. They are forbidden to own or wear a cross.

    36. They are forbidden to speak to former members who are shunned .

    37. They are forbidden to accept Christmas gifts.

    38. They are forbidden to purchase Christian products (books, music, plaques, pictures etc.).

    39. They are forbidden to read Christian literature.

    40. They are forbidden to have friends who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Sturgen posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 10:25:07 - Reply

    Read the Bible and see for yourself what an apostate faith the Watchtower is, a spin-off of the Millerite Adventist 'great disappointment' evangelical movement of 1842.

    John 10:16 after reading the entire 10th chapter without watchtower influence and you will see that the 'other sheep' are the converted gentiles and not an earthly class.

    That's just one WBTS false doctrine among many others.
    Michael the archangel is not Jesus either!
  • Blaze posted:

    on 10th May 2009, 10:06:11 - Reply

    Yes,didn't Germany also just grant legal status to Scientology?